Lingerie By Decade- 1960's

The 1960's is an interesting decade. It has a lot of personalities. In this month's Fashion History installment we are continuing with our Lingerie By Decade mini-series and have landed on a pivotal decade that will leap us into a look that is more familiar to our own everyday underpinnings. Let's have a look! (If you need to catch up click here.)


I always think of the 1960's as having two halves. The first half is part of the Classic Era- which runs from about 1955-1965. I love this era in fashion and hone in on that time frame when I am vintage hunting. It is classic- still stylish today! In the second half of the 1960's, the political landscape changes. It is a time of change, for change and with those changes a change in fashion bubbles up. (Can I say change one more time?) Youth culture is in, hemlines rise, and as always undergarments need to reflect what is worn over them. 


Bras in the 1960s are still pointy as they were in the 1950's. Not as exaggerated, but the shaping is still important. Slips are still worn and girdle like pettipants are popular replacing the lace-up type corset or merry-widows. 


Options. And options that match! Nylon is the fabric of choice and comes in an array of colors. Stretch fabrics, like spandex, are more common and give lingerie less rigidity like these girl's mothers and grandmothers wore in the 1940s. Panties are also becoming more and more popular. Briefs like the girl in the back is holding up come up to the waist. Towards the end of the decade, that waist-line will drop and hip huggers will be in style. 


Later 60's. The ads are trying to appeal to those that want briefs (lady in front) and a hip-hugger (lady in back) option. While adding in a flower child vibe. 


I have to include this because The Graduate is one of my favorite films. It's full of fashion inspiration and includes some great lingerie looks. It also shows us that prints are now available and leopard may be one of the finest! 


Nightgowns and peignoir sets are still common. In the 1960's they become a bit brighter and more frilly then their predecessors.


Named after the 1956 film, Baby Doll, the baby doll continues on in popularity in the 1960's. It takes on an even more innocent youthful look as manufacturers appeal to youth culture.


One of the biggest advancements in undergarments in the 1960s is the invention of pantyhose or tights. Seams are no longer required in hosiery as they can now be made "in the round" and garter belts are no longer needed! This is revolutionary, signals freedom, and means shorter skirts can be worn! 


Raquel Welch pictured above in textured and crochet tights which become popular. 


Youth MOD culture, mini skirts, Mary Quant, Twiggy....colored tights are everywhere. They even put Twiggy on the package! 


There is a lot happening in the 1960s and it's reflected in its fashion. Misogynistic (like the one above) ads run alongside women's empowerment (one below) ads as the industry tries to keep up with the changes that are happening in this decade. Are men buying the lingerie or are women? Who is their customer? The Classic era lady still wearing garter belts or the young adult that wishes she was in Swinging London? 


Stay tuned for next month's installment. The 1970's! How will the changes in the 1960's affect the next decade? How will that change our undergarments? 

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Lingerie By Decade- 1950's

I'm back on my blogging schedule after some major US election woes and computer issues. I'm not sure what the future will bring but it's always important to know your history. With that said, let's get started on this month's Fashionable History installment. In our Lingerie By Decade mini series, we are already at the 1950's. You can find previous decades here

The 1950's is post WWII with an emphasis on creating a family and being "happy". The hourglass figure is in- ultra feminine looks with nipped in waists. Women are either wearing full or fitted pencil skirts to emphasize their curves. Lingerie sales increase as women have a need to lift, nip in, and shape. Nylon is also more available and this makes lingerie not only more affordable but also more colorful as well. 

1950's Bras


The pointy cup is still in fashion after starting in the late 1940's. Bullet bras, cone bras, whirlpool bras are still selling. "Sweater Girls" are popular and no one wore this look better than Marilyn Monroe. 

1950's Panties


Tap pants are replaced by nylon panties with elastic at the waist and around the leg. High waisted full coverage panties look best under slim pencil skirts. Ruffled and more decorated versions are available to wear under full skirts and dresses. 

1950's Shapewear


Corselettes, or merry widows as they are starting to be known as, are still being worn as they were in the decade prior. However, the waist is even more nipped in. Two piece sets are also common, in the form of a bra and high waisted "waspie" girdle. This was not a time of comfort but cake is apparently okay if you wear the right under-garments.

The Petticoat


The fabric shortage and rationing of the 1940's is over and to make up for it, skirts and dresses are full. Full and frilly circle skirts take up a lot of yardage and to help give those skirts their shape, petticoats and crinolines are worn underneath. Some are soft and with many ruffles and layers, others are made from tulle and stiffer fabrics to aid in the poufy shape. This becomes a whole new item to add to your wardrobe that we haven't seen in ages. 

1950s Slips and Nightwear


Elizabeth Taylor in a Cat On a Hot Tin Roof sizzles in her white full slip above. Marilyn Monroe shows off her silk slip below. Worn over shape wear just like in the 1940s slips are not meant to be seen which made these images so alluring.


As mentioned before nylon fabrics are now fully integrated in lingerie manufacturing. With that comes more affordable color choices than previously available and more and more lingerie is sold. Variety in styles is also more evident when it comes to slips and nightwear to suit the individual style and age of the consumer. The modern age of lingerie is born. 

This concludes our history of 1950's lingerie. Stay tuned for next month's installment- the 1960s! Afraid to miss out? Sign up for my monthly newsletter or follow on bloglovin'