This is Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) and Libby Masters (Caitlin Fitzgerald) from the show Masters of Sex, which is set in the '50s and '60s.
And this is me, Erin, after I decided to go through Masters of Sex hair, makeup, and wardrobe to live as a woman from the '60s would for a day.
"How hard could it be?" —A thing I idiotically said before starting this.
I've watched Masters of Sex for the past two seasons, and seen most, if not all, of the stars in their skivvies. Which got me to thinking: What's it like to wear a girdle, and '60s clothes, and bras that cover most of your body?
So, I decided to find out, and went to the Masters of Sex set. They put me in full '60s garb — from the girdle to the hair — so I could see what it's like not only to be an actress on a show set in this period, but to see what our grandmothers went through, in general.
Here's what I learned:
1. OK, I’m just going to say it: People in the ’60s had higher-quality clothes.
Please see me on the left in clothes from the present, dressed in something I'd wear on any typical day — cotton long-sleeved shirt, trousers, and flats. Then behold the '60s version of me.
There are clear differences here, aside from the fancy ones. For starters, my '60s pants are made from satin. I'd spill food on those within five minutes and spend the rest of the day sobbing from shame. The yellow cardigan is heavier material than probably anything I own, and the kitten heels made me feel like a boss. I was told this was "casual wear." Yeah, OK.
2. This '60s bra held my ta-tas better than any modern bra.
See? Virginia gets it. Pointy = Pretty OK
3. The girdle, though, was like wearing three pairs of Spanx at once, and I wanted to die a bit.
On the show, girdles look sexy AF — so I was super excited to try one on. Except, I literally couldn't get mine over my bum. The costume designer had to help me yank it up, and I was breathing so heavily that they decided I needed a size up.
Turns out, the size up was still not much better. It was so tight. But my hips have never looked better, so...worth it...?
FWIW: The overall look of the girdle and bra is like a crop top and mini skirt that's also sucking your innards in.
See what I mean?
4. The makeup process was intense and made me look a lot older.
5. And putting on a wig properly takes a LOT of work, bobby pins, and adjusting.
6. And yes, people actually wore their hair like this in the '60s, and it required a lot of hairspray.
7. Hold-up stockings are EXTREMELY tricky to wear.
Like, Virgina has SKILLS with these.
8. If you had wide feet in the '60s, you were basically out of luck.
Like, you can see the pain my feet are feeling in my face here, right?
9. And '60s clothes look wayyyy better on you than they ever do on the hanger.
10. The answer to this question of whether or not you can eat in a girdle...
...is no, you can't really eat in a girdle unless you want to feel more pain.
Every time I ate, the girdle got tighter. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