Modern and vintage girdle styles

The aim of the girdle is simple: it will enhance a woman's figure by cinching the tummy and smoothing the hips and butt. It sits unnoticeably under your outfit, cleverly disguising any flaws or bumps that draw attention away from your curves. However, not all figures are created equal, and the range of girdle styles reflects a range of needs. The firm, elasticized fabric and sturdy closures will ensure that your sleek look will last all day, whether you opt for a light, medium or firm control style. Discover what different girdle styles can do for your body and learn how to ensure a comfortable fit.

Types of Girdles

Historically, the girdle replaced the corset as the slimming undergarment of choice, and today's styles are still designed in much the same way as the original models. A body girdle can either cover the entire body or most of the torso, reaching from below the breasts to the middle thigh. In some cases, like the vintage girdle style, they will include specialty bras to shape the breasts as well as the waist and hips. A panty girdle will provide the most coverage and support around the lower torso and pelvic area, combining a shaping garment and underwear in once piece.

Contrary to a panty girdle, an open girdle refers to a piece that is open at the thighs, often with straps to secure thigh-high stockings. The open girdle actually resembles a very wide garter belt—it will typically sit high on the waist and reach to the mid-thigh. Although some open girdles are made of the same firm elastic material as full body girdles, they can also be made of lace or a blend of nylon and spandex.

For new moms who want to regain their pre-pregnancy form quickly, there is the postpartum girdle. This type of girdle typically wraps around the belly and attaches with a strong Velcro enclosure, or else it is simply pulled on. Mothers and manufacturers claim that the postpartum girdle will do a number of things to the body, including offering lower back support, stabilizing weak abdominal muscles and realigning your organs to help you tone up more quickly. Many women find the blend of nylon and spandex quite comfortable to wear.

Find the Right Girdle for You

The rigid pressure of a girdle can be unappealing, and the mere thought of wearing it all day could make you crawl back to bed. However, some styles will provide comfortable support for your problem areas without squeezing the breath out of you. Like other types of body shapers, today's girdles are generally made from lightweight, comfortable materials to provide ease of movement and breathability. While firm control girdles use a thick material and several reinforced panels over certain areas, light control girdles have fewer contouring panels and use a breathable lace or nylon blend.

If you're looking for style and function, you can opt for a lace or corset-style girdle that provides the sensuality of lingerie and the support of shapewear. Most girdles will feel a bit strange at first, so be sure to wear it around a bit before you decide if it's right for you. Be sure to get the right size—any bulges over the top or sharp pinches will bring you pain without any of the sexy curves you're after.

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