Vintage lingerie has long been an inspiration for modern day design, and understandably so, with a wealth of exquisite styles to draw inspiration from. Finding genuine vintage pieces that are also in a good enough condition to be wearable, or indeed in a size that fits, can be a challenge however.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to evoke the elegance of bygone times, while still taking advantage of modern day comfort, sizing and fit.
So, what kind of garments should you look for in building your own retro inspired lingerie wardrobe?
For instant impact, we recommend the key styles of garter belts, French knickers, longline bras and slips - explore more about each of these styles below, or head to shop our whole vintage lingerie edit to start building your collection.
After the invention of pantyhose and the rising hemlines of the 1960s, garter belts and stockings became less and less popular for mainstream wear. If you’re creating a look reminiscent of an era before then, a garter belt is the quickest way to add some instant vintage style.
Though often relegated to “bedroom wear” nowadays, and usually made with fairly flimsy construction, in the past garter belts would have been worn all day long as the only way to hold up hosiery, so were much more practical garments.
Ours are created to be the best of both worlds, crafted in luscious silks and delicate laces to both feel and look beautiful, but with details designed for wearability. Gold toned adjusters on silk covered straps allow the perfect fit for different lengths of stockings, with wide 15mm straps and clasps striking the perfect balance between visual delicacy and being sturdy enough to properly hold stockings in place. Hand cut ribbons on each clasp add the perfect finishing touch.
Eleanor, our signature collection, is available in multiple colourways with a variety of coordinates to match, with scalloped French lace panels, silk linings and the classic 4 straps.
If you prefer a more supportive style, the Serena and Persepone belts are created with a much deeper, more retro-style cut, and are lined with sheer tulle for gentle shaping. Both have 6 straps for a more secure hold on your stockings, all silk covered and with hand-cut ribbons as always.
For a more risqué vintage style, the Aurora suspender, in both black and red lace, takes it to the next level with 12 individual straps and clasps. This is also our only style featuring the more unusual clamp adjustment on the straps, ensuring with absolute certainty there can be no slippage of stockings. Bring out your inner Bettie Page by pairing it with the matching lace quarter cup bra, or mix and match with any of our Eleanor collections featuring black lace.
French Knickers & Tap Pants
Not a fan of stockings? Tap pants, also known as French knickers, are another great way to bring a dose of vintage glamour. (Or indeed, an additional one – they fit perfectly over the Eleanor garter belt.)
Worn as an alternative style of brief, they work beautifully under full skirts and dresses for retro style swishiness. Ours are available to match the Eleanor collection in multiple colourways, with many other options available as custom order, so do reach out if you have a particular shade you are looking for.
Combining the luxury of silk with modern-day wearability, a touch of elastane in the silk ensures all-day fit and comfort, with delicate button and loop fastening for authentic vintage detailing.
As well as adding vintage styling beneath your dress or skirt, a silk slip actually has many practical benefits for modern day wear as well. The silk avoids static between your hosiery and your outerwear, adds opacity to more lightweight or sheer outfits, and in wintertime has excellent temperature regulating properties for layering your outfit.
If you’re concerned about garter grip bumps showing under your clothing if you’re out for the day, a slip also adds an extra layer of concealment.
Match yours to any of the Eleanor lingerie sets for perfect coordination, or contact us for custom colours.
Channeling 1950's glamour, longline bras are a great way to add some vintage flair to your lingerie collection. Wear with a high waist brief for maximum retro style, or a more modern update with a matching thong or low rise knicker.
Curious for more tips on how to wear this shape, or why it's so comfortable for a larger bust? Our longline bra guide has more detail on this classic style.