A small collection of underwear and nightwear included on this website represents a fraction of the items in the John Bright Collection that date from the 1920s and 1930s. (See Related Items) These years saw a significant change in the weight and amount of undergarments worn by fashionable women, dictated by lighter, looser, shorter overgarments, as they became able to enjoy an increasingly active life style.
The earliest garment in this group is the camiknickers from the first half of the 1920s. All in one garments, known as combinations, had in past years generally been made of various weights and qualities of cotton and linen, usually white, and were sleeveless with buttoned front fastenings and long legs. These camiknickers, made of extremely fine silk have no need of fastenings owing to their looseness; the straight bodice comprises three bands of lace and silk with narrow shoulder straps; the skirt is flared and bifurcated only by means of a buttoned band attached at the front and back. The strident colour is characteristic of the vibrancy of the Jazz Age, and although strong-coloured underwear was not new (many brightly coloured and patterned petticoats from the mid 19th Century onwards survive) it was previously unusual in garments worn so close to the skin.