The 1920s lingerie revolution: How women ditched corsets for comfort and freedom

1920s lingerie, women's underwear, corsets

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As times change, so, too, do styles evolve. The Roaring 20s was an era of a massive shake-up in society — women were claiming their rights, freedom, and representation in society. It’s not so surprising that clothing fashions of the day reflected this hard-won empowerment! 

The flapper style was all the rage, and with shorter hemlines, looser clothing and a more relaxed overall silhouette — needless to say, the traditional corset was outta there. Bring on the revolution in 1920s lingerie!

Women started wearing more lightweight and flexible undergarments like girdles and brassieres. These new foundation garments were all about creating a smooth and streamlined look. No more hourglass shape from corsets — these new “figure garments” were all about being comfortable, and allowing for more freedom of movement.

1920s lingerie illustration - Click Americana

Another change was the rise of the “step-in” or “chemise” slip. This was a one-piece garment that replaced the traditional camisole and drawers combo. It was worn with a separate girdle or brassiere, and was a lot more comfortable and practical.

Altogether, the revolution in 1920s lingerie (just like the fashion that covered it) was all about comfort and practicality — reflecting the changing attitudes and lifestyles of women during this period. Below we’ve collected photographs and illustrations that perfectly demonstrate the popular (and necessary!) foundation garments of this time period.

1920s lingerie: Women’s step-in and bandeau underwear

Everything that the Modern requires of a foundation garment is illustrated in this step-in and bandeau by Gossard.

Fourteen inches of openwork elastic and satin, lightly boned, ease the figure into lines of supreme smartness. One-side lacing permits adjustment to the individual waistline. Even the bandeau achieves new lines and new easiness by shaping to a 3-inch elastic.

Ask your corsetiere for Gossard Step-in 1063, at $10, and uplift bandeau 914, in satin tricot.

1920s women's underwear by Gossard - Click Americana 1


1920s lingerie: “What the slender Modern wears for grace and chic”

It is just a twelve-inch bit of double crepe and fine elastic, soft as the skin it caresses …. but designed by Gossard! Ask for Gossard Step-in 994 at $8.50. Uplift Bandeau 1594. 

1920s women's underwear by Gossard - Click Americana 2


Gossard Charmosette elastic fabric for women’s underwear (1920s lingerie)

A solitare combined with dainty, durable royal batiste, and finished with adjustable, detachable shoulder straps.

1920s women's underwear by Gossard - Click Americana 3


Boneless honeycomb mesh summer foundation garment (1920s lingerie)

Comes the Summer, with sheer fabrics, daring prints that demand faultless figure grace — flares, ruffles, snug hip lines.

To meet Summer, and to meet Fashion, the smart woman turns to the distinctive Gossard group of foundations particularly designed for hot weather wear.

Joyously cool is the combination shown here, made of the new honeycomb mesh. It is boneless, as sheer and easily laundered as lace —but as durable as brocade. The fabric is doubled through the lower sections and sides are of soft, open-work elastic. Model 6615, $10.00.

ALSO SEE: What is a flapper? Get the inside scoop on this popular 1920s term here

1920s women's underwear by Gossard - Click Americana 4


1920s lingerie: Women’s foundationwear

Another Gossard triumph — this! Another irresistible suggestion of how the celebrated Gossard Line of Beauty can be emphasized by the simplest foundationwear. For, you must realize the subtle curves which your figure enjoys are really nature-endowed. The Gossard Line of Beauty is your own entirely.

Your Gossard garment merely enhances its charm by the gentlest retention, scientifically planned. And could anything be gentler —give you more freedom and comfort than this deft combination of hook-around and separate bandeau?

Yet the line is preserved— the ideal silhouette achieved as perfectly as if molded in marble. Your Gossard shop has these actual garments on display. See their perfect handiwork with your own eyes. Ask for a fitting and you will be forever committed to this ideal mode.

A hook-around made of attractive satin brocade and machine-woven elastic. It has an elastic top of fancy two-inch web. There is a panel of brocade over each hip between the elastic sections. The back and side panels are boned and there is a boned lining section over the abdomen. $10.00.

