What are the Different Styles of Slips?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

The progenitor of the modern slip is the chemise or shift, a full-length garment with sleeves, worn under the clothing by ladies in the 15th century and onward. The shift could also be used as a nightgown, and it might be accompanied from the 16th century onward by petticoats, bloomers, and corsets, which all helped to define and keep a woman’s shape underneath a dress.

The chemise, which is similar to a modern day slip, was worn in Victorian times to protect clothes from skin.
The chemise, which is similar to a modern day slip, was worn in Victorian times to protect clothes from skin.

The modern slip, now called a full slip, was a dressed down version of all this additional underwear. They usually do not have sleeves, are full length, and are made in fabrics like cotton, linen, or silk. They provide protection from possibly rough clothing, allow clothes to lie flat, and might provide corseting, or breast support. Underwear or bras might still be worn with full slips.

A full slip may be worn as a nightgown or under a dress.
A full slip may be worn as a nightgown or under a dress.

One change in lingerie was the idea of offering half-slips instead of full ones. This type starts at the waist and can be any length required. They can often be purchased with a camisole top so that when coverage is needed on the full body both pieces could be worn. However, with many women wearing pants, a camisole and bra might be the only needed coverage for sheer blouses.

Half-slips came to be offered in a variety of styles and lengths. Some even echoed the bloomers or pants worn by women in much earlier times and were excellent for wear with sheer gauchos. Some from the 1970s onward were sold with one length, but with various cut marks, which could be used for shortening them to the desired length. Further, with the advent of mini-skirts, many women were grateful to find mini-slips that were the right length for such styles.

Full slips are still sold, but are often less popular. These may have boning or breast cups, which allows women to wear them without a bra. Alternately, some are made of sheer nylon lace. For a dress that requires one, full slips are often the best bet, since they won’t show a middle line separating a camisole/half slip combination. On the other hand, owning a few camisoles is not a bad idea for use under sheer garments, when one wears pants.

Slips can be made in a variety of fabrics. Polyester, nylon, satins, silk and cotton all have their uses. Cotton is the most breathable, and can be quite comfortable to wear. Manmade fabrics, on the other hand, tend to be smoother. Some clothing manufacturers are kind enough to providing a full or half-slip lining in clothing that makes the wearing of slips somewhat pointless.

These undergarments also come in different designs. Some are extremely simple. Others boast lacy trim, slits and a variety of colors. Typically, the only colors one needs are nude, white, and black. Nude slips are best under pastels and any dark color except black. White should be worn under white, and black works best under black clothing. The goal is to not see the slip.

However, some of the more fancy slips almost beg to be seen. One with lacy slits might show a bit as one is moving around. Generally a small peek at a slip is considered fine, but it should not be visible at all times.

Many people don’t wear slips, which can lead to unfortunate circumstances when garments are sheer. Lightweight fabrics often are highly sheer, and will definitely show off things like panties and bras, especially when one stands in heavily lighted or sunlit areas. It’s thus considered proper to have either appropriate lining or undergarment for garments that might be sheer.

Slips may be considered a type of lingerie.
Slips may be considered a type of lingerie.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


I am a man and wear a slip every day and will not stop wearing it. I think it is a beautiful garment and should never have gone out of favor with women, but that is the way with fashion

Even though they do not wear them, they still object to men wearing them, but I love them so much. I go looking for them in the lingerie shops and when I see them in my size, I buy them. Thankfully, I now have many, both half slips and full slips, but I have not seen the ones on sale in shops with the bra cups. I've only seen those online, but I would like to see and feel what I am buying because double postage is now out of the question, if I need to return something, then the postage for the replacement to be mailed back to me again is out of the question. So, I just go into the shop and have a look.


Ny wife wears nylon half slips to bed. We noticed that when I cuddle up against her silky slips I get excited. She has me wear one too and slides that slippery nylon all over me. Stimulating to say the least!


I wear nylon panties 24/7 and so a slip was a natural progression. However I only wear the slippery slips to bed to play and sleep in. My wife and I have matching nylon half slips. We find that cuddling and fondling is just so much more fun with this exciting bit of funwear.


