Textile Architecture; How Good Foundations Can Transform Your Vintage Ensemble

As someone who is interested in vintage fashion and style, I love to share new garments and outfit ideas on my Instagram page. But let’s talk about what’s underneath all of these outfits, for without the supporting structure of good lingerie, the silhouette of a garment and how it fits your frame can be significantly altered.

Like most vintage-inspired women, I love the look and feel of lingerie that resembles those from the 1940s and ‘50s. Rather than being skimpy and low cut, vintage and vintage-inspired knickers tend to be fuller, cut to a high-waist pattern and therefore much more flattering on someone with my pear-shaped physique. For me, vintage lingerie perfectly balances style with substance and whilst looking pretty and alluring, it can provide that all-important shaping and smoothing to my frame. After all, many of the vintage fabrics such as rayon, silk, velvet etc. tend to skim the body and highlight the curves so it’s important to me to achieve a good silhouette and show off my vintage at its best, as well as feel glamorous and sexy.


For many years, I have been an advocate of What Katie Did lingerie (WKD); the quality is exceptional, the styles are true to era and perhaps most importantly, it is functional and practical for every day wear. When asked if I wanted to collaborate with WKD to share my enthusiasm for the brand, I naturally jumped at the chance!

In this blog post, I will be showing two very different WKD lingerie sets and how they create the structure for 3 of my vintage outfits. I have deliberately chosen 3 different thicknesses of fabric in these outfits (wool, medium-weight rayon-crepe and lightweight rayon) to demonstrate how good foundations provided by lingerie can help support the look of your outfits all year round.

The first lingerie set from WKD is made of black satin, is 1950’s inspired and creates a strong hourglass shape. The pieces shown are as follows:

  • Cathedral Bra Black                                                                              £49.50
  • Glamour Waspie                                                                                    £35.00
  • Maitresse Nouveau Suspender Belt                                           £37.50
  • Maitresse Deep Knickers                                                                    £26.50

I opted for the cathedral bra as I prefer a less conical shape than can be achieved from a bullet bra and whilst the cathedral bra is softer in shape, it still gives great support to the cup through the vertical boning. I also really like the open strap section and semi-sheer fabric at the top of the cups, so feminine and sexy!

I have had my eye on the Glamour Waspie for a while but wasn’t sure if it would do much in the way of shaping, boy was I wrong! Whilst it isn’t as shaping as a corset, I personally find it much more comfortable and less restrictive to wear; I can easily and comfortably wear this all day long. The reinforced banding around the waist section really helps to nip me in at that point and create a smaller, smoother waistline. My natural waist is about a 27” at present; with the Glamour Waspie, this is taken down to a 25”.


I am a big fan of the 6 strap suspender belts; I feel they give more stocking support and look more structured than a 4 strap. The deeper waistband of the Maitresse Nouveau suspender belt further adds to the smoothing effect of the waist cincher.

As I am sure you are probably already aware if you are also a WKD aficionado, they have a wide range of coloured seamed stockings (£10 per pair), of which I have ALL THE COLOURS! I have chosen the emerald green pair to tie in with the outfit shown but I think the Claret and Latte colours would also work well. If you prefer a traditional fully fashioned stocking, they have a great range of these too.

The first outfit shown is a 1940s green wool knit set from Dandelion Vintage, accessorised with a faux leopard print hat and belt from Debbie’s Vintage World. The little booties seen are called ‘Havana’ and are from Miss L Fire several years ago (again I have all the colours they did because I needed them, naturally). The wool is medium thickness and is curve hugging; without the strong foundations provided by the WKD set, my silhouette is much less smooth and those less desirable ‘lumps and bumps’ are more visible. Not only this but my natural waist is emphasised by the waist cincher and my bust is lifted and shaped into a smooth teardrop shape by the Cathedral bra. I find that this really balances out the strong padded shoulders in the sweater top and helps to create that typical hourglass figure seen in the original 1940s vintage adverts.

The second outfit shown with this lingerie set is the brown novelty print two piece 1940s rayon crepe suit set with huge reverse carved lucite buttons from Crush Vintage. This has been paired with a colour coordinated turban hat from Elegant Era and green leather gloves. This fabric is lighter than the wool but equally skin-skimming and so really needs a good foundation layer to accentuate the nipped waist, darted bust and large draping hip pleats on the jacket. The lack of padding on the Cathedral bra prevents the jacket from gaping when I move but provides enough coverage via the black satin fabric from which it is made so as to prevent any ‘cold nipple’ embarrassment.


The second WKD set is a chic peach set and comprises of pieces from a variety of ranges, allowing you to mix and match. The pieces in this set are below:

  • Cone Bra Peach                                                                                           £37.00
  • Harlow Nouveau Suspender Belt                                                   £37.50
  • French Knickers                                                                                         £31.00


This silhouette is softer and would be perfect for those warmer months as the French Knickers (based on a CC41 pattern) are light, silky and less fitted. As they button up the left side, they work well under more full skirted dresses and A-line or full circle skirts where they skim over the hips.


The cone bra is more pointed than the Cathedral bra but much less pointed than the bullet bras and so is perfect for day to day wear. The sheer organza at the top is subtle, feminine and delicate, complementing the structure provided by the powermesh and panelled stitching on the cups.

I selected a lightweight, almost sheer rayon 1940s novelty dress from Darling Maddox Vintage with matching belt and coordinating hat as the outfit to show off this set; the flowing skirt pours over the satin French knickers whilst the bodice sculpts around the conical bust. It’s a perfect synthesis of structure and movement that looks great all day long, from the office to the dance floor!


I hope this post goes some way in showing you how I create structure and smoothness in my outfits; after all, the most beautiful building couldn’t stand without good foundations to give support! Even the most fabulous vintage ensemble can be enhanced with flattering, comfortable and elegant lingerie. On that note, I’m off to browse the new WKD Shirley lingerie range……



4 thoughts on “Textile Architecture; How Good Foundations Can Transform Your Vintage Ensemble

  1. Wonderful to see all the pieces & the foundation garments to give outfits great line & movement. Don’t forget to tell us where you sourced your hats & shoes! Those green buckle-ties are great!


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