March 24, 2015

Jantzen Was More Then Just Swim Bathing Suits!

In 1910, Portland Knitting Company began in downtown Portland, Oregon, with a few hand-knitting machines above a tiny retail store. Little did founders Carl Jantzen, Roy and John Zehntbauer know that they would achieve both fame and controversy as swimwear pioneers. Producing a wool suit for a rowing team they began offering "bathing suits" in their catalog. Knit on sweater cuff machines, the suits became popular with swimmers. The demand increased for those "Jantzens" and the company name was changed in 1918 to Jantzen Knitting Mills. The suits were made of 100% pure virgin wool. Matching stockings and stocking cap completed the costume of the day. Early advertisements guaranteed the famous rib-stitch "gives that wonderful fit".

Fast Forward...1940's

Business perked up in 1941 after Jantzen added sweaters, foundations (girdles) and active sportswear to its basic line. In December of that year, the attack on Pearl Harbor changed the economic picture through 1945. Production of civilian goods declined while military orders increased. Military items produced by Jantzen included sweaters, swim trunks, sleeping bags, gas masks carriers, and parachutes.With the war's end, the company stressed new styling by nationally known designers such as Louella Ballerino. Nylon was a preferred fabric. The bikini introduced in France in 1946, set the style for brevity in swimwear and became a worldwide fashion classic.

March 22, 2015

Sinful Sunday Brief History of Nylon Stockings

The Beginning

It all started in 1930. In an attempt to find a substitute for silk, .researchers for the DuPont Company studied chains of molecules called polymers. Pulling a heated rod from a beaker containing carbon-and alcohol-based molecules, they found the mixture stretched and, at room temperature, had a silky texture. This work culminated in the production of nylon marking the beginning era of synthetic fibers.

Nylon Stockings - 1939 New York World's Fair

Nylon was first used for fishing line, surgical sutures, and toothbrush bristles. DuPont touted its new fiber as being "as strong as steel, as fine as a spider's web," and first announced and demonstrated nylon and nylon stockings to the American public at the 1939 New York World's Fair.According to The Nylon Drama authors David Hounshell and John Kenly Smith, Charles Stine, vice president DuPont unveiled the world's first synthetic fiber not to a scientific society but to three thousand women's club members gathered at the site of the 1939 New York World's Fair for the New York Herald Tribune's Eighth Annual Forum on Current Problems. He spoke in a session entitled 'We Enter the World of Tomorrow' which was keyed to the theme of the forthcoming fair, the World of Tomorrow."

Full Scale Production of Nylon Stockings

First Nylon Plant DuPont built the first full-scale nylon plant in Seaford, Delaware, and began commercial production in late 1939. The company decided not to register nylon as a trademark, according to Dupont they, "choose to allow the word to enter the American vocabulary as a synonym for stockings, and from the time it went on sale to the general public in May 1940, nylon hosiery was a huge success: women lined up at stores across the country to obtain the precious goods."The first year on the market, DuPont sold 64 million pairs of stockings. That same year, nylon appeared in the movie, The Wizard of Oz, where it was used to create the tornado that carried Dorothy to the Emerald City.

Nylon Stocking & the War Effort

In 1942, nylon went to war in the form of parachutes and tents. Nylon stockings were the favorite gift of American soldiers to impress British women. Nylon stockings were scarce in America until the end of World War II, but then returned with a vengeance. Shoppers crowded stores, and one San Francisco store was forced to halt stocking sales when it was mobbed by 10,000 anxious shoppers.Today, nylon is still used in all types of apparel and is the second most used synthetic fiber in the United States.

See more and courtesy of

See Ya Tomorrow! xo

March 21, 2015

Lovable Lingerie

In 1926, Frank and Gussie Garson founded the Lovable Co., a maker of lingerie, mainly bras. Their son Dan Garson became company chairman after his service in World War II and Dan’s son, Frank II, joined the business later. In the almost 9 decades that this company was in business, it employed over 3,000 workers across the globe.

