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Ye Olde Pretty Acetate Lingerie

Updated on September 19, 2010

Acetate, or CH3COOH as I like to call it, was once the fabric of choice for much of the world's fine lingerie. Before nylon popped onto the scene with its flashy softness, it's relative cheapness of production and its steadfast resistance to getting holes in it when accidentally exposed to acetone, acetate was the soft, shiny, silk like material of choice for people who were serious about looking good and feeling good in their lingerie.

The type of acetate used in the production of acetate lingerie is cellulose acetate, an ester of acetate. It is based on cotton and wood fibers, unlike nylon and polyester, which are oil based fibers. If you're serious about moving away from a dependency on oil, you may wish to wear acetate lingerie over nylon or polyester lingerie for this reason.

If you're just serious about looking and feeling good in your lingerie, you might want to invest in acetate lingerie as well.

How Does Acetate Feel?

Acetate has an interesting feel somewhere between a fairy's kiss and the soft touch of air mail paper. It is soft, smooth, dry and crisp. It has a lovely lustrous sheen to it which has lead to it being regarded almost as highly as silk and it is incredibly comfortable to wear.

Unlike nylon, it wicks away moisture from the body, making it far more suitable for active men or women. There is no static cling with acetate, which makes doing the laundry and subsequently wearing the garment much less of a dangerous proposition. Acetate is entirely hypoallergenic and does not retain heat, making it perfect for wearing on hot days.

With all these lovely properties, not to mention the fact that is is made from wood pulp, a totally renewable resource, it seems strange indeed that lingerie manufacturers abandoned it so quickly for its petroleum based cousins. Acetate is a bit more costly than nylon to be sure, however acetate has so many advantages that one would think that many consumers would still enjoy the option of being able to purchase it.

Where Can I Buy Acetate Lingerie?

Nowadays, if one wishes to purchase acetate lingerie, one must purchase vintage acetate lingerie. Much of it is incredibly beautiful and entirely unworn. Chemises, underwear, bras, nightgowns and bloomers are all still to be found, however stock is running low and unless some bright cookie once again introduces acetate lingerie into the market (something which I think is probably only a matter of time given that world oil stores continue to dwindle and we are increasingly turning to renewable resources with which to produce goods,) vintage acetate lingerie is where it is at.

Watch this space for updates of purveyors of fine acetate lingerie.


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      tERI 8 years ago

      Dry clean panties??!! I don't think so. My mother had a great deal of acetate underwear :) and she didn't dry clean her panties!!

    • profile image

      8 years ago

      Acetate is dry-clean only. For me that outweighs all the advantages listed.

      I recently bought a modal nightie and panties, and that feels just great. It's also a cellulose fibre, which I suppose makes it more sustainable than cotton with all those pesticides.

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      Great link, Gunnau :)

      Nanciboy, acetate is indeed quite a bit like rayon, which is, as you noted, also a cellulose based fiber.

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      Gunnau 8 years ago from Central Coast NSW Australia

      A great place to buy and look at the variety of Acetate lingerie.

    • profile image

      Gunnau 8 years ago from Central Coast NSW Australia

      I have some Carole Acetate panties purchased on Oztion.

      They are so comfy and soft but my wife is not a fan because they are granny panty style. Personally, i love them and when we were flying last week, i chose them for comfort.

      I can't understand the thinking of manufacturers not using a renewable source of fiber in making clothing either Hope.

      I'd wear more of it. in fact, I'm making it a mission to buy more. Help the planet. Buy lingerie.

    • profile image

      infinitejest 8 years ago

      Note: This comment isn’t actually related to this particular hub. I just found your writing tonight and I find it very exciting. There are not enough people who address cross dressing issues like you do.

      Every so often in your hubs I’ve noticed a call to arms not just for men to break the social codes by wearing what they want to wear but also a call to break the social codes of what it means to be a cross dresser (actually even that terminology is misleading - it doesn‘t include men who wear skirts/hosiery/heels/whatever who are wearing it as masculine attire). This questioning of the social codes of cross dressing is an interest of mine. I’m a big fan of CDs/TVs who do not try to look like women but still manage look awesome (example: I like that this form of dressing doesn’t fit nicely into the usual CD/TV/drag queen moulds.

      Anyway… I had more to say but I’m running out of time. I might just continue to write non-sequitur comments on this topic later.

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      Nanciboy 8 years ago

      Oooooh, I get all goosebumpy when you talk scientific to us. 'cellulose acetate, an ester of acetate' indeed ;-)

      If memory serves me correctly I had several sets of acetate satin sheets in the late 70s and early 80s. From a mail order store called Scintilla.

      Also, from your description acetate sounds a bit like rayon (also a cellulose derived fiber). I just recently bought three Jockey camis made from bamboo rayon & cotton. The fabric acts more like cotton (not crisp or satiny)