Lingerie By Decade- 1970's

Here we go! We're moving right along on our mini-series; Lingerie By Decade. Click here to catch up on the evolution of underpinnings over the years. 


By the end of the 1960's social activism, equal rights, and environment protection are on the forefront and in the news. With the feminist movement women are literally letting go of all that binds. The bra becomes a political message and it becomes clear that not wearing one can symbolize equality. Bras were burned and it became a big deal to assert your freedom. All of a sudden not wearing a bra is in style. This also coincides with a natural movement. Natural hair, natural colors, a softer look become fashionable as a result. 

Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin

Cool girls don't wear bras. T-shirts become popular and a natural look underneath is all the rage. The ultra-shaping pointy bras of the 1940's-1960's are out. Nipples are in. 


If you need to wear a bra, don't worry! Manufacturers have thought of it all! 


Due to softer jersey garments seamless undergarments become popular. The effect is to not look like you are wearing anything underneath. Flesh tones, while limited in shades, are popular. 

La Perla SS 1976

La Perla SS 1976


Shapewear as we've known it so far becomes uncommon. Women are moving more and laced up and stiff rubbery shapewear is out of style and old fashioned. One piece bodysuits become popular and are a great alternative, especially underneath your jersey wrap dress.


Pantyhose replaces stockings and garters. If you needed some shaping it is now built in to your hosiery with what we now call control top!


Nightgowns and sleepwear follow suit. Long and lean. Languid and minimal. The frou-frou-ness of the 1960's is gives way to a more romantic look.


It's interesting to note that while women are gaining more power, the look is softer and more yielding than in previous decades. Towards the end of the decade that starts to change as Janet Reger hits the scene in the UK. She brings back a decadence to lingerie with the notion that women can have both. Meaning a career in a man's world and be ultra-feminine. This will influence lingerie makers (like Victoria's Secret shown below) and bring us straight into the 1980's with the return of the 3 piece set. 

Victoria's Secret. Late 1970's. 

Victoria's Secret. Late 1970's. 

Stay tuned for next month's installment. The 1980's! 

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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'