A Window into the past of Ladies Underwear

Published April 30, 2016 by laciessuesheppard

a modern corset style on a Victorian design

a modern corset style on a Victorian design

Inspired by a visit to the Victoria and Albert museum and their current exhibition ‘Undress: a brief history of Underwear’  Lacies Folkestones last remaining lingerie store thought it only fitting that they do their own homage to the history of Ladies underwear.  The shop based in a 1908 building once heart of a community parade of shops in Dover Road. Since the 1930’s the shop has sold ladies underwear as well as the materials for making and repairing clothing. There are still small wooden drawers that would store the cotton and wool for sale.
The exhibition which is in the front windows is divided into two parts Victorian Edwardian period and the 1950’s. The left side is devoted to the Corset which has been a central part of women’s underwear since the sixteenth century before even panties were worn. The fashion for shaping the waist with a normally whale boned Corset was at its zenith from the Victorian period onwards, when women copied Queen Victoria’s minute 18 inch waist. For those who wonder what that looks like Lacies have managed to acquire an 18 inch Victorian style  corset. A Corset was considered medically and morally necessary since as women were considered  the weaker sex they needed something that would keep them upright being tightly laced in also kept them from temptation, literally from being a loose woman. In the Victorian period there was even a corset for breastfeeding children.


A Nursing Corset


In the Edwardian period these corsets became more colourful and decorated there were lighter ones invented for the hot colonial countries.  However World War 1 saw a decline in Corset wearing. When the menfolk went to war often travelling through Dover and Folkestone with thousands walking down THE Road of Remembrance to fight On the front line, the women who remained worked in their jobs in the factories and keeping essential services going. Not surprisingly the rigid corset was sidelined in favour  more practical underwear. And after the war women demanded greater freedom and with it more comfortable clothing. The bra became more common place in the 1920’s and after
However Corsets were not totally abandoned but given more flexibility . The Spirella corset offered a great range of movement than the old whalebone based corsets. The makers of these ‘modern’ corsets would send a representative round to the customer’s home to ensure a perfect fit.  Added by the development of rubber in 1911 the girdle sometimes called a Corselette replaced the corset which became worn only by overweight and pregnant women and then only underbust corsets. Their was a brief return to the nipper corset in the late 1930’s but the need for steel and the practicalities of war time working women once again meant lingerie became more minimalist and practical.

1940’s War Time Sacrifice

Not surprisingly women thought of helping the war effort more than their vanity and donated steel boning to the war effort and war time shortages made even stockings hard ot get many women painted lines on the back of their legs ot miitate that they were wearing stockings. American GI when they came over helped endear themselves with the local with their gifts of nylons.

traditional style fully fashioned seamed stockings

traditional style fully fashioned seamed stockings



1950’s An Age of Hollywood Glamour

The right hand of the shop shows lingerie as it was in the 1950’s and for many beyond; it includes Corslettes a rubberized version of a corset. Also shown are Girdles all of which are of which are for sale. Nowadays these are either functional or considered retro and even artistic.

The 1950’s was all about glamour the rise of Hollywood films by Lana Turner, Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe amongst other made every women want the film star ideal of big breasts, big hips and small waists and the achievement of this hour glass  silhouette  happened  thanks to the lingerie of the time. To achieve the desired fit and look of clothes on the outside, it was important to have the correct garments underneath to push up or flatten down areas of the body that needed to be. The many styles of lingerie include bras, panties, slips, petticoats, girdles, stockings, and garters. Shopping was a national past time and instead of personal service a whole industry of manufacture and retail outlets both specialist store and department store prospered.  Corslette differed form Corset in that unlike the corset which pushed everything together corslette separated the breast from the rest of the body The 1960’s female liberation trousers and tights became more widely worn meaning even less was worn by women panties and maybe bras even these were burnt by the feminists of the 1970’s.




Modern Resurgence of the Corset.

