I think I’ve been in love with the iconic 1950s Babydoll Nightgown ever since seeing Marty and Frenchy in theirs in Grease. In terms of nightwear, they really symbolised an era of conflicting ideas about female sexuality.
The name babydoll was made popular after the release of a controversial 1956 film called Baby Doll, a story about a 17 year old girl (Carroll Baker) and a middle aged man (Karl Malden) who have been married for nearly two years but are waiting until her 18th birthday before they consummate it, which is in three days. Right at the end trailer you can see Baby Doll in her babydoll pyjama set.
The babydoll is a conflict of pure innocence and teasing sexuality. On one hand the name, the loose bell-shape, candy colours and cute embellishments all conjure up thoughts of childlike naiveté but they often come in sheer fabrics such as nylon or chiffon and fall just on to the top of the thigh, or higher, allowing only the woman’s torso to be tantalizingly covered.
This Roger’s Babydoll advert just says everything about what perception the babydoll gives.
“Every man wants his woman on a pedestal…
Roger’s places your there in a deceptively demure baby doll. Frothy nylon tricot sheer, appliqued with great lace orchids, over a tint of opaque tricot.”
Okay, so it’s not exactly politically correct for 21st Century minds, but it gets the message across. And quite frankly, I much prefer the idea of this than what you see of the cover of FHM!
So, with my love of babydolls and 50s & 60s boudoir items, I am slowly gathering a small collection of vintage pieces that I can actually wear. The latest addition was my 1960s Babydoll Peignoir that I picked up at a vintage fair at Cheltenham. However, I’m always on the look out for the perfect vintage babydoll nightgown so I can soothe this niggling itch I have to book myself a babydoll pin up photo shoot! Now, I hate having my photo taken, which is why you won’t see many pictures of me on here, but I’d really like to try this and it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while.
This promo shot from vintage lingerie brand, Betty Blue’s Loungerie, is exactly the sort of thing I have in mind. It just screams of Marty in Grease (she was always my favourite!) and it’s such a simple idea, it’s just about the styling. I also absolutely adore this Bridgette babydoll, it really has that ‘frothy’ look as described in the Roger’s ad, but there’s only one size small left which might possibly fit me. Then, again, I’d be so excited to find a true vintage version of this.
This rather sexy shot from Boux Avenue features their seriously cute Selma babydoll which I have tried on, but didn’t purchase as I’d just about spent out that day. Again, this is a really simple set up, although I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to do a shot quite as revealing as this!
Although this shot of Dottie’s Delights Frou Frou Dressing Robe would be a little harder to set up I think it is just so stunning. My What Katie Did Caberet lingerie, along with my vintage peignoir, could easily be used to replicate this look and I think I could just about manage that pose.
Yet, I continue to search for the perfect vintage babydoll nightgown and there are a few I have my eye on in my new favourite place to loose a few hours, Etsy.
This Yellow Chiffon Floral Embroidered Babydoll from Hep Cat Clothes is really sweet. It’s got the lemon yellow I love so much on the Betty Blue’s Loungerie babydoll and the embroidered shoulder and chest area creates a delicate contrast in white lace and pastel pink and blue.
This angelic Lisette White Sheer Nylon Embroidered Babydoll from Mousevox Vintage would be perfect for someone’s honeymoon. The pure white is so beautifully finished with a shoulder and chest area of embroidered peach flowers and a scalloped trim.
I love how short this Pale Blue Babydoll with Bow from First Ladies Vintage is. With its super short length, adorable lace bow, layers of baby blue sheer nylon and lace trimming it really has everything you would expect from a babydoll.
This Nan Flower Sheer Rose Babydoll from Crush Vintage is just so pretty. The bib front has so much work to it with four sets of vertical pleats, two types of lace, a chain of pink embroidered flowers down the middle and a pink bow on the neckline.
Now I just have to make my mind up which one to get and then get on and find a photographer and, you never know, I may even post some of the pictures on here! So, I need your help – which one would you choose?