Some time last year, I started seeing beautiful baby-doll and bed jackets in lilac with black trim and cute little bullet bras, all over the internet. Shortly afterwards, I discovered that these pretty pieces came from a UK brand called My Retro Closet, and was being run by one lady named Abi. I have been a fan of her work ever since and wanted to share her work with all of you! Abi has very kindly answered my questions, so read on to find out more!
Tell us about My Retro Closet
I’m Abi, 25 years old, based in the lovely little Shropshire town, Shrewsbury in the UK. I started working towards setting up my own retro lingerie business when I graduated with a Contour Fashion degree a couple of years back. My Retro Closet is a one woman, independent business where I have bought together all my favourite things. I combine some of the UK’s finest reproduction underwear brands with my handmade range of vintage inspired nightwear and lingerie. Creating a lovingly run online store where you can pick up all your pinup essentials in one place!
What lead you to create your brand?
I’ve had a love for 1950s fashion and beauty from my early teens, which I think is where it started. My degree led me to lingerie and everything started falling in to place. When my fellow graduates were heading off to start big industry jobs, it just didn’t feel right for me. I wanted to work for a company I loved and had passion for, whilst being able to remain creative. It seemed like a better time than any, and I went my own way instead!
I spent a lot of time sewing (and wearing) bullet bras, corsets & suspender belts, and whilst I love that classic 50s style I wanted to balance it with dreamy & ultra-feminine 1960s nightwear. I love the contrast of fixed bullet bra cones & the straps of suspenders combined with layers of sheer chiffon, ruffles and lace. I think it’s a magical look! Then once I started designing babydolls & bed jackets, I just couldn’t stop!
Who are your biggest style inspirations?
At the moment, I’m loving the pinup community on Instagram. There are so many amazing ladies (yourself included!) who have such a passion and dedication to retro fashion and lingerie and I find that so inspiring. I spend most of my days indoors sewing in my not-so-glamorous pjs, so I like to live vicariously through these wonderful pinups!
If you could make a garment for anyone (living or dead), who would you choose and what would you make?
Oh my gosh, there’s so many! I’d love to make Bettie Page one of my Ultimate Pinup Girl lingerie sets (below left), after all, she is the ultimate pinup! Then perhaps one of my babydoll and bed jacket sets (below right) for Jayne Mansfield, adorned with ruffles, ribbon ties and lots of sheer layers!
What are you favourite garments to make, and why?
My favourite garments to make are my ‘Joan’ babydolls (below left). My wonderful customers design such fun colour combinations, it’s like sewing something new each time. I also hand make all the ruffles you see on my nightwear. I love the mini mesh ones featured on my super 60s ‘Dixie’ babydoll (below right), they’re so fun to make! (My upcoming collection, coming this August, is all about those mini ruffles!).
Why do you think the mid-century style has become popular again?
I think it’s such a timeless look and has become such an inclusive community of designers and wearers alike. It’s not limited to a certain body type and celebrates individuality. With modern fashion and trends constantly changing, vintage inspired styles are flattering for so many and have a feminine appeal that some might argue isn’t as prevalent today.
Do you wear retro underwear on a regular basis? If so, what are your go-to pieces?
My personal collection of lingerie is certainly influenced by classic styles. I love high waist briefs, 6 strap suspender belts and seamed stockings. Right now I’m loving my coffee jive seams.
(all available at My Retro Closet)
However, most of my days are spent at the sewing machine, so while I might not wear my bullet bra and girdle under my comfortable stay-at-home clothes, I like to throw on one of my bed jacket samples (I have an all black ‘Jayne’ bed jacket I live in) and wear my fluffy slipper mules to make me feel more glamorous!
Can you give one piece of advice to people who wish to start wearing retro underwear?
My advice would be -wear what makes you happy! Not everyone will love or have the confidence to wear bullet bras or seamed stockings right away. But you can’t deny the happiness swishing around in one of my babydolls has! It’s a super fun way to add a touch of retro allure to your wardrobe.
Thank you Abi!
My Retro Closet has two new collections coming up this Summer to celebrate Abi’s second year in business! One is a printed cotton collection of 60s inspired sleepwear, and the other is a new mesh collection based around my mini ruffles with a 1950s showgirl/burlesque vibe! Make sure to check out her Instagram for some sneaky peeks of the new pieces!
Abi has been kind enough to provide The Nylon Swish readers with an exclusive discount code! Use the code SWISH for 15% off everything (One use per customer, no expiry).