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Fifties Shapewear – Instant Sex Appeal

Retro styling – you must have seen that term before! It is applied to everything from clothing to home furnishings. Retro comes from the Latin meaning ‚backwards‘. Here we are discussing retro Cheap Shapewear.

Cheap Shapewear t The war years were years of austerity and women on both sides of the channel dressed for comfort, to help the war effort. At the end of the war women wanted to attract their men and fashions reflected this desire. This culminated in Christian Dior fashion, which required a sleek, chic silhouette that only a corselet, corset or girdle could provide. Suddenly all women wore girdles, and not just women either – all the shapewear manufacturers targeted not just women but teens as well. All kinds of ‚girdles for young teens‘ were marketed. Probably the teen girdle that gained the maximum coverage, in more than one sense, was the panty girdle – a tight-fitting cross between a girdle that held the tummy in and one that protected the wearer from advances, whether unwelcome of otherwise!

The girdle had several functions – to give that sleek chic silhouette to the wearer and to hold up the nylon stockings. Girdles generally had a minimum of two pairs of garter clips. There are two at the front and two garter clips, usually slightly offset from the rear. The garters are offset so that when the girdle wearer sits down they do not have to sit directly on the clips! The open bottom girdles usually have the garter clips on elastic straps, which is useful in keeping the nylon stockings taught as the wearer moves about, sitting and standing. The nylon stockings from the fifties did not have spandex or lycra and were non-stretch; without the elastic of the garter strap the stocking would ‚bag‘ as the wearer stood up.

The panty girdle, and particularly the long-leg panty girdle often has the garter tab attached directly to the girdle itself. The leg part of the long-leg panty girdle usually completely covers the welt of the stocking, losing the gap of bare thigh above the stocking top. Men usually find the flash of bare thigh and garter strap exciting; however, a long leg panty girdle, although practical, hides all this and has consequently been described (along with pantyhose) as a „passion killer“.

Girdle materials Modern and retro girdles usually feature spandex or Lycra for elasticity, but the original girdles dating from around the 1930s usually used rubber to give stretch. The introduction of rubber was a major step in corsetry – the ultra-rigid corset had suddenly become more flexible. In parallel with its introduction the terms associated with such items of clothing also metamorphosed: from the original corset, the term roll-on came into vogue, particularly in the USA, then came the step-in and the corselette, often known as the ‚all in one‘.

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