A Girl and Her Girdle

vintage lingerie girdles women

Vintage Girdles from Spiegels Catalog 1958

Long before spanx became a wardrobe staple, a good girdle was a must have for every mid-century gal.

The cold war containment policy was strictly enforced by the wives of Cold War Warriors, that is, at least when it came to being constrained by their Playtex living girdles.

vintage girdle ad women in ice

Perfect for the cold war! “Playtex pink ice gives you the slim young lines the slender silhouette for spring. Hollywood designers say no other girdle slims so naturally stays so cool and comfortable fits so invisibly under clothes from spring suit to revealing summer wear.” Vintage ad Playtex Pink Ice Girdle


Any hint of expanding flesh was as deeply discouraged as the expansionist designs of the Soviets.

Undercover Strategy

vintage lingerie girdles women

Vintage image from Spiegal’s Summer Catalog 1959

Every cold war wife had her own special undercover strategy.

Yet no matter the costume, these latex-bound women were linked, connected by their day to day constraints and circumstances.Whether a smart new shirtwaist dress, or fetching capri pants, underneath it all was a galaxy of girdles firming with femininity, molding, holding assuring full feminine social security.

vintage women in girdles and bras

Vintage image Aldens Catalog 1955

While bosoms were lavishly displayed poised like missiles for take off in their Maidenform bras, hips were subdued, waists whittled and tummies tightly kept in check.


happy housewife

Housewives New Freedom…Jump For Joy (L) Vintage ad Maytag Washer (R) Vintage Jantzen Girdle and Bra ad 1953

Modern girdles were part of the new carefree living housewives were used to.

Whether it was the freedom of an automatic dishwasher or the ease of Arnel, the American girl’s life was filled with comfort and carefree living …including her waist-whittling, calorie-cutting Warner girdle which promised new freedom.

In the great American tradition the housewife’s world would be one of easy does it never you mind freedom.

vintage 1950s women vacuuming and in girdle and bra

Whether shopping for the family , going to PTA meetings or housework the busy housewife would be at ease in her comfy girdle. Vintage Electrolux Booklet (R) Vintage ad Permalift Girdles

No Bones About It

The Modern Miss could say goodbye to old fashioned corset bones and stays.-miracle latex used in all the latest girdles was as easy as putting on a pair of gloves (that is if you were OJ Simpson donning a pair of ill fitting gloves at his murder trial.)

Latex was the wonder material for years even before the war.

Girdles made of tree grown liquid latex were designed without a pesky seam stitch or bone yet these new girdles would mold you smoothly allowing complete freedom of action controls your figure for your busy active life.



lingerie catalog 1950s

How incredibly young and comfy you’ll feel in these nylon weigh nothing do everything girdles. Sheer magic too!

The post-war gal was the beneficiary of wartime research and know-how.

The concept of support was aided and abetted by new materials such as nylon netting and 2-way stretch fabrics- developed during the war but quickly applied to women’s undergarments once victory was done. By the early 1950s, a re-energized corset and brassier industry was poised for take off for extraordinary profits

Despite the constraints, and the tight security when it came to any unsightly bulge, these girdle-bound women had more spring in their step.


vintage lingerie girdles bras

Vintage Lingerie Aldens Catalog 1955

And why not?

Their curve-curbing girdles controlled pounds and extolled their curves and they made good on their promise to “Giving your hips you’ll hooray and a waist worth buying a belt for!”

 Stay Tuned A Girl and Her Girdle Pt II

Visit My Shop and Check out Retro Girls, Garters, Girdles and Bras Collection

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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  1. Pingback: A Girl and Her Girdle Pt II | Envisioning The American Dream

  2. Jim

    Many great Playtex girdle pictures and history can be found at.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. MermaidD

    Just as women were discovering their “freedom” – they were bound up in these ever-suffocating undergarments. I remember well, my mother struggling with them. Then again, there is a certain nostalgia to these items as well as the ads of the era that I really like.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never forgotten trying on a girdle that was smaller than I wanted. It was the early 1960s. The sales lady insisted on the model she had brought me; I replied that I would be happy to try a larger size; and she said, “This will fit you. I’ll hold the waist, and you jump.” I didn’t buy it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The pink ice girdle and the one just before it were some of the best ones around as comfort is concerned. I wish the still had them.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Vintage Booty Boosters | Envisioning The American Dream

  7. sdaven5191

    A scene from one of my favorite 1930’s movies, “The Thin Man” with Myrna Loy and William Powell has always tickled my funny bone in this respect. One of the male minor characters is waiting on one of the female characters to finish getting ready to see him. He picks up a magazine, and is thumbing through it while he’s waiting. As he thumbs through the pages, he comes on a page with an ad for women’s clothing, and the page suddenly becomes lit up from behind, showing all the layers of corsetry the women in the ad are wearing underneath the dresses they are apparently advertising. He gives the page a good, hard look, grins, and says “You women sure take a lot of punishment!” The page goes back to “normal” view, he turns it, and the scene moves on.
    Fortunately, I have most of the Thin Man movies on DVR, and the first time I watched my recorded version, I paused it right at that point to get a good look at the amount of torture involved in dressing up for women of that time. (You almost have to in order to get a good look, because it only lasts for a few seconds before moving on.) It reminded me of being laced up in sausage casings! All I can say is I’m very glad I missed out on that part of the past!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. These good fitting girdles were a help to a lot of people in the way of looking thinner and having there clothes fit smooth over there curves. They also gave support to the lower back and stomach to ease the soreness when they were over weight a little, and on there feet all day. They also gave you a nice slim smooth appearing feminine figure. I still enjoy them to a point to this day because of the way it helps you look and feel.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Richelle – you are absolutly correct about a good fitting girdles. I am from the Golden Age of Girdles back in the 1940ties, 50ties, and 60ties. Women back then really did love being in a girdle and for good reason, you really do feel so much better and you do look better with much improved posture. Looking around in public most women could really benefit from being in a decent well fitted girdle daily, they have no idea what they are missing. To experience the benefits of being in a decent vintage girdle does take some girdle training and locating a professional corsetiere that can help you. The key to getting a good fit is to first to look at your life style and the type of work you do, if you are active or not or do you sit and work on computers. The next is make sure you measure you hips and waist, it is best to purchase a girdle that is 2 sizes tighter, not too tight but tight enough to give your stomach and back needed control and support. Next learn how to put on a girdle, lay down on your bed, lean way back and pull up your girdle, then hook up the hooks and eyes and pull up the zipper and stand up. This is most important keep your stomach muscles well relaxed this at first you will find somewhat difficult and takes a little time even up to a few weeks, just rely completly on the girdle to support your posture, not your stomach muscles, you will find once you can do this you will experience much more energy and confidence, it is rather an amazing feeling. Another recommendation is developing a daily routine, wake up clean up and put on your girdle everyday without question, after a period of a few weeks to months you will find that it becomes a regular habit to be girdled, and you really look forward to being in a girdle. It is best to keep an open mind being in a girdle daily has some very serious health benefits do not listen to the negative propaganda, because we as humans stand erect over a period of time standing erect with gravity and time does have a very negative effect on our internal organs, a decent vintage girdle that is boned and very firm will counteract this negative effect by by supporting and holding your internal organs in their normal natural position, there is evidence to this. It is also best if possible to purchase at least 3 girdles, one to wear, one to keep in your girdle draw, and one to cold wash and air dry.

      Follow these steps and you will find you will absolutly love being in a girdle, the benefits are really there.

      Let me know about your experience toms_0321@yahoo.com

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Doll-Sized Girdles, 1954 | witness2fashion

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