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Sexy Vintage Slips

Updated on April 7, 2009

1937 Sears Catalog Advertisement

Slips are something that have gone by the fashion wayside as women wear fewer dresses and skirts, but they are beautiful garments that can work wonderfully as peek-a-boo outerwear in outfits.They are great alternatives to nighties, feel great against the skin, and can make the wearer feel elegant, sexy, and beautiful for their classic look and sumptuous fabrics.

Slips were originally conceived to help dresses and skirts hang smoothly and not bunch, as well as prevent chafing from fabrics, such as wool, that many garments were made from. There are several types of slips: A full slip, which hangs from the shoulders, usually by thin straps; a half slip, which hangs from the waist, usually from an elastic band; and a camisole slip, which covers the torso only. Common fabrics for slips are nylon, satin, silk, and polyester—generally slippery fabrics.

1950s-1960s Lane Bryant Slip Advertisement

Layered Look

Slips can be worn in a variety of ways. The traditional uses are under dresses and skirts so fabrics hang smoothly, or under translucent fabrics for modesty. However, the trend that began in the 1980s of underwear as outerwear, coupled with the beauty of these garments, makes them good options for peaking out from under skirts, dresses, and sweaters as well. Slips also make a great alternative to nighties as sleepwear. They feel great against the skin and can be extraordinarily comfortable!

The slip as a dress

Buying Vintage Slips

I love vintage slips—they are cheap and plentiful and have detailing that simply isn’t found in the modern versions. Good bets for vintage slips are thrift and resale shops, flea markets, and ebay. Some of my favorite slips come from Sears, though I have a few nice ones (and a great vintage robe) from Vanity Fair. JC Penny made some great basics as well.

When buying vintage slips, look for the tag deadstock—meaning brand new, never worn, and still vintage. Also look for the measurements, as sizes have changed since past decades, and bust fits can vary widely from garment to garment.

Things to take into account when buying slips:

  • Fit: A slip shouldn’t bunch around your bust or waist, and should hang smoothly over your hips. See if the straps are adjustable so the neckline can be raised and lowered—this can also help with the fit at the bust, which can be tricky. Some slips are stretchier than others—beware if you wear it too often and stretch it out!
  • Length: Slips come in numerous lengths, so it’s helpful to have several—knee-length for longer dresses to prevent bunching between the thighs and mid- and upper-thigh length for shorter skirts. Also, a short slip—to the upper thigh—can look great over jeans and under a cute sweater. The lace detail and shininess of the fabric against the coarser textures of denim and knit makes a nice contrast and can break up the midline.
  • Color, material, and detail: This are purely visual pleasures—a dark slip for a dark dress, a white slip camisole underneath a white button-down shirt. The need for warmth (silk is warm) or aeration (cotton slips are great for warm climes), and the feel against the body of the fabric and seams are all considerations.


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    • jordfacce profile image

      jordfacce 7 years ago from new york

      Now I want one!

    • profile image

      Shandy 7 years ago

      Thank you for this informative article. It's nice to know that the slip is admired and appreciated! xo