Retrofitting Vintage

Day 12: In Which I Discover a Valuable Resource

You guys. Someone has uploaded all of the images from lotsĀ of Sears Christmas catalogs.

"A festive array of panties." Enough said.
“A festive array of panties.” Enough said.

This is fantastic news, because the Sears catalog is an excellent look at what ordinary people were buying, wearing, and using in their respective periods. Sears sold basically everything, so the catalogs are great for researching everything from sweater styles to toy fire engines to rifles. And it’s great for researching underwear.

Since most people didn’t get their pictures taken in their underwear, there are limited pictorial sources for the average woman and her underpinnings. While photos of burlesque performers and pin-up girls in underwear certainly provide us with some information, those are…very curated ensembles. Give me the Sears catalog for the inside track on the American woman and her underwear.

And oh, such underwear have I found.

So much that I’ve created a Pinterest board of it all. Yes, a Pinterest board. Hush, ye naysayers!

Here are a few of the highlights:

The bras of 1944. Note the variety of cup shapes.
The bras of 1944. Note the cup shapes. Hollywood is more va-voom and bulleted, Maiden Form a little more demure.


1962 Pettipants.
1962 Pettipants.


1952. So many varieties of stocking heel--look closely.
1952. So many varieties of stocking heel–look closely.

I’ll be adding to the board as I work my way through the archives!



  1. I’ve got a bunch of books of Sears Catalogue images (20’s through 40’s from the library, TWO from the 70’s in my personal collection), if you’re looking for even more goodness. ^_^ Also, I’m going to follow your Pinterest board right now.

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