In today’s society we don’t hear the word ‘girdle’ or ‘panty girdle’ very often. It’s mostly been replaced with the more general term ‘shapewear’, but we think there is still some value in a good old fashioned girdle. You see, girdles have been around for centuries, and were an absolute must have staple for women during most of that time. That’s why we’ve compiled the girls guide to girdles – to explain why they were so popular and give you some tips for buying (and wearing) your first girdle.
How Did Girdles Come About?
If we go right back to origin of the word, girdles didn’t really have anything to do with underwear. Instead, they were the ceremonial belt worn with a cassock by priests and members of the clergy. For men, a girdle symbolised preparation and readiness to serve, while for women it represented chastity and protection. Fast forward to the 20th Century, and the word girdle now more commonly refers to an ‘undergarment make of elasticised fabric worn by women’. A girdle consisted of form fitting fabric that encircled the lower torso, extending below the hips and sometimes to the thighs. It quickly replaced the corset as the slimming attire of choice thanks to its flexible and comfortable nature, rising in popularity to being the essential underwear for women. The girdle was eventually surpassed by pantyhose and standard undergarments in the 1960’s. But they didn’t disappear altogether. Many women still wore girdles to shape themselves, and in the late 1990’s they became fashionable again under the new name of ‘shapewear’.
The War Shaped The Girdles Future
In the 1930’s, women were still wearing metal bones corsets as a way to achieve the perfect hourglass figure. It was only in the late 1930’s that girdles became a better option, thanks to new tow-way stretch elastic fabrics that were being made into full body girdle suits to smooth every lump and bump. But there was a hitch – the amazing fabric these girdles were made out of rubber, covered with ‘breathing’ holes for comfort. The outbreak of the war meant that the production of the new rubber girdles had to be stopped (thank goodness!), as rubber was needed for the war instead. The same went for the metal to make corsets, which left women free to create a new iteration of the girdle. Using alternative materials women created girdles that gave them flexibility, movement and comfort in their new jobs and lifestyles, instead of metal tubes to stuff themselves into.
Wearing Girdles Today – Top Tips
#1 – You’re Aiming For Control, Not Constriction!
Believe it or not, there is a big difference! I can’t tell you about the amount of women who still believe that a girdle needs to feel super tight in order to work. If your girdle fits you right there will be no bugles, no gaps and no pinching at any point. It won’t ride up or move around when you do, and it definitely won’t give you the dreaded ‘muffin top’! If your girdle is so tight that it causes bugles, you will see this through your clothes and defeat the point of wearing one! Instead your girdle should fit snugly and feel a little tight at first, without causing any discomfort or distortion. You should be able to sit, walk around and breathe deeply without any problems or discomfort.
#2 – Higher Waistlines Are Better
You can get girdles of all shapes and sizes now, with more styles than you know what to do with. But if you’re looking for a smooth line from your chest down to your hips, there is only one way to go. High waist girdles will typically start just under your bra line and smooth your stomach and hips, ending like a normal pair of knickers or shorts. This is preferable to some mid waist girdles, as it avoids the ‘muffin top’ look and instead gives you a sleek silhouette from top to bottom. You can even get some that hook onto your bra for extra security.
#3 – Opt For Cotton-Blend In The Summer
Most girdles are typically made of nylon and spandex, which is what makes them so good for control and support. But both of these are synthetic materials that don’t breathe very well. That’s great if it’s winter and you want to try and retain as much of your body heat as possible, but if it’s the height of summer it can be very uncomfortable. So for the hotter months, it’s best to opt for a cooler material for your shapewear. Cotton-blend is the best material to go for, as it lets your skin breathe and stops you from sweating too much while still offering the support you love.
If you’ve fallen in love with girdles, you’re not alone. Thousands of women across the UK rely on girdles to give them the sleek silhouette they crave on special occasions, or just to give them the confidence they need every day. Why not take a look at our selection of girdles and find your perfect match?