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pretty shapewear

Where is All The Pretty Shapewear? Look to Retro Brands!

  |   By Estelle Puleston

How would you describe modern shapewear? Uncomfortable? Useful? Here’s my word: bor-ing!

There, I said it. I despise modern shapewear. Not the fact that it exists. I do get why many people want to wear it. If it makes your outfit fit better or gives you a boost of confidence, good for you. I’m all for having diverse options available when it comes to lingerie.

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No, my problem with the shapewear industry is simple. The brands designing it seem so caught up in making something practical, they’ve forgotten to make it pretty. Smooth, skin-tone, invisible-under-jersey-clothing shapewear has a place. But so do prints and fun colors. And most modern shapewear brands aren’t interested in making those.

Pretty shapewear is out there though. To find it, you only need to look to vintage-inspired lingerie brands. They do the job just as well, but with lace, color and patterns galore. In fact, not only is this shaping lingerie attractive, some of it is downright glamorous!

Here are the key styles to search for when shopping for pretty shapewear:

Girdles

A girdle is a long garter belt. It begins at waist height or higher and extends to the top of the thigh. It will smooth your stomach and upper hips.

Vintage girdles were sometimes made from rubber or had fan lacing to do the cinching. Nowadays though, brands tend to use powermesh.

The garter clips on a girdle are there to secure it, so the hem doesn’t ride or roll up. If you don’t wear stockings, check out ‘panty girdles’ further down.

pretty shapewear

Strawberry Cake Girdle Skirt
Available in sizes XS – 3X
via Dottie’s Delights

pretty shapewear

Leopard Open-Bottom Girdle
Available in sizes S – 3X
via Secrets in Lace

pretty shapewear

Black Lace Mesh Longline Girdle
Available in sizes S – XL
via Kiss Me Deadly

pretty shapewear

Red Betsy Spit Girdle by Joanna’s Wardrobe
Available in sizes S – M
via Fox & Rose
 
pretty shapewear
 
Blue Fan Lace Girdle
Available in sizes S – XL
via Kiss Me Deadly

Panty Girdles

As the name suggests, a panty girdle is a combination of a girdle and a panty. If there are garter straps, they’re often detachable.

Wear these just as you would regular high-waist briefs. The difference is that they’re made from shaping fabrics, to smooth your waist and tummy.

pretty shapewaer

Retrolution Waist Cincher
Available in sizes XS – XL
via Gossard

pretty shapewear

Girdle With Flowers by Marianna Giordana
Available in sizes XS – XL
via Etsy

prett shapewear

Candace Noir Girdle Panty
Available in US sizes 4-20
via Playful Promises

pretty shapewear

Kliterati Ouvert High-Waist Brief
Available in sizes S – XL
via Kiss Me Deadly

Corselettes

Just as a panty-girdle combines a girdle and a panty, a corselette combines a girdle and a bra. It’s not the same as a merry widow (see below) which stops above the hips. A corselette provides full-torso shaping, from your ribcage down to where your thighs begin.

pretty shapewear

Bettie Page Curve Creator Shaping Slip
Available in sizes 32A-38DD
via Playful Promises

pretty shapewear

Pin-Up Corselette and Brief Set by Pip & Pantalaimon
Available in sizes 30C – 38C (corselette) and US 4-18 (brief)
via Etsy

pretty shapewear

Vintage Style Lace Panel Corselette
Available in sizes 34B – 36E
via Revival Vintage

pretty shapewear

Open Bottom Body Briefer by Rago
Available in sizes 34B – 40DD
via Secrets in Lace

pretty shapewear

Retrolution Slip
Available in sizes 32B – 36E
via Gossard

Other Shapewear

And there’s more! I mentioned merry widows—it’s the vintage name for what we nowadays call a basque. Shorter than a corselette, it only shapes your waist and upper tummy.

I can’t write an article about retro shapewear without mentioning the corset too. To this day, they’re still the most effective option for significant waist reduction. Note that very short ones, covering the waist only, are called waspies.

And then there’s the waist cincher. (Though confusingly, they sometimes get called waspies too). It’s very like a girdle but ends before the hips. These often have plastic in place of metal bones, or stretch fabrics instead of rigid ones. As such, it offers more lightweight shaping than a corset.

pretty shapewear

Glamour Nouveau L3035 Merry Widow
Available in sizes 32B – 38D
via What Katie Did

pretty shapewear

Beatrix Ivory Placement Stripe Waspie (non-corset style)
Available in US sizes 4 – 20
via Playful Promises

pretty shapewear

Satin Waspie Corset CS-201
Available in closed waist sizes 18” – 32”
via Orchard Corset

pretty shapewear

Zita L4090 Underbust Corset
Available in closed waist sizes 18” – 34”
via What Katie Did

pretty shapewear

Cherry Front-Fastening Cincher by Joanna’s Wardrobe
Available in sizes S – XL
via Fox & Rose

Are you as bored of seeing bland, beige shapewear as I am? Then let me know your favorite retro pretty shapewear look shown here.

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Estelle is a twenty-something mum who recently emigrated from the UK to sunny Spain. She launched her online boutique, Esty Lingerie, in 2009 while at university, and after adding a blog to the site realized that writing is really where her passion lies. She now spends her days waxing lyrical about bras and knickers for a living, as a full-time blogger and a freelance copywriter and digital marketer for the lingerie industry.
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