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Great Gatsby Fever: 20 Pieces of Vintage 1920s Lingerie

Fifi D'Orsay

As you've probably noticed, fashion mags have been obsessed with all things Great Gatsby for the last few weeks. Honestly, I seriously considered not doing a 1920s-themed post at all (oversaturation and all that), but then I started looking through a few vintage lingerie archives and what I saw completely changed my mind. I think I may have forgotten it a little, but 1920s lingerie is gorgeous.


There's a lot to love about the Twenties when it comes to undergarments, and one of the things I appreciate the most is how this period introduced a completely new way of thinking about lingerie to women. For the first time in a long time, comfort, not restriction, was the goal. The tightly laced corsets, binding girdles, and ample petticoats that both precede and follow the 20s are nowhere to be seen.

Now I want a teddy/romper.

In addition, still-relevant styles like the bandeau bra and camiknickers (a.k.a 'step-ins', a.k.a 'combinations' a.k.a. rompers) are introduced. Because the emphasis is on unfussy construction, the beautiful textiles, gauzy silks, delicate laces, pastel colors, etc., are able to shine through. And while I wouldn't say the 1920s are my favorite era for lingerie, putting together this blog post has given me a whole new appreciation of it.

What do you think of this style of lingerie? Is it due for a comeback? Or should the past stay in the past?

1920s silk chiffon lace teddy, via Vintage Textile Archives

1926-27 silk nightgown, via The Met Museum

1920s lace chemise teddy, via Salon of the Dames

1920s lace bra and tap pants, via Vintage Textile

1920s silk charmeuse and cotton lace teddy, via The Arizona Costume Institute

1920s blue silk chiffon and lace teddy, via Vintage Textile Archives

1920s silk and lace teddy, via Met Museum

1920s silk and lace peignoir, via Vintage Textile

1925 Lace Trimmed Silk Teddy, via Vintage Textile

1920s silk pajamas, via The Met Museum

1920s lace dressing gown, via eBay

1920s silk bra and tap pants, via Vintage Textile

1920s french satin and lace nightgown, via Vintage Textile

1920s silk pajamas, via The Met Museum

1920s pink and black lace bra, via Planet Claire Vintage

1920s silk and linen lingerie, via The Met Museum

1920s satin bra, via The Kyoto Costume Institute

1920s silk robe, via Dronning Vintage

1920s hand-embroidered mint chemise

1920s velvet robe, via Live Auctioneers

Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

17 Comments on this post

  1. Ellie says:

    I soooo agree with Anna Swiczeniuk! (I know it’s 2021 now ).
    Also, I wish there were sewing patterns available today.
    Thank you for a wonderful read and photos.

  2. Natalia says:

    My husband surprised me by buying me some silk charmeuse side-button step-ins with a matching brassiere on EBay. They are so romantic, lacy and adorned with ribbons. I can only imagined what he paid. I wondered why he measured my waist one day, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. They fit perfectly. He loves the way they give him such easy access to my privates. Sometimes, I wear them under my dress during the day. He loves to reach up and grab me–you know where. Vintage lingerie inspires such fun and passionate love-making.

  3. Catie says:

    Thanks for including the robe from my shop in this amazing group. I just want to lounge around in silk slips for the rest of the weekend at this point….!

  4. Sevil says:

    They are so lovely!
    Thx for your great article

  5. Natalia says:

    I love the lingerie of the 1920s and 30s, in particular. These French-inspired underthings have never been equalled. The camiknickers, tap panties, and brassieres are to die for–so romantic and ultra feminine. The handwork and lace detailing are exquisite. I have small collection of late 20s and 30s period pieces that wear on special occasions. They make me feel extra special. We need a revival of this elegant underthings that needs to be introduced to newer generations that have never experienced such finery. Alternatively, you can acquire patterns of vintage pieces on EBay and other Internet sites and learn to make your own. I have patterns of 1930s step-ins (tap panties), cuff leg briefs, and a teddy that I have successfully reproduced with great success. Viva la lingerie.

  6. Hibiscus says:

    I have a few pieces in my collection from that era, and they are amazing! I love the look, but it doesn’t suit my body type at all. The magnificence of the fabrics and laces is what makes me all swoony!

  7. WideCurves says:

    Love it. Always have loved everything 20’s. Unfortunately, the style doesn’t suit me…but I love it, still. I dream of a 20’s style dress that could work on a busty hourglass figure!

  8. Megan says:

    Any idea what larger-busted women did for lingerie back then? Most of this doesn’t look incredibly supportive. I know the 1920’s really glorified small frames, but not everybody could achieve that. I wonder if there were still a bunch of women wearing corsets for the support and feeling very unfashionable or if they had these silky lacy things done in a way that supported them.

    • Amaryllis says:

      Well, you have to remember that most women wouldn’t have had these items anyway – the pieces that are kept and wind up in museums are exquisite rich women’s underpinnings. But if you were large chested and wanted to be fashionable, the trend was to bind your chest flat with bandages. And, effectively like any trend that glorifies only one body type, there were plenty of women who looked and felt frumpy and unfashionable.

    • Cassie says:

      There were definitely still lots of women wearing corsets! They were of a different construction though, rather than cinching in the waist they were designed to flatten your whole frame. They were also made to be a bit more flexible for physical activity as women’s sports became more popular in the 20s

    • Rae says:

      There were plenty of corselettes and brassieres available that were designed to give the ideal shape, but, unlike with the previous decades, they weren’t absolutely necessary in order to wear the fashion of the day.

    • Sarah says:

      My grandma, who was born in 1899, and did not come from a wealthy background, told me she and her friends used to make bras out of a rectangle of fabric with ribbon ties at each corner. She probably had a C cup bust. Not sure what older women did.

  9. MerelyMarie says:

    There is something very romantic about these pieces. I’m glad you decided to post and, I think a comeback for this type of lingerie would be nice to see!

  10. KathTea says:

    There’s a certain charm to vintage lingerie, no matter what era it’s from. I recall myself getting into 1920s inspired things after I discovered the older movie (with Mia Farrow) in my teens! I had been crazy in love with their style. Funny how when I have moved on to other styles the trend finally hits the market again since that new movie. It’s a bit of a fashion deja vu XD

  11. cathy says:

    Beautiful inspirations. Thank you! I especially love the 1920′s blue silk chiffon and lace teddy and now i have ideas swimming around in my head of the next thing I want to make.

  12. Oh god I want it all. I’d love to see the Gatsby trend becoming a little more permanent (and also done correctly – already seen so many clothing brands touting “Gatsby-style” dresses, which are not even remotely ’20s) with some well-made reproductions.

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