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5 Vintage-Inspired Girdles Perfect for Everyday Wear

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Today's guest post is written by Elinor of The Nylon Swish, one of my favorite new reads for vintage and retro lingerie. Many of you know that I used to be a stockings blogger, and though I don't wear girdles and garter belts as often as I used to, I can still understand their intimate appeal. However, I also know girdles can be kind of intimidating, especially if you're new to them. That's why I'm so glad Elinor is sharing five of her favorites for everyday wear! You can also find Elinor on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Attractive classic fifties pinup in black lingerie & stockings

I am a daily stockings wearer. Sometimes I wear nylons. Sometimes I wear stretch stockings. But I always cover my legs when wearing a skirt or a dress. This means that when I’m at work, with friends, shopping, or doing any other activity that doesn’t require sports attire and sneakers, I need some form of suspension to keep them up.

Although I am very much a fan of strong, well-engineered foundations, it sometimes isn’t practical to wear these types of garments every day. I therefore have a select few ‘light’ open bottom girdles that I wear when I know I will be on my feet a lot that day. These girdles vary in design and colour, but they have two things in common - they are all extremely comfortable and they are very easy to put on. As much as I would love to wear my Rago corselette every day, I have a bad habit of hitting the snooze button on my alarm clock far too many times, which means that I never have enough time to shimmy into such a tight garment. However, putting on these looser girdles and then attaching my stockings can be done in a couple of minutes.

When my mother discovered that I was wearing open bottom girdles, she creased her nose up in disgust; "My mother used to wear those things," she sneered. "Why on earth would you wear those when you could be wearing a pretty suspender belt or just tights instead?" At first I was taken aback by her reaction, but when I thought about the era in which she had grown up, it made a lot of sense.

My mother was born in the 60s and grew into a young woman in the 70s, by which time the mini skirt had been invented and tights were subsequently created to accommodate the evolving fashion. Stockings were no longer a daily requirement. Girdles and other similar pieces of shapewear were not relevant to her generation; they were garments that my mother would have seen her own mother and grandmother slip into in their dressing rooms or hanging on the washing line, but would never have worn herself. For her, they would have been outdated, unfashionable, and excessively restrictive garments of the past... especially when the mood of the time was all about liberation, and the feminist movement was prevalent.

However, times have changed and there is much less stigma attached to girdles, garter belts, and stockings. In my opinion, there are many benefits to wearing a girdle; they come in many lengths, structures, colours, and styles and can be selected according to the accompanying outerwear. Luckily, with the revival of the ‘pin-up’ inspired look, girdles have become more glamourous, and designers such as Kiss Me Deadly have revamped the girdle by creating them in fun colours and patterns much more in-step with today’s market. This piece of shapewear works with most any figure since it's effectively a large band of material that covers and pulls in the hips, bum and tummy (as supposed to other garments such as the suspender belt). These ‘light’ girdles don’t usually have any zips or lacing or hook and eye sections; you simply slip them on, attach your stockings and you are ready to go!

Below are my top five girdles that I would recommend for daily wear. Have you tried a girdle before? What's your favorite style?

Venus of Cortland Open Bottom Girdle (via Brabarella)

Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

12 Comments on this post

  1. Melanie Collins says:

    Great article Elinor. I should say ANOTHER great article. I’ve started to recommend “The Lingerie Addict” and “The Nylon Swish” to my girlfriends. Thanks Cora. xxx

  2. Klaus says:

    Your selection is well done. As obg I love the Rago but the zippered version. With 6 garters my stockings fit perfectly. The girdle is very comfortable and supports my posture. After getting used to wearing girdles a long time ago, I cannot imagine to go out without a girdle.

  3. Elinor says:

    Evia – I was just saying to my partner the other day that I refuse to go outside without stockings on but no makeup is fine!

    Irene – I actually just wrote a short post about this the other day –

  4. Irene says:

    I love girdles, but unfortunately they’re not the most practical option for me! Although they do hold stockings in place extremely well, visiting the bathroom in a girdle is a tricky business, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable going commando :D with a suspender belt one can at least wear the underwear over it. Any tips or tricks for wearing a girdle *and* underwear?

  5. Seleena says:

    I have the same concerns as Sandra with girdles and above-the-knee fashions.

    Also, the garter straps on girdles usually don’t have much adjustment, so for those of us who just love fine, non-stretch nylons, getting a stocking length to work with a girdle can be difficult. I find that pulling the girdle up as you suggest can mean many trips to the ladies room to readjust, although I suppose that depends on our shape.

    Oh .. and the last pic in the article? Stockings that barely cover the knee are yuk! :-)

  6. Thursday says:

    Personally I find roll-on girdles less practical on a day-to-day basis – for one, it tends to take more work for me to tug a fitted garment on than connect a set of hooks and eyes, and also, I find them less convenient when it comes to bathroom visits! KMD’s eight strap Van Doren belt is the most comfortable and convenient piece I’ve tried by far. Thanks for the article, Elinor!

    • Evia says:

      Loving my 6-strap version here (got it quite a while ago). I mean, seriously, I’m known to have gone hiking with that thing. Not a flaw. Neither on me, nor on the belt. Talk about thoughtful design!!

      no, really. As long as there’s someone (or many) who revives stuff that is not only beautiful, but insanely* practical, the world is a better place.

      *no, really, do you go to loco adventures without makeup, but with stockings or is it just me?! :D

      • Thursday says:

        Haha, I’ve never gone hiking in my finer hosiery, but the Van Doren sure does hold up for a long night of swing dancing! :)

  7. Cate says:

    I know what you mean about your mum cringing at the idea of you wearing girdles. My mum was a teenager in the 60s and anything that was worn before that, i.e. by her mother, was seen as old-fashioned. She absolutely hates one of my late 1940s style dresses because it reminds her of the house dress her mum permanently wore!

  8. Elinor says:

    Hi Sandra! I don’t tend to wear anything that stops above the knee but in your case I would recommend any of the above girdles and longer stockings. You can then pull the girdle up higher. Traditionally girdles are meant to sit under your bum but to hide the welt I would pull them as high as you need them to go. Hope that helps! x

  9. Catherine says:

    I that our longline in the top pic? :)

  10. Sandra says:

    Thanks, Elinor, for the article. I never looked at the different options for girdles with stockings. Since this is something you seem to wear frequently, which would you recommend for short skirts? I am short and tend to wear above-the-knee skirts because they work for my leg length. It’s hard to find a suspender belt with short enough straps but I wonder if something like the “Kiss Me Deadly Vargas Roll On Girdle” shown above would work…it seems short in length with shorter straps as well. Thanks again!

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