Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Let's Talk Lingerie


Yes ladies, today I want to talk about underthings, scandalous no? When it comes to wearing vintage fashions, one usually starts with a single dress perhaps, or a classic pencil skirt, and before you know it you're trying to figure out how to store all of your 1940's hats and the best way to hand wash cotton gloves! Once the fever for vintage fashion sets in, it only gets worse (or is that better? it's certainly more fun!). The clothes can only take you so far to looking the part, the accessories on top help, but it's the foundations underneath that really sell the look. So in my quest for a 1940's silhouette, I finally broke down and used my Christmas money to invest in What Katie Did's CC09 1940's reproduction bra.


I had been wanting to buy this bra for a long while, so when it finally arrived I was so excited to try it on... Only to find out the DD cups were somehow much too small. Then I found out they don't make this style in any larger sizes. Talk about disappointing! It was so pretty tumbling out of the nice colored tissue paper wrapping, all peachy satin and retro glamour. Sadly it wasn't to be, and back I sent that lovely bra to What Katie Did in Hollywood. It was only then that I began to research other options.

Luckily the first post I came upon was Tasha's (of By Gum by Golly) most excellent thesis on the 1940's bust shape! What an excellent post! Go read it now, she goes into such glorious detail. Tasha explains what to look for when trying to find a 40's shaped bra, not necessarily a retro reproduction, but a modern bra with the same silhouette. I took her most useful advice and ordered myself a Bali Flower bra in my usual size and hoped for the best.


Now you know you're on the right track when people have left negative reviews that a bra is "old fashioned", I read those and thought "oh perfect!". This bra is marketed like any other modern bra, but the shape is perfectly 40's I assure you. Though not the fully conical bullet bra shape, the Bali Flower is definitely bullet-esk; enough that when I put it on underneath just a sweater, the shape was "sweater girl" indeed. My mom laughed (uncontrollably) at me when I went downstairs as the sweater girl and at just how comically "old fashioned" the result was indeed. The look was quite different from anything I was used too, but it certainly gives off the vintage vibe I was after! The Bali Flower has got to be one of the best (and most economical) options for a 1940's shaped bra for ladies with a larger cup size than the repro brands can cater to. Mine fit nearly perfect when it arrived, but to be honest...I don't know if I can go out in just a sweater in this bra because it is just that authentic looking. To rock the bullet shape takes more guts than I currently have! Underneath a dress or structured blouse is no trouble, it's just thinner knits and sweaters where the look is a bit too perky for wearing out of the house! To think I can wear a feathery hat with no trouble, but I'm afraid this bra would really call attention here in suburbia! 


While I work up the courage to rock the sweater girl look, I am looking forward to my dresses and suits looking just that little bit more authentic. The other popular modern-but-vintage bra is the Doreen from Triumph, but as it is pricier than the Bali Flower I have yet to order one to try out. The Doreen does come in a better beige color, so I will probably invest in one for summer when lighter colors re-enter my wardrobe. 

Do you go for the full vintage look, silhouette and all? I'm still getting used to it! If you have any other recommendations do let me know in the comments!


14 comments:

  1. Like you, I love vintage lingerie and ordered a similar bra from What Katie Did, and while it's a bit tighter than modern bras, it still fits okay. I think we're the same size (DD right? The troubles us larger bust ladies have!), and I ordered the Harlow bullet bra. http://www.whatkatiedid.com/en_gb/product/464/vintage-peach-satin-harlow-bullet-bra-by-what-katie-did I think maybe it's normal for the vintage reproduction bras to be on the smaller side, perhaps to get that sweater girl silhouette.

    I know how you feel about feeling a bit exposed wearing a bullet bra with a different silhouette! I wore mine to college once with just a blouse over the top, and I felt rather paranoid, like people were thinking "look at her pointy boobs!", haha.

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    1. The What Katie Did CC09 was indeed a 34 DD, but I found the cup size much too small! Even accounting for the accurate non-stretch fabric it was just a no go all around. I'm glad the Harlow worked out for you, I'm scared to order bras from them now, I may just have to shop in person if I make it out to LA this year.