In recent years the Corset has made a limited come back as a fashion item which started in the 1970’s when Vivienne Westwood used them in her fashion shows.
Other designers such as John Paul Gautier followed in the 1980s, In Jean-Paul Gaultier  and Thierry Mugler’s hands, corsets would become armour
for a late 20th-century cyber-woman out of a science-fiction cartoon.
Corsets were also increasingly used in Fetish designs and popped up in films such as Moulin Rouge and Chicago.  Madonna and Lady Gaga often wear them.
Plus although there have always had a customer base interested in corsetry. Fifty Shades of Grey has introduced a lot of new people
to the idea of using our products….and gave people the permission they needed to try.
Likewise our 1950’s genuine fully fashioned seam stockings and the 1950’s CORSLETTES AND GIRDLES are also for sale though they have been made more comfortable for the truly modern liberated woman of today!!
Lacies Exhibition ‘A Window into the Past’ lasts approx. week starting Tuesday 2nd May 2016


New looks for Jan/Feb 2016

Published January 29, 2016 by laciessuesheppard


Part 2 of our Wig Salesin the  last Wig video we had great feedback form viewers who wanted Clip on Earrings we are now in the process of getting osme more diamante. Watch this space ofr more details.

Why Monofilament Wigs Are better than ordinary Wigs ?

Making a monofilament wig your choice means that it will be much harder for people to tell that you are wearing a wig. The reason is the material used in constructing the wig. Monofilament wigs are much more comfortable, especially for those with sensitive scalps. Instead of a cloth fabric, monofilament wigs use ultra thin, breathable gauze or silicon material. The breathable polyester or nylon mesh blends with the wearer’s scalp color creating a realistic, undetectable look. With the reduced weight and ultimate comfort, it is a natural choice and why they are so widely desired.


Enjoy we did

Sue Sheppard

29th Jan 2016


Winter 2016 Quality Wig Sale – part 1 Blush monofilament Wig

Published January 22, 2016 by laciessuesheppard

We had fun yesterday trying on these new wigs that are for sale in our Winter Wig sale. We did three takes for this one as we are still learning how to do videos hope you like it. Both wigs are for sale we have other of this monofilament style also in the shop and on the website Click here for more info on Wigs Sale Jan 22nd 2016

Why Monofilament Wigs Are better than ordinary Wigs ?

Making a monofilament wig your choice means that it will be much harder for people to tell that you are wearing a wig. The reason is the material used in constructing the wig. Monofilament wigs are much more comfortable, especially for those with sensitive scalps. Instead of a cloth fabric, monofilament wigs use ultra thin, breathable gauze or silicon material. The breathable polyester or nylon mesh blends with the wearer’s scalp color creating a realistic, undetectable look. With the reduced weight and ultimate comfort, it is a natural choice and why they are so widely desired.

Mid January catch up

Published January 16, 2016 by laciessuesheppard



Wow what a week its been it goes to show you never know whats going to happen next. We thought we were doing something worthwhile installing a door bell to our private accommodation however the first time it was actually used was by local Shepway Councillor Mary Lawes to inform us that our beloved Sheriff Nick Adams had suddenly died.  For those not in the know Nick is n0t actually a real sherif but a Community Warden whose job was to help local citizens in rundown East Folkestone improve their lives , get somewhere to live and generally improve their environment. He got the moniker Sherif because he once went to help rehouse a local drunk called Bobby Barton. Bobby was being evicted from his family home and returned their to collect some of his belongings. He said to Nick he was just going to the bedroom to collect some of his belongings but returned brandishing a rusty sword at Nick.  I asked Nick afterwards what he told his family when he got home that he spent some of the day being attacked with a sword.  No he replied he wouldn’t have stabbed me not old Bobby he was just annoyed about losing the family home. I am working to find him accommodation. Did you run away Nick oh yes just in case and then he rang the police ‘the posee’ who turned out in four police cars , tasers the lot.

