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woman wearing retro lingerie

Old Versus New – A Fascinating Look At The Reinvention Of Lingerie

Is there really such a thing as a new idea in lingerie trends? What does inspiration really mean? Are we all just copying, tweaking, imitating and re-inventing things that have gone before?

Re-inventing the wheel?

When it comes to lingerie trends in general, are we simply re-inventing the wheel? A quick glance at your average celeb magazine would suggest that skimpy and raunchy dominates our media like never before. What would the Victorians think about our pop stars with it all hanging out? Well they might not be half as shocked as most of us think.

Victorian Vixens versus Instagram Idols

It’s traditionally accepted that the Victorians wore layers upon layers of demure outerwear and underwear and that even an exposed ankle could set the pulses racing. However, there was always an underbelly to the Victorians. Naughtiness and risqué lingerie really flourished in the 19th century as many of their saucy photos and postcards demonstrate.

Victorian Pinup

Were these ladies and their raunchy underwear really so different to the be-thonged and boobtastic Instagram stars of today?

Open Cage Diamante Bra Set

Take this Open Cage Diamante Bra Set by Obsessive Lingerie that continues the tradition of revealing lingerie. If the Victorians could have made it, they surely would have.

Corset Cuties Through the Ages

When it comes to one particular lingerie staple, it seems that the years are completely irrelevant. From the Middle Ages through to the 21st century, the corset (or a version of it by another name) has – in its many forms – remained a fundamental feature of the underwear world.

retro corset

It’s the ultimate shape-wear and as the years have gone on, it’s also become outerwear. Most of today’s corsets aren’t guaranteed to impede your breathing and send you into a Victorian swoon, but there are certainly a few paparazzi snaps of breath-taking corsets that must pinch just a little bit. Here’s Sophia Loren in a corset from the 1960s…

Sophia Loren in a corset

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Our Burlesque corset and bustier collection features some stunningly gorgeous burlesque corsets by Dreamgirl, Leg Avenue and Coquette available on our website. Here’s a lace up merlot matte corset by Coquette.

corset by Coquette

Don’t Keep us in Suspenders

From the late 19th century onwards, suspenders have been the go-to accessory for holding up stockings. Garters, which preceded them, could be a tad uncomfortable and even dangerous if they were too tight and – believe it or not – when they started out, suspenders were all about practicality as opposed to sexiness. In fact, a lot of the most popular risqué images of the time wouldn’t really feature the suspenders – although the model would be wearing them. The frilly ‘drawers’ and low bust-line were certainly more of a focus.

Black Strappy Red Bow Garterbelt

Of course, as the years have gone on – and after the invention of tights – suspenders have taken on a different, sexier, connotation. But they’ve been around for nearly 150 years, so it seems we can safely describe them as ‘good idea’!

Luscious Leather and Wet Look

Fabric technology has definitely moved on with the times. We can now enjoy scientifically-engineered ethical fabrics that weren’t available or invented until very recently. Here’s Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers from the 1960s TV series..

Diana Rigg in leather catsuit

Take for instance the raunchy and sexy wet look and our Elektra Black Wet Look Catsuit. Wet look club wear is all the rage but prior to the material’s invention you’d be going for leather designs to get a similar look – not half as practical and, dare I suggest, a little bit squeaky?

Black Wet Look Catsuit

What Goes Around, Comes Around

The chemise has long been a staple in any lingerie lover’s collection. Its loose fit and flowing lines can easily be produced in any number and combination of fabrics and can be worn as an under-garment or as a piece of seductive lingerie. Changes in style and fabrics are driven by manufacturing capabilities as well as creative design. Take the two examples below.

Ava Gardner in a chemise

Here’s Hollywood Legend, Ava Gardner in a pin-up shot from around 1950 wearing a lace and satin chemise. And here’s one of our current products, this Beaded Cross Back Lacy Chemise by Anais Lingerie is remarkably similar.

Beaded Cross Back Lacy Chemise Set

Why change a good thing? Generally speaking, when it comes to lingerie trends, we are embracing a lot of history. The female form hasn’t changed dramatically for a few millennia. Human beings have always bowed down to the body beautiful. It’s hardly surprising then that when it comes to old versus new in the underwear world, all eras tend to converge.

woman wearing retro corset in forest

About the Author Isla Torsten

Isla knows a good set of underwear when she sees it. Isla firmly believes that attitude and confidence are the key ingredients to looking just fabulous in your lingerie. She’s also an avid online shopper, capable of spotting a bargain at 20 paces.