Een in de was, een in de kast, een aan de bast

By Corrie de Groot

A little book, illustrated with fine, well-executed pencil drawings on that perennial subject — women’s undies.

  • Author: Corrie de Groot
  • Title: Een in de was, een in de kast, een aan de bast
  • Pages: 128
  • Published: 2002
  • Publisher: i<”>Profiel Uitgeverij

The author explains she started collecting old underwear when she discovered some old women’s shirts (dating from 1885) in a old chest of drawers she’d bought at an antique fair. Her interest was piqued, her collection ballooned until it didn’t fit in a single room — and the next step was obvious, she wrote a booklet about it.

The chief characterstic of this book is that it is charming; it is neither structured, nor thorough, nor scholarly. Using her collection as a guide, and interviews with old ladies who still remember wearing open drawers when young, she meanders through topics like underwear, bloomers, menstruation, childbirth and the right moment and location to relieve oneself after a long church service.

She stands right between the generations she descibes. The oldest things she discusses were worn by ladies old enough to be her grandmother, and likewise she discusses the things her granddaughters wear.

The whole light, little thing is leavened with nice sketches and apposite illustrations, and the discussion receives its focus from being concentrated on Groningen — although occasional forays into the rest of the Netherlands are not shunned.

Oh, and the title means ‘one in the wash, one in the wardrobe, one on the body’.