      It is definitely an "exposed" feeling! You are very courageous to rock the bullet, I need some of your bravery :)

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  2. I find that vintage-style bullet bras are just a tad too full on. I wear girdles, cinchers, and torsolettes from WKD and I love them! But yeah the bullet bras are too pointy and I feel really self conscious!

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    1. I know what you mean, I think I'll stick to wearing them only with structured things and thicker fabrics, as I would be way too self conscious walking around all pointy! It does make me look slimmer though which is a nice bonus despite the cone factor of it all!

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  3. I have a ton of vintage style lingerie and feel it revolutionised the way my clothes sit. Many 1950s and older pieces look so much better with more authentic styles of underpinnings. When I was doing the whole 1950s thing I often wore bullet bras but never got any comments or odd looks, so I say to anyone who's thinking of trying them, 'Go for it!'.

    Oh, and just so you know, with WKD you can often get around the whole cup size is too small issue by choosing a larger back size. So, if you're normally a 32E you can get away with a 34DD. I've done that many times. Also don't let the size you tried put you off as I find each style varies in size. I have two bullet bras from them, a peach one and a white one and they're both 32D. The peach one fits me perfectly but the white one is too small. It's all trial and error with them. xx

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    1. I think its just the CC09 style that didn't work for me, I believe they offer their other more classic bullet bras in larger sizes too. I shan't give up on WKD, I adore their seamed hosiery! I may be visiting LA this spring so I might have to stop by their boutique location and see everything live :)

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  4. That really is a shame about WKD stopping at a DD. I'm sure they'd up their sales figures a good deal if they kept going at least a few sizes further.

    I do have, and will occasionally wear (vintage) bullet bras, but I much prefer the equally classic shape of a vintage or vintage appropriate long line bra (which, as a total perk, I find comfier than any other type of bra I've ever tried - so total win-win :)). The handy little bit of smoothing that it gives on the rib cage/upper abdominal area is handy, too, for helping vintage garments to fit even more nicely.

    Thank you for sharing your vintage style bra shopping experiences with us. It's surprising, come to think of it, that we don't see more undergarment posts in the vintage blogging world.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. It's not all of their bras, just this particular style, that stops at DD. I think the shape was just not right for a larger size really, though it sure looks cute on the model! I'd love to get a longline bra myself soon, the more smoothing the better I say!

      It is odd we don't see more lingerie posts in the vintage blogging realm, but then again perhaps people don't like talking about underwear! I am used to writing about corsets and stays so it's just one more era of foundations as far as I'm concerned :)

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  5. Interesting to hear about your WKD bra, I think the styles I would like to try don't come in my size either. One day I will get to a shop which stocks it and have a good try on, I am nervous to order online incase of fit issues. I really recommend the Triumph Doreen, I wear them all the time. I think they give a really great shape but not bullet bra pointy and they are comfy too!

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    1. I wont be ordering anything from them without being certain of the size again as it took them a full two weeks to honor my return too and refund me, and only because I emailed and pointed it out to them! A bit surprising, but I love their seamed hosiery so I'll keep shopping with them. I really want to try on the Doreen before I order one, I'll have to find some place the stocks them!

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  6. Thank you so much for the link to both the Bali bra and to Tasha's article! I've been looking for some vintage or at least vintage-style underpinnings, but am usually at the very top of sizes offered.

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    1. Of course Shauna! I'm glad you found it useful!

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  7. I've had problems with WKD bras - every one I've ever ordered hasn't fit properly. They've recently expanded their size range in some ranges though, so I may try again (they do an A cup now). Otherwise, I have found that good old Marks and Spencer does a few styles that aren't the modern padded plunge style, and they really DO look completely different. At first I wasn't sure I could wear them outside but my husband says it's more subtle than I think, so I've started wearing them when I'm wearing something a bit more vintage, and it really does help the whole look come together.

    Thanks for the tips!
    x

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    1. I have actually heard that a lot reading various articles around the net- that Marks & Spenser's have good options! I'll have to check out the selection next time I cross the pond. I totally agree it brings the whole look together :)

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