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There was a time when a whale-boned corset would be part of your undergarments, keeping your outer garments in shape and you along with it.
From whale bones fashion moved on to steel boning, neither of which were either ethical or comfortable. Ladies’ undergarments could weigh as much as seven pounds and take hours to put in place; when corsets would lace up the back, you would have someone pulling you in, presenting you with the tiniest of waistlines, ladies were also known to faint due to a lack of circulation!
They wore a corset, petticoat, undershirt, camisole, stockings, and in winter there would be additional layers of woolly undergarments. Just the thought of all these layers has me feeling hot and bothered. Can you imagine such layers in the mini heatwave that Britain had in 2018!
Moving forward to the 21st century, of sports bras, matching bra sets, boned bras, and visible panty lines; thank goodness we now have comfortable choices. That being said, structure underneath our clothing really does go a long way in making your garments hang better, you look good, as well as providing you with a pinch of extra confidence.
The right fitting undergarments for your body-shape also present the appearance of a svelte body, a good fitting bra lifts not only your torso but positions your bust as it needs to be. A badly fitting bra shows no mercy, being more prominent in close fitting garments. If said bra is also lacy, it can look as though you have crumpled tissue paper fighting to get out from underneath. It’s not a great look.
VPL, this expression used to have me in stitches if you pardon the pun, and it was when I had put on a few pounds that I understood the significance and was no longer laughing. Yes ‘visible panty line’ when your knickers are tight, and perhaps slightly too small for what you are wearing, coupled with your trousers, skirt or dress, equally close fitting has the appearance that your outer garments are cutting into you. It’s noticeable in tight trousers around the top of the thighs, and in dresses the top of the thighs and tummy area.
This is where your ‘big girl panties’ come to the rescue… now before you have visions of something that would be used on a flagpole, think 1940s/’50s lingerie. The styles of panty girdles and knickers from that era are available today, look wonderful, great for dresses, skirts and trousers, as they not only cover a wider surface area but also provide support.
This is what undergarments are all about, support, nowadays we use terms, such as controlled pants, couple such an item with a matching bra, and you step back in time making you the perfect Glamour Pin-up!
Evening wear, a dress that has a boned corset underneath eliminates the need for a bra, however, this does depend on the corsetry, and boning structure in place. Check that the bodice fits you snugly and moves with you, as opposed to away from you; this happens if the garment is too small, or too big, in the bust area, movement causes the garment to find its comfortable resting point. Pulling up the bodice because it keeps riding down, is a clear indication of an incorrect fit for you. I have seen in some fashions that women appear to be falling out of their bustier dresses, whilst not a look I advocate, it is a current ‘fashion look’.
Over-fitted undergarments where the bra strap is digging into your shoulders, the bust cups too small or too big, the panties we discussed earlier, they can make you look and feel uncomfortable. As opposed to correctly fitting underwear which can help where gravity wants to defy us, lifting us up, making us stand tall. I believe choosing the best fitting undergarments for you, is definitely worth paying attention too.
Coral Turner is a couture designer based in London. Specialising in unique ready-to-wear Race Day Fashion, her emphasis is focused on the way clothes make you feel. In addition a dressmaking service is also available. “My dresses are just like you… one of a kind.” See her website at https://coralturner.com