Shape-wear has always been an important part of lingerie. What was once used to enforce “the perfect feminine silhouette” has evolved into playful, even provocative styles worn today at leisure. The girdle and the garter belt are two undergarment staples whose appearance and function has changed significantly to meet our modern day lingerie needs.
Moving away from the restrictive shape-wear of the decades prior, such as the metal boned corsets of the early 20th century, the girdle first came about in the 1930s. Initially, it was a full body girdle with a bra, skirt, and garter straps all in one. Near the end of the 30s, it became more common to have a separate bra and girdle. The girdle was a stepping stone towards creating undergarments that were more comfortable for women, especially as this was around the time many women would be entering the workforce.
By this time, there were 3 typical styles of the girdle. A step down from the full body girdle was the full leg girdle, which covered from the waist to above the knee. This was followed by waist girdles, which look much more like a garter belt, and were intended to flatten the stomach as opposed to slim the entire figure. Lastly, as women began wearing pants, panty girdles came about which were essentially a shapely biker short with the garter clips for stockings.
1950s + 1960s
The same styles of girdles from the 40s stuck around into the next two decades evolving only slighting in shape and material. Women were still “required” to wear stockings until the 1960s so the undergarments still served as a functional piece, as the stockings needed the garter clips to be held in place.
1970s + 1980s
The 1970s moved away from the necessity of girdles and they were transformed into the garter belt. Now that stockings were made that either had a top or could stay up without clips, garters became a fashion statement instead of a functional garment. It was no longer out of place to see intricately adorned garter belts with lace and frills.
Finally, to the modern day garter! From the sexy strappy cage garters to the flirtatious lace garters, today’s realm of garter belts knows no bounds with a plethora of stunning embellishments and materials to choose from. Here are two of our very own garter favorite styles!
If you want to learn a bit more about the history of lingerie check out our recent blog posts and check back in a week for the history of stockings!