Exquisite undergarments present a strange dichotomy to those beyond the realm of the connoisseur. They are ostentatious yet designed with discretion in mind; functional yet entirely indulgent. An ostensible union of opposites that preserves feminine attributes yet remodels the female form upon each wear – their strictures somehow releasing the archetypal figure.
As a child, I was enlightened to the benefits of proper lingerie by my grandmother. Her daily choice of underwear – longline bra; high-waist panty; and nylons – meant that I always saw her walk with an upright carriage and exude an authoritative female attitude. While this was undoubtedly bolstered by her own inner fortitude and charisma, I still remember how her morning sartorial ritual would transform her into a demure yet reckonable lady of the house.
Though mainstream tastes have tilted more towards the casual, vintage lingerie styles are still present – in this postmodern world, all eras exist simultaneously – and there is a panoply of choice for the wearer. There are trends, granted, but no such thing as standardisation. While some may view vintage lingerie as conservative and its followers as those who would espouse an archaic notion of femininity, one could wager that the very act of reclaiming these outmoded styles and repurposing them for today is a victory for the modern lady. Rather than consigning these precious articles of clothing and their patterns to a cultural waste bin, the contemporary woman can utilise them to discover new avenues towards self-expression and ownership of identity.