When we think of the word ‘girdle’, most of us are transported back in time to the 1950’s. A time of wasp waists, ultra glamour and pin-up girls. Although they hold an important place in the history of shapewear, the modern-day incarnation of the girdle remains a vital weapon in our arsenal for taming curves. But what exactly is a girdle, and how can it help smooth and sculpt your curves? Well, read on to find out….
What is a girdle?
The girdle was defined by acclaimed textile author Mary Brooks Picken as ‘a flexible, light-weighted shaped corset, made partly or entirely of elastic’. It first appeared in the early 20th century, as a replacement for the more restrictive whalebone corsets that dominated the Victorian era. The new undergarment extended from the waist to the hips, and was designed for comfort and body-shaping control.
Over time, the girdle has evolved. It’s incorporated different materials – from rubber to neoprene, and from nylon to lycra. It’s evolution has been dictated by the politics of war, textile innovation and the way women’s ‘ideal’ body shapes have changed over the decades. However the girdle may have changed in size and structure, it’s always had one goal in mind. Namely, to slim the tummy, hips and thighs. Although it’s also now known as a waist slimmer or waist trainer, the term girdle is so well respected it can still be found in specialist shapewear ranges today.
How to wear a girdle
As we’ve mentioned above, the construction and popularity of the girdle has waxed and waned over the years. Although the undergarment might have seen its heyday in the 1950s, usage definitely declined during the 1920’s flapper era and the carefree 1960’s. However, in recent years, our obsession with the new ‘ideal’ of the hourglass or slim thick physique, has brought about a renaissance for this type of shapewear.
Modern-day girdles are high-waisted shapewear pieces. They provide superb control from below the bust to the thighs. Made of the latest bespoke materials, these wonderful pieces are made of a range of shaping materials, including cotton and breathable fabrics. Designed to slim the abdomen and tummy, while providing excellent hip and butt shaping, they can help you achieve the curves you desire.
Health benefits of wearing a girdle
Girdles provide excellent control, without being too constricting. However, they also provide a range of other health benefits. These include:
- Confidence boosting – having a negative body image can be really detrimental to your mental health. Celebrities such as Lizzo work tirelessly to promote body positivity, championing us to love our bodies no matter the shape. However, for the majority of women a little contouring can go a long way to boosting confidence. Girdles and waist-slimming shapewear provide instant slimming results, trimming inches from your waistline and smoothing out lumps and bumps.
- Improved posture – how many of us slump over our desks, rarely standing to take a break and correct our posture? This issue has only got worse during the pandemic, with many of us working from home at tables not ergonomically designed for computer use. Over time, this bad posture can lead to other health issues, including back, neck and shoulder pain. This is where a girdle can help, as it forces you to sit up straight, and adopt a good posture. Indeed, after a while you’ll find yourself adopting good habits that will persist even when you’re not wearing one.
- Long-term waist reduction – who here hasn’t heard of the long-term waist reductions achieved using waist trainers? Over a period of a few weeks, combined with a diet and exercise regime, these pieces can actually re-model your physique, trimming inches from your waistline, permanently.
- Post-partum support – post-partum girdles (or belly bands) aren’t just designed to slim down baby weight. They’re also medical compression garments that can ease discomfort, reduce swelling and improve your pelvic floor. But speak to your doctor first, to make sure these foundation garments are appropriate for you, and your healing process.
How to choose the right girdle for you
In order to achieve the slimming effect you desire, it’s vital to select the right shapewear. Once you’ve decided that a girdle or waist slimmer is the shapewear for you, here’s how to select the right piece:
1. Get measured
The most important piece of advice we can give you is to get measured properly. Going for a smaller size than you actually are won’t enhance the slimming effect, it will simply displace weight elsewhere. This will cause unsightly bulges where previously you had none. Once you’ve taken your measurements – either in a store or at home, using a tailor’s tape – consult the size guide and purchase accordingly.
2. Think shaping
Some girdles are higher waisted than others, and some offer shaping down to the thighs. So think about where you need the help most. Also, consider the time of year. During the warmer summer months, look for cotton blends and breathable fabrics, to ensure all day comfort.
3. Consider your budget
If you’re going for something that’s light control and for everyday wear, you’ll probably need to replace your shapewear within 6-12 months. So maybe don’t splurge on this type of shapewear. If you’re going for maximum control for special occasions only, invest more as these pieces will stand the test of time.
Here at Elle Courbee we have a fantastic range of plus size girdles, to suit all your needs and for every budget. Our pieces are hand-selected, and include waist cinchers, open-bust full slips, seamless cycling short-style girdles and contouring shaping slips. Check out our collection today and start your shapewear journey to a more confident you!