We Love…Vintage Lingerie

Although grouped under the banner of ‘vintage,’ lingerie styles changed considerably between the 1920’s and the 1950’s. In the 1920’s it was the flapper style; in the 30’s art deco reigned supreme; by the 40’s cotton satin and silk were the preferred materials and in the late 40’s nylon was the new kid on the block. By the 1950’s, modesty was in vogue, though with more than a touch of femininity.

vintage lingerie

Vintage lingerie dating from as far back as the 1930’s is still popular today and can be purchased from vintage sellers today. However not everyone buys these items to wear; there is a demand for pieces that can be displayed on mannequins as a form of decoration in bedrooms. The entertainment industry is also constantly on the lookout for authentic period lingerie for use in movies, theatrical productions and TV dramas.

It is thanks in large part to period TV dramas like ‘Downton Abbey’ and blockbuster movies such as ‘The Great Gatsby’ that vintage lingerie has enjoyed such a renaissance over recent years. Some of the popular items being:


The most popular vintage nightgowns look glamorous and flatter the female shape. Some of the most sought after of them all were designed by Polish born, Olga Erteszek, who came to the USA in 1941. The Olga brand, which became incredibly successful in 1948, features flowing empire styling with stunning looking stretchable lace bodices. Who could possibly resist wearing something so sensual and elegant around the bedroom?



Vintage slips feature intricate lace bodices and delicate trim and give a sensually soft feel next to the skin.

During the 1950’s, as nylon became more readily available designers such as Van Raalte began producing slips made from opaquelon, a nylon tricot. During the 1930’s Van Raalte had worked closely with Du Pont and Vanity Fair; they were developing the revolutionary new yarn, nylon, which was first used in stockings. Lingerie that looks and feels as sexy and feminine as this is completely timeless.

nylon stockings vintage advert


Camisoles, which were originally known as chemises, became popular in the early years of the 20th century, particularly from the 1920’s. These garments are waist length and because they were originally worn under corsets, they’re never buttoned. Today, camisoles tend to be worn as outerwear and stretch camisoles, which are made of cotton knit or lycra/cotton are also in great demand.

chemise 1920s


Teddies were, and continue to be another favorite that became all the rage in the 1920’s; a period when comfort became the prime consideration over the restrictions previously imposed by voluminous petticoats and tightly laced corsets and girdles. Teddies were a perfect example of how far these changes had gone, with their gauzy silks, delicate lacework and flimsy see-through silk or nylon construction. These items of lingerie are still in great demand today; with many modern lingerie companies embracing this look such as these sexy teddies from lingeriediva.com.

A trend is beginning to develop away from contemporary lingerie, which is overtly sexy and may even be described as trashy. Vintage lingerie on the other hand manages to retain a degree of understated sexiness, while promoting a feeling of sensuality.

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  1. Camembert
    21 May 2014 / 4:17 pm

    I always wondered about the practicality of vintage lingerie. For instance, in the first photo, how long did it take these women to go to the bathroom? I doubt such undergarments were crotchless… Were the snaps in between the legs? I always wondered that about garter belts and panties too. I’ve read that the proper way to wear them is with the pants underneath the garter belt, but that doesn’t make much sense to me. Wouldn’t it be a lot of trouble to take them off quickly if need be? I have a tiny bladder, so I think of these things quite often, lol.

  2. 22 May 2014 / 8:47 am

    Spot on! I’m always being asked by brides what to wear under one of our gowns. It’s all the about the shape. Get the foundation right and the gown will look fabulous.

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