Evolution of Lingerie – 1920’s Lingerie Trends

1920's lingerie

The 1920’s known as the Jazz Era because of the vibrant and intense lifestyle. It was an exciting time – the first world war had ended, people were exuberant and there was reason to celebrate. It was called the roaring twenties for good reason, the Great Gatsby, flapper dancers, prohibition, free expression, new dancing styles, the jazz era and radical new ways of dressing. The 1920’s Lingerie ushered in an era of modernism, glamour and liberation like never before.

1920's Lingerie

The 1920s was an important time for women’s rights and fashion. Women started to rebel against “traditional” feminine roles by smoking cigarettes, driving cars and wearing trousers. This boldness reflected in the lingerie trends of this period where high waisted knickers with a loose crotch became popular.

Flappers

As the 1920s dawned, women were seeking a sense of freedom and independence. The corset and its restrictive undergarments were no longer fashionable. Women adopted the boyish silhouette that came to be called as the “flapper.”

flappers

Flappers worked hard to achieve an androgynous appearance: they wore loose, shapeless silhouettes like the sack dress, cropped their hair short in “bobbed” styles, and even eschewed makeup. They embraced practicality over frills and glamor.

flappers

They also rejected the traditional ideals of feminine beauty, which had long favored big busts for women and big butts for men. By this point, the ideal female figure was actually relatively has small-bust with a flat stomach and shapely hips. Women who wanted to keep up with fashion trends had to resort to tight-lacing or stuffing their bras in order to maintain a voluptuous silhouette.

By the end of the decade, however, women began to long for more feminine silhouettes once again—and lingerie manufacturers responded by creating new fashions for them!

1920’s Lingerie Styles

In the 1920s, a revolution took place in women’s fashion. Women were suddenly able to express their freedom in their clothing choices. They could vote, wear what they wanted, and change their hairstyles. Dresses became very slim and short, showing off women’s legs; some women even dared to wear pantsuits. Corsets replaced with slimline slip dresses decorated with sequins and beads. Hair cut turned into bobbed or pixie styles; makeup was bolder than ever before.

lingerie

Many women abandoned their corsets in favor of the more comfortable looser fitting knickers. They also abandoned their fabric or silk stockings for sheer silk stockings or tights. Both much more comfortable than the petticoats and layers of clothing required to hold up traditional fabrics or silk stockings. Knickers also had much brighter colors than they had previously been. Lingerie was becoming less about concealing and more about flaunting!

If you are into vintage lingerie, you might want to check our post for how to find the perfect vintage lingerie.

Slip Dress

The 1920s was an exciting time in the world, and fashion was certainly no exception. Women began to feel more liberated than ever before. They could wear pants, have jobs, and go out on dates. And they could wear whatever they wanted, too. You see, the corset had been popular for decades prior, but by this time, it had disappeared from fashion entirely! Corsets were uncomfortable and restrictive and most women were ready for something new.

lingerie

With its alluring necklines and slim silhouettes, lingerie of the 1920s was a symbol of female empowerment that women were eager to show off. One of the most popular forms of lingerie from this period is the slip dress. These dresses were made from thin fabrics that allowed more freedom of movement than earlier corsets. Some dresses even came with a matching pajama set that would be worn underneath in the evening for extra warmth.

1920's Lingerie

Slips were often decorated with sequins and beads to make them more attractive. Some even had sheer layers to show off soft lace or silk undergarments underneath. Stockings became a bigger part of lingerie as well; many women wore nylons or silk stockings.

Brassieres

In the early 1920s, a bra’s primary purposes were to keep breasts from moving too much and to help maintain a certain shape.

bra styles

The first bras had straight bands of material, stiffened with whalebone or a similar material to prevent bounce and jiggle. The material was usually linen or silk, which was both thick enough to provide some support and smooth enough that it didn’t rub up against skin. Some women even wore corset-style bras in the 1920s that had waist-cinching qualities.

bra

Bra straps were thick and wide, but not always adjustable.

Stockings

During the 1920s, stockings were all about showing off. Gone were the days when stockings served a practical purpose—they had become an essential part of every fashionable woman’s wardrobe. With that in mind, hosiery during this time emphasized not only the shape and appearance of legs, but also the shape and appearance of ankles and feet. In fact, to help keep stockings up, women would often wear garters (a band of elastic used to hold up stockings) with decorative bands around them. The more elaborate the better!

1920's Lingerie

A favorite detail on hosiery during this era was “net” (also referred to as lace). Netting is a fine mesh that are from silk, nylon or even cotton. The appeal of net is its ability to show off and accentuate a woman’s skin through its transparency. During the 1920s, it was seen as one of the most important parts of underwear and could be found in bras as well as tights.

1920's Lingerie

During this time period, stockings also made their way into men’s fashion undergarments. While men’s stockings primarily served functional purposes (to hold up their socks), they also consisted of decorative elements like stripes or fancy stitching to give them a bit of flair.

Corsets

The evolution of corsets in the 1920’s lingerie was a huge step for women’s fashion. Previously, corsets had been super-restrictive and heavy — some women carried canes to propel themselves around because their bodies had become so accustomed to the stiffness of the corset. One of the biggest changes in the 1920’s was that more flexible materials used for corsets. They were much lighter, and wider straps and stronger boning made them more comfortable. These new, flexible corsets allowed women to move around freely without worrying about their clothes falling off or their ribs cracking!

1920's Lingerie

Another major change in corsets was that they became much less restrictive — they were so loose that posture became relaxed and less rigid. In fact, you can see this relaxed posture reflected in photographs of women from this era.

1920's Lingerie

1920’s Lingerie Overall

We hope this review has been helpful in your search for the best 1920’s lingerie. With the era of 1920’s and flapper fashion having come and gone, we may never see the like again, but there is no denying that this was a truly special era, and one that still has an impact on our world today. This fashion revived our sense of playfulness, elitism, and the beauty in nature. As such, these historical artifacts have become so unique that they will remain relevant for years to come.

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