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Torturous justification

So I was thinking. Looking at patterns to make clothes I'll actually wear, I'm going for practical knits and so on. Trying to figure out which professional dresses (you know, as opposed to sundresses and party dresses) I'll actually wear, I've realized that I like an overall retro styling but WILL NOT WEAR anything with gathers or pleats at the waist. With such a high waist, I can't have that much volume above my hips - I need lengthening vertical seams and gored skirts. I have a couple of good patterns!

But my thought process is - Victorian dresses don't look right without the proper underclothing, and I don't think 1940s-early 1960s ones do either. Even on the models, sometimes. They need to be closely fitted, and you can only closely-fit so far without support. Especially me - I'm squishy and always shifting, it's really tricky.

At the same time, I want to start wearing tap pants with skirts because they're crazy comfortable. But since much of the year requires leg covering (especially if working somewhere climate controlled), and I can't wear pantyhose with tap pants, I need to (need to!) get stockings and a garter belt. So getting a midcentury-style girdle with garters would be perfect.

Except that the word" girdle" is horrible to me, I associate it with my mother making fun of what her mother used to wear/still wears. And the idea of wearing one on a regular basis seems a little extreme for me because I feel like I'll be turning into a retro lifestyler. Intellectually I'm well aware that Spanx is no different from earlier shapewear, and I really don't think Spanx would make enough of a difference anyway (or be as comfortable) to be an option, but it still seems like WHOA quite a step to go from occasional corsets at reenactments to a girdle as just a part of my wardrobe.

But I think I'm probably going to go for it, because I want some retro daily clothes (oh man if I were a curatorial assistant at a big museum I would look so rad there in my vintage Vogue/Simplicity outfits) and I want them to fit right. I think I've come to the conclusion that if I do get this job, I'll buy one, and if I don't, I'll use Mrs. Depew's pattern and make one for myself. Of the retail options ...

- The Secrets in Lace Colette waist cincher ($42), which despite its name is really just a girdle (that is, it doesn't do much at the waist)

- What Katy Did's Glamour zip underbust girdle ($105)

- What Katy Did's Marlene girdle (also $105)

I'm most inclined towards the Marlene: the Colette is so much cheaper and everything at Secrets is so sheer and flimsy looking that I don't trust it not to break, and the Glamour looks too sturdy. There are a lot of others on both sites, but I don't think they'd come up to my waist, high as it is.

Dunno, anyone try this kind of thing?

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/789208.html - comment wherever you please.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 9th, 2014 06:06 pm (UTC)
I wore stockings regularly for a while, mostly to get used to the feel and how to use seamed stockings. I highly recommend Rago; they're reasonably-priced, available all over the place, and high quality. I have:

1359 - good basic girdle. Does tend to dig in at the waist if you have any fluff, so not best when you need a smooth line both above and below the waist. I use it for most of my 1940s stuff.

1294 - very close to an original style girdle for firm control. Above the waist, so there's no pouching. Originally it would have hooked to the bra, so there'd be no gapping. Does not really shape the waist, but you can take tucks in the powernet yourself for at least some more definition. I use this for very slim-skirted things or where I really want to control my hip fluff. It can come up pretty high.

21 "waist cincher" - gives an amazing upper hip, waist, and lower torso line. Comes right up to the bottom of my bra. The lower edge digs into my hip fluff so it would look bad with a slim skirt, but that's me; in the period, could have been doubled with a panty girdle. By far the best for waist definition.

There are loads of Rago options; the 443 or 463 might also work for you. The WKD ones are gorgeous and quality; they're also expensive, and a bit of investment if you figure out you actually need a different style.
Aug. 9th, 2014 07:32 pm (UTC)
The WKD ones are gorgeous and quality; they're also expensive, and a bit of investment if you figure out you actually need a different style.

Yes, that's been niggling at me. They *do* have a pretty good return policy, but sometimes you don't realize something doesn't fit right until after a few wears ... Maybe the Marlene will be my eventual reward for getting the job, and a Rago if I don't!

1359 does seem too short for me. How is sitting in the 1294? It look pretty long (though not longer than girdles and corsets I've seen in antique magazines, of course).

I like the look of the waist cincher, aesthetically, but my waist is so close to the bottom of my bra that I think the top would be in the middle of the cups. Curse my strange body!
Aug. 9th, 2014 07:42 pm (UTC)
Sitting in the 1294 is fine; it doesn't really go down that far, especially when you situate it so it's truly high-waisted like it's supposed to be. On me it's below the crotch, but not by much. (I do have a long rise.) The trickiest thing is using the bathroom; the easiest way is to unfasten the stockings and then shimmy it up a bit. (Assuming you'll wear the tap pants over the girdle.) The waist cincher I think is worth a try; it shouldn't take more than a few hours of normal movement and sitting around the house to test it. It's also definitely possible to shorten the top edge. IIRC the spiral steel has about 1" play in the channels. Also, I am normal-waisted (short-waisted for my height) with a lower bust, and it works for me.
Aug. 9th, 2014 10:15 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm. You know, after all this I feel like I'm going back to that Colette? It just seems to go up and come down the right amount, and it's affordable enough that I don't have to feel either that I'm splurging too much right away or that I shouldn't get another, slightly different one if I felt like it.
Aug. 9th, 2014 11:44 pm (UTC)
Hee, sounds good to me!
Aug. 10th, 2014 03:31 am (UTC)
Your plans sound amazing! I love modern women wearing retro stuff, it's fabulous! Funny enough, back in my Madonna/Gaultier phase (don't ask, it was decades ago and I was a vintage clothing freak) and I wore these things all the time, I just found three that I used to wear, and I couldn't part with them-- they are tucked back in my closet! They don't fit anymore, but I sure do love them. The vintage ones are really comfy, can you find any on eBay?

Edited at 2014-08-10 03:33 am (UTC)
Aug. 10th, 2014 04:04 pm (UTC)
I can totally picture you having a Madonna phase!

I looked around a bit on eBay, but I think I'm going to get a cheaper new one and then sew one for myself later, once I understand exactly what fit issues I have and so on.
Aug. 10th, 2014 03:41 pm (UTC)
I might suggest just a basic waist cincher from a department store (Spanx-style) to start. I find those are enough for me under my Trashy Diva dresses - but those are also pretty structured on their own, so YMMV.

Ugh I so want this job for you so we can sew together!
Aug. 10th, 2014 04:01 pm (UTC)
But do they have garters?

I realized last night why I'm obsessing so much about the address. It's because normally before an interview I obsess about driving directions and parking and what if there's only street parking what if they see me failing to parallel park what if I have to park very far away and it makes me late???? But because that's not an option my mind has latched onto this. It's bonkers.
Aug. 10th, 2014 09:50 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure on the garters but Fredericks has no-bulk lace garter belts if you needed to layer.

Also don't stress. The address got you in the door and they'll offer it to you based on the interview, not your location. At this point they're unlikely to ask further other than asking when you can start- which is literally as soon as you can put your stuff in your car and get here :)
Aug. 11th, 2014 01:28 pm (UTC)
But then what am I supposed to obsess over? My habit of accidentally cutting people off because I think they're finished? How high-pitched my voice is on the phone? What?

Everything except my clothes is still boxed, which is handy.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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