Slip into something comfortable

Few lingerie pieces are as alluring on 50+ woman as the graceful sisters: chemise, slip and teddy.

Skimming the body under a skirt or dress, they offer a light layer of femininity without constriction. I would rather wear a well-fitted chemise than a
binding elasticated 'control' garment, which often ends up rolling bits over the item anyway.

Worn under a blouse or glimpsed beneath a sweater, these garments are discreet yet sexy, and need not cost more than your shoes.


A teddy was the precursor of the bodysuit, and lives on, appropriate under dresses or any pant except very tight styles.

Wearable teddies– also known as cami-knickers- are hard to find, but worth the search. Some are cut loosel
y, like a slip, while others fit as closely as a leotard.

Mimi Holliday floral silk teddy, $90, from net-a-porter.

Mary Green Nouveau Retro White Silk Teddy is stretch silk and pink lace, with fan bust darts. Sized in S/M/L; $60.50 from Mary Green, a beloved lingerie designer.

Sulis Silks offer a terrific teddy, the Helena, bias-cut in five panels for a fabulous fit, available in a wide range of sizes (UK 10 to 24); they also make a longer-torso option.

Though shown here on its own, a teddy looks lovely worn over a bra, too. In black or champagne, £36 (including VAT).
International shipping.

Chemises and slips

A chemise is a short version of the full-length slip; sometimes slip-style nightgowns are also called chemises. Some are intended solely as sleepwear; read the product description to be sure.

Silk Appliqué Chemise, by Elle MacPherson, a dreamy drift of silk and lace, $190 from net-a-porter. It's called "loungewear" on net-a-porter but I'd love to see its bodice peeking from under a black shirt.

Natori's Matisse Basic Chemise upgrades a basic lingerie wardrobe. it's a high-quality machine washable poly, so you don't have to baby it like pure silks (but wash in a bag), and it's smart. $155 from Saks Fifth Avenue.

For silk-only wearers, a rich silk charmeuse slip by Farr West, 22" from waist to hem, that comes in a wide range of sizes (XS to XXL). $164 from Her Room. Shown, black with ivory lace, also comes in ivory with ivory lace and red with red lace.

Oscar de la Renta Flamenco Dance Chemise (Plus Size), $54 from Bare Necessities, brings flounce to womanly figures. Available in pearl, 1X to 3X.

Once you acquire the requisite black or ecru, you might explore a world of colour in chemises.

Also from Mary Green, this charming Manon Printed Burnout Satin Chemise with Lace, $83.75. 70% silk, 30% rayon,cut on the bias. Mary Green's slogan is "Lingerie Conquers All". Will ship internationally, prepare to conquer.

Journelle, a New York lingerie boutique, offer the deep cobalt Julianne Rosalia silk chemise, a short slice of delectability, $190 in XS to L.

Some women are lingerie collectors, but for many, just a piece or two that winks below clothing boosts confidence and pleasure.

When my children were small, wearied and smeared by kiddie fingers, I would occasionally escape for an hour to a lingerie boutique, and emerge with a purchase, feeling more feminine than maternal. Though no longer a necessary respite, it's time to return to that world of delicate beauty. I'm longing once again for the luxury of lace next to skin, satin next to heart.

I have also noticed that one's partner rarely voices any objection to the purchase of gorgeous lingerie.


Frugal Scholar said…
My husband wouldn't even notice! Or, if he did, he would say, "Is that nice?"

I do have a few pieces left from my days in the vintage biz. All nice pieces cut on the bias. You can find--or could find--gorgeous slips in vintage shops, often unworn. Their owners were "saving" them, which i know is (rightly) against your philosophy.
Susan B said…
Those are lovely pieces. When I've shopped recently for slips or chemises, it's been next to impossible to find anything that isn't polyester. Nice to see these options are out there!
Sevenbeads said…
Whenever I'm weeding out old items from my wardrobe, the lingerie is safe from banishment. Even the pieces that haven't fit in years. (I'm working on that.) I can't find half slips with lace hems, teddies with built in bras and bra slips as nice as the ones I own.
LPC said…
I kept thinking, I wonder if they will ever show models in their 50's, even 40's, wearing this stuff? I know, I know. Shoot me know. I agree.
Duchesse said…
Frugal: He wouldn't notice the lingerie or the price tag? Yes, vintsge is an option but silk deteriorates over time so pieces in good shape are rare.

