How is it even possible that modern lingerie originated in the restrictive, pseudo torture devices of the 1800s? Other than the costume corset, it’s difficult to see any relation at all. That is, until you go through the entire evolution. We buy brand new pieces that mimic vintage eras, when an expansive selection of vintages pieces are always on the market. Perhaps, it’s time to start considering vintage again.
Why buy vintage then? Well, there’s the obvious reason — unique beauty and glamor. There’s nothing better than hunting for, and finding(!), that perfect, original garment. Depending on the era, you’re guaranteed to find some specials details: 1920s stitch work, 1940s natural cotton and silk, and 1960/70s jewel tone, abstract florals. All of those amazing novelty prints tell the story of their time.
Vintage is also eco-friendly. Every vintage piece welcomed into a closet is another piece of clothing spared from the landfill. Vintage sellers, like Calligramme, encourage shoppers to buy consciously by bringing these classic fashions to the forefront. Once you start noticing timeless designs and quality construction, you are much less likely to purchase “fast fashion” clothing.
And just for some educational fun, here’s a quick overview of the evolution of undergarments and lingerie.
Early 1800s - Long-line corsets were all the rage. Starting right under the breasts and ending at the mid-thigh, the corset created that ever-coveted “flat look” needed for column dresses.
Late 1800s - Large changes were made here, and I mean large. The hourglass silhouette was almost required for women. Absolutely no sitting down. Breathing optional. Teenie tiny waists and unrealistic hips were the look.
1920s - A defining moment for all those boyish gals out there. Flat chests and short hair were in. Loose shapeless silhouettes and flimsy slips were the new sexy.
1930s - Here we find a quick return to “traditional” femininity. The bras became less constraining and the girdles got shorter.
1940s - The bra as we know it finally came to be - almost. S. H. & Company first denoted cup size and band measurement in this era. This truly was the time for ingenuity and creation. Also introduced to the undergarment world was underwire, strapless bras, adhesive bras, and push ups.
1950s - After the war, it was time to let loose with glitter and glam. Marilyn Monroe and Betty Page were the new sex icons.
1960s - In this era of freedom and rebellion, women began burning their bras in the name of feminism. But for those still wanting support, dainty florals and soft pastels on unrestrictive bras were on the market.
1970s - Sleeker. Streamlined. All silk and lace. And, of course, Victoria’s Secret. All thanks to an embarrassed man who wanted to shop in peace.
1990s - Welcome to the floor, the OG Victoria’s Secret Angels. VS started doing fashion shows at this time, thrusting lingerie into high fashion. And she never looked back. This was also the beginning of undergarments being visibly war as part of an outfit.
Have we convinced you yet?! Vintage is the way. Reader, meet Calligramme.
Shop our entire vintage collection: Calligramme Etsy Shop