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

While primarily designed to steer buyers to online vintage clothing shops, this blog is chock full of interesting, … [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 60s Aqua Semi Sheer Silky Nylon Deep Pretty Lacy Slip Dress Petticoat 38"Vtg 50s/60s Lemon Semi Sheer Silky Nylon Embroidered Slip Dress Petticoat 40"Mens Vans Pukas Trainers White Red Sz 6 Slip On Us 7 Eu 39 Womens Us 8.5 Ltd VtgVintage 1950s/60s Margret Ultra Sheer Silky Nylon Lacy Slip Dress Petticoat 38"Vtg Kayser Ultra Sheer Nylon Three Tier Lacy Satin Bow Nightie Negligee Gown 36"Vtg 50s Inspired Rockabilly Sheer Frilly Nylon Mini Slip Petticoat Underskirt L Vtg 80s Silver Glossy Liquid Satin Bow Lacy Flouncy Slip Petticoat Underskirt LVtg 50s/60s Rockabilly Triple Layer Nylon Netting Slip Petticoat Underskirt M/lWomens Espadrilles Flats Heel Black Suede Leather Slides Slip Ons 7.5 8 VintageVtg 1960s Charnos Semi Sheer Slinky Silky Nylon Lacy Slip Dress Petticoat Uk18Vtg 70s St Michael Silky Peach Poly Satin Pretty Lace Slip Dress Petticoat Uk14Vtg 50s/60s Semi Sheer Bri-nylon Crystal Pleats Lacy Slip Dress Petticoat 40"Vintage 1960s St Michael Double Layered Nylon Lacy Negligee Nightie Gown 38" Vintage 1970s Glossy Liquid Satin Stunning Lace Slip Petticoat Underskirt L/xxlVintage 80s Dusky Pink Heavier Nylon Satin Bow Lacy Slip Dress Petticoat Uk20Vtg 1960s Rustly Noisytafetta Nylon A-line Lacy Mini Slip Petticoat Underskirt MVtg 80s Pastel Pink Semi Sheer Silky Nylon Lacy Slip Petticoat Underskirt L/xxlVintage M&s Semi Sheer Silky Poly Deep Exquisite Lace Slip Dress Petticoat Uk20A Vintage Large Pastel Pink Nylon Full Slip Super Sheer Sheer & SilkyNew Nwt Vintage Feltman Brothers Hand Smocked Layette Dress & Slip SetVintage 50s 60's Shadowline Blue Lace Embroidered Full Slip Size 36 Vtg 80s Luxurious Silk Ruffled Lace Satin Bows Slip Nightie Negligee Gown 42"Vtg Vanity Fair White Satinette Nylon Lace Chiffon Cup Full Slip Large Xl 40 42Vtg Olga Nylon Blue W/ White Lace Panels Nightgown Negligee L Large Full SweepVintage 50s 60's Gaymode Penny's Black Lace Full Slip Size 38Vtg 1930s Laros Acetate Rayon Soft Pink Lace Trim Full Slip -44 New W/tagXxxl Vtg Vanity Fair Hot Tropical Floral Sheer Lace Nylon Antron Iii Half SlipVtg M&s Glossy Wet Look Liquid Satin Pretty Lace Bows Slip Dress Petticoat Uk16Vtg Debenhams Black Noisy Nylon Taffeta & Lace Half Slip Petticoat L-xlVintage 1930s Black Satin Opera Slip Bias Cut Low Neck With Asjustable Straps 34Vintage Crocodile Leather Clutch Portfolio Slip Handle On BackVintage 70's Vassarette Underneath It All Blue Lace Full Slip Size 34 FVtg 80s Navy Blue Semi Sheer Silky Nylon Lacy Slip Petticoat Underskirt L/xxlGlamorous Vtg Pink Nylon & Cream Lace Full Length Peignoir NegligeeVintage Vanity Fair Full Slip -size 44 - White Antron Nylon -chiffon & Lace TrimVintage Vanity Fair Black Nylon A-line Half Slip 34" Long/l-xlVtg 80s Charnos Vanilla Luxurious Heavier Nylon Lacy Slip Petticoat Underskirt MVtg Baby Pink Vanity Fair Size 44 Chiffon Ribbons Lace SlipVintage 70's Vanity Fair Size 34 L White Chiffon Lace Full Slip Vintage Vanity Fair Tricot Silky Quiana Nylon Yellow-brown Bra Full Slip Size-38Vintage 1920's 30's Yellow Silk Taffeta Full-length Maxi Dress Slip Xs SVintage 1960s Nude Lace Trim Lingerie Slip Nightgown Sz M New Free People Voile Lace Red Antique Rose Print Trapeze Slip Dress TunicVintage Lane Bryant Plus Size-2-x Long Black Nylon Lace Back Slit Half SlipVintage Baby Lg Doll 10 Pc Dresses Bonnet Gowns Slip Bed Jackets Embroidered OldVtg Debenhams Black Nylon Flounced Lace Hem Formal Length Half Slip Petticoat WVtg Stylesissy Frou Frou Lacy Sheer Nylon Slip Petticoat Tu-tu 28" - 36" Max 44Well Worn Nylon Black Vintage Slip Rebel Girl With A Wild Side Blk Dress Sz XlVtg Vanity Fair Green Pink Abstract Watercolor Floral Half Slip 19" Long/smallVintage Perfectform, 52,nwt Creamy Butter Yellow Silky Nylon Full Slip With LaceVintage 70's Vanity Fair Pale Peach Pink Full Slip Size 32 LVintage 70's Shadowline Black Size 38 Full Slip Vtg Debenhams Sapphire Blue Silky Nylon Scalloped Lace Half Slip Petticoat LVintage Half Slip Purple Sheer Triacetate Tricot Shadow Panel Lingerie LVintage Maidenform Chantilly Ivory Half Slip Size L (never Worn) Union Label!!40's 50's Vintage Antique Dyed Slate Lavender Purple Crochet Slip Dress Xl TlcVtg Square Dance Petticoat Slip Skirt Malco Modes S/m Waist 22-34" Blue SwingKayser Vintage 1970s Slip Dress Mint Blue Nylon Lace Goddess Nightie Negligee LLots Of Lace!! Vtg Bali Sz 40 Antron Nylon Full Slip Nightgown Sissy XlAntique Victorian 1900s Vintage Edwardian Petticoat Cotton Slip Skirt 27" Waist