Vintage Lingerie Reference Books

For all your vintage lingerie reference books, pictures, or history, please visit my vintage lingerie library where you can buy any of these books here, or click on any of these books below:

For all your vintage lingerie needs, reference and awesome pictures, I highly recommend these books. I have each one in my library and refer to them all the time.

See Ya Tomorrow! xo

March 20, 2015

Vintage Inspired Lingerie Piece of the Week

Dollhouse Bettie Naima Midnight Crochet Gown

Dollhouse Bettie's Naima collection brings vintage glamour and modern comfort together in a perfect symphony of elements that makes these style incredibly unique. They wanted to capture the elegance of 1930s bias cut slips and gowns in a way that made them completely wearable, so they turned their eye to the slinkiest rayon jersey, replicating the flowing drape and ultra body skimming fit. They added a stunning crochet insert and created a low back twist halter so you'll be just as gorgeous from the back as you are from the front view. The crochet bodice is just as soft as the rayon knit and you'll adore sleeping in these sumptuously vintage inspired modern muse pieces.

Dollhouse Bettie Naima Midnight Modal Wrap Robe

The Naima long gown is for the sophisticated muse who's unapologetically devoted to glamour. Drape yourself in this incredibly flattering and equally comfortable style and you'll never want to take it off. Available in sizes Small to Large. Rayon and spandex body, 100% cotton crochet insert. Hand made in their San Francisco studio.. See Ya Tomorrow! xo

March 19, 2015

A Brief History on Corsets

The corset during the 1800 and early 1900’s. This was a time of popularity and change for the garment known as the corset. The silhouette below shows the changes in the shape of the corset from 1896 – 1917, the main time period this blog entry will look at.

The 1800’s was a boom time for corsets. For the first time there are recorded adverts, cartoons and writings for male corsets. The Dandy appears on the scene, placing great importance on physical appearance, and leisure. The Dandy often worn a corset to help his figure and to create the smooth lines that were seen as most fashionable during that time. The probable truth is that many a man wore a corset or body belt to keep the smooth lines of men’s clothing in the late 1700 and early 1800’s.

King George IV was known to wear a body belt. A replica is shown is his collection of clothing in the London Museum. The piece dates circa 1824 . The replica was made from the original tailors pattern. King George IV was also known to have worn a similar corset in 1821 where he nearly fainted due to severe constriction and heat. You can read more about the making the replica body belt here: Regency Reproductions  

Corsets for men were typically made from a lightweight coutil (cotton). The corsets laced up the back and often had buckled straps at the side to prevent the abdomen bulging.

The shape of the women’s corset changed dramatically during this era. The Regency fashion of this time, with flowing gowns and empire waists, changed the body silhouette. At the beginning of the 1800’s until 1810 the fashionable style of corset tended to be short. During this time the demi-corset is thought to become widespread with the middle classes, it was lighter and shorter, allowing women to have shaping support while doing housework. Think of it as the Regency equivalent to a good bra!  The corset took on the role of supporting the breasts, and no longer slimming the waist. 1850’s ushered in another change in corset construction. Corsets were shaped with bust cups, made with materials still used today;  jean and buckram and closed with elastic laces. Elastic thread was often used in the material to give the fabric more stretch.

Transitioning to the Victorian era the waistline returned to its natural position during the 1830s. The corset once again was used to support and narrow. However, it had changed its shape to the hourglass silhouette that is even now considered typical both for corsets and for Victorian fashion. It is during this period we see the addition of garter clips to the bottoms of corsets. Corsets were now being made in beautiful colors and materials, silks, satins and brocades, not just plain cotton or linen.
Until now corsets tended to be handmade and often custom pieces. In 1839, a Frenchman by the name of Jean Werly patented women’s corsets made on the loom. This type of corset was popular until 1890, when machine-made corsets gained popularity.
In the 1900’s the corset shape differed from the earlier stays in two major ways; first, the corset no longer ended at the hips, but flared out and ended several inches below the waist, and secondly, the corset was exaggeratedly curvaceous rather than funnel-shaped. Spiral steel stays were used that curved with the figure. Between 1910-1919 rust-proof boning and rubber coated spring were introduced, changing corset construction for the modern era.
The 1900’s called for an elongated torso, upright shoulders, long sloping bust and graceful hips. We would recognise this look as “The Gibson Girl”. When the exaggerated shoulders of the late 1800’s went out of fashion, the waist itself had to be cinched tighter in order to achieve the same effect. The focus of the fashionable silhouette of the mid and late 19th century was an hourglass figure.