This was also the week Sky TV proved New International are perennial users of little people. On the Tuesday they rang me could they do an interview for Sky News about the new Government report on transgender discrimination. For those not aware this is the first time a sitting Government had commissioned a report into the lot of Transgendered people to in modern UK Society. It found among other things widespread discrimination in everyday life and in government institutions like prison against trans people. It advocated that anti transgender abuse or transphobia giving it its official term be and a criminal offence on a par with racism. Which I for one think is a good idea  and much due. HM Government Report into Transgender I am not sure if my interview with Sky news which went on for over two and a half hours was actually used on the telly but it was used on the website. I hate looking at myself I do look a bit faded and my hair scruffy but I made my points. The final video used which is on the Sky News website features a very brief snippet which makes the shop look really good very pleased with that but the footage of me was  somewhat taken out of context. In it I said i was punched by a man whilst a taxi driver as a means of manning me up however what it fails to say was that it happened before I even transitioned. I never had any physical violence against me for which I am fortunate although some youths nearby where I lived-in Folkestone used to think it funny to shout at me. Heres my link to Sky News video on Britain Is Failing Transgender.

Yesterday The Guardian economics correspondant Philip Inman contacted us regarding the Kinky Boots film he wanted to know what happened after Steve patemans footwear company went bust and where we went to source our shoes. ALas I told him they are no longer UK based footwear manufactures butr everyone uses American firms and all the footwear is made in guess where China of course.


Who knows what might happen next week or next month watch this space ofr further exciting ventures. One thing i do know is that this bog is being read in some very high places. What I wnat to do I really want to do next is some work with the BBC. I do admirer the BBC and think it is a good use of our money both lcoally and nationally theire news converage alone is worth the licence fee. So if your at BBC Kent or BBC National please get in touch. I am sure oyu can do better than Sky.



Mary Portas

Published January 9, 2016 by laciessuesheppard

Saw her 1st episode of her new series last night and boy is she over opinionated .
It was set in Maureen’s an ailing wedding shop in posh Surrey. OK it was poorly run and the owners a quirky couple were some £18,000 in debt however Mary_Twitter_400x400Mary went in foot in mouth “these clothes (prom dresses) look like they’re for transvestites” Oh you are a transvestite.Cue shock, one astonished look from an old female member of staff and one embarrassed Portas. Cue quick trip to see what she described as a established venue for Drag Queens which  included a quick interview with a obvious none Drag Queen indeed a convincing transsexual mature woman who worked in the female role as a plumber. No attempt to understand or explain transgender. The cross dressing husband was told it was not a good idea to cross dress at the salon and to leave purchases to his wife.

I take the point that women spending up to £1,000 on a wedding dress deserve a atmosphere devised for themselves and that they are often prejudiced ie no trannys.

But she comes across as an old dinosaur who along with that other old dinosaur Alan Sugar are becoming more and more past their sell by date. They are little more than middle class snobs Daily Mail on acid . She looks like a drag queen herself to boot. Lord Sugars Apprentice is about as relevant to the modern world as a game show and Mary Portas seems to have flopped in her desire to save ailing high street small businesses. Remember all the hoo ha the other year when she was for a while working for Mr Cameron.  Their prejudices are starting to look old fashioned anbd not helping much especially the Wedding episode in Marys new series.  I wonder how many more corny clichés will come out in the forthcoming episodes it’s looking a lot of old hat.

I did a programme for channel 4 once so know how stage-managed it all is. They even hired a drag act from London with an equity card to play the part of one of my customers. At one stage they threw shoes all over the floor. Stop mocking transpeople Mary Portas remember lesbians were mocked similarly just a few years ago . We are not all snotty toffs even if some of us still  do read the Daily Mail

A view of transgender discrimination in everyday small town UK

Published January 5, 2016 by laciessuesheppard


If you re1044556_10151399530816916_1069387137_n_ian_22June2013rubbishad my previous blog you will know a bit about how I got to where I am today how I got here.

