Lingerie & The Movies: Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof & Butterfield 8

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This second installment of Lingerie & The Movies is by Clarabela. Clarabela writes about her love of movies at and is a regular contributor to DignityZine. Contact Clarabela at

It is one of the most iconic images in cinema history. The sultry and beautiful Elizabeth Taylor lounging on the brass bed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof wearing nothing but a full white slip and high heels. Liz made the white full slip sexy!  Believe it or not, this was considered provocative to 1958 movie goers. In fact, designer Helen Rose had to construct a special fully lined garment for Taylor, to ensure there would be no show-through.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by  Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof tells the story of a southern family in turmoil. The movie stars Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie (aka Maggie the Cat), the sex-starved wife of Brick, played by Paul Newman, who wears  pajamas for the entire movie. In the movie, Elizabeth Taylor spends a lot of time wearing this sexy white lace slip while trying unsuccessfully to seduce her alcoholic and sexually confused husband. To comply with the Hollywood Production Code, during the repressed 1950s all references to Brick’s homosexuality in the original play were removed from the movie. If you have seen the movie, that will answer the question: How could he resist Maggie’s advances in this sexy lace slip?
The Full Slip in Movies


In this wardrobe still from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,  Liz is wearing the white slip she made famous. The modern-day version from Farr West is a nice way to recreate the look.
In the movie Butterfield 8 Liz plays a call girl and appears in an even sexier slip. The vintage look of this lace-trimmed satin slip from Secrets In Lace is a great recreation, just right for wearing under short skirts or dresses. In the Golden Age of Hollywood, women wearing a full slip was a common image of sexuality. With censorship in full force, actresses like Liz Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and again in Butterfield 8, Jean Harlow and others boldly appeared on-screen in silky full slips. Recently, Naomi Watts (King Kong), Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line) and Sanaa Lathan (Something New) have also appeared on-screen in a full slip.

The Return of The Full Slip

Back in my mother’s or my grandmother’s day, no proper lady would dare leave home without wearing a slip under her outfit. The slip was the required undergarment to avoid show-through on sheer summer dresses.
Thanks to the return of the dress, the demure and feminine silhouette of a silky full slip is also making a comeback. Unlike the dreaded half-slip, which always seems to hang below the hemline of my skirts, the full slip is the perfect undergarment when I am wearing clingy or sheer tops and dresses. I also really love the feminine feeling of wearing a silky slip under a business suit. 

<style=”text-align: left;=””>Have you seen Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or Butterfield 8?  What are some other movies that feature an actress in a full slip?
  • frankufotos Lingerie

    I've never seen either movie all the way though, just caught them on TCM or AMC at odd times, but this post reminds me how classic and hot this look can still be. I'll have to think a bit about other movies, and I'll be interested to see other suggestions as well.

    If anyone thinks full slips – or even a bra or camisole and a half slip isn't a picture of contemporary as well as classic sexiness, you haven't seen a live woman wearing one in real life.

  • Treacle

    @frankufotos lingerie–I have to agree. I own all kinds of sexy lingerie, some of it worth hundreds of dollars, but the one thing that always gets The Boyfriend's heart racing is a vintage slip. Those are his favorite pieces of all.

  • Jodi

    Just saw Butterfield 8 recently on Netflix (after being inspired by your Anne Bancroft post). There may have been censorship in the 50s, but Liz sure knew how to "work" that slip.

  • BurlyQLady

    When I was researching this for my own post on my site, I came across a slip inspired by the one Liz wears from Stop Staring and it was almost $150! How ridiculous is that!?

  • Miss la Belle

    The best slips I have found have been in the op-shops. They have lasted the test of time well, match the hemline's I like to wear, the fit makes you feel like a bombshell and are so cute with gorgeous detail. And are usually no more than $2.00! Great post Treacle.

  • Lillefix

    I have seen Butterfield 8, and I soo wanted a proper full slip after that, and found it hard to beleive how this garment could have gone so out of use as it has. I have not yet seen Cat on a Hot tin roof, but I intend to. Due to cup size, I don't seem to get the benefits from a full slip myself, or not so far, it ads bulk because it can not fit me right, and looks odd. So I use half slips, all the time, I find them very useful but I still wish I was able to wear something as nice as the full slip with sucess.

  • Anonymous

    I love these articles! But Treacle, whenever I wear a full slip under a skirt my skirt always rides up. I agree that half-slips are irritating because their hems are always showing, but I'd rather a bit of lace hanging out than my skirt riding up. How do you combat this?


  • Sundal

    i love wearing a slip on its own, and i've seen lots of other models at castings doing the same. viva la slip.

  • Treacle

    @Anonymous–Sounds like the problem is static cling. When I wore slips more often, I would always spray them with starch just before slipping my dress over on top. That helped keep the layers from moving about.

  • Emma Frankland

    Thank you for a great article – I haven’t seen the film and wasn’t aware of it’s content. I can’t wait to track a copy of it down. In the last 5 years or so there has been a huge upsurge in interest for wearing vintage dresses and with it has come a near equal demand for vintage slips as ladies realise you can’t really wear on without the other!

  • Callie

    I thought in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof it was Brick’s best friend, not Brick, who had latent homoerotic feelings? In any case, both Liz and Paul looked GREAT in that movie. I also liked Liz’s dresses in that movie.

  • Mitsouko

    Hello Treacle

    I would love the kind of slip Elizabeth Taylor is wearing. Unfortunately I can’t find anything in the UK which is as good. They are all either too short, slinky, full around the bodice or hideously expensive. Agent provocateur currently has a nice one for around £300 and it isn’t what I would call a full slip.

    If you notice Liz’s slip is fitted around the bodice and hits just above the knee. Any suggestions?

    Btw I have been glued to your blog for days – oh what joy!

    • Treacle

      Have you tried searching for vintage slips on ebay or Etsy? That’s where I find most of mine and it’s a great resource.

  • Mitsouko

    Thanks Treacle I’ll give it a whirl

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  • Joseph Antione Bassett

    Hello Cora! Speaking of movies that show very good pictures of lingerie-especially black girdles and bras, watch the movie “This World And Then The Fireworks”. I am a fan of yours and wish only the best to you in all things.