Winston Churchill’s Pink Silk Undies?

Winston Churchill famously rallied his country through the ravages of World War II with a snifter of whiskey and a cigar on his person. But did his underwear have something to do with his success, too?

Jason Diamond, writing in The Paris Review, reviews a book called Churchill Style: The Art of Being Winston Churchill, where he reveals that Prime Minister Churchill spent a ton of money on underwear made of “very finely woven silk (pale pink) … from the Army and Navy stores and cost the eyes out of his head.” Churchill had style, and even though his choice of undergarments might not suit his public image, comfort was his first concern. The silk was an extravagant expense, justified by a therapeutic application toward Churchill’s persistent skin problems.

Silk during wartime must have been a highly restricted commodity, though of course Churchill would have had access to it anyway. But just think! What if his persistent skin problems had been so bad that he wouldn’t have been able to sit down with FDR and Stalin for the Yalta conference? What if he had been so distracted by these skin problems that he lost focus on saving Britain and, by extension, lost the war?

No, it was definitely the late entry of the US into the European theater and the USSR’s capacity to absorb millions of casualties that won the war. But Churchill certainly did have nice underwear along the way.


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