Whatever happened to the vintage Bra-Slip? This morning I photographed a pretty little Bra-Slip prior to listing. As I hit the shutter button on several different angles, I started thinking about the Bra Slip and why we just don’t really see them anymore these days. Even as a seller of thousands of vintage slips, I don’t really seem to get that many coming my way and when I do get them they are usually from the period covering the late 1960’s to early 1970’s. Odd really, because they are more often than not rather cute and irresistibly wearable.
A quick Google search for ‘bra slip’ just shows how the fabulous idea of combining a full slip with a bra has almost totally faded away from memory. After 6 pages I gave up looking for references to what I know to be a true bra slip. Even the meaning seems to have changed. Urban Dictionary has ‘bra slip’ as “A bra slip is like a nip slip but only your bra shows. When u fix ur shirt and it goes up or down and ur bra awkwardly shows“. What? Not only does their contributor struggle with the spelling of ‘you’ and ‘your’ but puts a whole new spin on the dictionary definition of bra slip. Most of the other Google results for ‘bra slip’, at least those that my waning attention span would allow, pointed to the 21st century manifestation of the original garment – essentially a figure-gripping tight body shaper with a bra attached. All fine, of course, but that is not really what a bra-slip – or bra slip – started out as – a slip with a bra. Bra…..slip…..
What happened to the relatively short-lived ‘true’ bra-slip then? Well, back in the late 1960’s everything that was good was supposed to be ‘convenient’. If you read the sales blurb on the ads shown below, the attraction of the bra slip was that you just slipped it on and that was it – bra and slip all in one go. No need for a bra, no need for a slip. Gain a minute a day by combining two garments into one! The truth was different and women knew that the bra slip did neither well. The bra-slip was a compromise and was no substitute for wearing a bra and a slip per se. Because the slip is attached directly to the bra, wearing a bra slip undermined the whole reason why a ‘normal’ full slip should be worn in the first place – to provide a soft, flexible and ‘fluid’ layer between the skin and a dress, preventing the dress from riding up when bending or stretching. You’ll never achieve that when you attach a bra to a slip. That said, bra slips are a snapshot in time – supposedly but debatedly practical and yet so undoubtedly beautiful, collectible, and irresistibly wearable.