Psue: Next time in Paris, go to Sabbia Rosa. The most exquisite silks- and custom orders fulled quickly. Or lingerie dept in Bon Marché. There are lingerie shops on nearly every corner, too.

What a Splurge: Good lingerie is rare but with online sites like Mary Green, clearly there is a market. Teddies with built in bras have been overtaken by 'bodyshapers'.

LPC: No. But WE should wear it! IMO gorgeous lingerie really suits a grown woman.
Belle de Ville said…
That Mary Green slip is gorgeous, but is it meant to be worn under a dress or as a nightgown?
Duchesse said…
Belle: I say it's a slip! I see it under my LBD. But on some sites "chemise" is used for a slip-type nightgown.
Yes, the vocabulary of costume and fashion is full of quirks and pitfalls. A chemise (de nuit) is any kind of nightgown in French, but it is also a shirt, in particular a man's shirt.

The teddies are adorable, but how on earth do you pee in them?

On an unrelated subject, will we be seeing some winter scarves and mufflers soon? I saw the most beautiful deep red one on a youngish woman at marché Jean-Talon today.
M said…
Nice post and beautiful lingerie. Think maybe I'll be purchasing something new soon. I agree all of these are so much better than "shapewear" which I absolutely refuse to wear b/c it's ugly and uncomfortable. Another good website is
mette said…
I could not imagine life without a silk chemise. I would not feel comfortable in just my bras and tights, when trying clothes on in a changing room. Fine lingerie is everyday luxury for myself. Even Gerald Darel has affordable silk chemises, trimmed with lace. Your picks are adorable.
Duchesse said…
lagatta; Teddies usually have have snaps at the crotch!

For superb mufflers/scarves: especially the double-faced ones. Fast, professional service.

Lisa: Nancy Meyer: great site for the high end: La Perla and Carine Gilson, ooh la la!

metscan: I have had women (more than once) part the curtain to gawk at my chemise! They are so rarely seen. An odd moment.
Kristine said…
I've always been a fan of the chemise. I tried a teddy once, perhaps it was ill made or just too small, but it was terribly uncomfortable. Though your post has made me want to try again.

Just this summer I began to really care and put effort into my lingerie. I started with creating a lovely collection of bras. Now I'm working on camisoles & panties. Next up, garters & stockings.:)

I'm a divorced mom with little to no social life, but I'm finding pleasure and luxury wearing lovely lingerie even if I'm the only one who ever sees it.
Duchesse said…
Kristine: I think it's especially important in these circumstances. If you feel like it, others would appreciate hearing where you find your lovely things.
Mardel said…
Beautiful lingerie! I often miss beautiful slips and chemises, and how simple it used to be to find pretty ones. I'll have to spend more time checking out your links, the one for the longer torso teddy too, as the few teddies I have had that are long enough have been lovely.
Kristine said…
I am happy to oblige. I went this summer to Chicago for a bra fitting at Intimacy I was perfectly happy to drive the 2 hours for it (my daughter and I just made a day of it). They have lovely pieces there and at least when I was there carried only European lingerie. I highly recommend them to your readers who either live near one of their stores or will be traveling through.

Although I had been purchasing the right size bra for myself (the wonderful sales people confirmed - kinda patted myself on the back) they never fit properly. I always blamed my body. Turned out it was the stupid cheaply made bras and not me after all! The saleswoman helped me to understand that even with the higher end bras, depending on designer, the cup may not be deep enough in my size to fit me well. I love, love, love my new bras. I even modeled them for my best friend and her mom; they were inspired!
Duchesse said…
Krisine: Thanks! I see they have shops in many major US cities as well as Chicago. Isn't it amazing how a really good bra changes your entire torso?
Frugal Scholar said…
Ha! Duchesse. That's funny. The answer is: he wouldn't notice either one.
kristophine said…
Ooh la la! I love it. Although I'm still too immersed in the world of grad school to afford a nice lingerie collection, I have a list in my head that looks very much like this post. And I concur that elastic is not a generally flattering substance. On anyone. For examples, see any given American Apparel catalog.
Dharani said…

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