These days the demand for retro lingerie otherwise known as vintage lingerie is taking our actual and virtual high streets by storm. Women of all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life are harking back to, or realising for the first time that body shapes and styles from this bygone era were not just attractive but highly practical and sensual too.
There is now a beautiful range of highly desirable and very stylish underwear on the market, designed with one thing in mind; to create an awesome, traffic stopping, head turning silhouette. Vintage lingerie and retro lingerie does this through the use of corsets, corselets, girdles, bullet bras and suspender belts, all inspired by designs from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, from the war years, right through to the swinging sixties.
Retro and vintage style underwear allows you to create that super feminine shape, putting all the right curves in all the right places. Women are buying it for themselves and each other, men are buying it for their wives and girlfriends and some braver souls will admit to buying it for themselves.
Hollywood, the film industry, glossy magazines, carnivals, panto’s and even gay pride can take some of the credit for bringing this style back into vogue. The actress Dita von Teese and film releases like Moulin Rouge and Cabaret can all claim their part in the role of restoring these great underwear fashions to the collective consciousness.
But what is it that has really re-ignited the passion for stylish, sexy and sophisticated underwear?
Is it that women want to feel like women again? For years, throughout the 70’s, 80’s and even into the early 90’s, a woman’s power struggle in the office, her desire to be heard outside the confines of the home, drove her to dress down, or rather, to dress up in trouser suits, carry briefcases and go to power lunches, hiding their femininity for fear of not being recognised in the workplace.
Now, thankfully, all that is changing, women have firmly established their roles, both at home and in the office. Many women in today’s society hold high powered and responsible positions and they do so, with a femininity that is all their own. The power dresser has been swapped, hopefully forever, for the stylish, sexy, and beautifully curvaceous, powerful woman.
In any article about corsets and corsetry you are bound to come across the word cinching. Cinching is the act of pulling something in tightly, usually with straps or laces to achieve a tight but still comfortable fit. This is exactly what the corset does and in doing so, it helps to create a slimmer looking silhouette or body shape in the torso and waist area of the body.. Generally worn as an undergarment, though it can be (and often is) worn for show, it is traditionally made of stiffened material which is tightly laced to the torso and waist, in order to slim a woman’s silhouette.
Wearing a corset will make it easier and more comfortable to fit into dresses which are cut to a certain shape. The corset will ease the fall of the dress material, hiding any unsightly lumps and bumps by smoothing them out and this helps the dress wearer to feel confident with their look.
Commonly worn under dresses, particularly bridal gowns, the corset can legitimately claim to have helped many a bride into her wedding dress.
The corselet combines the cinching of the corset with the support of a bra. This all-in-one piece of retro underwear is designed to create a shapely figure and provide medium to high support to the bust. It is invisible under clothing and is therefore a firm favourite with many women.
You can choose the corselet to match your outfit since they come in several different forms and colours. Should you be wearing a trouser suit or pair of jeans, you’ll find a panty corselet ideal. It is fastened with poppers positioned between the legs, this way any lumps or bumps are completely hidden.
You can of course wear the panty corselet under skirts and dresses too but the open corselet may be more practical here. The open corselet as the name suggests, does not fasten underneath, but remains open. This form of corselet is available with detachable suspender clips enabling you to add stockings to your underwear ensemble.
The girdle is another retro lingerie piece which is designed to pull in the waste and flatten the tummy. It has been around in its various guises for over 100 years. As fashions have come and gone in that time, so too has the desire to wear a girdle but they are enjoying a resurgence in popularity nowadays as more and more women (and some men) look to secretly enhance their body shape.
A flatter tummy, slinky hips and a shapely bottom can all be achieve through wearing a girdle, no surprise then that girdles are as popular now as they ever were. Ask any style conscious woman what she’d like for Christmas, and those three things will not be far down the list.
There is no such thing as the generation gap when it comes to wearing girdles. The girdle is no longer regarded as an older woman’s garment, younger women are discovering them too and wondering why their older, wiser lady friends have not let them in on the secret before now..
Retro girdles come in a wide range of styles and designs so you can wear them under all types of clothing. You can wear them under suits, wedding dresses, evening gowns, trousers and trouser suits. You can even wear them under skirts, dresses and jeans. Some even come with hooks so you can wear them with stockings achieving that ultra glam and retro look.
Bullet bras make you sit up and pay attention. Popularised in the 50’s, the bullet bra, cone bra or pointy bra as it was also known, was the bra of choice for all of those otherwise respectably clad pin up girls.
Though they are extremely comfortable, comfort was not their principal raison d’etre. The reason any girl would wear a bullet bra would be to draw attention to what she considered to be her best assets and bullet bras were very effective at doing just that. Usually worn under soft fabrics, these traffic stopping, head turning creations were designed for one thing and one thing only, to get a girl noticed.
Stockings and suspenders were all the rage in the 40’s and 50’s before tights came along in the 60’s so to complete your retro lingerie collection, suspender belts are a must. Opinion is divided as to whether your suspender belt and stockings need to be the same colour. Black and white combinations are popular as are black and red but many other colour combinations work well to.
Complete the look with a sexy garter. Originally these items were used to help support the stocking but with the arrival of the holdup stocking, garters are now used for decoration.
There is no doubt that wearing stockings and a suspender belt makes you feel more feminine and sexy. They boost the confidence of the wearer and put a smile on the face of the beholder.