Vintage Lingerie – What is the Appeal?

You may ask, “what is the allure of vintage lingerie and why so desired by collectors?” We will begin with a brief discussion of the important role lingerie fulfilled in recent fashion history. Most women of the 1940s through early 1960s took great pride in their femininity and would never think to step out of the house without being impeccably groomed. Underneath their carefully chosen garments, they donned a full array of foundations to complete a smooth, polished appearance. Often, a bra, panties, girdle, slip and stockings were worn on a daily basis. This was true whether the woman was a career girl or homemaker – she always made sure to look her best in the office, home or while shopping.

Girdles and corsets with firm powernet and zippers offered excellent molding power for achieving a hourglass figure. Circle-stitch bullet bras earned their name by giving the bust a perfect, uplifted silhouette. Panties and slips were often frilly with lace, ribbons, appliques and chiffon. Since pantyhose was not yet available, stockings in silk, rayon or nylon were fastened to the garters of a garter belt or girdle. After hours, a flowing peignoir set in silk, rayon, or chiffon was the choice of many a beautiful lady enjoying a relaxing evening in her boudoir.

Premier manufacturers such as Vanity Fair, Van Raalte, Barbizon, Lily of France, Warner’s and others took great pride in creating lingerie and foundations for their appreciative customers. Lingerie fashion design was an art in terms of style, construction and materials that cannot be duplicated today. The sensuous nylon fabrics were nearly sheer and buttery soft, woven on looms that are now obsolete. Lace trims were quite exquisite and used generously to adorn lingerie. Quality and attention to detail was of the utmost importance to the major lingerie manufacturers of those decades.

Women of the past reveled in being a woman and men were delighted to admire and adore them. It is true that many modern ladies prefer the styles of the mass-marketed lingerie available today. But when one wants to achieve the unique look of the elegant movie stars or sexy pin-up girls of the ’40s, ’50s, or ’60s, she looks to adding special pieces of vintage lingerie to her underdressing repertoire. Some women also want to find that perfect bra, slip or girdle they loved to wear and can no longer find. The primary reasons collectors choose to acquire vintage lingerie is to experience the superb quality, sensuous feel and unique design of gorgeous underpinnings created long ago.