Vintage Must Have: Girdle

In the last segment of my “Vintage Must Have” series I tackled bullet bras. Now let’s go a little further south and discuss girdles.  The girdle was the mid-century answer to the corset. And while it can take a few inches off your waist, I find them more necessary for holding up my stockings and can aid in saving your vintage.

So, how does wearing a girdle help save your vintage?  Many of us modern gals who grew up wearing pants, and thus believe we walk just like we’re wearing pants when in other garments, but that isn’t always the case regarding vintage.  You may find yourself wearing pencil skirts or dresses with slim cut skirts.  If you attempt to walk as if you’re wearing pants in such garments, you run the risk of tearing the garment, which is no fun.  Because a girdle is tight it will naturally will limit your stride, they are perfect for wearing with the slimmer cut items and reduce the risk of damage to your precious vintage.  Not to mention it will automatically give you that Joan wiggle walk.

While there are a few variations on the girdle (panty girdles and all-in-one girdles), my favorite is the open bottom girdle.

The open bottom girdle comes in two types.  The first is one that slips on, but has hook and eyes as well as a zipper for final fastenings.

The other is more like a tight mini skirt that you wiggle your way into.

I have run across vintage girdles everywhere from thrift stores to estate sales to the finest vintage clothing stores.  Girdles are also available on Etsy.  However if wearing what was once someone else’s foundation garment isn’t your gig, you can find new girdles to purchase on-line.  Secrets in Lace offers up some beautiful girdles including ones with leopard print panels! And who doesn’t love a little leopard print?  What Katie Did also offers a small selection of various girdles.

For more on vintage foundations…
Vintage Must Have: Bullet Bra
Vintage Must Have: Seamed Stockings
Vintage Must Have: Slip

4 thoughts on “Vintage Must Have: Girdle

  1. Terrific post! This is the primary way that I keep my stockings in place, too. For medical reasons I can’t wear anything too super tight on my torso, so I don’t really sport a (super tight) girdle to whittle inches, I just use one that’s a bit fitted and helps smooth a few spots out while being the handiest of ways to hold up my beloved seamed stockings.

    Oodles of hugs & cheerful wishes for the week ahead,
    ♥ Jessica

  2. I’ve noticed among other vintage girls that wearing girdles is something that one gradually works up to. First is vintage dresses with no hosiery. The further a lady gets into vintage, the more likely she’ll start wearing pantyhose or modern thigh highs. Then she starts experimenting with modern stockings and department store or Victoria’s Secret garter belts, which, because they are crappy, are quickly abandoned. Next are fake seamed stockings and good everyday vintage or repro garter belts, then fully fashioned stockings and light stretch girdles. By the time she reaches paneled, hook-and-eye, zippered open bottom girdles, the die is cast and she’s a full-blown vintage everyday girl. I went through the same process myself and now wouldn’t even think to go out of my house without wearing my girdles and stockings.

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