Thank you for those who read my last article especially flattered by John on localrags.co.uk who asked me to write a regular column. That sounds a bit like hard work but the notion of me explaining what its like to be trans living in a small seaside town does appeal. So here goes, at first the idea of a viewpoint of transgender sounds very odd I’m hardly an alien or immigrant from Syria but then the penny dropped he means what kind of prejudiced attitudes are there in Folkestone today.

The short answer yes there are still quite a far amount of prejudice some based on ignorance. I remember one recent episode when a older man about mid 50’s maybe older. He was coming out of his house on The Stade near Folkestone harbour on eying me he shouted aloud bloody hell. At the time I thought should I stop and have words or cycle on. My wise head won and I cycled on but I did wonder why he should say this maybe I looked a bit odd in my choice of clothes that day leggings and a new New Look coat with faux black fur round the neck. But the more I thought the more I associated him with the attitudes of my upbringing. Anyone who grew up in small town England in the 1960/s/1970’s would be aware of the morality of that period. Back then the father was the breadwinner and the wife more often than not the housewife at home darning and looking after the kids. The man of the house came back from work and his wife had dinner on the table for him.

In this world homosexual behaviour was seriously frowned upon by the 1970’s they were called gays but were still the butt of jokes. Transgender well the word didn’t exist transvestite, transsexuals were almost non existent men who wore dresses or dragged up appeared intermitantly on television in the Carry Ons etc. By the 1980’s small specialist clubs had emerged mainly in big cities like London and Manchester. Looking at his prejudice behaviour in this way his worldview make logical sense. Nowadays when tolerance and acceptance of all minorities is widespread even in smaller towns like Folkestone have people from many different backgrounds, gays and transgender.  The world to the traditional eye   ‘the man on the Stades’ world has turned upside down. He’s still stuck in the moral world of my child hood maybe he’s lived there for decades maybe like my parents he once regarded himself as modern but now he seems isolated from what he reads and sees.

Generally however I think most people on this small seaside town are live and let live I founded the local traders association and am currently Secretary of our local Dover Road residents association. I lived in Folkestone as Sue for 25 odd years and can count on one hand the open discrimination.  Finding a job very tricky  well as I now run my own business a lingerie glamourwear shop so my only experiences are in the 1990’s. I did find it very hard to get a job I remember almost getting one in Channel Tunnel until I owned up to being trans at a second interview after which I heard nothing. I nearly had a job offer in Cheriton until someone who I pointing me out to the interviewer about me and they both  laughed. I had a brief job at Saga doing Insurance here I felt very uneasy especially among the young people. I wasn’t particularly good at this job made too many errors so got shown the door. How much my being trans had to do with it I am not sure but I was always complained about including one farcical occasion when I was told off for laughing too much at a seminar which the person conducting told me that s what he wanted a humourous audience.

In my view there is still progress needed so we accept people regardless of their looks, disabilities and sex as equal and if we did so society would have a wider pool of talent to choose form. What our society needs to do is to finally throw off the Victorian yoke when sex, death and gender discrimination and other sorts of negative perceptions based on stereotyping of what others people are like, whether it be against foreigners or women, gays or transgendered. We are a long way from achieving this but a lot closer than we were in the 1970’s in my childhood and the man from the Stades youth. What would be nice to keep from my childhood past is the close-knit community values this it seems is disappearing as faster transport and rootless families not longer identify with their local community which is a shame.  Mindfulness is one good way of getting people to live now to look at our spontaeous thoughts and realise that the past can’t be relived we are living now at this moment if we love ourselves now we can love other people too with compassion nad without any preconceived sterotypes based n based prejudices etc.

snowy_lacies_2nd_dec2010_small our website http://www.fantasygirl.co.uk or http://www.breastforms4u.com

Sue Sheppard owner of Lacies , How Did I got to Now ??

Published January 2, 2016 by laciessuesheppard

help I've become a jigsawMy Background or How Did I get to Now ??

