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Posted on Jul 7, 2015

13 Things That Happened When I Wore '60s Clothes For A Day

I fell in love with my full-body bra, for one thing.

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.

Showtime / Via sho.com

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.

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed
Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

"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.

Erin La Rosa for BuzzFeed

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.

Erin La Rosa for BuzzFeed

Behold! Three extra inches of boobage, care of the pointiest and largest thing I've ever worn. It went all the way down to my belly button, and clasped in the back, like a corset.

Admittedly, though, that bra held my goods up SUPER well. Like, there was no chance of them moving or bouncing. Which made me think, maybe I need this bra IRL...?

See? Virginia gets it. Pointy = Pretty OK

Showtime

3. The girdle, though, was like wearing three pairs of Spanx at once, and I wanted to die a bit.

Showtime

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.

Showtime

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.

Showtime

7. Hold-up stockings are EXTREMELY tricky to wear.

It's been 30 minutes, and already I've fucked up my stockings. How did our grandmas do this shit?! #MastersofSex

Unlike some of the hold-up stockings you can find today, which don't require pinning, the hold-up, '60s-style stockings I was given had to be pinned to my girdle, making it hard to pee, or walk, or not rip holes in them.

Like, Virgina has SKILLS with these.

Showtime

I did not, however.

8. If you had wide feet in the '60s, you were basically out of luck.

Warren Feldman / Warren Feldman/SHOWTIME

If your feet are shaped like a box, raise your hand! That's me, too! I wear a size 7 WIDE, which means pointy heels and I tend to not co-exist. I eventually just had to wear a size 8, because while the shoes were enormous, at least they didn't crush my feet.

Like, you can see the pain my feet are feeling in my face here, right?

Showtime Photographic Services

Also, pain from the clip-on earrings, because I don't have pierced ears LOL.

9. And '60s clothes look wayyyy better on you than they ever do on the hanger.

Warren Feldman / Warren Feldman/SHOWTIME

When I saw this cream striped dress on the hanger, I literally wrote down, "It looks not unlike a fancy burlap sack."

But as I wrote that, the costume designer, Isis Mussenden, told me, "Just wait until you see what happens when you put this on." Did she read my mind?!

When I put the dress on, it still continued to look like a sack, but as soon as it was zipped up...witchcraft happened, and the waist magically cinched in. Witchcraft! (But mostly, good tailoring.)

10. The answer to this question of whether or not you can eat in a girdle...

Omg wait, can I eat with a girdle on or will my organs wither and die under the added pressure?! #MastersofSex #Helpme

...is no, you can't really eat in a girdle unless you want to feel more pain.

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed
Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

Every time I ate, the girdle got tighter. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

11. It feels better to stand than to sit in a girdle.

12. Wearing a girdle, much like wearing Spanx, is insanely painful.

omg omg omg @lolacoaster can see my future! #MastersOfSex

I complained about it a lot at work, as you can see.

And I lasted exactly three hours in the girdle before I had to take it off.

13. Oh, and I also discovered that cats love wigs, or at least mine did.

The new season of Masters of Sex premieres July 12 at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.

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