Slips descended from the chemise, originally a Victorian undergarment made of muslin and designed to protect a corset from sweat and body oils. When corsets and petticoats were abandoned in favor of streamlined flapper fashion in the 1920s, the chemise or full slip, often made of silk, remained as an undergarment that could be worn for modesty under sheer, tubular dresses.

Starting in the 1920s, the development of elasticized fabric and other new plastics led to easily laundered girdles taking the place of corsets, so full slips were then worn outside the girdle and beneath a dress. A slip served the function of hiding the boning of the girdle and the lines it created on the body. Since slips in the 1920s and ’30s were often made to go with sheer special-occasion dresses, they were frequently beaded, appliqued, or embroidered.

But the most stunning vintage slips didn’t arrive until the invention of nylon, which introduced as stockings at the 1939 World’s Fair. During World War II, nylon became an important material for ropes and parachutes, so slips were largely made of rayon until 1945. It wasn’t until after the war that nylon was employed as both a sheer chiffon and opaque material for slips. This gave manufacturers a new creative freedom to make durable, washable slips in a wide array of colors.

Then, in 1947, Christian Dior introduced the New Look in women’s fashion, designed to emphasize femininity through big skirts and the appearance of an hourglass figure with full breasts and wasp waist. Slips started to have separate cups and the frilliest, girliest adornment you can imagine—lace, crystal pleating, embroidery, applique, and rosettes. Slip hems, often used as a subtle way to hint at sexuality, were particularly elaborate.

Hence, the period between 1947 and 1963 is considered the Golden Age of Slips, with beautiful pieces being produced by Van Raalte, Vanity Fair, Warner’s, Maidenform, Kayser, Vassarette, Renée of Hollywood, and Lucie Ann. In the 1960s, the fast fashion of Mod revived the slender flapper silhouette, while hippie culture rejected binding undergarments like bras and girdles.

Around the same time, designers like Mary Quant and Liz Claiborne focused on women’s-wear separates—blouses, skirts, and pants—for the mainstream. This change made full slips largely impractical, and so lingerie companies began to produce half slips and camisoles, which could also be worn with a shirt and pants.

Lingerie production started to move overseas around the same time, so clothing companies began to look for ways to reduce costs. Slip sizing changed from the bust measurement (li...

Now, most clothing manufacturers produce items with built-in linings, negating the need for slip. Nonetheless, slips have been continually produced through the 1970s, ’80s, ’90s, and up until now. They were particularly popular in the 1980s and 1990s, when rock stars like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Courtney Love popularized the trend for wearing lingerie as outerwear.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

MyVintageVogue

MyVintageVogue

The history of 20th-century women’s fashion largely played out in the pages of magazines such as “Harper’s Ba… [read review or visit site]

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

The Fashion Columbia Study Collection (FCSC) is the digital home of the Columbia College Chicago’s fashion archiv… [read review or visit site]

1960s Fashion and Textiles

1960s Fashion and Textiles

Put on your go-go boots and check out this wavy, groovy tribute to 1960s fashion and textiles, courtesy of the Vict… [read review or visit site]

Vintage Fashion Guild

Vintage Fashion Guild

The VFG is a non-profit international educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of vinta… [read review or visit site]

