Wearing a Vintage Girdle

Vintage Girdles – from the 1920’s-1960’s

1950's Vintage Girdle by Perma-LiftGirdles have been around for 100’s of years although were more commonly called corsets until earlier this century. Originally they were fairly heavy and difficult to get into and a helping hand was needed to tighten the lacing at the back, but all this changed – fast forward to the 1920’s and the corset had been shortened, was made in lighter fabrics and much easier for a girl to wiggle into. Putting on a girdle, which was the equivalent to a daily workout in the earlier part of the century, was now so much easier with zips, poppers and hook & eye fastenings.  Designed to create a smooth line under the flapper dresses in fashion at the time by slimming the hips and thighs and with suspender straps to connect stockings, they were much more like the girdles we know today.

From this decade right through to the end of the 60’s, a girdle was considered to be an essential item of clothing, diminishing waist sizes, smoothing out hips, and eliminating ‘midriff bulge’.

Many women who had been bought up to wear a girdle or corset held firm beliefs that this type of foundation wear was essential for girls to achieve and maintain a good figure, give them ladylike qualities, good posture and assure graceful movement, so their daughters were taken for a fitting as soon as they developed curves.

Vintage girdles from the 1940’s/1950’s were generally made of a combination of rayon, cotton and rubber and were worn under every outfit, whether it be full circle, Dirndl or pencil dresses, cropped capri trousers, cigarette pants or pedal pushers.

Women in this era loved their girdles and wore them all day everyday, whether they were doing housework, shopping, on nights out or just watching TV.  My own mum wore them daily under her pretty floral dresses with their lovely flowing skirts until the early 60’s  (it may well have been longer but as I got older access to her boudoir was limited).

1940’s and 50’s women were rarely born with the pin-up figure depicted – not only from stars of the silver screen & TV, but in ‘average’ daily life of the times –  the coveted hour-glass shape was made – with bullet bras and girdles.

We all have areas we are not happy with or ‘problem areas’ especially as we age or when we have had children, and a good well-fitting girdle has the power to improve your silhouette by smoothing, lifting and flattening in all the right places, helping disguise unwanted ‘lumps and bumps’.

In one of the Berlie ads their slogan was ‘the little bulge that had been my tummy was gone’ and magically they did make a person’s waist and stomach look smaller, flatter and firmer.  It feels pretty good to be able to look in the mirror with your dress pulled up and admire the flat stomach where your little ‘pouch’ used to be. 

How to Wear a Vintage Girdle

The girdle is once again popular as women try to attain a great figure with or without diet and/or exercise.   Many use modern shape wear, but for a true hour-glass silhouette you just can’t beat a vintage girdle.

To achieve the look and the benefits that wearing a girdle gives you, it important to get the sizing right.   Measure your waist and hips then purchase a girdle that is 1-2″ smaller than your actual size as it will not achieve the desired effect if it fits exactly, vintage girdles of the 1950sit should be tight enough to support your back and firm across the hips and belly.    Once you are completely used to the feeling of confinement, you can go to a smaller size if you wish.

The easiest way to put on a vintage girdle is to lay flat on your back on a bed (in the same way we used to pull on our skin tight Levi’s), wiggle it up your legs over your hips, do up the fastenings – hooks & eyes/zip or both then roll up into standing position.   There are two reasons why I recommend this as the simplest method although just find what is easier for you:

  • It can be hard to keep your balance whilst stepping in and hoisting it upwards with wiggly movements
  • When lying down the stomach goes flatter and its easier to fasten.

Once you get used to wearing one daily (which may take a few days or even a week or two), you will really feel the positives of it.

The Benefits of a Girdle

When you look good you feel good, and with a good fitting girdle offering control and support for both the stomach and back you can look instantly sleeker and more shapely – not to mention that it will improve posture and encourage you to ‘stand taller’. Standing or sitting up straight also has health benefits as your lungs are not ‘compressed’ as they become with a ‘slouching’ posture and this type of shapewear has proved to be beneficial for overall health if used correctly.  A vintage style girdle is beautifully flattering and will show off your assets or hide your ‘liabilities’ accordingly.

There is something addictive about a really firm girdle and many women who have worn them for years become girdle dependent, enjoying the confinement, the tightness, support and control that they offer.

What you put on first makes all the difference to how your clothing hangs, and this magical device that will help you appear to shed pounds without  any effort, not to mention a quick confidence boost.  Any woman of any size can benefit from wearing a girdle in any of its forms – high waisted, full body or a simple panty-girdle. You may be a size 8 but not perfectly toned, you may not naturally possess a pin-up figure, or you may have a few unwanted lumps and bumps – wearing a girdle can change all that in a second!