It is during this time when tight lacing may have been used to achieve the hourglass figure the concern over the health of corsets became a rather large issue. Doctors proclaimed that wearing corsets caused a number of ailments; damage to the heart and lungs, tuberculosis, circulatory damage, indigestion, enlargement or displacement of liver, constipation, undeveloped uterus, prolapsed uterus, gallstones, and muscle atrophy. Sadly, many people still believe that many of the items on that list were actual side effects of corset wearing, and not a lack of medical understanding and product propaganda, but that is a discussion for another blog!

At the time new products popped up to fight the horrors of corset wearing, Health Corsets. In 1884, Dr. Jaeger came up with wool sanitary corsets, described as flexible and elastic. Dr. Jaeger claimed that the wool had curing capabilities and that it had cured him of his chronic health problems: excess of weight and indigestion. Another was created in 1887, a dermathistic corset with leather facing. It was marketed towards women who wanted better health and enjoyed a vigorous lifestyle. Brothers and Doctors, Lucien and Ira De Ver Warner who lectured about the evils of corset, sold the Coraline Health Corset. Made with flexible fibers from the Coraline plant. Their factory of weavers were making 6000 corsets a day, by 1894 they were millionaires.

Some women decided to throw out their corsets and be part of the Rational Dress movement. Where women dressed in free-flowing clothing. A similar movement will find a resurgence in the 1920’s.
The Edwardian corset came along by 1902. It’s new straight front, made the shoulders upright, formed a long sloping bust and ended with a graceful curve over the hips. This silhouette popularised by the American artist, Dana Gibson, and portrayed by Miss Camille Clifford, gave rise to the Gibson Girl by 1905. However, by 1907 the corset shape had changed again, trying to disguise the hips instead of accentuate them. By 1918 the corset rested well under the bust and extended to mid-thigh. By this time the corset is beginning to transform into the girdle.
Between 1902-1905 several “Bust Improvers” came on the market. The Neena bust improver was made of cup-shaped perforated metal disks, which promised to give all women the bust of Venus de Milo. The other was referred to as a bust bodice and was worn over the corset and resembled the modern bra. In 1916  a new undergarment was advertised to take the place of the old-fashioned camisole, called the brassiere.
By 1920 the corset as it had been known in years past had mostly fallen out of fashion, it was replaced by looser clothing and the bra. Though many women still wore long line girdles and restrictive compression bras, they were rarely laced and supported by stays. The bras of the 1920s were very tight, compressing the breasts to produce the straight, shapeless form that was fashionable.
The corsets that were still on the market were made of elastic or even rubber. They were used to hide the hips, thighs and tummy. The belt was a common substitute for the corset, were made of elastic and often zipped closed. They allowed the wearer freedom of movement.
In the timeline below you can see how much the lines of fashion changed in the years we looked at in this blog entry. The lines of fashion dictated the quickly changing and sometimes harsh lines of the corset.

From this point in fashion history the story of the corset, becomes the story of the girdle. In our next blog we will look at the comeback of the corset in the 20th century.

This is reblogged from: 

See Ya Tomorrow! xo

March 18, 2015

Evolution of French Lingerie

Courtesy of
Fashion designers, haute couture, birthplace of clothing trends and artisans with unrivaled expertise, Paris is considered around the world to be the capital of fashion. But did you know that French lingerie is also known throughout the world? Paris Attitude offers you a brief overview of an industry that has been a part of women’s daily lives for centuries, and that has continuously evolved in accordance with eras and customs.

