I love buying and collecting beautiful lingerie, especially vintage lingerie. My favorite photoshoots are ones where I don beautifully made lingerie so I’m very excited to write and share this article. This post is about what I think are some of the more popular and main staples of vintage lingerie. I also included ideas and suggestions on how to wash, upkeep and store them.
I wanted to first say that finding One-hundred percent true vintage pieces is not always easy but it’s fun to look up and research possible speciality places where you have a better chance of finding them.
There are so many varieties of lingerie out there but these are some staples and must-haves if you’re interested in learning and/or trying out vintage and retro style lingerie.
1. Corsets- I absolutely LOVE corsets. They are so beautiful and can be worn both under and over clothing depending on the style and look you are going for. They have a more Victorian look to them which is the era that corsets were first very popular in. Modern lingerie stores like Victoria’s Secret, sell “so-called corsets” but aren’t authentic on how they’re made and are imitations. They also don’t really give you the popular hourglass shape to your body like real corsets. Authentic and real corset’s main purpose is to shape the body’s figure and are made of whale or steal boning, which Victoria Secret’s don’t sell. I still remember the first corset I ever had fitted for me. I was so excited to buy and wear it and got a lot of use out of it. There are a huge variety of corsets out there but here are some of the more popular corset styles:
Underbust- These start right under the breasts (self-explanatory) and end at your lap. They obviously don’t offer any support for the breasts but do provide your body with an hourglass shape. They also provide back support and great posture. Another benefit of underbust corsets is that they are very versatile in how you wear them. There are an endless way on how to wear them and what to wear them with. Some popular types of underbust corsets include, longline, cinchers, wide-strap corsets, bodice and waspie. Underbust corsets are usually used in waist training which is modifying your figure semi-permanently into the hourglass shape. I recommend researching waist-training if you have any interest in it.
Overbust- Overbust corsets usually begin just under the arms and end right above the hips. They lift the breasts and reduce the waistline at the same time. They also provide the beautiful hourglass shape and great support to the back.
If you’re looking to buy a corset, I definitely recommend researching stores and knowledgeable designers to find where you can get well made pieces. They can definitely be a little on the expensive side but you need to remember that you’re paying for the authenticity and quality that will last you a long time, rather than buy a cheap imitation that will fall apart quickly. Also I recommend getting fitted for a corset rather than just buying one in a store or online to guarantee that you get the perfect size and shape for your body.
2. Garters- Also known as “Suspender Belts.” To me garters with stockings are one of the sexiest lingerie staples out there. I love wearing them. The most popular debate when it comes to garter belts are metal versus plastic clasps. Metal clasps are more vintage and hold stockings up extremely well. Plastic clasps can break easily and stockings tend to slip off the plastic more. Also make sure that they are adjustable.
There are also different ways you can wear your garter belt with stockings depending on how long you plan on wearing them. For example, if you’re planning on wearing them just in the sexy privacy of your boudoir, then a garter with four straps are the way to go because you mostly won’t be wearing it for long. If you are wearing your garter and stockings on a daily basis, or know that you’re going to be wearing them for more than an hour, you’ll probably need six adjustable straps for more support. When looking to purchase a garter belt, especially if you’ve never worn one before, I recommend going to a shop with a knowledgeable staff, rather than just purchasing it online, to make sure you get one that fits you right and gives you the right support. The staff can also be a great help on how to wear them properly and how to take care of them.
3. Stockings- There are a HUGE variety of stockings on the market, where you can find every color and style in the world. I definitely having a variety of stockings but in my opinion, I think that nylons with seams on the back are the most popular and the most vintage looking. Black stockings are also very popular. My favorite are nude stockings with black seams and a cuban heel which is in the picture below. Cuban heels are a square edge block of a darker color that is seen above the shoe heel.
If you want to wear stockings with an outfit but wearing a garter belt is not an option, for example (you are donning a short dress or a tight fitting dress when you can see the belt,) they make full tights with seams as well.
Cleaning and Storing Vintage Lingerie:
There are many ways to clean your lingerie, some are more eccentric than others, which you can research online. This is just my suggestion and the way I personally wash and care for them.
When washing your lingerie, you have to be very delicate. You don’t want to throw your nice stockings or belt in a washing machine with your towels and jeans. They will get DESTROYED! Definitely read the wash instructions on anything you buy, especially if you are buying a more expensive piece. For my corsets or any tops with details such as sequins, crystals, bows, etc., I get them dry cleaned. And for stockings, nylons, and garter belts I always hand wash them with gentle detergent and then hang them up to dry. I also use cold water because hot water can be too harsh on your delicates and ruin them.
There are a few different ways to store your lingerie but here are some things that are always good to do and remember. For example, using regular and/or wire hangers or hangers with clips aren’t recommended because they can leave marks or stretch out the fabric. You can buy lingerie hangers which are more soft and padded. It’s also good to keep your lingerie somewhere where it can breathe and to keep it out of the sunlight in a nice cool place.
I hope these ideas and suggestions help you if you’re interested in buying or already have lingerie
There are many shops and websites where you can purchase lingerie. Like I said above, if you’ve never worn any vintage style lingerie before, I recommend looking up places in your area that carry vintage pieces, like corsets, and can be fitted to your perfect measurements. Once you have a better idea, it makes it easier to shop online, even though now two brands are exactly alike when it comes to sizing. These are some of the sites that I like the most and have amazing lingerie. Definitely check them out.