There’s something a little antiquated about the word ‘girdle’. It’s easy to assume that this particular piece of shapewear is a throwback to wartime Britain. The problem with this is that it suggests outdated attitudes and lifestyles. It becomes synonymous with austerity, steadfastness, and restriction. So unless you’re deliberately looking for a nostalgic look, you might not consider a girdle as being relevant to you. However the girdle, like other types of shapewear, has evolved. We look at how this evolution has manifested, and what a girdle really brings to the table!
What makes a girdle?
The girdle is essentially an evolution of the Victorian corset. With developments in stretch fabric technology in the mid-20th Century, these more comfortable pieces of underwear began to rise in popularity.
The original girdle, then, was designed to create a similar line to the corset. Its existence derived from the fact that corsetry began to focus more on shaping from the waist down. Now that separate brassiere garments were being manufactured, shaping became very much a two piece structure. The girls also fulfilled the need to clip up stockings, until tights became more widely worn.
Girdles these days, then, don’t need to incorporate suspender clips. Unless, of course, they’re specifically designed to, from an aesthetics perspective. Stretch technology and seamless designs means that smoothing and lifting has become a much more comfortable process! Around the waist, hook and eye fastenings can ensure a structured and supportive waist.
Girdles moving into the future are really more like what we term shaping shorts. These are smooth and seamless, running from under the bust right past the hips. As a solid foundation, these garments provide the most coverage with maximum convenience. Technology to prevent slippage improves all the time, making future girdle, or short, styles super reliable.
How to choose a girdle
Of course, our advice as far as slipping or roll down is concerned is to make sure that your garment fits well. When you choose to buy a girdle, you’ll need to consider your measurements, the style and fabric or garment, and how you will wear it.
Sizing down is actually more likely to make a waistband slip or roll. The whole point of shapewear is that it hugs your form, not digs into it. It’s this digging that causes the rolling of a waistband. So take a fresh set of measurements every time you buy. When you sit between sizes, choose whichever is most aligned to your actual waist measurement, rounded up.
A good fit should be enough to maintain the structure of a good quality girdle. You can clip or tuck a high waistband to your bra band if you’d like additional security. Or try some dressers tape to be extra sure.
Stretch fabrics mean that shaping garments are more smooth and subtle than ever, with seamless designs and minimal fastenings. Make sure that the fabrics you choose are soft and breathable. You’ll stay comfortable for longer than you would in constricting heavy duty fabrics.
When to wear a girdle
So, which times are ideal for wearing a shaping girdle? There’s no specific event that these pieces of shapewear are geared towards. Remember that back in the early 20th Century, these were pretty much everyday wear. How and when we wear shapewear has definitely changed since then.
If you have an evening gown or tailored outfit lined up for a special occasion it can be daunting. These occasions are often long and social; think weddings, dinners, awards etc. So a comfortable girdle provides ideal shaping that will stay put for the duration.
Who doesn’t want to feel amazing on a night out? Since a girdle, or high waisted shaping short, focusses compression on your waist and bum, it’ll create a knockout silhouette. That’s an ideal foundation for anything from a LBD to the ‘jeans and a nice top’ staple. And you can easily go to the loo!
Ladies of the past wore a girdle every day. But we’ve moved on thank goodness. So if you choose to wear an everyday girdle, you can do so without the discomfort! Choose something with light compression for a hint of added confidence to your image.
Girdles, although called so by name, are so much more than the trappings of yesteryear. They have so many different style options that they may even become your new favourite foundation wear!