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Teddies and Bodysuits – an eighties revival!


Teddies and bodysuits have been teetering on the brink of a fashion revival for the past year or two but now I’m beginning to see them in so many stores now that I can’t help thinking that they’ll be a major trend very soon.

Typical 80’s teddies

Silk teddy from the 1920’s

They actually originated 150 years ago in the form of ‘combinations’ (a functional merging of long knickers and a camisole). By the 1920′s they had evolved into shorter loose fitting rayon skirt-panty-camisole styles with inside leg buttoning and were considered quite shocking. The current fashionable ‘romper’ styles worn as outerwear (blouse-shorts combinations resembling a short dress) are very similar to these early versions.

When the new easy-care knitted nylon jersey fabrics became widely available during the 1950’s, the ‘combination slip-panty’ (a more fitted item and designed to be worn over a bra), was a popular undergarment ideal for the new shorter fashions.

“Delicious white body briefer” from Vanity Fair featured in Harper’s Bazaar 1972

The 1980’s saw a surge in popularity for the “teddy”. Made of silk or polyester satin they were truly  a luxury lingerie item providing little bust or tummy control. They were much shorter, tighter and sexier than their predecessors and a reflection of the “power dressing” trend of the 80’s and early 90’s. Donna Karen epitomized this new trend with her hugly successful shirt-body combinations launched to standing ovations during her first collection in 1985.

The body or bodysuit, a stretchy leotard type item with popper fastening at the gusset, was popularized by the aerobics and dance craze of the 80’s, by films such as Flashdance and Fame and of course by Jane Fonda and her infamous workout videos. New spandex fabrics enabled a tighter fit than was ever possible before, therefore flattering the body as a light control garment, and they were sexy too, with leg openings grazing the hipbones and seep plunging necklines.

Jane Fonda’s Workout promoting the high cut body style of the 80’s

The Catherine Teddy by Arianne

For a peek at a retro 80’s look (very trendy right now) for teddies, see Arianne’s Catherine lace Teddy. It’s underwired to provide support, features flattering high-cut legs edged with a pretty eyelet lace, and has a thong back so you can avoid the dreaded pantyline!

The Glamour Bodysuit by Grenier has enough bust coverage to wear on it’s own under a jacket or cardigan. It’s lovely lace neckline is pretty for day or evening and the inside moulded cup (for opacity, shape and support), and underbust elastic means you can confidently go without a bra!

The Glamour Bodysuit by Grenier

Enjoy the teddy revival with some of my favourites at Now That’s!


Image for 1920’s teddy from Marie McLeod at Sensual c1920’s Silk Teddy * Lace, Satin, Ribbons from mairemcleod on Ruby Lane

80’s teddies image from The Daily Mail Online:  Underwear through the ages: New exhibition charts the rise and fall of the humble bra | Mail Online

Jane Fonda Workout Video image from Virgin Media: Jane Fonda’s Workout – Best and worst celebrity fitness videos – Pictures – Homefamily – Virgin Media




  • larry

    Hello; I have been looking , Hope you could help me ? Would like to have a teddy like the one that says typical 80 style . BUT need elastic around the legs to keep my stuff in . Thanks LARRY

  • admin

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