Girdles And Shapewear For Women

Written by Stacy Chbosky
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Girdles and shapewear for women are the invisible framework of fashion. However, invisible or not, girdles and shapewear for women are still fashion, and as such, have gone through as many faddish and fashionable extremes as any other type of clothing. Change is at the very heart of fashion. This era's do is the next era's don't. This maxim holds as true for garter belts and pantie girdles as it does for hairdos or handbags.

The vicissitudes of vogue have led to some rather outlandish examples of girdles and shapewear for women. For instance, the 19th century desire for a small waist inspired many women to cinch themselves into their corsets so tightly that an epidemic of fainting spells befell womankind. It's no wonder women were considered the weaker sex--they were constantly passing out!

It was not unheard of for women to actually die from corseting themselves too tightly. Whalebone corsets were exceptionally strong, and tying them too tightly could result in broken ribs and pierced organs! We modern women should realize how lucky we are. Today, girdles and shapewear for women offer unparalleled support and shape, along with exceptional comfort.

Girdles and Shapewear for Women in the 20th Century

Girdles and shapewear for women as we know them mostly came into being in the last century. Corsets and stockings, of course, had been in existence for much longer than that. A form of proto-corset was already popular thousands of years ago!

However, girdles and shapewear for women as we know them came into being in 1913, the year Mary Phelps Jacobs patented the brassiere. Fourteen-year old Mary sold her design to a company called Warners for the sum of $1500. The garment caught on quickly, and became a hit with both American and French women within a very short time of its introduction.

The advent of modern day girdles came about when employees of a company called Dunlop (now known for their rubber tires) invented elastic fabric. Latex had been around for sometime already, but people didn't know how to marry latex to fabrics. The invention of stretchy, "Lastex" fabric resulted in the stretchy, slimming, supportive girdle still worn today.

Modern Girdles and Shapewear for Women

The variety of girdles and shapewear for women available today is greater than at any time in the past. Girdles and bras didn't even exist 100 years ago. Now, a woman can choose between open bottom girdles, long leg girdles, panty girdles, all in one girdles, and brief girdles.

The modern woman appreciates a world of options. She can choose between sports bras, underwire bras, "water" bras, padded bras, strapless bras, and bras that create cleavage. She can wear thigh high stockings and garter belts, pantyhose, or tights. She can choose between briefs, bikinis, thongs, cotton, silk, satin, or synthetic underwear. She can order her items online, from a catalogue, or buy them in a store.


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