When people think of lingerie in the s, what usually comes to mind are the glamorous, curvy, satin and lace pin-up girls whose pictures filled the magazines popular with lonely soldiers overseas. Beautiful women posed provocatively in corsets, nightgowns and swimsuits with a look that remains iconic today. The reality, however, was quite different. Women back home were not lounging around in fancy, restrictive undergarments. They were out enjoying a new freedom working and being active outside.
Ivory Chiffon Top and Bloomers. The low cut tops, open shoulder peasant blouse, and sundress fashions made gird,e a strapped bra unsightly. The Corset Brassiere Association Bra girdle woman American reported in that a typical woman owned three undergarments, Farimont bath vanity bandeau and three long line bras. I have done some experimenting with both male and female girdles, I found interesting enough grdle the female girdle is far far better then the male girdles. Women back home were not lounging around in fancy, restrictive undergarments. The girdle was tight enough to owman well but not to suck everything in and reached to the Bra girdle woman past the belly button. Whether girdle, corset or All-in One corselette it served one more shaping purpose: the indent or waist nipper. Learn more about Amazon Prime.
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s Lingerie- Bra, Girdle, Slips, Underwear History
When people think of lingerie in the s, what usually comes to mind are the glamorous, curvy, satin and lace pin-up girls whose pictures filled the magazines popular with lonely soldiers overseas.
Beautiful women posed provocatively in corsets, nightgowns and swimsuits with a look that remains iconic today. The reality, however, was quite different. Women back home were not lounging around in fancy, restrictive undergarments. They were out enjoying a new freedom working and being active outside. Because of wartime shortages in materials, they also enjoyed a new freedom in their undergarments.
In the s, women were still wearing metal-boned corsets. In the late s, the rubber girdle came out. The war affected undergarments just as much as it affected all other aspects of dress. Production of the new rubber girdles came to a halt because rubber was needed for the war. The same went for corsets, as the steel used for the boning was needed.
This ended up being an advantage for women who required more flexibility and movement with their new lifestyles.
Thank goodness! Half of all women in the s wore a one piece brassiere with a girdle over panties. It was simple, affordable and most of all comfortable to wear. The Corset Brassiere Association of American reported in that a typical woman owned three undergarments, five bandeau and three long line bras. They figured women needed different combinations and styles of garments for 1.
The suggested options were:. Taking into consideration the occasion was one way to choose garments and body type is the other. Women were sold foundation garments based on fitting into one of four main figure types:. Instead a woman chose the bra type designed for her body type above and then measured around the fullest part of the chest to the back. That number in inches was her bra size. The color was usually white, ivory or the very popular peachy-pink.
Straps were adjustable and the bras fastened at the back with metal hooks and eyes, just like those of today. There was also a substantial amount of fabric in the center, creating separation instead of the pushed-together cleavage of today.
The straps came from the middle of the cups instead of the sides. In many cases wire was added to the center bust panel to help separate the breasts. For this reason, women used to only wearing underwire bras today will find wearing an un-wired bra an odd feeling at first.
Photo courtesy of sewingmachinegirl on Etsy. The longline bra is an icon of vintage lingerie, yet rarely worn by women today. It combines the traditional bra top with extra band length that extends to the belly button. The purpose is to smooth out underbust flesh, much like a girdle smooths out tummy flesh. Most women who are of average figure size wore both a longline bra and girdle together for maximum smoothness. Longline bras were also popular evening styles because they could hold up and support a chest without straps or even a full back.
This eliminated the need for a separate garter belt or panty girdles. The strapless bra was a popular alternative to the s longline bra for for evening and day wear. The low cut tops, open shoulder peasant blouse, and sundress fashions made wearing a strapped bra unsightly.
Flexible boning in horizontal and vertical lines gave the strapless bra its shape. The feather boning was so soft it could be crushed without damage. It provided softer support than underwires.
Bust pads or falsies were necessary for many small chested women, including some famous Hollywood stars. Bust pads also helped average women fill out ready-made dress tops instead of altering the bodice down. In the USA it was estimated 5 million sets of bust pads were sold each year. By the end of the s the very pointed bullet bra was coming into vogue.
