If all you’ve ever worn is modern lingerie you will be absolutely amazed and thrilled when you put on your very first piece of vintage nylon lingerie. The feel of vintage nylon cannot be compared to any other fabric, the smooth body pleasing feel is unequaled. In the world of vintage clothing lingerie is the most intimate category and it is the subject of this article. Today vintage sellers consider clothing through the 1980s to be vintage, not everyone agrees. We will be talking about lingerie from the 1950s through the 1970s. If you are lucky you may find fabulous nylon creations from the 1950s but most of your finds will be from the 1960s and 1970s. It’s possible to find nylon lingerie made today but if you compare the quality of the fabric and workmanship of the garment to vintage, the superiority of vintage is unmistakable. We are accustomed to polyester lingerie and some vintage lingerie from the 1960s and 1970s will be polyester. Many of those items came from large chain stores who specialized in inexpensive copies of quality lingerie.
By now you can tell I’m not fond of polyester although polyester with a silk finish does a fairly good job. Silk is not my primary interest in vintage fabric but I find the feel of vintage silk to be absolutely delicious. Rayon is another wonderful vintage fabric but today we focus on vintage nylon lingerie. You will develop favorite vintage fabrics as you familiarize yourself with vintage lingerie using your sense of touch. Of course there is more to learning about vintage lingerie than just the delight of touch. Once you know you want to wear vintage nylon lingerie because of how it feels you will find lots of other reasons to love these treasures from another era. You may end up collecting and wearing only lingerie made by a certain maker from the past. Vanity Fair is one of the most well known but as you do some research you will find there are hundreds of brands, some were small companies only in business for a short time. The major labels are most likely the brands you will encounter. An entire article could be written about vintage labels so I’ll only mention a few you will likely come across. Van Raalte is a quality label and almost as well known as Vanity Fair. Other labels you may find are Movie Star, Artemis, Munsingwear, Luxite, Kayser, Gotham Gold Stripe, Barbizon, Kickernick, Wonder Maid, Mojud, Rovel, Val Mode, Seamprufe and Aristocraft. This list is by no means complete, it’s just the ones I could think of quickly. The older labels will be embroidered, you can see the threads on the back side of the label, older Vanity Fair labels are a good example. Just like the brand names are a subject too long for an article, so too is a description of labels. The older full slips will have metal adjustor hardware on the straps, newer full slips will have plastic adjustors. In this instance newer could mean anywhere from the late 1960s depending on when a company switched to plastic.
A good garment to begin with is either a slip or a gown because these are readily available. You might want to visit a vintage store so you can learn to recognize vintage lingerie. The label is a good indicater, the older the garment the more likely it will not be a printed label where the letters wash away in time. Speaking of washing, do not ever put vintage lingerie in the washing machine, never never in the washing machine or the dryer. How to care for your lingerie deserves an entire article to properly cover the subject. For now your lingerie will be safe with a quick dip in sudsy water and 2 rinses will keep your vintage lingerie perfect for many years. Drip drying your lingerie will make it smooth and ready to wear with no ironing. Hang your slip or gown on a plastic hanger over the shower head and let it drip dry. Panties or half slips can be dried on a skirt hanger that has plastic clips, if metal touches lingerie you run the risk of rust.
Vintage sizes are not all uniform but then neither is the sizing of modern clothing. For a full slip or nightgown the size usually corresponds to your bra size. If you wear a size 34 bra you would wear a size 34 full slip or gown. Nylon tricot full slips and gowns usually have a built in stretch of approximately 2″ so fit is fairly easy. Half slip fit is determined by waist and hip sizes and are sized Small, Medium or Large, usually if the waist fits the hips will fit. Panties today are still sized with the same numbers as vintage but you should know your measurements and carry a cloth tape measure with you when you shop. Most collectibles are just to hang on the wall or set on a table to be admired. Vintage lingerie can be enjoyed every day and will last for years since you know how long it’s already been around.
By now I hope you are excited enough to want to know where you can find these marvelous treasures. I would make your first stop a vintage shop and if the salesperson is knowledgeable and talkative you will be in luck. You should also check any thrift stores in your area, some will have actual vintage and you may come across a real find. Searching for vintage lingerie takes some effort but the time is well spent when you find a great garment. I suggest the physical shopping to acquaint you with actual garments but you will also want to do research on the internet. Once you have an idea of quality and condition you will want to try online stores and of course eBay. You need to be wary of any garment you cannot physically see and touch. This is why it’s vital you start by going where you can examine actual vintage lingerie. When you buy from a vintage lingerie website choose a site that has been in business online for several years. Read the descriptions carefully, a garment that is described as excellent should not have any flaws. A seller that supplies a lot of information about an item should be presumed to be knowledgeable. Emailing a seller about a specific item is a good way to find out more about the item. The sellers answer will give you an idea of how much you may be valued as a customer.
Many lingerie garments have survived over the years and the information about vintage lingerie is extensive. I hope this short article piques your interest and you take the time to appreciate the beauty and quality of vintage lingerie.