Lingerie: Roaring 20s ~ Dirty 30s

by Shirley Freeman

Women’s lingerie in the 1920s was made with the finest of silks and beautiful satins, elaborate laces and embroideries were very fashionable accents. Women were flaunting fashion and exposing a bit more skin. This was the flapper era ~ the ‘roaring 20s’, and women were finally showing their stuff. Interestingly, boyish figures and flat bustlines were in fashion, so many undergarments were constrictive. It was however, a delicious decade for underpinnings. More ‘risque’ advertising for lingerie brands started appearing in newspapers and magazines, it was also a boon for photographers both abroad and here.

1920s-France-La-Vie-Parisie1920s France La Vie Parisien Magazine

1923-teddySheer and sexy teddy – circa 1921

Actress-Lillian-Gish-C.-192Actress Lillian Gish posed in elaborate nightgown and robe , C. 1922

1920s-french-modelsflapper<< 1925  French lingerie models. Thin, boyish figures were in vogue.


>> Flappers were  refusing to wear corsets and rolled their stockings down to the knee to make dancing easier and more comfortable to move in.


The 1930s were known as the ‘Dirty Thirties’ or ‘Thrifty Thirties’, curious names right? A little research helped show those era’s were indeed aptly named; severe dust storms damaged agriculture in the US and Canada in the mid 30s, WWII caused difficult times everywhere, the US stock market crashed in 1929 causing great economic depression and generally, times were tough. Fashion got a bit more conservative with hemlines lowering and women basically dressing more ‘ladylike’.

Curves were back in fashion, as were corsets. But corsets of the 30s were more comfortable than ever. Soft silk was sexy and less restrictive and many manufacturers were using flexible elastic that allowed control.

Diana-Slip-Lingerie-Paris,-Diana Slip Co. 1932

1930-corset-with-elastic1938 corset with elastic for added comfort

Bras of the 1930s were made for a variety of cup sizes for the first time ever, allowing women to have a comfortable yet controlling undergarment.

1930s-Bras-by-Ferrero-ParisCirca 1933 Bra by Ferrero Paris
1937(L) Préger Cibil 1937 Photo Laure Albin Guillot  (R) Marguerite Sacrez 1937

Ginger-Rogers-1933-ProfessGinger Rogers wearing teddy in Professional Sweetheart – 1933

 Coming soon… a look at the ‘Fabulous Forties’ lingerie.

3 Discussion to this post

  1. […] find out more about the Diana Shop here & here. Also, more on the 1930s styles of lingerie is here. And you can keep up with more photos of Diana Slip and other fabulous lingerie, especially […]

  2. Kathy@Flannelandlacellc says:

    Just wanted to let you know , I LOVED this article ! What a great job , so much fun to learn the history behind this business ! Tells me all about not only the lingerie but I feel what the women of those times were thinking/feeling just by reading your words. Thanks.

    • Shirley @ Lingerie Briefs says:

      Thanks so much for your kind comment Kathy… Lingerie history is so interesting, I love doing the research and end up spending hours looking at vintage photography that I enjoy sharing here! Shirley

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