My parents were from Jersey in the channel islands I was adopted when I was a few days old. I was bought up male along with my two brother in Deal

l which contrary to editor of localrags is a proud independent town in its own right !!

My earliest memories was that of a fairly normal upbringing and being protected form the realities of the outside world, issues like sex and death were shielded from, doubly so as my parents were roman catholics. When relatively became gravely ill like my Aunty Silvia they were described as poorly which we interpreted in the same way as when we have colds or the mumps. We were asked not to see them Likewise the other big taboo sex mean that at the local catholic primary in Deal and later a state secondary St Edmund in Dover school we attended sex education was non existent. I remember Mr Crowley my primary school headmaster denouncing Charles Darwin as plain wrong stating that none of your ancestors were monkeys were they ??

However starting in the 1960s and moreso in the 70’s events from the wider world were seeping through although in the background Victorian values were still evident, I remember watching on a black and white television set the moon landing and my Nana saying that if men were meant to fly they would be given wings. This didn’t stop her later boarding a plane to have a holiday of a lifetime visiting her daughter Micka in Malawi. She even boasted of being able to order around black servants.

Our family were avid telly watchers sitting together in the living room munching on ham sandwiches and the outside world seeped through . Morecambe and Wise we thought nothing of the tow men sharing the bed but remember new reader Angela Rippon ripping of her skirt, there also plays with sex scenes in them. Captain Kirk was practically a family friend visiting as he did regularly on a Saturday evening. He was always having romantic episodes and I distinctly remember one episode where his body was taken over by a beauty woman and he ended up in her body. Then trying to convince Spock and co that he was a man trapped in a womans body. Ring a bell anyone ??

Why he wanted ot change back again was beyond me.

Meanwhile on a Sunday there was the red top newspapers especially the News of The World with all its lurid headlines . They seem to glorify in the early sex changes, nearly all men who had actual sex change procedures and were now living as women they titillated their readers with they sex lives. This old world’ for me was although i didn’t realise it was fast changing although I didn’t realise it. There were rots in English cities, there was threat of communism apparently there were reds under the bed though I never saw any ?? When my parents died in 1990 suddenly this old world of my childhood died and it did so very suddenly.. My dad always reminded me of Capt Mannering in Dads Army he was an educational specialist first working in and then starting a school for naughty boys. ,When he was getting promoted he left Jersey and spent years travelling round the country working in various schools for maladjusted children until he founded Ripple Vale nr Deal in 1969. One day he was smartly dressed he was on a routine trip probably to London to interview prospective new boys for the school when he suddenly had a heart attack and never fully recovered consciousness. In fact he fought against going to hospital as he associated it with death and his youthful experience of workhouse style hospitals, so that by the time the ambulance arrived in the village of Ripple some 8 miles from Dover hospital his situation had reversed beyond any come back. Afterwards we were in a state of shock we had never truly fended for ourselves although I was 29 me and my brother still lived at home although I had spent several years living away from home including s year in Spain but I  always ended up back home. To add injury to insult we discovered all the wealth he appeared was mortgaged to keep the school going. I went almost straight to cross dressing with a view ot transitioning my eldest brother drove me out of Deal 6 months later to my first flat in Bradstone avenue, Folkestone and been in this town ever since.

I had informed my family that I was intend ion transitioning via a letter to my sister in law. Despite my hopes and that of my other more accepting aunt this didn’t happen. Becky my brothers wife was a committed christain and I was told in uncertain terms by my brother not to upset her with this sort of thing I was banned from even seeing my beloved dog which I had to leave behind on my move to Folkestone. I never saw my dog again and was upset to learn he hd died of a heart attack one night surrounded by 2 other Alsatians in someone elses home. All that was 25 years ago the lst time I saw my middle brother I saw my eldest brother about 14 years ago his daughter now in her twenties when I last saw her was a crawling round in nappies pulling plugs out of light sockets.

So in a nut shell that s how I got to here.