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Helpful Advice

Vintage, Bullet Bra 

Quite simply, the easiest way of obtaining an authentic retro silhouette is investing in a bullet or longline bra. Breast shapes go in and out of fashion just as much as anything else. In the 1920s we binded our breast to appear flat chested, whilst more recently we've been pumping vast amounts of silicone into our bodies for that perfect shape. The ideal breast shape of the 1950s was a cone shape, pointing proudly outwards and upwards.
Wearing a bullet bra gives you a great 1950s silhouette but if you're feeling a little self conscious a longline bra still gives you the right outline but in a less extreme form. A longline bra is also perfect for wearing with full skirted dresses if you want a little shaping but don't want to wear a girdle.

If you are unsure of your bra size please equip yourself with a tape measure and work through the following guide:
The measurements must be made against the skin as opposed to over clothing:

1. To find your band size (32, 34, 36 etc.), measure directly under the bust and straight across the back. Hold the tape measure firmly. Add 4 inches to an even number and 5 inches to an odd number. This is your band size.
2. To find out your bust measurement which will determine your cup size, measure the fullest part of the bust in inches. This must a looser measurement to step 1. In fact the tape measure should almost slip off to get the best results.
3. Subtract your band size (step 1) from the second measurement (step 2). The difference determines your cup size.

Don't be scared of our corsets: they're made to work hard and to reduce your waist by 3 to 4 inches.

Difference between back size and bust measurement in inches
Cup size Same = A cup
Cup size 1" more = B cup
Cup size 2" more = C cup
Cup size 3" more = D cup
Cup size 4" more = E cup (or DD)
Cup size 5" more = F cup (or DDD)

Overseas Bra Sizing

UK/USA 32A = France 85A Europe 70A Australia 10A
UK/USA 32B = France 85B or 85 Europe 70B Australia 10B
UK/USA 32C = France 85C Europe 70C Australia 10C
UK/USA 32D = France 85D Europe 70D Australia 10D
UK/USA 34A = France 90A Europe 75A Australia 12A
UK/USA 36A = France 95A Europe 80A Australia 14A
UK/USA 38A = France 100A Europe 85A Australia 16A........and so on.



Most women wear a corset these days for the glamour as much as the effect. Wearing a corset takes you back to a more decadent era, making you feel you've just walked out of the Moulin Rouge.

Corsets (at least the steel boned ones we sell), are not to be taken lightly. They'll easily skim 4" from your waist and want to keep going long after you've given up. They shouldn't, however, feel uncomfortable. You should feel as if you're being hugged tightly.

Corsets are the ultimate in boudoir dressing, but they needn't be confined to that. A corset makes a daring top when teamed with a pencil skirt or even trousers. If you want to achieve a nipped in waist a corset may not be the right answer. A waist cincher is a more practical option for everyday-wear.

Most of our corsets come in even waist sizes (22", 24", 26" etc). To determine your corset size take 3 to 4 inches from your normal waist measurement. If you have a natural waist measurement of 28", then your corset size will be 24". If you have a natural waist measurement of 29" then your corset size will be 26".

Some makes of our corsets ask for your NATURAL waist and hip measurement and will be adapted accordingly so check in the listing as then you just add your own measurements.

Most of  our corsets feature a busk front (front opening) and laced back. To try on your corset don't undo the lacing at the back, simply untie the bow in the middle and 'jimmy' the corset apart. Once you have a gap of a few inches you can undo the busk front and put the corset on like a belt. If it doesn't fit simply 'jimmy' the back ties a little further apart. Once the corset is on pull the centre loops of the back ties gently but firmly to tighten the corset. If the corset is a longer style you might need a little help to tighten the top and bottom of the corset but with practise will be able to do it alone.

The corset shouldn't close completely and easily on the first try. If it does, it's probably too big! Once you've worn your corset a few times you'll be able to gradually lace tighter so both sides meet at the back giving you a perfect fit.


