The History (and Future!) of Dixie Belle® Lingerie

Dixie Belle® may be the newest addition to the Shadowline Lingerie family, but there’s a long and fascinating history behind it. Originally called Dixie Belle Textiles, the company first launched in North Carolina in 1946 – incidentally, the same year that the Shadowline® brand was founded. Perhaps they were always destined to end up under the same umbrella!

This was a time when nylon lingerie was still relatively new, and although the company also made hospital gowns, Dixie Belle® quickly became a popular brand with customers for garments such as its nylon slips and panties, thanks to its unwavering focus on providing superior quality and fit at a reasonable price point.

Vintage Dixie Belle® nylon robe. Image courtesy of 2sweet4wordsVintage on Etsy.

Also key to its success however was the way the brand broke the mold by offering inclusive sizing that was truly decades ahead of its time. In an era where bras had only just begun to be sold by band size, and other lingerie frequently only came in three size options equivalent to Small, Medium and Large, Dixie Belle® became the first ever lingerie manufacturer based in the United States to offer plus-sized panties. Even today, our Dixie Belle® panties offer our most extensive and inclusive size range of all, fitting up to 60” hips.

The Scallop Trim Full Brief, as spotted in an old Dixie Belle® catalog illustration.

Dixie Belle®’s signature ‘nylon satinette’ panty fabrics at the old factory. Image courtesy of Textile Heritage Museum.

After an incredible 74 years in business, the family-run company intended to close its doors for good in 2020. But we know many Shadowline® and Velrose® fans love Dixie Belle® too, so naturally we bought the brand to ensure that their fabulous and size-inclusive lingerie will live on for many more years to come.

When the original North Carolina factory closed, it donated many interesting artifacts from the brand’s history, such as sewing machines and vintage catalogs, to the nearby Textile Heritage Museum in Burlington. If you’re local or passing through and are a fan of the Dixie Belle® brand, we highly recommend stopping in for a look!

The old Dixie Belle® factory. Image courtesy of Textile Heritage Museum.

Snapshots from the old factory, courtesy of Textile Heritage Museum. Have you been a Dixie Belle® fan long enough to remember this packaging?

So what’s the future looking like for Dixie Belle® lingerie? While we are currently only producing one panty style, the Scallop Trim Full Brief, rest assured that we do have plans to bring back more Dixie Belle® styles or introduce new ones in keeping with their classic esthetic. If there’s a particular Dixie Belle® design you’ve always loved and wish you could still buy, be sure to let us know.

And speaking of new styles, not only did we recently add the new color Nude to the scallop-trimmed panty, but after listening to many requests for multi-color packs, we’ve just made those available to buy as well. To celebrate, we’re offering you 10% off on all Dixie Belle® mixed color multi-packs with code COLORS. But be quick – this offer is only valid through to the end of July 2023!