Cunningform bandeau made of crepe de chine designed to give an uplift effect by means of drawstrings diagonally placed so that the bandeau may be adjusted as desired. Insert of two-inch elastic in back.

1920s women's underwear by Gossard - Click Americana 5


1920s lingerie: Gossard “figure garment” (1927)

When one is sure of a groomed appearance, the trials of uncomfortable weather become less formidable. Gossard figure garments for summer assure groomed and graceful lines to the most difficult, filmy frock …

Ask your corsetiere to show you model 556 … a pliable, lightweight Gossard clasparound, of brocade and elastic, illustrated here. Center clasp, or hooking down the side, $5.

1920s women's underwear - Gossard (1927) Click Americana 4


Half the fun of sports depends on figure support (1927)

Slide — glide — the musical sound of skates speeding over blue-white ice — cheeks red — hair blowing — supple bodies bent to the wind!

How the athletic girl appreciates the pliancy, the buoyant, constantly yielding suppleness of Gossard combinations!

No matter what her favorite sport, her enjoyment is increased when her figure is supported — every move she makes is confident, her sport-loving qualities have a background of physical reliance — and her natural vanity is pleased with her delicately curved silhouette.

Be sure to see this striking new Tedetite, model 3676. Lovely — boneless — soft — yet molds and holds the figure in perfect, natural lines. $5.

In a new group of Gossard garments, Charmosette is featured. Charmosette is the new, superior, tested elastic… More buoyant, more durable, more supple, more moulding than any other elastic ever made. Ask for it by name — Channosette has no equals.

1920s women's underwear - Gossard (1927) Click Americana 1


Insouciant grace: Spring undergarments for women

Unconscious figure grace — such is the gift of Gossard figure garments to women. She who is Gossard-supported feels a thrill of confident grace when she strides over the green, following a long, straight drive — a thrill of exhilaration free from fatigue when she reaches the eighteenth hole.

Figure charm and figure comfort both depend on proper support. There is a Gossard for every figure and every type of gown. Model 2425, an ideal Spring athletic garment, is shown in the illustration. $3.50.

1920s women's underwear - Gossard (1927) Click Americana 2

ALSO SEE: 25 vintage dresses from the Roaring 20s that would fit right into the Great Gatsby


For summer frocks: Sheer foundations (1927)

Silken frocks for summer fashions need the softest, lightest of foundation garments beneath them. So light that they are almost weight-less, giving no restraint, yet skilfully designed to groom and mold the figure to the smartest lines such are Gossard Summer figure garments, specially designed for Summer wear.

A lovely two-piece Gossard Tedetite, and uplift bandeau, and soft, boneless girdle composed entirely of satin tricot. The pantie frill, attached to the girdle, completes an entire under costume. $5.00.

1920s women's underwear - Gossard (1927) Click Americana 3

Daintiness of color, material & trimming rule in the realm of lingerie (1922)

Antique lingerie for women from 1922


1920s lingerie: Munsingwear underwear for women

Munsingwear underwear for women from the 1920s


Vintage 1920s lingerie: Wolfhead undergarments for ladies

Vintage 1920s Wolfhead undergarments for ladies


Vanity “V” combination garments (1923)

Not a corset, not a brassiere: A combination garment that makes the figure more beautiful.

Vanity “V” is easy to put on. Clasp in center of the body — a very handy feature. Note how easy the brassiere hooks under the arm — a very convenient feature.

1920s lingerie and women's underwear from 1923 (4)


1920s lingerie: Antique girdles

An original garment smartly styled for a comfortable fit and dine support. Made of very strong pink coutil — double across the front and with fine, heavy, knitted, mercerized elastic sides.

Old-fashioned 1920s lingerie and underwear from 1928 (1)


Dressy bust confiners lingerie (1923)

Including old-fashioned bandeaus and brassieres made with lace, cotton, satin, and more.

1920s lingerie and women's underwear from 1923 (1)

MORE: These antique travel trunks let people travel in perfectly-organized style, and put modern suitcases to shame


Our famous comfort corsets with woven boning (1923)

These famous corsets have become great favorites and are regularly purchased by thousands of customers because they are very comfortable, yet give excellent support.

