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Prior to these regulations coming into force, the purchasers of ladies slips in the United States had to accept variations in interpretation of sizes by the various manufacturers. To inspire trust and confidence in the lingerie industry, regulation CS121-45 came into being. From 1945, women could buy slips in the sure knowledge that garment sizes were always the same no matter what the brand was.
As a result of the combined efforts of the US Department of Commerce and the National Bureau of Standards to eliminate waste in the production of women's slips after WW2, it was decided to develop a voluntary code of conduct throughout the US lingerie industry to standardise sizing of all full slips as well as minimum measurements for each stated size. Standardised methods of measuring a slip were also implemented, leaving no room for error. The CS121-45 commercial standard became effective for all full slips made after 20 April 1945.
The CS121-45 standard was created so that the American buyer can purchase slips in confidence that the calculation of all garment sizes will be determined in the same way, regardless of lingerie brand. Although the standards were purely voluntary they were adopted and adhered-to by virtually the entire US lingerie industry.
In my long experience of selling vintage slips over the years I have learned to never trust a vintage lingerie label. Although I should be able to expect, being a UK-based supplier, to be able to at least rely on some semblance of sizing standardisation between British-made vintage slips, alas I can't. I can look back in envy that our American cousins at least had the vision and foresight to create these dependable consumer standards even as far back as 1945. That said, Nylon Nostalgia always carries good stocks of US-made nylon slips and their consistency and reliability of sizing is evident even to this day, which not only inspires confidence for me as the seller but also my slip-buying customers too.
Vintage slip size chart free download. Download the full US commercial standard CS121-45 covering women's slip sizes here.
Article written by Emma Benitez. BA (Hons) in Fashion and Dress History, incurable vintage aficionado and owner of Nylon Nostalgia.