Posted on March 01 2016
I've always loved nightwear, in fact I spend far more time in pjs and lounge wear than regular clothes! (Yes, that rumour about self employed life is slightly true for me...). It goes without saying that I'm a huge lover of 1950s/1960s lingerie and nightwear,with peignoirs at the top of my list!
So maybe you're new to vintage style lingerie and know the word 'peignoir' but not really what it means? Or maybe you have never heard the term at all and have no idea what I'm talking about. Well fear not, lingerie lovers! Lets start with the basics...
What is a Peignoir?
A peignoir is a light dressing gown or negligee, usually long and sheer. Consisting of a long night dress, usually short sleeved with a longer sleeved open robe to be worn over the top. I found it interesting to discover the word comes from French 'peigner', meaning to comb the hair, describing a garment worn while brushing one's hair, originally referring to a dressing gown or bathrobe. It sure does paint an idyllic picture of retro glamour! These peignoirs would mainly be worn to bed or on occasions where the wearer would be seen in her nightclothes.
Whilst peignoirs will obviously predate the 1940s, I will however be focusing on 40s - 60s styles. If you follow My Retro Closet on Pinterest, you'll know I have a board absolutely jammed packed with vintage lingerie and nightwear. But this blog post inspired me (totally distracted me...) to create one purely for the love of peignoirs, which you can take a peek at HERE.
All of the following images can be found on my Pinterest board.
So I've given you a little back story to the peignoir, lets see some examples through my favourite eras...
The 1940s peignoirs are the epitome of old Hollywood glamour. The lengths sweep the floor, with nipped in waists and wrists. Satin and silk added a luxurious touch among the billowing layers of chiffon.
Whilst researching 1940s style negligees and night gowns, sewing patterns featured more than photographs. Some are truly beautiful, I'd love to buy one of these vintage patterns one day and sew my own!
The 1950s saw the introduction of more relaxed styles. Even though there is obviously still an emphasis on the waist, it's with elastics or the cut of the nightdress and gown rather than heavy satin waist ties or buttons. The fabrics also seem to get sheerer, but the added layers still retain modesty.
Whilst the peignoirs still remain floor length, the hems have risen slightly for a more wearable approach, more floor skimming rather than touching. Along with the length of the hem, shorter sleeves also make an appearance, making the 1950s peignoirs far more practical.
The 1960s are my favourite time for peignoirs. The ruffles, the marabou feather, the lace! It's where I draw the majority of my inspiration from when designing my own range. Its fun retro glamour at its finest, perfect for cheese cake pinups and dramatic boudoir shoots.
The colours get brighter and the techniques and materials progress to make some truly fabulous styles!
Where to buy Peignoirs:
There are some wonderful vintage peignoirs out there. With so many colours and styles to choose from you can find some very affordable pieces, with better quality and older styles more expensive.
Check out Etsy and eBay for auctions and 'buy now' vintage styles.
But of course genuine vintage isn't for everyone, or perhaps you just can't find what you're looking for. Look no further. I'm obsessed with 60s style nightwear and I've created a wide range of babydoll nighties, bed jackets and robes to make the peignoir of your dreams! Brand new, made for the modern pinup and rather affordable for a handmade piece.
You can get an amazing 20% off all my matching nightwear sets, the perfect excuse to treat yourself to some vintage inspired, wearable but glamorous nightwear!
'Joan' & 'Jayne' are my best selling pieces, out of everything yep EVERYTHING at My Retro Closet. There's so many colour combinations to choose from and that lace hem is irresistible!
'Bettie' & 'Peggy' are adorned with plush chiffon ruffles and are shorter and flirty in length. My 'Bettie' babydoll is a bit of an Instagram favourite too, with lots of gorgeous customer photos and reviews. have you seen?
From my new nightwear collection 'Sweet Dreams', my 'Bardot' set is my personal favourite. Made from super soft, lightweight mesh, its so swishy and 60s! Those layers upon layers of ruffles are just heaven! (Even if I do say so myself...)
I hope all you burning peignoir questions have been answered in this blog post. Are you new to retro lingerie? Are there some other vintage styles you'd like to learn a little more about?
Thanks for reading, pinups!