When it comes to retro style lingerie the easiest go-to options are the well-established vintage-inspired lingerie brands such as What Katie Did, Kiss Me Deadly, Rago, and of course Dita Von Teese’s line for Von Follies. These lines all offer gorgeous well-made pieces, but at a cost. For those pinups on a budget, or those just branching into this style of dressing, it’s nice to have lower cost items available to them, and at potentially more readily available sources. This is why it’s especially nice that the British high street has been providing some retro inspiration undies of their own this summer, and I’ve made it my mission to track down some of the current available options I’ve spotted of late to share with you. So check you’ve got your bra size accurately fitted and get your debit card out, because some of these beauties are just crying out to be snapped up.
New Look – The item that first caught my eye from New Look recently was the Black Lace Caged Bralet (£9.99), which is beautiful, so retro, but sadly out of stock, though the good news is they must be planning to restock it because there’s a ‘Notify me’ button you can use to ask for an email alert when your size is in stock. It’s not just this particular retro inspired bra that New Look currently has for sale. There’s the Black Multi Strap Mesh Balconette bra (£12.99) and panties set; the Black Lace Contrast Panel Caged Pushed Bra in electric blue (£14.99); the Trim Flocked Polka Dot Balconette Longline Bra (£12.99) in both pale pink and blue, for a fun polka dot injection; the Contrast Geo Flower Lace Overlay Balconette Bra (£12.99) in both black and white colourways; and the entire Kelly Brook range, which features corselettes, a range of gorgeous caged and lace balconette bras, and matching panties, of course, and the occasional suspender belt will also feature among their lines.
Marks and Spencer – The most vintage inspired piece in the Marks & Spender collection currently is the Allure Lace Underwired Padded Balcony (£29.50). This plunge cage bra features lace accents, is available DD+, and as a babydoll and knickers set (£49.50). It’s also available as a non-padded version (£29.50) in cups A-DD listed as the ‘Floral Lace set’, as well as in basque form, which is particularly gorgeous, both black and white colourways. Like New Look, Marks & Sparks can be relied upon to carry a pretty range of balconette bras that will certainly look retro when paired with the right accompanying panties, stockings and suspenders. And speaking of such, suspenders are also something you can regularly find from this store, something that’s not always easy to track down typically on the high street, along with a range of stockings, including seamed (though not often nude seamed, alas.)
Forever 21 – Technically an American brand, Forever 21 aren’t known for their retro clothing, because, duh, they don’t make it. One lingerie staple they routinely have in stock on their UK website however is their Strapless Lace Corset Bra, which is a low backed bustier bra that comes with detachable straps and normally in a variety of pastel shades. Even if this bra doesn’t quite look vintage enough for you it’s a useful piece to have. I wear it either when my top or dress has a low back, or when my usual bras are creating an unsightly bump around my bra back band in a dress that tightens considerably at the waist, this bra instead giving me the smooth lines of a corset to the waistline but within the restriction.
H&M – H&M often have retro inspired pieces but the downside is that their full collections aren’t always online. Two retro style soft cup bras I saw in-store last weekend, one a mesh triangle bra reminiscent of a bullet bra without the bullet, and the other a two tone black and white spot triangle cage bra, currently aren’t listed online. They have listed to lace corselettes, though, and a couple of very pretty ruffled and classy bras. The Balconette bra in lace (£14.99), available in black and white, and the Microfibre push up bra (£12.99), which is especially pretty in their powder pink colourway with black lace accents. There’s also the Bustier in Lace bra (£14.99.), but to be confused with their Lace Bustier, which is a simple lace longline bra. H&M don’t seem to name their products so it can get confusing here when I talk about their ‘corsets’ (essentially basques, corselettes or cami suspenders more accurately,) but their black matching set of Lace Corset (£24.99) String Briefs in Lace (£5.99) and Suspender Belt (£9.99) pictured below, is lovely. There’s also a white Lace Corset (£19.99, one again not actually a corset but that’s what they’re calling it,)
Ann Summers – Ann Summers has such a vast variety of beautiful lingerie sets that I covet a dozen of them at a time and scrolling through their website makes me so covetous that I find the lines blurring in my mind between what is retro and what is simply so pretty that I can’t tell anymore. Lace of all styles feature heavily amongst their designs, alongside satin and silk. A huge range of their bras can look retro when paired with their matching panties and suspender belts, the latter of which Ann Summers really does make a beautiful range of. You’ll also find hold ups and stockings easily at Ann Summers, so this is a great stop for a lady looking to kit herself out in a full set when ready to kill with her curves. (Check out the Surrender Hold Ups for naked ladies dangling upon the seam of your stocking. Also featured below is the Aurelia Corset, Isis Waspie, Estella Waspie and the All Wrapped Up set.)
Gossard – Technically a brand and therefore possibly worthy of a disqualification from this ‘high street’ post, I’ve included Gossard because it IS available on the high street, notably through Tesco and Debenhams. Their peachy pink Phoebe range, featured below including non-padded bra, lace panties, and truly gorgeous Suspender skirt, is lovely. Some of their Retrolution items, namely the Retrolution Slip, Half Padded Bra, and Briefs, as well as their bridal slip, are also available through Tesco.
Debenhams – As mentioned above, this department store carries the Gossard Retrolution range, as well as a whole host of other lingerie brands, including the much coveted Dita Von Teese for Von Follies line. Below I’ve picked out a sheer lace accented set from J by Jasper Conrad, a red set from Ultimate, a black lace set from Reger by Janet Reger, a black scalloped lace basque also Reger by Janet Reger,
Topshop – There’s a ton of sets available from Topshop right now that are very vintage in feel, A TON (like, it’s kind of hurting my heart because I want to buy them all.) From longline bras, cage bras, high waisted panties and soft triangle bras featuring oodles of lace, there’s so many options that it’s easier to give you a picture taster and to simply redirect you to the site to browse yourself rather than list the name and price of every option, which is why I’ve left the names of the sets and prices underneath the pictures which you can click for a closer look. There’s also some bras that are incredible that won’t show up in the lingerie sets section because they aren’t sold with matching panties, but don’t overlook them because some are amazing and you can find some bottoms that will work with the bras elsewhere, so don’t forgot to check out the entire lingerie section as a whole.
Asda – Most surprising of all in my high street search is discovering one lone piece of retro beauty in Asda, of all places. This Strap Lace Plunge Bra pink lace bra costs only £8, the cheapest of all featured items in this entire blog post, and is available in sizes up to a G cup. They have other pretty items available, such as this Black Lace Plunge Bra, which paired with the matching panties and a black suspender belt and stockings, would give off plenty a vintage vibe.
The British high street is bursting right now, as you can see, so I hope I’ve helped show you some of the gems available. Now please excuse me while I go drool over my favourite pieces and try to convince myself that I do not need to add any lingerie to my already ridiculously extensive collection.