Fashion-Era

Fashion-Era

Bursting at the seams with content, this site contains hundreds of pages of fashion and costume history, including … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vtg 80s Charnos Semi Sheer Silky Nylon Stunning Lacy Slip Dress Petticoat Uk16Vtg Charnos Luxurious Heavier Nylon Satin Bow Lacy Slip Dress Petticoat Uk20 NewAlegria Slip On Classic Black Vintage Floral Clog 39 Sz 9-9.5 Alg-805Vintage M&s Ultra Femme Jet Black Silky Poly Lacy Slip Dress Petticoat Uk22Sexy Vintage Silky Satin Lace Nightgown Fashion Slip Long Negligee Full Sweep 4xSexy Vintage Lingerie Satin Nylon Lace Slip Negligee Long Sweep Nightgown 2x 3x Vintage Women's Dress, Nylon (?) Pale Peach, Flower Pattern, No Slip Or BeltNylon Lace Satin Sexy Vintage Lingerie Slip Pantaloon Robe Nightgown 2x-4x Vintage Baby Dress & Slip/sewing/craft/collectiblesVintage Charnos Silky Nylon Lacy Slip Dress Negligee Nightie Gown Uk18 Tall GirlStunning Vintage 1950s/60s Semi Sheer Silky Nylon Lacy Slip Dress Petticoat 36"Sexy Vintage Slippery Satin Lingerie Lace Slip Negligee Long Nightgown 2x 3x Vtg 1960s Rare Plus Size Semi Sheer Silky Nylon Lacy Slip Dress Petticoat Uk26Vtg St Michael Rockabilly Silky Nylon Lacy Flouncy Slip Petticoat Underskirt Lxl Vintage 70s Glossy Ruffled Lacy Slip Dress Negligee Nightie Gown 38" Tall GirlVtg 80s Glossy Light Gold Liquid Satin Pretty Lacy Slip Dress Petticoat Uk14-16Sexy Vintage Silky Satin Lingerie Slip Lace Fashion Negligee Long Nightgown 3x Vtg Pink Sheer Lacy Pleated Full Sweep Slip Dress Negligee Nightie Gown Uk14Vintage 1950s Rustly Noisy Tafetta Nylon Lacy Mini Slip Petticoat Underskirt M/lSexy Vintage Lingerie Silky Satin Slip Lace Fashion Negligee Long Nightgown 3xLarge Sweeping Satin Vintage Long Crystal Pleated Dance Slip SkirtStunning Vtg 70s Double Layer Nylon Satin Bow Lacy Nightie Negligee Gown 36-38"Stunning Vtg St Michael Poly Chiffon Lacy Slip Dress Negligee Nightie Gown Uk18Vtg 36-38 Jc Penney Long Beige Nylon Formal Floor Length Slip/gown 16" Slit UsaVtg Vanity Fair Full Slip Cream Shiny Antron Iii Nylon Chiffon Floral Lace Sz 38Sexy Victorias Secret Red Silk Halter Chemise Nightgown Sz L Plunge Negligee VtgSz 46 Vintage Slip~full~black Nylon~lace Top~bottom~sliperfectionL Long Sweeping Brown Vintage Slip Negligee Lingerie Olga NightgownVintage Lush Lilac Nylon Lacy Tiered Big Sweep Full Slip 44Vtg Amazing Softest Nylon Tricot Full Slip Dress W Fabulous Lace! 38 NosVtg Soft Pink Shiny Nylon & Deep Double Lace Half Slip Petticoat 12-14 (eu 42)Vtg 1980s Littlewoods Silky Nylon Lacy Flouncy Slip Petticoat Underskirt Uk20-22Vtg St Michael White Stiff Noisy Nylon Taffeta & Lace Hem Half Slip Petticoat M40s Vtg Ww11 Slinky Panties Cc Pink French Knickers Lingerie Slip Brief 36 WaistM&s Vtg Soft Shiny Glossy Nylon Dress Full Slip Petticoat 41" Bust [v79Vintage Pale Green Shiny Nylon & Scalloped Lace Full Slip Petticoat XxlSaucy Vtg 50s/60s Vanity Fair Sheer-lace Bust/wide-hem Soft Nylon Slip-38 Vtg St Michael Glossy Navy Embroidered Lace Bust Full Slip Nightie Dress Sz Uk1250s Vtg Petticoat Green Crinoline Half Slip Nylon Lace Skirt Cupcake Sz L NwtVtg Saxon Satin Poly Waltz Length Quilted Slip Dress Nightie Negligee Gown Uk22Vintage St Michael Black High Gloss Liquid Satin & Lace Half Slip Petticoat 14Vintage Vans Slip-on's Men's Size 9 1/2 Nib (639)Vtg Charnos Mink Heavy Luxury Nylon Pretty Lace Slip Petticoat Underskirt Uk16Vintage Peignoir Robe~fredericks Blue Chiffon Negligee Lingerie Gown S M 36-36bVintage St Michael Silky Poly Stretchy Lacy Slip Dress Petticoat Nightie Uk2050s Vtg Petticoat Peach Crinoline Half Slip Chiffon Lace Skirt Cupcake Sz S NwtVintage Vanity Fair Aqua Blue All-in-one Spandex Half Slip Shaper Size- LargeVintage Evans Rockabilly Silky Nylon Lacy Flouncy Slip Petticoat Underskirt L20 Pc Lot Vtg Nylon Lingerie Clean Up Shadowline Dior Vanity Fair Slip PantiesVanity Fair Vintage 60s Sheer Tricot Chiffon Sz 36 Nightgown Peignoir Lace Slip Vtg Red Nylon Black Lace Teddy Romper Lingerie Slip Sz 2xPretty & Lacy Pink Full Dress Slip - L/xl - Excellent VintageVtg 1950's Barbizon Sheer Black Lace Hem Embroidered Silky Full Slip 40"Vintage White Half Slip/petticoat, Small To Medium, LaceVintage Private Treasures By Avon Red Silky Half Slip Black Lace Hem Sz LVtg 60s Lingerie~ Nylon Chiffon Nightgown Sheer Gown S Small 1960s Peach SlipVtg St Michael Lcream Lace Bust Full Long Petticoat Underdress Slip Nightie Uk22Vtg 36 Black Silky Nylon Kayser Luxite Long Formal Slip/gown Floor Length Nwt Vtg Kayser Double Layer Nylon Embroidered Nightie Negligee Gown 38" Tall GirlVintage 80s St Michael Baby Blue Silky Poly Slip Underskirt & Cami Top Set Uk16