Thursday, November 07, 2013

Vintage Shapewear

Fashions and ideals come and go over the years, but one thing that has remained constant for eons is the desire by women to resemble a perfect shape. Bulges, bumps, lumps and flabby bits are considered unflattering and ladies all over the globe have sought ways to hide these unsightly excesses of fat. The invention of shapewear has transformed the lives of many women, as miraculous pieces of undergarments help to perfect that hour-glass figure. Here's a brief look into vintage shapewear.
The history of shapewear
When many people think of vintage shapewear they imagine the gussets and girdles of the early 1930s and 40s. But, in actual fact, shapewear has been around for a heck of a lot longer than that. If you go back as far as 2900 BC - 641 AD, functional girdles bound at the waist, made from soft leather and linen were worn in Ancient Greece. At the same time, Greek ladies were wearing ancient bras called 'Mastoeides', which helped create the perfect cleavage.
Fashion trends spread across the Mediterranean to Italy, where in Ancient Rome around 600 BC - 476 AD, Roman ladies began experimenting with shapewear. The girdles were made from the best leather, and were embroidered and embellished with jewels. This exquisite shapewear was actually worn over the clothing not underneath!
Come the 16th Century and Elizabethan women kept their bodies in perfect shape by wearing steel corsets to flatten the waist and chest. Huge, hooped petticoats called farthingales created volume on the lower part of the body.
Women of the Victorian era in the 19th Century became particularly obsessed with the notion of achieving the tiniest waist possible. This was assisted with the help of rather uncomfortable corsets made from heavy canvas with whalebone or steel. In many cases, women would require help in getting the corsets on, which often involved someone putting a foot on their back as the lady lay down, and pulling the corset as tightly as possible. All in the name of fashion!
Fashion changed somewhat by the early 20th Century as the 'Flappers' style entered the arena. This placed less emphasis on shape and more about thinness. Shapewear of this time consisted of camisoles, panties, teddies and bras that were used to hide curves and bind breasts.
During the 1930s to the 1950s, shapewear fashion changed once more. Girdles came back onto the scene again, made from elasticated materials with panels. During World War II, girdles were actually made with secret pockets in them, so that women could tuck documents and items safely away from the enemy.
During the Boom and Boob years from 1950 to 1970 shapewear took an increasing focus on bras, which were made from a wide range of materials to accentuate different shapes. Padded bras increased in popularity. Girdles started to also be made from a wider range of materials, including nylon and polyester.
These days, shapewear is much more comfortable than times gone by. Contemporary shapewear uses lycra spandex or powernet, to make it durable and easy wearing, but still has the same effect of helping to maintain that much longed for hour-glass figure!
Many of us can’t live without a pair of good spanx and it’s nice to see that we’re not the only one as they’ve been favourites for decades! Here at Jolie we love underwear and if you’d like to see more underwear please visit us!