Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Savoring the Feminine Look of Lovely Vintage Lingerie

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Savoring the Feminine Look of Lovely Vintage Lingerie

Article excerpt

`ROMANTIC IS romantic, no matter what decade you're talking about," says Mary Strauss, collector of vintage clothing, movie memorabilia and more. Her closets are overflowing with clothing that spans the century - from ball gowns to walking suits.

But not all her treasures were meant to be seen in public. Some were worn to bed or while relaxing at home: a simple lace Edwardian nightgown, for instance; a frilly black and yellow gown as sheer as tissue paper; or a slinky white satin gown and peignoir reminiscent of Jean Harlow in "Dinner at Eight."

You may have seen some of Strauss' collectibles - especially Gloria Swanson's wardrobe - in stills or movies of the 1920s or '30s. Strauss, who with her husband, Leon, owns the Fox Theatre, has been a movie fan since childhood. Other pieces in her collection are similar to lingerie you can find in local vintage shops. Though you probably won't be able to exactly match the lacy gowns we've pictured, an amazing range of lingerie and nightwear is available in shops here. "Lingerie is the best-kept secret in vintage clothing," says Susie Stauber of Alice's Vintage Clothing in the Central West End. "It's so beautiful. The silk and rayon things, cut on the bias. The new fabrics just don't feel as good to the touch." Almost all old lingerie is made of natural fabrics. Even the rayon, man-made from natural products, has a different feel from today's fabric. "Some of the recipes for the old rayon have been lost," Stauber says. "Others are too expensive to reproduce today." The shop's selection goes back to the turn of the century. You'll find that some of the camisoles that Edwardian women wore under their shirtwaists look smashing under blazers today. In the 1920s, silk teddies were all the rage. Vintage ones start at about $30. "And my mother told me she wore tap pants on her honeymoon," Stauber said. …

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