Category Light & Laughter

Stay Ups Around The Ankles Just Don’t Cut The Mustard!


Confidently dressed with hose in hoseGirls, I have a question…and I say that with confidence…those of us of a certain age…


‘Have you stopped to think how ‘being well dressed’ has changed over the years? And not that many years really (well not in my mind anyway). I invite you to come for a trip down memory lane  maybe be even a little risqué’.


I recently chaired a dinner celebrating ’40 Years of Women in Toastmasters’. Now this fabulous organisation has been in existence for 90 years starting in 1924 and was of course an all male bastion. That continued until 1973 when women were officially admitted.



There were brave souls who had joined progressive clubs under an assumed male name prior to this date… a small sprinkling. The sprinkling became a trickle in 1973 and grew into a small stream by the time I joined in 1977…yes that was really 36 years ago. OMG it sounds soo, soo long ago. And yes it took all the self confidence I could muster to just show up.


Di all confident in the 70's and now

Why am I telling you this? In was in the chairing and telling of my experiences that it really sank in how much ‘being well dressed and well presented’ had changed in my lifetime.

I would NEVER EVER have gone to a function in the 70’s without stockings, or pantyhose.

Let’s pop back even further… when I was doing my nursing training in the 60’s well dressed at work meant – wearing a full slip (yes, no half slip allowed), stockings, hall shoes, no make up and no jewellery.

Yes…no jewellery…not even studs… if we wanted to get our ears pierced then we did in during our 8 week night duty block so we could hide and pop a tiny piece of fishing line in our ears. If it was spotted by the night sister or heaven help you Matron then you were told, not asked… told…to remove it then and there.

I digress…back to stockings…yes stockings and suspender belts…what shocking and unsightly things they were. If you were out socially the horrible knobs would dig into the back of your legs. Student nurses did not have the luxury of sitting while on duty so that was a moot point during working hours.


Suspender belt of old

Remember a well dressed woman always wore stockings/pantyhose.

Slip forward into the 70’s. I married in 1971 into the conservative sugar industry (ooh yes a man in the sugar industry of course). It would have been unthinkable to go out without wearing hose of some description.

1977 was a challenging time in my life and my confidence had hit rock bottom. I was actively encouraged (pushed and shoved) to join Toastmasters…I did this very reluctantly. After my initial eeekkkkkkkkkkkk, I settled and even decided I liked it and it was not long before that active encouragement took me into successive  leadership roles.

One of my first mentors was a German man, Walter… he took me aside and told me now I had stepped into a leadership role I was in fact a role model for other women in the organisation.

He continued..’. I never want to see you wearing pants at a function. I expect to see you in a dress and wearing stockings’.

Bare legs were definitely out!


Confident about Bare legs

The funny thing is I had grown up thinking I did not look good in pants (hello and I am tall and slim…where was my head?) . So I did not wear them anyway. It was years before someone convinced me I could wear jeans.

Sooo back to the stocking saga…true to word I never attended a function or represented the organisation without being in a dress with stockings…and heels. That is hard-wired in my brain. Now stay ups made life easier…


Confident Legs in hose

That was until I lost 12kgs in the year following the death of my husband at 51 kgs and 5’10” tall  my legs were too skinny to hold them up. Stay ups crinkled around the ankle just don’t cut the mustard do they girls!!!

Oohhhhhhhhhhhhh and neither do knickers. I was attending a Convention in an electric blue top and white skirt…being me…I also wore an electric blue bra and matching French knickers with shoes and stockings…. Perfect I thought.

That is when the problem started…I had not worn these knickers with stockings…

It just happened I was last into the auditorium… as I walked across the ante-room I felt a tightness on my legs… and the unthinkable happened…my electric blue knickers were suddenly around my ankles. I did not know I had such style. Without breaking stride I stepped out of them scooped them up and kept walking… no one saw… Uummm except maybe security on camera. I prefer not to dwell on that!


Electric blue and confident and sensual

Coops back to the stockings… to that Friday night a couple of weeks ago. It was a really hot day and I had this conversation with myself…don’t you just love them…don’t tell me you don’t talk to yourself sometimes…I know you do!


The conversation went “:

‘It’s hot today…you don’t need to wear stockings tonight’

‘Yes you do…. you can’t possibly go with bare legs’

‘Noooooooooooo it’s to hot’.


That ran through my head with various versions all day.

Come time to get dressed…I dressed without them. Noooo it did not look right.

