Guys, in case I haven’t made it clear over the last few posts, I STRONGLY FEEL that you should check out the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, starring Essie Davis as the Honourable Phryne (pronounced Fry-nee) Fisher (season 1 is streaming on Netflix, season 3 was just announced, and season 2 is available exclusively on Acorn TV, which makes me cranky because the last thing I need is to sign up for yet another video streaming service, and yet I can feel that I might cave any day now, because I want my Miss Fisher). It is pure catnip to lovers of mysteries, romantical shenanigans, and olden-time eye candy.
They are frothy and flapper-y and charmingly cast and I promise the first two or three episodes will have you digging through your liquor cabinet searching for a cocktail to swill while you watch. Miss Phryne Fisher is a sexually liberated feminist who can handle her booze, her boys, and her bad guys with equal aplomb. She is slinky and sassy and compassionate and fierce and impeccably coiffed and I love her.
I also love her wardrobe.
Julia Lambert (“Julia Lambert” is my twin sister’s blog alias, for those of you who are newbies) and I have both begun reevaluating our lingerie drawers with the single criterion “What Would Miss Fisher Wear?”, and in light of that I thought it would be fun to share some of my picks for How to Build Miss Fisher’s Lingerie Wardrobe. Let’s all pretend we’re wildly wealthy aristocrats in Australia in the 1920s with a yen for social justice and a predilection for awesomeness, shall we?
The 20th century was a period of immense change in the fashion world in general, and women’s lingerie was no exception. Lingerie was hugely affected by the other Big Deal Things that were going on in the world at the time, like, you know, suffrage, world war, industrialism, and general social and political upheaval. Women’s clothes grew shorter and slinkier, so all-in-one garments like cami-knickers and “step-ins” became popular for their comfort and practicality, allowing the lighter, closer-fitting garments to hug the body. Instead of waist-nipping corsets, many women chose to wear longer, slimming girdles, corselettes, and other pieces of shapewear that helped them achieve the long, straight silhouette of the 1920s. Shorter skirts meant shorter slips and visible stockings, and pale pink and blush were some of the most popular colors. This distinctly retro color palette has made a resurgence lately, so you have plenty of options to begin building your flapper’s lingerie wardrobe.
Phryne is, to quote Singing in the Rain, “so refined I think I might kill myself”, and as a woman dressing in the height of sophistication, she would DEFINITELY have some slinky black pieces in her lingerie drawer. These seamed silk stockings, fluttering tap pants, silky teddies, slips and camisoles, and a stunning girdle skirt would make any of her lovers weak in the knees.
But she’s not in full seduction mode all the time. This woman takes her detective work seriously (“I don’t allow myself to be lustfully compromised during my murder investigations”), and she dresses impeccably for every social engagement, from cocktails and dancing to a ladylike garden party. These beautiful ivory styles make a lovely counterpoint to black evening wear.
Phryne busts out an awesome robe in the very first episode, while seducing a Russian ballet dancer, and that’s how I knew we were soulmates. I could see her wearing any of these stunning robes, particularly the velvet Layneau “Contessa” robe, which reminds me of one of her many fur-trimmed evening coats.
Don’t forget accessories!
While I can’t in good conscience recommend keeping a dagger in your stockings (we’re not all loaded, Phryne– how many pairs of silk stockings do you accidentally stab?), Dollhouse Bettie offers a silk garter flask that cracks me up, and also I want one. Throw in a feather boa and some dancing shoes, and you’re all set!
There were far, far too many wonderful options out there for me to include them all in the post. If you’re looking for more, be sure to check out Dollhouse Bettie, Dottie’s Delights, Kiss Me Deadly, Mimi Holliday, and What Katie Did for more retro goodness. From slips to camiknickers to tap pants to seamed stockings, each retailer and brand offers a huge range of vintage-style (and modern!) lingerie pieces in a variety of shapes and styles.
Go catch bad guys and drive the local detective inspector wild.