If there’s one thing we don’t often hear enough about, it’s foundation garments! Not just bras (though those are important!) but dressing like our favorite Agent can leave us confused at what undergarments we should be focusing on when the 1940s had so many weird ones. Having the right silhouette can make such a big difference in the cosplay, but trying to get it can fall flat very easily because the concept of everything you need can be overwhelming!
My kit is a mix of accurate-as-possible and modern for comfort and affordability. Here’s a short description of each piece I own, and some alternatives, so that hopefully you get a clear picture of what you need!
Let’s Start With Bras
Bras can be the trickiest part in your search for foundation garments that create the right vintage silhouette. If you’re going for Agent Carter accuracy, you can check out the bras from What Katie Did, the company that provided the vintage repro foundation garments for the show (Hayley wore the longline bra, but those are massively uncomfortable on me).
If you’re looking for something a little more cost-effective, I have a secret.
You know how, in the lingere section of department stores, they’ve got that section of grandma bras in boxes? (I mean, hopefully you do. Do the kids these days even use department stores?) YOU WANT THE GRANDMA BRAS. They’re based on older designs and give you the silhouette you need for vintage styles!
Make sure to check the box; make sure it says wireless, and make sure it has a pointed construction like you see in the picture to the left. Most of these bras cost around $15-20, and cheaper if you can nab them on sale. If you don’t feel like venturing into the crumbling ruins of a physical store, then click this link to buy one of my favorites without having to go into the flesh world.
Okay…But What About Underwear?
I have such a problem finding Agent Carter cosplay underwear. It seems like such a little thing, but it’s one of those little niggling details that literally no one else sees, but that bothers me because I can’t find some like her screen accurate ones. Peggy wears the What Katie Did french knickers/tap pants, but WKD is notoriously not plus-friendly and they also haven’t been willing to listen to suggestions of expanding their size range in the past, so I’m often left in a lurch because most of the size-friendly options I’ve found online are cost prohibitive.
Fortunately, I recently found this cost-effective, size-friendly alt. They aren’t as accurate as I’d like, but they’re close enough to what Peggy wears to satisfy me for the moment If you’re like me and you’d like just a little more accuracy, even on underthings, you can also wait until JoAnn has a sale on Simplicity Patterns and nab Simplicity 8510. This pattern is pretty close, and with some black satin and while buttons you can have your curves and pretty vintage underwear.
Vintage shapewear was not joking around, and because I like breathing, I don’t go for screen accurate when looking for shapewear. I usually don’t wear anything too heavy duty, unless my hips are just wildly misbehaving, but unforgiving costumes like the CATFA red dress and my Black Widow suit require something a little more sturdy.
My favorite brand for this kind of thing is Rago. I have the shorts shaper to the left, and their garter belt, which I’ll talk about later. Rago is a little on the pricier side, but shapewear, if you’re going to use it, is something I firmly believe in investing in. Cheap shapewear just doesn’t do the job nine times out of ten, and since you need it to do it’s job, it’s okay to spend a little more. (And hey, I got one of these pieces basically for free by paying for it with Ibotta.).
My first garter belt was garbage. It was a cheap, novelty item from amazon that help up absolutely nothing, which led to some particularly unflattering pictures of me ending up on the front page of the Marvel website. I have never, ever forgotten the horror of seeing the tops of my stockings on display for all the world to see, so the next one I bought, I made sure it counted.
This is another item where I don’t offer a cheaper alternative. Don’t skimp on a garter belt, especially if you’re a plus lady with killer curves. Hayley actually wore suspenders and didn’t need the garter belt, but I prefer the garter belt. Rago is excellent. This particular garter belt has six straps and my stockings stay where I tell them to. It also tells my hips to calm the heck down, which is also nice. A+ addition to my collection of foundation garments.
Wearing backseamed stockings is one of my favorite Peggy details. If I’m honest with myself, it’s one of my favorite vintage details period. There’s something so different about them that just puts you into the time, and for me, puts a little more confidence in my cosplay. I also find a proper garter belt + stockings stays up on me better than a pair of pantyhose does. No dealing with pesky rolling!
The screen-accurate What Katie Did ones are gorgeous, well-made, and the vintage community swears by them. They’re also offered with different colored tops you can coordinate with your outfit, which I admit I am thoroughly jealous of. They do seem to come in two sizes; I haven’t been able to test the larger size, though, so II can’t speak to them. For curvier gals, the ones I use are here.
Depending on your upbringing, you may or may not still be using slips. I didn’t know that they were considered vintage foundation garments by some until recently, because I’ve always worn them. (Man, did that make me feel old!)
A slip is basically a silky skirt or thin dress worn underneath the clothing to keep dresses made of thin fabric from being see-through. I usually just wear a half-slip, though I’m fairly certain that Peg wears a full one in the WKD kit. Here’s the one I have, but they’re fairly common on Amazon. It’s usually a good idea to have several depending on dress color. Start with a black or a nude colored one to start.
Slips can be miracle workers when you just didn’t have the time to line a dress. Just pop it on underneath and no one will ever know!
I hope this has helped clarify the stick situation that is figuring out vintage foundation garments for cosplay. Have any questions? Want to reccommend something? Let me know in the comments below!
This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click the links and buy the things, I will get a small amount of money to put towards things that are not free, like food and rent!