The extraordinary boning is made of fine rust-resisting galvanized, woven so that it bends in every movement of the body, without turning in the stay pocket. It affords perfect freedom, combined with good support.

1920s lingerie and women's underwear from 1923 (2)

1920s lingerie and women's underwear from 1923 (3)


Old-fashioned Practical Front corsets (1923)

1920s lingerie and women's underwear from 1923 (5)


Silk, satin, and rayon 1920s lingerie and gowns in color (1928)

Vintage 1920s lingerie in color (1928)


Cool and dainty summer 1920s lingerie

Bandeau brassiere and step-in combination with closed crotches, in lustrous satinette, striped nainsook, fancy voile, fancy mandras, and more.

Old-school 1920s lingerie for summer (1929)


1920s lingerie: Foundation garments and girdle brassieres (1928)

The sheer combination — Double french voile

Made of double-thickness transparent, French Voile, so light and sheer you scarcely know you have anything on, yet so smartly styled that it holds the figure in the correct line. Brings luxurious ease and grace to your form, but with all its daintiness will give excellent wear.

Old-fashioned 1920s lingerie and underwear from 1928 (5)


Lingerie and underwear line of Vanity “V” garments (1928)

Our famous Vanity “V” gives new figure lines with correct support.

Widely copied, never equaled.

Stout women, too, can now have those lovely lines

Product of a master maker, marvelously fashioned to distrbute the flesh evenly, to give improved grace, carriage and a slender apperance to the heavy figure. Rayon figured pink fabric has comfortable soft “Swami” (Rayon jersey) top, and is heavily comfortable well down over the figure.

Old-fashioned 1920s lingerie and underwear from 1928 (4)


Stylish figure formers (1928)

Clasp around lacerie styles — all-elastic step-in and pullover styles — hook side girdles

Old-fashioned 1920s lingerie and underwear from 1928 (3)


Vintage corsets with coiled wire boning (1928)

Old-fashioned 1920s lingerie and underwear from 1928 (2)


Ad from 1920 – Wash silk underwear in Lux

Ad from 1920 - Wash silk underwear in Lux


1920s lingerie for brides either tailored or very fancy (1920)

From The Evening Missourian – June 2, 1920

Many girls this season are confining their trousseau lingerie more strictly to wash materials than have brides of the past few years. Outside of the negligee and a few other pieces of silk underwear, the rest is usually of cotton, but the cotton materials chosen are more varied than ever before.

However, first let us consider the negligee — that garment that every girl looks upon a vital part of the trousseau. The slip-over models of crepe de chine are especially pretty this season. A beautiful apricot one has a large butterfly embroidered in blue on the left side.

Getting ready for the wedding Bridal lingerie (1920)

Many are choosing breakfast coats of taffeta or two-toned satin instead of the more flowing negligees. For the latter type, a georgette cape edged with silk lace worn over a crepe de chine slip is good.

The bride’s trousseau

Every trousseau should contain a little matinee of crepe de chine or georgette. With a pretty petticoat or slip, one can be so easily slipped on to meet the unexpected caller. Rosebuds and lace usually furnish the trimming for these.

Much of the prettiest wash underwear is trimmed with fine Irish crochet or filet lace. Gowns and teddy bears of handkerchief linen or nainsook have insets of Irish crochet and tiny hand-run tucks as their only trimming.

Vintage 1920s lingerie and underwear

Hand hemstitching is another popular trimming this year. A pretty teddy has a row of the hemstitching around the top and three rows across the front. The rows in the front terminate in little colored flowers of French knots. The shoulder straps are also hemstitched.

Voile has invaded the field of undies, and bids to become a favorite. The white is usually bound with colored voile. A little gown of white has the neck, bottom and armholes bound with blue. A blue basket is stitched on the left side, and French knot flowers fall from it.

ALSO SEE: 1960s lingerie, underwear, pantyhose, girdles, garters, slips & more vintage women’s foundation garments

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