Saturday, April 26, 2008

The romance of vintage negligees

Slips, negligees, nightgowns, petticoats... whatever you want to call them, it's one of the first sections I check out in any op shop. I love the lace details, the scalloped necklines, the side splits, the see-through fabrics.

I have no problems with the synthetic, man-made nylon, rayon or Terylene slips that were rampant in the 1970s and 80s - in fact, I quite like them (let's face it, it's so much easier care-wise). The shiny fabric and polyester feel simply adds a different element to them. It's the little extras I look for: the lace work, the patterns and the fit.

Pictured is a lilac slip I picked up for $2.50 from an op shop in Ballarat a few years ago. It's one of my favourites - I love the bodice, and the wide strip of lace at the hem. Sadly it's way too large in the bust for me, and because of the way the bodice is constructed, I just look ridiculously little-girl-like in it. No tags. It looks and feels new.

My retro slip collection is always growing, and apart from the lilac one, they're all in regular use. My work wear is centred around the ladylike look, mainly comprising pencil skirts with vintage blouses, or a belted shirt dress. A retro slip underneath adds that extra element of romance to each look, and I now feel naked without one. They can also double as a camisole under a suit jacket.

I have two "regulars". One is a plum coloured synthetic slip which is quite long, ending just above the knee. Perfect for those just-below-the-knee pencil skirts, and longer dresses. Lacework features on the bodice and runs around the sides to the back panel. The hemline is also trimmed in lace. Again, no tag. It fits like a glove.

The second often doubles as a nightgown, as it's too gorgeous to only wear to work. It's a 1980s nylon number, bright white with a raised pattern. Again, lacework features on the bodice and hemline. This one also fits like a glove. It has a tag, but no brand name is mentioned.

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