Whether you’re looking for a fluorescent orange bra, a turquoise suspender belt, or green stockings, you are more than likely to be able to locate a piece of underwear in your desired colour. All these colourful pieces of underwear made me wonder how extensive the colours were when it comes to underwear from the 1930s through to the 1970s. I also wanted to find out if certain colours were worn by certain people for particular events.
Looking through vintage undergarment listings on the internet, or digging through vintage shops, you are most likely to find girdles and bras in a peach/ salmon/ tea rose colour. This was a pretty standard colour for women to own and wear in the 30s, 40s and 50s. It was considered to be feminine, utilitarian and unassuming and would have been worn daily by the average lady.
This is my absolute favourite colour when it comes to foundations.
During the times of door-to-door underwear saleswomen, the corsetieres would need to wear the finest foundations to showcase their products. Once inside their potential customer’s home, the corsetiere would often remove her well-tailored skirt suit and show the wonderful effects of her girdle, longline bra, corselette etc. In order to keep her underpinnings looking pristine and in an attempt to hide stains or marks, she would choose black pieces rather than lighter colours.
As far as I can tell, black wasn’t a standard colour for women to wear under their clothes (although some women obviously would have). I have read that it was often priced higher than most other colours as it was considered to be both luxurious and racey. Black underwear was featured heavily in fetish photos from the 19th century, through the 20th century.
I am in possession of a stunning black girdle, but the colour is broken up by peach coloured flowers, which I suspect was to tone the raunch factor down a little! You can see the little flowers in the photo below.
A colour that always makes me dribble is navy blue, I don’t own any blue foundations but I really hope to one day. I found that this colour was very popular in France, right up until the 80s. Even more dribble-worthy is the fact these French foundations were often made of satin too. Navy. Satin. Satin. Navy. Satin. Yes, I like that idea a lot. I can’t find anything explaining why the French were so enamoured with this coloured, but I’m not complaining.
Unfortunately the 1970s happened and some brands (read Marks and Spencer) tried to funk things up with flowery patterns. Expensive embroidered fabric was out, and cheap printed fabric was in, and it looked something like this:
Basically in the 1970s, your knickers were quite likely to match the walls of at least one room in your house…
The problem with these foundations was that they weren’t particularly discreet, and could easily be seen through clothing. Apparently, some young women were banned from wearing bras with such visible print during exams as it was considered to be distracting! They would probably opted for something a little more… subdued, such as these gems:
Look at the three ladies on the left, dancing around in their undies!
The one colour that appears to have been present from the very start, until the current day is white. It was and still is worn by women of all ages, from all backgrounds, for daily underwear and for fetishwear. It’s a colour that doesn’t (in my opinion) age.