Present in the lives of women since antiquity, lingerie has continuously evolved over the centuries, especially with regard to its shape.In Ancient Rome,“body linen” (as lingerie was previously called) was a simple strip of fabric meant to flatten out the breasts. The Middle Ages gave way to the corset, a true straightjacket that imprisoned women’s bodies and was not without health consequences: deformity of the rib cage, difficulties breathing… The centuries passed and underwear evolved. At the beginning of the 19th century, the corset took the shape of an S, highlighting the female body, but aesthetics and practicality did not yet go hand in hand.

Lingerie experienced a genuine evolution during the Second World War. While men were off at the front, women had to replace them in factories or in the fields, and needed comfortable underwear that wouldn’t impede their actions. The girdle, used to cover shapes, appeared in the 30s. Then in the 50s, lingerie became sexier: bustiers, garter belts, even bras finally experienced some success, emphasizing the female bosom. Designer Christian Dior noticed women’s needs to reconnect with their femininity; with his New Look style, he offered plunging and slightly cone-shaped bras, a true clothing revolution for the era.

New materials emerged, such as lycra in the 60s, (then chiffon, lace, stretch fabric, silk, and fishnet) that combined aesthetics with comfort, while new technologies allowed for more appealing undergarments. Lingerie became a true asset of seduction!

In recent years, trends have intermingled, even bringing shapes from the past back into contemporary designs. Many French designers have taken hold of lingerie and made it an object of genuine couture, namely designer Chantal Thomass (whose collections are inspired by a “boudoir” ambiance) and the Cadolle fashion house, in existence since 1889, a genuine institution in the domain of French lingerie. The fashion house offers a few ready-to-wear models, but mainly custom pieces (€600-€1,500 for a bra, up to €5,000 for an haute couture bustier).

The EiFfel Tower, a genuine iron lady!
Did you know? When the Eiffel Tower made its appearance in 1900, Parisians thought the building looked like a woman’s leg in fishnet stockings, and the Eiffel Tower’s 4 “feet” resembled garter belt clips. Legend has it that Gustave Eiffel, inventor of the famous tower, had been in the habit of joking around about his wife’s stockings, saying they “corkscrewed” down her legs in an inelegant way. So she challenged him to develop a strategy that would prevent them from falling down…and that is how the garter belt was born!While it is amusing, the story is completely false.

See Ya Tomorrow! xo

March 13, 2015

Vintage Hanes Stockings

Hanes was founded in 1901 by John Wesley Hanes at Winston, North Carolina under the name Shamrock Knitting Mills. He died in 1903. In 1911, Shamrock Knitting Mills built a new plant at 3rd and Marshall Streets; it was sold in 1926 and occupied by a Cadillac dealership after a larger plant was built on West 14th Street. Known as Shamrock Mills, the original building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Shamrock Knitting Mills was named Hanes Hosiery Mills Company in 1914.

March 11, 2015

Top 20 Most Bizarre Vintage Lingerie Maidenform Advertisements and History

As in this comprehensive article of the history of Maidenform here, please enjoy this article even over 20 rare  bizarre ads from vintage Maidenform.

Maidenform Brands is a manufacturer of women's underwear, founded in 1922 by three people: seamstress Ida Rosenthal; Enid Bissett, who owned the shop that employed her; and Ida's husband, William Rosenthal. They rebelled against the flat-chested designs of the time and instead produced both dresses and support undergarments, particularly bras that accentuated the natural shape of a woman's figure, hence the name Maidenform.

The company was founded in Bayonne, New Jersey.After going through a long restructuring effort at the end of the 1990s and early 2000s, Maidenform became a publicly traded company in July, 2005. Maidenform became a top leading shapewear brand taking over 40% of market share. This is #1 shapewear brand among other shapewear brands in America. Now Maidenform has about 8,000 stores in the US including Macy's and JCP Penney. Also, it has more than 75 stores all over the world. For example, Debenhams and House of Fraser in Europe and Sogo, Takashimaya in Asia. Sold to Hanesbrands in 2013.

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