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 Parisien Magazine
Sheer and sexy teddy – circa 1921
Actress Lillian Gish posed in elaborate nightgown and robe , C. 1922
<< 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 Co. 1932
1938 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.
Ginger Rogers wearing teddy in Professional Sweetheart – 1933
Coming soon… a look at the ‘Fabulous Forties’ lingerie.