Its not so much about looking smaller, but enhancing the curves you already have and a good girdle will give you uplift, support, flatten out tummy bulges and help with sagging of the abdominal muscles.

Marilyn MonroeBody image was totally different back then to how it is now, in the 1950’s it was considered that the most desirable women had curvy ‘womanly’ shapes and skinny women were considered unattractive, in fact many adverts of the times were for products encouraging ‘skinny’ women to gain weight.  (see our article ‘Shape up, Back to the Fifties’ )

A vintage style girdle is not a device of torture; it can be beautiful, sexy and with today’s modern fabrics, comfortable to wear.  It is a fabulous blending of function and fashion – designed to give you a true ‘hour-glass’ shape like the stunning figure of Marilyn Monroe, who was not skinny by any means.

Vintage Girdles for Men

Men have worn girdles since Victorian times, although for much of the past century it has not been seen as ‘socially acceptable’ so men who wear girdles had been ‘closeted’.  Now times have changed and many males admit to wearing them for control, comfort or just because they like the feel of them.  Judging by the calls we get, vintage style lingerie  seems to be very popular with cross-dressers as they ‘hug’ the waist to thigh area tightly so can keep a pair of hip pads and / or padded briefs worn to enhance feminine shape firmly in place.

When buying panty or full length girdles for men,  to get the correct size measure the waist and deduct 1-2″ for a good firm fit.  The waistband should be tight enough not to allow slip-down and the fabric itself should not have too much stretch so there is no bagginess on the hips.  For men wearing padding the fabric is not so important as their hips will be more ‘womanly’.

Posture and grace are ageless and your girdle can be an absolute godsend when trying to achieve this.  Modern shapewear is fine – it does the job, but it is nowhere near as glamorous as the good old vintage girdle.

Email

Comments (2)

    I am from the Golden Age of Girdles 40s 50s 60s. I grew up in a home with my mom grandmother and aunt. There were always in either a vintage girdle or a corset everyday without question and they loved being girdled. I use to over hear them talk about being Girdle Dependent. As a man I had always wondered could I get to the point of becoming Girdle Dependent and find I love being girdled and discover the benefits that a girdle offers you.

    I decided to find out – I located a Spencer Trained Professional Corsetiere. I called her up and talked with her. She told me that becoming Girdle Dependent and getting to the point of experiencing the benefits a vintage girdle does give you doesn’t matter what sex you are male or female.

    I decided to find out I set up an appointment with the Corsetiere. She first sat me down and asked me pointed question about my life style. I am very active, but for work like most of us I sit working on computers which is really terrible for our posture. She then measured my hips and waist and recommended that I should be in a high waist boned and zippered panty girdle like Rago 6210.

    Then came Girdle Training which you will find here: https://toms0321.wordpress.com/

    What I found is that wearing a girdle everyday my posture is 100% improved, my clothes fit so much better, but what I was really surprised once I fould keep my stomach muscles relaxed and let the girdle give my stomach and back needed control and support I had much much more energy, I was amazed.

    Yes to do get to the point where it does take a few weeks to around 3 months of daily wearing a girdle and going through girdle training, but it really is well worth it, you do get to the point like women back during the Godlen Age of Girdles you will find you really love being girdled everyday and the benefits are real.

    Come and visit us as voy.com/224381/ and tell us about your girdle and corset experiences.

    Reply

    I would find it hard to miss the support, and especially the assurance, of the girdle on me today. And I think that suspenders were the best thing ever invented to hold up stockings, quick and simple

    I need my belly held flat, doesn’t everybody? And I need my buttocks held in together to create a lovely “monobutt. I need my thighs pulled into shape under my skirt – or pants! Above all I get an inch off the waist with the waistbands of my girdles that are always high-waisted these days for a lovely figure under a dress.

    I breathe and move as well as ever in a girdle. The only small disadvantages are that I can’t bend as well to pick something off the floor – but when you’re obviously in a girdle and nylons it’s amazing how fast people jump to do it for you!

    The truth is that women in girdles were always held in a special type of awe, it seemed to be a posh, a swanky way to dress and it looked awesome too, for those few permitted to see it!

    And despite some discomfort as a beginner in girdles, when you get to my stage you actually look forward to the support after you climb out of bed in then morning, wash and then get your girdle up around you – what a relief, what a blessed relief, and instant transformation too.

    I’m always in one of my girdles today -even when I wear trousers I have a panty roll-on girdle on underneath for essential shaping and support.
    Oh and ilove the shiny satin panels too, who doesn’t?

    Reply

Leave a comment

Hey, so you decided to leave a comment! That's great. Just fill in the required fields and hit submit. Note that your comment will need to be reviewed before its published.