I’m new to retro underwear, where should I start? – Part 1 – Bras

Before I started wearing retro underwear, I thought that the only bras that I could or should wear were underwired molded cups. I thought that buying a bra with a bit of black lace made it sexy, and push up bras were ‘kind of old school’. I would usually have judged a bra based on how much cleavage it gave me, ie. I wanted as much as possible! I clearly had no idea what I was doing, and it makes me cringe knowing how long I wore that style of bra for. I’m sorry boobs, I have mistreated you!

Now that I have educated myself on the different styles available to women on the market, and what I enjoy wearing, I know that I never have to wear an underwire molded cup bra ever again, unless I really want to! I have also looked at countless photos of black and white photos of women from the 1930s through to the 1960s and grown rather fond of their bust lines. Women wore bras that lifted their breasts up without creating a cleavage, separated them, and brought each breast to a point.

For me, there are various characteristics of a bra that makes it a ‘retro style’. Below is a checklist that I subconsciously go through when looking for a bra:

  • Does it give me a cleavage? If yes, how much? If not, excellent! (women barely ever showed their cleavage and wore high necklines)
  • Is the bra underwired? If it is, I am 99% likely to reject it. If I REALLY love an underwired bra, I will give it a go
  • Is each cup made up of two or three pieces? I prefer three piece cups as it give me a lot of support and a pointy breast, but two piece soft cup bras can also work very well for me and still created a slight point
  • Are the straps thick? I can’t deal with skinny straps, and most women back in the good old days couldn’t either
  • How many claps are there on the back of the bra? I need at least three in a row, preferably five
  • Is the bra well structured? I don’t do flimsy hankies tied around my boobs
  • Is it likely to be comfortable? If I’m going to wear a bra all day, I need it to be comfortable!

Added bonuses:

  • Fancy stitching, such as circular or whirlpool stitching
  • Satin  – Satin underwear feels heavenly, and it’s very pretty. Women who could afford it would have their underwear made up of satin
  • Longline – You can’t beat a longline bra when it comes to avoiding the bra bulge and smoothing out the torso
  • Extra pointy breasts, such as the famous ‘bullet’ or ‘cone’ shape bras

I would wear any of the below bras, as they all pass my retro bra test (despite there being an underwire or two present). If you would like to make the most of your vintage or vintage style outfit, make sure you investigate the below brands (this is only a small list but a good start) and see what works for you.

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Glamorise

Style 1265

Style 1200

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 5.05.44 pmCortland Intimates

Longline Posture Bra

Support Front Closing Soft Cup Bra Style 9605C

Longline Soft Cup Bra Style 7808

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Exquisite Form

Original Fully Bra 532

Original Fully Longline Bra 7532

Fully Longline Posture Bra 7565

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Playtex

‘CYH’ Wirefree Support Bra

‘Fits Beautifully’ Wirefree Bra

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Comfort Choice

Posture Support Soft Cup Bra

Front-hook wirefree 3/4 longline bra

Longline wirefree bra

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Carnival

Wide band shoulder strap longline

3/4 length longline

Camisole longline

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What Katie Did

Maitress bullet bra

Padded bullet bra

Cone bra

Coco cathedral bra

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Triumph

Kiss of cotton wire-free bra

Poesy firm support wire0free bra

Doreen cotton longline

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Dottie’s Delights

Millie pink bra

Bricolage black longline bra

Show off bra

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Secrets in Lace

Satin bullet bra

Coquette sheer bullet bra

Leopard satin bullet bra

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Rago Shapewear

Style 2202 in black and white

Elinor

6 thoughts on “I’m new to retro underwear, where should I start? – Part 1 – Bras

  1. I’ve been searching everywhere for pretty retro style bras in my size (32JJ) but having no luck. I suppose it doesn’t help that I can’t imagine feeling supported enough without an underwire, but my search continues! I wonder what super busty women back in the day wore?

      • Thanks Elinor! I tried it on in store here but unfortunately it only goes down to a 12/34 band apparently so it’s just a bit too roomy on me and with my short torso it didnt sit right (curse you weird body), but it was so pretty and definitely the style I am after! I’m going to check out the Elila bras mentioned by Miss Fairchild below and see if anyone else can confirm they have a really tight band because they’re gorgeous! 🙂

    • Can I also suggest trying “Elila” they have a huge cup ranges. I think their band size only goes down to 34…but with almost no stretch I went up a few band sizes which meant going down a few cup sizes. No underwire and the most supportive bras I have ever worn.

  2. Thank you for these recommendations! In the last year I’ve gone from wearing 32-34A-B’s (which pretty much functioned as shifty boob covers) to some properly fitting 30DD’s in “modern” bras. Research on lingerie blogs, reddit’s ABraThatFits, and a local specialty boutique helped me to that point. Unfortunately, my goal was to start finding vintage bras and shapewear, and that particular size helps me abooouuut not at all with vintage and retro lingerie (especially with my shape, which tends to work well in the moulded cups and not so well in sewn cups). I realize you may not have personal experience with my size, but if anyone has suggestions for some potential good fits that won’t break the bank and are returnable within the US, I’d love some help. Thus far, my guesswork orders of vintage bras on eBay (from 30D to 34B and in between) have been pretty much all misses, even if some are wearable. I’ve previously been referencing posts like this: http://www.thelingerieaddict.com/2015/07/making-vintage-bras-work-for-you-sizing-sourcing-and-wearing-bras-underneath-your-vintage-clothes.html
    and this:
    http://bygumbygolly.com/2011/10/adventures-in-recreating-1940s-bust/ and their comment sections.

    I’d love to find a modern brand like some of the ones you’ve listed. I’m going to start with some of your recommendations for longlines that are available on Amazon Prime (free returns…) in my “+4” size and I’m happy to report back! Buut, if anyone has recommendations, I’d love to try them.

    • I’ve found a lot of these styles to be hard to find in smaller band sizes, especially longlines :/ What Katie Did might be a good option for you. They use the +4 method. Going by your 30DD size and their sizing information (Check out their info desk on the website) you’d be a 32D (which is the same size as me in most WKD bras, except the bullet bra which I fit a 32C in. I’ve tried their harlow bullet bra and it doesn’t look overly pointy under clothes at all. I’ve also got the glamour corselette which is now discontinued but seems to be still available on amazon and from some of their stockists and also comes as a bra, http://www.joannaswardrobe.com/shop-by-designer/what-katie-did/glamour-under.html which might work for you if moulded cups seem to suit you as it’s slightly padded but still has a vintage shape. The bottom section of the cup kind of slopes upward at an angle rather than being curved like modern bras, it’s much more obvious in real life than in their photos. Hope this helps 🙂

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