A Little Story about Slips

The slip is the successor to the older petticoat and chemise as worn during the Edwardian era. While the chemise covered the entire torso down to below the knee, the petticoat was worn from the waist down only and often gave shape to the outer garment.

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A slip can be a full slip or a half slip (covering the waist down).

First dating from the late 1910’s and the early 1920’s, the slip is a lightweight garment worn under dresses and skirts, over the top of briefs and bra. Commonly used fabrics include nylon, silk, rayon, and cotton. Today microfibre and bamboo are also used to make some slips. In the past, satin and taffeta were favoured for wearing under sheer dresses of the same colour.

Traditionally, slips were made mostly in neutral tones of white, blush, beige and black.

Styles reflected each decade:

1920s – loose and tubular with little embellishment


1930s – plain but cut on the bias

1940s – the bust is well defined in the slip and it is more likely to be embellished with trims in lace – rayon the most common fabric

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1950s – definition and embellishment are enhanced. The bra-slip appeared, combining the bra and slip into a single garment. Silk, nylon and satin are common.


1960s – smoother of fit, shorter in length, slips were more often made in bright colours and printed fabrics


Today’s slips are generally very plain, with minimal embellishment. They are worn purely to combat sheer garments, and these days most garments of this type are lined, so the need for a slip has diminished greatly. Whereas in decades past a woman was not considered to be properly dresses without a slip, today they are the exception.

Slips however can still be very sexy, and a pleasure to wear…