When committing to wearing vintage fashions it is always best to wear the lingerie of the period to maximize the intended effect. Just as with fashion in general there are trends and styles with foundation garments. It might actually be impossible to say which came first during a particular trend or time period—the underwear or the outerwear. For example, was it the flapper dress that led to the change in corsets that happened in the 1920s, or was it that the new looser and more natural-shaped undergarments of the time that led to the revolutionary style of the flappers and their smoother and leaner silhouette?
Lace Mirage Bullet Bra, Corset, and Garter
An advertisement for a 1922 corset. The “new” type of corset smoothed rather than constricted the silhouette.
Whatever the case may be, it is important to invest in your lingerie variety when committing to wearing a vintage look. You can do this one of two ways. 1) Purchase gently worn original vintage pieces and/or 2) shop for brand new vintage-inspired pieces to add to your collection. The choice really does depend on what you are going for—the head-to-toe authentic look or a more inspired by look.
Marlene Bra and Garter Vintage Lingerie
Your choice may come down to practicalities as well though, since it may be difficult to find vintage lingerie pieces that are in good enough condition to wear. Undergarments do tend to wear out sooner than outerwear does—that’s a fact that hasn’t changed much over the years.
The Garbo Bra and Knicker Set from Gilda & Pearl Vintage styling, but modern fabrics.
In addition, you might want to consider there have been a lot of modern advances in underwear technology and you just might be a heck of a lot more comfortable in modern-made but vintage-inspired undergarments. Plus, depending on how often you plan on wearing your purchases, older pieces just might not hold up to the kind of care that underthings need. Dresses and skirts can be worn several times or more before needing to be laundered, but undergarments demand more frequent washing.
The Mercy Suspender Brief from Agent Provocateur is a perfect example of vintage-inspired lingerie but is more practical than shopping for and wearing original vintage undergarments.
How to take care of vintage clothes guide.
a list of shops where shoppers can find vintage-inspired intimates and undergarments online. Whether you are a vintage-style dresser or just want something new to your lingerie drawer, don’t be shy, check these shops out. It’s always nice to have some pretty things hiding under your clothes, so don’t be afraid to treat yourself. As the American writer Dorothy Parker said, “Brevity is the soul of lingerie”. Life is too short to wear anything but the most fabulous underthings, so channel your inner pin-up girl!