Monday, July 11

1920s lingerie : the step-in

Last week I got an email from a customer asking me what a "step-in" was. I am so glad she asked! It brought to mind the fact that other gals might not know what a step-in is. Basically, it's like a romper before they were rompers, or called rompers (I for one am not a huge fan of that term, sounds like baby clothes to me). In the 1920s step-in chemises were perfect for "la garconniere" (or flapper in the U.S.) look - light, airy and a total departure from the Edwardian corseted undergarments. Usually made of silk, crepe de chine, silk charmeuse or even cotton the pretty little things skimmed the body and had a snap or small button closure between the legs (sometimes this closure appeared to not even be there and the garment looked like a regular chemise). Some, usually the cotton (nainsook most often) ones were quite simple but step-ins could get very fancy with lace, embroidery and appliques. 


As promised I have been adding more vintage 1920s-1940s lingerie to the shop and I have much more to add still. Once again I find many of the pieces hard to part with as I have a special place in my heart for 20s-30s silky things. That being said below are some that I will most certainly be adding to the shop in the near future! I am headed to Chicago this weekend for a vintage buy in an attic I have visited once before, the last time leaving all the lingerie behind because the woman wasn't ready to sell it. I am hoping she's warmed to the idea this time around!

And one that is already in the shop though, it was once a "step-in" with a small clasp between the legs, but that has since been snipped and sewn and the chemise is now just a nightie.

vintage 1920s Garconniere silk chemise


Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

Gorgeous, and look like pretty much the perfect things to lounge around in in the hot ole summertime.

AVY said...


/ Avy

BaronessVonVintage said...

LOVE 20s lingerie and these are some real beauties! Now, I'm going to be a completely annoying jerk and say: you're right that due to the silky fabric now used for some "rompers," step-ins could be seen as a precursor to some modern rompers in terms of style and fabric, but really, step ins (lingerie one literally has to step into the legs of before drawing on), never left the boudoir (unless worn as slip underlayer beneath a dress), whereas rompers do. So, in terms of function, step-ins are the vintage precursor to the piece of lingerie now sometimes known as the "teddy." Maybe it's fair to say some dressier or sassier modern rompers are sort of like the synthesis of the vintage playsuit (which one wore out of the house, though not outside of the realms of sports and beach) and the step in? Okay, annoying nerd girl is going away now. I'm just so fascinated by the original functions of garments and their modern evolutions!

BaronessVonVintage said...

Oh, found a good functional definition for the "teddy" that does seem to describe exactly what a step in is/was: an chemise-knicker all-in-one piece of lingerie: "By definition, a teddy is an undergarment which combines a camisole and panty in one piece."

lauren said...

Thanks for the extra info Jill, of course you have the 20s lingerie on lock! Now I didn't mean to insinuate the the step-in was to be worn out like a romper, I knew they were for bedtime or as a slip. I only meant to draw a likeness between the "shorts" aspect for those who weren't familiar with step-ins, but were more acquainted with rompers. And also, I'm a in-the-house or in bed only romper wearer, so perhaps I subconsciously left out the distinction you have made. :)

tracychambersvintage said...

Thanks for the history. Your pieces are amazing!

Jean Jean Vintage said...

I love hearing the history and then seeing examples from your shop!

De La Belle said...

oh la la, I love antique lingerie ♥

needle and nest said...

I love the vintage photo - the woman in it is so beautiful and her step-in is so pretty. Thanks for the lingerie lesson! :)

Anonymous said...

While step-ins were more often like the aforementioned camikickers (i.e. camisole and tap panties combined), tap panties were often referred to as step-ins as well, during the late 1920s and into the 1940s. The women of that era and for many years thereafter commonly referred to their panties as "step-ins."

The lngerie of the late 1920 to the 1940s was so romantic, sexy, yet demure, and conjuring up an aura of romance that the minimalist styles of today can only dream of. We need a return to the vintage styles of that era: silk and rayon tap panties, bras, teddies, slips, saucy little bloomers, cuff style briefs, trimmed with lace, ribbons and other romantic detailing. The modern generation has forgotten that what is hidden is far sexier than what is revealed. Many young women, and the men (boys) they're trying to please have been mutually brainwashed into thinking that the thong and other such minimalist undergarments are sexier just because they're skimpy. Wrong! Return with us now to the romantic lingerie of yesteryear. Vintage lingerie rides again.

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Bill and Kay said...

My Mom born 1908 always called her undergarments of any ilk "stepins" I always thought it was just her "ol english" way of speaking.
Thanks for the education.

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Anonymous said...

Such beautiful pretty items, I love the lace edging and the pretty pink colours. I really like feminine sexy lingerie like this - just goes to show women have always loved lovely things!

Unknown said...

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Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Anonymous said...

Ek veriler Jill için bir şükran borcu var, açıkçası, 20'li civataların civatadaki çözücüsüzlüğü var! Halen ilerlemenin, bir romper gibi tükenmek olduğu yönündeki intikamını alma niyetinde olmadığımı, uyku zamanı ya da kayma olduğunu biliyordum. Ben sadece adımlarla rahat değildi bireyler için "şort" bakış açısı arasında bir benzerlik çizmek için, ancak, daha fazla rompers tanıdık amaçlanmıştır. Bunları satın almak istiyorsanız, o zaman'dan daha fazla görünmüyorsunuz. En iyi ürünleri en iyi fiyata sunarlar.

Britnee said...

Lingerie Pieces For Spring!
How to Find Lingerie for Your Body Type
Swimwear For Every Body
How to Wear It: Bodysuits
You Don’t Have To Wear Lingerie To Look Sexy

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Unknown said...

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Lucifer Smith said...

pink cotton lace thong

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nice post, keep posting posts like these and please write a blog about undergarments

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