I changed (then had to change underwear and jewellery) into a different outfit and it looked worse without stockings and I was feeling really uncomfortable.

So darn it…. ‘OK, OK…you have won Di… I will wear them’… but it will be stay ups… with legs a teensy bit more meaty…they stayed in place all night. I felt comfortable …yet it leaves me again pondering on the effect of our upbringing and experiences and how the term ‘well dressed’ has changed over the years.


Say up's worn confidently



As an add on…after the meeting there were a few standing around chatting and a lady says to me…what are stay ups? Without missing  a beat a girlfriend standing next to me lifts my skirt and goes into great lengths to show and explain the intricacies and benefits of stay ups… was it a dull night? Noooooooooooo it was a wonderful night celebrating how men and women communicating together are enhancing not only the Toastmaster world but in every facet of our own worlds.





How has being well dressed changed for you over the years? Love to hear yours stories and experiences. What does well dressed mean to you today?


Warm regards Di…and what …you are asking… does this woman do?

I am passionate about mature women having the confidence and personal presentation to support their life choices.

Do you feel, look and speak with confidence? If not…my skill lies in developing your style… your mind and body… so you can shine and be your best… in your business..

If that is not happening for you…let me help you…


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Whoosh as the ruler descended…. SMACK!

She felt the breeze before the brunt of the metal edge of the wooden ruler hit as it swished through the air before it came crashing down on her knuckles…. the 5 year old eyes watered and  her hand throbbed …what was her crime? Picking up her pencil in her left hand. She did not even realise it was her left hand because she got confused between her left and right hands. It was simply the hand she used to colour in and draw.

As she sat there tears rolling down her cheeks she wondered why, why, why was it so wrong to pick up a pencil in her ‘that’ hand.

She being me… I ask myself did that set the scene for me to have unusual handwriting? I often hear the comment…’ It looks neat but I can’t read it.’

Then I saw this image … and what  a beauty! Written just for me I think.


                                                  I don’t have bad hand writing…I have my own font.


Confident own font


Did this happen to anyone else when they started school? Yes, it happened to me and countless thousands of others who started school in the 1950’s. The excitement of going to school waned quickly as my knuckles suffered on a daily basis.

This ‘training’ apparently was for ‘my own good’  Miss Lowe, the googly eyed, enormous  frightening teacher towering over me bellowed. She delighted in pointing out my ‘crime’ to the rest of the class. …That pain extended beyond the classroom. If that was not torment enough horror of horrors was the maypole dance…Each of us round a pole with a coloured streamer each and the idea was steps to the left and steps to the right in sequence…I did not remember the sequence, nor which foot to put forward…gee I wonder why????

You can guess what I am going to say…left, left, right and there I would be with the wrong foot forward going in the wrong direction.  Again I felt the  breeze before the brunt of the metal edge of the wooden ruler  as it swished through the air before it came crashing down across the back of my legs.

Imagine doing that to a child today? I know we really can’t place today’s values on yesterdays actions…but that was a tough gig for a kid.

‘Straighten up your page Dianna’ would be the next bellow to fly across the room. Yes like many left hander’s…I turn the page at an angle to write. So can you imagine there I sat with the book straight, pencil in my right hand….how did I know which was right? By this time my stinging knuckles helped give me a clue.

To say it was pure hell….is an understatement. To say I did not care would be to tell a porkie of massive proportions! Thank goodness it no longer standard practice…

Next time someone has a ‘point of view’ about your handwriting…you may like to borrow the phrase I don’t have bad hand writing…I have my own font. Our handwrting is unique..maybe it is becoming  a lost art… almost everyone types. I love to look back at letters  and handwriting from family not not on this earthly plane. As I look at it and read it is like their personality jumps off the pages. I urge you to be proud of yours. Beyond the writing is the turn of phrase…but that is for another post.

Confidence in your writing style

And as a rider…did you know that ‘Everyone was born left handed…you turn right handed when you make your first mistake!!!!

If you are a left hander and of a certain age (how is that for delicate)…I would love to hear your experiences of learning to write.


Warm regards Di…and what …you are asking… does this woman do?

I am passionate about mature women having the confidence and personal presentation to support their life choices.

If that is not happening for you…let me help you… with one on one coaching, small group activity or workshops…

Especially The 3B’s ..Be seen, be heard and be visible. (available soon)

Would you like to know more?  Slip over to ?


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