The s bra was not unrealistic. The s bullet bra was to force the breast into an exaggerated point. The growth of bust pads and falsies doubled in the s to accommodate the new, bigger, pointier, bust shape.
The styles have changed little since the s. They were made from rayon satin or cotton knit in colors similar to those used for bras and were plain. An elastic band at the top or a yoke with lacing kept them in place. Talk about coverage! Separate garter belts are needed to hold up stockings.
Common fabrics include cotton, rayon, satin, brocades or all-elastic. Most have some elastic in them to hold them up around the hips or waist as well as in the clip attachments. The length of the garter straps can vary from 3 to 8 inches.
Another issue with just panties in summer is thigh sweat and rubbing. Leg shields were made of rayon jersey that attached like a garter belt but had fabric down the inside of the leg and straps wrapping around the outside of the leg, hip sides, and buttox.
They looked rather like a torture device but worked quite well. Get a tummy control high waist panty instead of a girdle for light to medium support. They were praised for their shaping ability and posture improvements. They were made with rayon or cotton, and a small amount of elastic was allowed to be used to give them some stretch. They usually had some elastic panels on the front and back, the rest of the fabric being rigid.
Steel boning at the back helped with posture correction. The girdle was tight enough to shape well but not to suck everything in and reached to the waistline past the belly button. It was the same thing, except it took the form of a panty instead of a skirt. Girdles usually had metal zippers on one side to get in and out.
Although girdles offered a smooth shape underneath the new closer-fitting clothes, many women chose not to wear them at all during the decade, wearing just a bra and panties — something that had not been done before.
While the elastic girdle was for slim to average sized women, a full figured woman needed a corset or corselette. A corset was usually steel boned and made with very heavy materials to provide maximum support and shaping. Since it combined a full bra, girdle and hip coverage, the silhouette was perfectly smooth-no bumps and rolls anywhere.
Corselettes, also called All-in-Ones, are lighter versions of the heavy corset although heavy versions could still be called corselettes. The corset was an old name conjuring up thoughts of Victorian era restrictive shapewear — a thought most women in the s wanted to avoid. Whether girdle, corset or All-in One corselette it served one more shaping purpose: the indent or waist nipper.
A sharp indentation inches above the belly button and just below the rib cage was part of the ideal s silhouette. This provided the hour glass shape the s were known for. Dress bodices were tailored to end right at this indention and skirts to begin and hang over the hips and stomach. Remember during the war women had to work, move and bend in their girdles- there was no use for any confining undergarments. It was less critical in the s to have small proportions all around as it was to have the illusion of a small waist and full hips.
Spanx has reinvented shapewear. Try one of these instead:. Plain and fancy lace trim full slips with V necks. Slips were the last underwear layer a lady needed to create the perfect shape.
Nine out of ten women wore slips on top of their foundation garments and under outer garments. Slips came in long dress like varieties or shorter shirt and top only selections. Slips were usually white, black or soft peachy pink. Sheer dresses looked best with matching color slips and often came with them when purchased. Silk or rayon made the best slips.
Cotton knit was the most affordable slip but prone to bunching at the knees and sticking to the inside of dresses. Taffeta slips retained body heat and were not worn in hot weather.
Slips had adjustable thin shoulder straps and a figure flattering bias cut shape or straight cut gores. The slip top either came in a V neck cut for a dress or a square neck cut for blouses. Deep round cut slips were available to fit certain styles as well.
Fancy occasions slips had lace trim otherwise specific adornment was considered necessary and likely to wear out faster than the slip material.
Half slips or petticoats are waist down slips. They are popular with young girls and women who wear dark skirts and non-sheer light blouses. A knit cami top is often worn with half slips. They were A-line with a wide ruffle at the hem at first but started to gain volume around when the New Look fashion became the new style of the s. For the average woman, full s style petticoats were not worn yet. Skirt fullness was achieved with the cut of the skirt and not with the aid of a fluffy petticoat.