Waist Cincher

If you're trying shapewear for the first time, one of our waist cinchers is a must! They nip in your waist to give you a '50s hour glass figure and, more importantly, do so comfortably! Unlike corsets you don't need to save them for an evening out, but can wear them on a daily basis with no pinching! Woman today don't seem to have as defined waists as in the past and not only is our power mesh cincher a best seller, some customers claim it has changed their lives! 
Waist cinchers are ideal for wearing with tight waisted, full skirted dresses for a 1947 Dior 'New Look' image, or under tight pencil skirts.


Open bottom girdles shape the hips, tummy and derriere. It is a myth that wearing a girdle will make you significantly smaller but it will give you a little leeway on a too-tight dress. It also smooths out any lumps and bumps which makes an open bottom girdle ideal for wearing with a tight fitting pencil skirt or dress.
"Putting em on. The nails I have broken until I learned how to put on a girdle properly! Here's how. Fold girdle in half. Step into it. Pull up on hips, unfold, roll up. Run your hands under the girdle at the side of the hip and smooth the fabric, pulling it down gently."


A corselette includes a bra and covers the whole torso. Imagine a beautiful, fitted, black silk cocktail dress. Now think of the visible lines left by your bra, knickers and suspender belt. A corselette comfortably solves all of these problems and ensures a smooth line from bust to top of thigh.
A lot of women are finding that, far from being demeaning, corselettes are marvelous novelties and fun to wear. 

What Katie Did lingerie

Sizes either go by waist measurement or dress size. When measuring your waist, measure tightly. You're measuring for shapewear so tummies in and tape-measure tight. Your natural waist line is the narrowest point of your torso, higher than your trouser waistband, higher than your belly button - keep going - aha! You've got it.
Most What Katie Did lingerie garments are cut for a Vintage Figure, that is a figure with the hip measurement being 8 to 10 inches bigger than the waist. If you have a Modern Figure (waist less than 6 inches smaller than your hips -and for measuring hips we measure the widest part) it is advisable to go down one size in certain garments.

A-D Cup?

You should select your usual bra size when shopping with What Katie Did. Our sizes are generally in line with brands including Agent Provocateur, Triumph and Gossard.

DD+ Cup?

Please note that we are not a modern full cup brand which specialises in DD+ cups which means that all of our bras are sized traditionally: your underbust measurement and band size should not be the same. Our band sizes are designed to fit an underbust measurement 3-4 inches smaller so, for example, a size 32 is designed to fit an underbust 28-29".

What Katie Did lingerie dress sizes are based on waist sizes of: Size 8 - 23" waist, Size 10 - 25" waist, Size 12 - 27" waist, Size 14 - 29" waist, Size 16 - 31" waist, Size 18 - 33" waist.

Fitting notes are included in garment descriptions where needed. No notes mean there's nothing to worry about and the garment is suitable for all.

If you have purchased a bra (either from us, or elsewhere) and the size isn't quite right, it's easy to work out what's gone wrong and how to find the right size for you. Bra cups are 'cross graded' which means the same cup is used for several different sizes. If your band is too tight, but the cup fits perfectly, then you need to go up a band size and down a cup size (this will make the band 2" longer, but the cup the same as the first size).

For example:

28F has the same cup as a 30E, 32DD, 34D, 36C and 38B

28FF has the same cup as a 30F, 32E, 34DD, 36D and 38C

28G has the same cup as a 30FF, 32F, 34E, 36DD and 38D

European and US dress size conversion

UK dress size 10 = US dress size 6, France dress size 38, Europe dress size 36
UK dress size 12 = US dress size 8, France dress size 40, Europe dress size 38
UK dress size 14 = US dress size 10, France dress size 42, Europe dress size 40....and so on

For lingerie based on waist sizes here is the metric conversion:

24" waist = 60cm
26" waist = 65cm
28" waist = 70cm

Vintage Lingerie Care

Look after your vintage lingerie, hosiery and other women's accessories you will get the best wear and longevity out of your women’s fashion accessories.

