Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Junction Tuesday: Getting personal with lingerie

Find vintage slips and wear more than this baby.
Sorry for the gratuitous photo from vacation.
Plymouth Plantation, y'all. No pants.

Even though some people may not find vintage lingerie very appealing, some pieces are highly collectible and can be very valuable.  I always breeze through the slip and night gown section at thrift stores, looking for regal fabrics and luxurious styles.

From slips to corsets, stockings to peignoir sets, bras to girdles, undergarments were an important part of dressing for women in the 1920s to 1960s.  They were designed with femininity and a smooth, polished appearance in mind.  Although there are impressive pieces from 70s and 80s, I’ve found they don’t have the detail and elegance like the pieces from earlier years.

“Premier manufacturers such as Vanity Fair, Van Raalte, Barbizon, Lily of France and Warner’s took great pride in creating lingerie and foundations for their appreciative customers. Lingerie fashion design was an art in terms of style, construction and materials that cannot be duplicated today. The sensuous nylon fabrics were nearly sheer and buttery soft, woven on looms that are now obsolete. Lace trims were quite exquisite and used generously to adorn lingerie. Quality and attention to detail was of the utmost importance to the major lingerie manufacturers of those decades.” –Heavenly Vintage Lingerie

Here's a timeline of what you might see from different decades:
1920s – Slips were made of delicate silk adorned with beautiful trimmings and designed in comfortable styles.
1930s / 1940s - Slips were designed to accentuate a woman's form yet still allow movement.  They were styled with a bias-cut using rayon satin fabrics.
1950s - This was an era of the Hollywood sex symbol.  Slips still emphasized femininity and were predominately nylon lavished with lace, appliqu├ęs and chiffon.  And rustling crinolines to fill out full-skirted dresses were all the rage.

1960s - Hemlines rose and so did slip lengths.  Full slips with built-in bras were very popular.  Prints reflected the era as well with bold colors and psychedelic prints.

Prices can range from $10.00 for a simple half slip to hundreds of dollars for a 1930s Juel Park silk and lace beauty. Van Raalte slips with pleats and copious lace may fetch up to $200.00 or more depending on condition, color and size. Vanity Fair pieces with fancy trim can sell for $50.00 to $175.00.   Following is a list of designers that are no longer producing lingerie, making them quite a find!  Next time you do thrifting, keep your eyes peeled for one of these:

A: Aristocraft, Artemis
B: Bien Jolie
C: Cattani of California, Charmode
D: Deena
E: Eye Full-Flaum's
F: Fischer Heavenly Lingerie, Formfit Rogers
G: Gaymode, Glydons or Glydons of Hollywood, GMc, Gossard
H: Henson Kickernick
I: Intime of California
J: Jenelle of California, Juliana
L: Lady Leonora, Lady Lynne, Leona, Lucie Ann~Claire Sandra, Luxite~Kayser
M: Mary Barron, Michelene, Movie Star
O: Odette Barsa, Olga NIGHTGOWNS (foundations still made)
R: Radcliffe, Radelle, Rovel / Ro-Vel of California
S: Seamprufe
T: Trillium
V: Van Raalte
Y: Yolande, Youthcraft

-Shannan Fales is the owner of Junction at 1510 U Street NW. She shares her expertise in vintage and thrift each Tuesday.


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