Vlingerie is to ladies what clotted cream is to chocolate fondant; luxurious, frivolous, must-have decoration – so get whipped up. Leigh Morrow has some great tips and tricks on how to shop for vintage lingerie.

In the era of hearts, flowers and scarlet-pouted kisses many of us are pondering our boudoir attire. Luckily for all us devotees of bygone style this is an area in which vintage comes into its own – and we have all the insider information you’ll need to source the most divine items for your oh-so-personal collection.

Denise Whitely of Pink Girl Vintage Lingerie explains the adoration behind vintage undies; “To the savvy vintage enthusiast this is an easy one; vintage lingerie means glamour, high-quality and attention to fine details!” she enthuses, “Ladies used to purchase lingerie in boxed packaging, gently wrapped in tissue paper with the manufacturers guarantee that they’d be delighted with their products.”

“If you ask your grandma, she’ll tell you how she hand-washed her stockings and returned them to the original box every time. Vintage is made to last; I have pieces in my store that are over 50 years old and look brand new.

Leila Marvin of Corsets and Crinolines agrees: “Vintage lingerie manufacturers ‘back in the day’ understood that women come in all different shapes and sizes and made things to flatter a woman’s figure no matter if she was tall, short, large busted or pear shaped.”

“With modern cheap mass production, manufacturers tend to use one sizing system to cut down on costs which is why modern garments often don’t fit or look quite right unless you are one particular generic body type.”

Due to the context of the items, buying yesteryear lingerie is easier if you’re mindful of certain tips; “First, go with a reputable seller or store, try a few inexpensive pieces and go from there,” Denise advises.

“Also it’s imperative to ask for exact measurements when purchasing any vintage pieces. This is very important because vintage sizes are very different to today’s sizing. Never, never go by small, medium or large because these are not what you think; a large slip in the 50’s was a size 36 bust!”

Leila agrees; “The most important thing is to measure, measure and measure! Standard sizing, such as for bras, didn’t really come into effect until the late Fifties; many lingerie manufacturers long ago used actual body measurements as a garment sizing.”

“For example, full slips and older bras often were sized on a label as 34, 36, 38, 40, etc. This measurement corresponded to the actual bust size it would fit. So a lady measuring 40” around the fullest part of her bust would wear a slip size 40 and so on.”
“So,” she advises; “With a flexible tape measure your bust (taken around the fullest part of the bust-line), natural waist (around the smallest part of your waist) and hips – remembering that your bra size is not your bust size! Rib or under-bust measurements – taken where your bra band would lie – can also be an important when buying vintage lingerie such as long line bras, high-waisted girdles or corsets.”

So these professional tips, a measuring tape and exquisite taste is all you need to unearth the most heart-stopping vintage lingerie. Just don’t forget to accessorize with a powder puff, Chanel No. 5 and a fizzing champagne flute…


One Response

  1. Cassie Hargett

    I really love vintage lingerie, so much that I have more of them than the new ones that are out. The description is totally right, it’s luxurious and a must have in any drawer. I don’t know if corsets are called vintage but if they are, they would be my favorite!