I am a male and have a lot of lingerie. Nightgowns, full slips, nylon robes, panties. etc. I wear them all the time, and love the satin, nylon feel on my body.


I am a male and enjoy full and half slips and other lingerie with my wife and she often surprises me with lingerie purchases.


Some men wear them because they are so comfortable. Men's underwear is out of the stone age. Nothing like a nice bath and slip into something comfortable. Slip and panties and off to bed to sleep like a baby.


Don't forget bra slips! They can have sheer cups with an elasticated band, or clips like a normal bra, or have cups padded to different levels.


A full length tight fitting body hugging silk slip with delicate intricate lacework on the bodice and hem is the most sensual undergarment in the world, bar none! The slip is every bit as sexual as it is functional. Watching a women walk with a bit of slip "flashing" through a bit of a slit in the back of her skirt and the visual of getting a look up her tight skirt when she's wearing such a sensual garment is simply heaven on earth.

All that "girly stuff" like slips, panty girdles, silky nylons, etc. is one hell of an experience for a man to witness when getting a glimpse up a women's skirt.


As a guy, a girl in a slip is so sexy. I hope that they make a comeback.


I think that getting a glimpse of a woman's slip is one of the sexiest things ever. I prefer it if a girl wears a slip all the time.


As a red-blooded male, I can confirm that a waist slip glimpsed is a very sexy thing indeed. It is a shame a current generation are missing this point. My favorite era was in the early 80's in Britain, when the fashion was for young women to wear tight pencil skirts with slits - sometimes one each side - and a contrasting nylon slip with lace edge showing confidently at the slit or slits.

Seeing the nylon sliding over the curve of a pantyhose-covered leg at each stride was amazing! Seeing the lace edge peeking out as a woman is seated is also lovely. All power to you slip wearers!


I won't go anywhere without wearing a full slip underneath, and I have at least one to go with each of my dresses and skirts. If I wear a sundress, a half slip. Pants and jeans get a pantliner and a camisole.

Call me old fashioned but I'm not old, I guess I dig vintage stuff. To me, I just don't feel finished getting dressed without wearing one and clothes just go on and fit better.

I do feel more feminine I guess, and they are fun, aside from the comfort and protection.

P.S. Bonus: My fiancee loves them and thinks I'm "dreamy." I can't complain about that either.


for me, i would prefer my girlfriend to wear a half slip which is longer than her tight skirts.

some skirts can be seen through. When standing on escalator, some would attempt to view underneath of a girl's skirt.

To make my girlfriend look more feminine to me, especially if she is wearing skirts that have a slit in front, the slips will provide cover.


In my opinion (I am a man), I particularly don't like women/girls wearing slips at all. to me it is disgusting. Thank you. --Robert


Call me old fashioned, but dresses and skirts hang so much better, worn over a slip. Even at my age (62). They were part of a girl's 'calling cards' from age thirteen onwards. --Valerie.


nowdays probably more men wear slips than women.


I wear tan-colored panty hose and a short, nylon half-slip. They keep my clothes in line and my legs stay cooler. thanks, donna


I wear a slip, it prevents show-through, and helps keep my legs cool. I also have to wear panty-hose or stockings, and it helps to keep my legs-cooler.- Madeline, age 37.


I am in my late 50's. I have worn a half-slip, or full-slip under my dresses and skirts for my entire-life, since junior high. The same is true for my panty girdle and nylon stockings, (although sometimes I wear panty hose with shorter dresses).

I am comfortable with my fashions and hem lengths (which my fashionable Church friends consider to be too short). My husband thinks my legs are attractive at my age. thanks, Helen


I always wear a slip under any skirt or dress where I think there may be-show-through. My husband demands that I be modest everywhere but in our bedroom. I also wear panty-hose with dark panties.


why do ladies show their nylon slip hem in church and when getting out of the car? My sister used to do the same thing, and their stocking tops?


young women in our high school always wore their nylon slips under skirts and dresses. this is what our Mothers' taught us. the hems were usually visible to boys who would attempt to look-up our crossed-legs, and view our stocking-tops, garters, and slip hems if possible-janet


Very interesting article. Slips are very pretty and feminine - it is nice to know that men appreciate seeing a woman wearing a slip!

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