Look at the labels on the clothing . Most items of retro lingerie will have labels and stockings, hold ups and pantyhose will normally have instructions on the packaging.
The makers of your underwear garments are the experts as they made the product! Stockings and lingerie manufacturers will also have carried out exhaustive wash testing on their fashion accessories Even though a garment label is small on the garment it contains all the information required for washing and caring for the vintage lingerie item.

Pandora's Choice advise that you should wash your women’s fashion accessories, vintage underwear and stockings in a wash bag or pillow case to protect your delicate underwear from snagging and getting damaged by other items in the washing machine.
If your vintage lingerie, stockings or any other item not have any tag detailing its washing and care it is advisable to following these basic rules.


1. Wash your stockings and lingerie by hand in cold water. Make sure you rinse all the soap out of the fashion accessories thoroughly. If you prefer to wash in the washing machine, use a cold wash with similar colours. Always wash different colors separately, and remember to fasten all your underwear and bra hook and eye closures to avoid damage in the machine.

2. Drip dry or dry flat away from direct sunlight as this can cause your vintage lingerie and seamed stockings to fade. If you must dry a dryer, tumble dry on a very low and cool setting with your fashion accessories and hosiery either in a pillow case or wash bag. Most items are NOT suitable for tumble drying.

3. If your tag says DRY CLEAN LINGERIE , this is exactly what you should do. Ignoring this instruction will almost certainly result in serious damage to your underwear and valuable vintage lingerie garments and other women’s fashion accessories. 

4. You should lose a soap specially designed for delicates avoid biological soaps when washing your lingerie and underwear accessories.


1. Avoid washing you lingerie with other items as lingerie and women’s fashion accessories are delicately laced items and are easily damaged. Do not use bleach or b detergents on your lingerie or underwear.

2. Do not tumble dry underwear garments loosely with other lingerie as your accessories may twist and stretch and get caught with such items as suspender belts. Avoid also using clothes lines as the garments may crease and stretch. Remember also to Keep your women's underwear out of direct sunlight and do not use a hot iron on your lingerie and accessories as this will damage the fabrics.

Stocking Terms Explained

Cuban heel - A stocking with a heel made with folded over and sewn reinforcement.
Demi Toe - Stockings which have a reinforced toe with half the coverage on top as on the bottom. This results in a reinforcement that covers only the tip of the toes as opposed to the whole toe. These can be with or without a reinforced heel.
Denier - The lower the denier number the sheerer the garment. Stockings knitted with a higher denier tend to be less sheer but more durable.
Fishnet - Knitted stockings with a very wide open knit resembling a fish net.
Fencenet - Similar to fishnet, but with a much wider pattern. These are sometimes worn over another pair of stockings or pantyhose, such as matte or opaque, with a contrasting colour.
Full-Fashioned - Full-fashioned stockings are knitted flat, the material is then cut and the two sides are then united by a seam up the back. Full-fashioned stockings were the most popular style until the 1960s.
Hold-ups or Stay-ups - Stockings that are held up by sewn-in elasticated bands (quite often a wide lace top band).
Matte - Stockings which have a dull or non-lustre finish.
Mock Seams - A false seam sewn into the back of a seamless stocking.
Nude Heel - Stockings without reinforcement in the heel area.
Opaque - Stockings made of yarn which give them a heavier appearance (usually 40 denier or greater).
RHT - Abbreviation of reinforced heel and toe.

Sandlefoot - Stockings with a nude toe, meaning no heavier yarn in the toe than is in the leg.
Seamed - Stockings manufactured in the old Full-Fashioned manner with a seam running up the back of the leg. In the past they were manufactured by cutting the fabric and then sewing it together. Today stockings are generally fully knitted and a fake or mock seam is added up the back for a particular fashion look.
Seamless - Stockings knit in one operation on circular machines (one continuous operation) so that no seaming is required up the back.
Sheer - Stockings generally of a 15 to 20 denier.
Ultra Sheer - A fine denier fibre which gives the ultimate in sheerness. Usually 10 denier.
Welt - A fabric knitted separately and machine-sewn to the top of a stocking. Knit in a heavier denier yarn and folded double to give strength for supporter fastening.