Starting out with retro underwear

This post is for the newbies out there who would like to start wearing retro inspired underwear.  There is a way of going about it and there is certainly a way of not going about it, so I’m hoping that this post helps you with your journey

I recently had a stall at a local market; a lady approached me and told me that she wanted to start wearing girdles and retro bras. I asked if she had worn vintage style foundations before and she shook her head. “Not a problem, let’s try out something light”, I said. She looked at the light girdles that I was suggesting and her eyes drifted off towards some of the firmer vintage pieces that I had on display. “I want to try that one” she said, pointing to a vintage girdle with lots of boning throughout it. I was a bit nervous about her trying it on, as she was a complete newbie, but she took it to the changing room to try it on anyway.


About 20 minutes later, she came back to my stall, looking like she had just done a long hard session at the gym! “I hate it” she said straight away. “That was the hardest thing to put on and it felt horrible!”, then she left. Unfortunately, this lady will probably not go near retro underwear again because of this experience, and that makes me super sad.

To be completely honest with you all, some pieces of underwear are not right for newbies, they can be intimidating and seem like they are too much effort to wear on a regular basis. Unfortunately, firm retro shapewear is something that most people will need to gently and slowly ease their way in to. So ladies (and gentlemen), if you have never worn a girdle or a bullet bra but would love to try, I have made a few suggestions of pieces that you could try out in order begin your love affair with foundations and stockings.

Lets start from the top, bras. I love a pair of pointy boobs, but it’s taken me a while to get to the point where I don’t feel self conscious when I wear bullet bras. So if you want a retro look without the extreme breast shape, I would suggest the below style of bra and accessories:

What Katie Did bullet bra pads (available from What Katie Did or from The Nylon Swish Boutique for Australian Shoppers) these can be added to any soft cup bra and they will create a slight point to the normal shape of your bust.


Naturana firm control lace bra (available from The Nylon Swish Boutique) – This is such a retro style bra, it will give your bust line a slight point (rather than the modern ‘melon’ shape) and it is incredibly comfortable and supportive.


Playtex Cross Your Heart wirefree bra (available from various online stockists such as Zodee) – This is one of the rare pieces of underwear that has not been discontinued. The Cross Your Heart bra is an original, and like the above bra, won’t poke out your friends’ eyes but it will give you a beautiful shaped bust.


Girdles are great at keeping hips, bums and tums smoothed out and they can be extremely comfortable, if you choose the right style for your body and size. Girdles come in varying firmness, this is down to layering of fabric, boning, stitching, structure and many other aspects. In order to get comfortable with girdles, I would suggest going for something with the least amount of fuss, basically a band of fabric, with maybe a few stitching details, and reinforcements.

Revival Lingerie stretch roll on girdle (available from Revival Lingerie or from The Nylon Swish Boutique for Australian shoppers) – This is so pretty and comfortable, you will be able to wear this all day long without any discomfort.


Revival Lingerie high waisted sheer girdle (available from Revival Lingerie or from The Nylon Swish Boutique for Australian shoppers) – This longline sheer girdle is as comfortable as the previous girdle.


RAGO Style 8355 Open Bottom Girdle Light Shaping (available from American Shapewear) – Zero boning and lots of stretch. Another perfect starter girdle.


Stockings are great, when they don’t have a huge ladder up the side of them. It takes practise to not snag stockings. I have previously written a post about this, which would be helpful is you’re a serial stocking snagger. So until you are a champion stocking wearer, I would suggest buying a pile of cheap stockings so that when you do inevitable put a ladder up one or both of your stockings, you don’t burst into tears (I have done this).

Cindy 10 denier ultra-sheer stockings (available from Stockings HQ) – The cheapest stockings I have found so far, and I’ve managed to get a tonne of wears out of them, they are not the most beautiful stockings but they are my go-to lazy stocking.


What Katie Did retro Seamed Stockings (available from What Katie Did or from The Nylon Swish Boutique for Australian Shoppers) – These come in a variety of colours and are perfect for a vintage look.


Silky Scarlet Seamer seamed stockings (available from Stockings HQ) – Super cheap seamed stockings, perfect for the vintage newbie.


I hope this helps but please feel free to contact me if you have any questions (!


2 thoughts on “Starting out with retro underwear

  1. Thank you for giving me permission to use non FF stockings. The reason I say this is because I have gotten the impression from stocking lovers that the only legitimate way to wear this vintage style is through FF stockings, which can be quite expensive for some of us. It’s as if anything less than that suddently renders you not truly committed to the look. While I love the look of stockings, I don’t wear them regularly and have been put off about trying these less expensive versions for fear of being looked down upon by purists for not wearing the ‘real thing’. So I want to thank you for being so sensible and writing such a great intro to vintage lingerie because it has given me the confidence to wear my retro seamed stockings without being self concious that someone out there will pick it apart and say ‘those aren’t real’. Lol Isn’t that silly how self-councious we can be?

    • I love this comment, thank you for taking the time to write it. I think that people who look down on others for not wearing FFS are ridiculous. I wear cheap stretch stockings as much as I wear vintage FFS and I love it! Wear whatever you want and if anyone says anything to you, send them my way! Xxx

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