Shapewear that came well before Spanx… Forties ads reveal the girdles and corsets behind that hourglass silhouette
08:56 GMT, 11 September 2012
A comical set of lingerie advertisements from the 1940s reveal Spanx's restrictive predecessors.
From rigid corsets and girdles to bullet bras the before-and-after shots show how early underwear innovations helped flatten the tummy, lift the bust, and improve the posture.
Looking down and out in the before shots, the women look considerably happier in the after shots, as they showcase their new nipped in physiques.
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Tummy tuck: A woman admires her new nipped in waist thanks to a rigid all-in-one
Helping hand: An assistant helps a female customer achieve a more sculpted physique
However it is likely that their
smiles quickly faded as the stiff garments – although hugely popular at
the time – were also known for being constricting and uncomfortable.
Vintage Dancer, author of The 1940′s Style Guide: The Complete Illustrated Guide to 1940′s Fashion for Women, writes on www.vintagedancer.com: 'Ahh the undergarments or foundation garments were the sole of 1940′s fashion.
'They created the hour glass shape with smooth lines that were critical to 40′s fashion. They were also very uncomfortable.'
Dior is said to have inspired the trend for the hourglass figure as
demonstrated in this set of images recently published on Retronaut.
Quick tutorial: An illustration shows how the latest underwear will help transform the body
Instant lift: Vintage bras, especially those of the 1940s through the 1960s, were built in more of a cone shape than rather a round shape, like those of today
During the late 1940′s and 1950′s he
dominated the post war fashion world with his New Look collection of slender waists and full calf length skirts.
Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich, Princess Margaret and the Duchess of Windsor were just some of the women who looked to the French designer to help sculpt their curves.
A postwar baby boom during the period also created a demand for maternity and nursing bras, while television provided new promotional opportunities.
Constructed of elastic fabric and sometimes fastened with hook and eye closures, girdles were also considered essential garments by many women from about 1920 to the late 1960s to create a rigid, controlled figure.
Easy as one, two, three! This model sports a straight back and smile after slipping into new underwear
Perfect poise: A girdle and bullet bra help give this lady a lift
Vintage Dancer adds: 'Girdles were
the worst offenders. They looked like granny panties but with much
tighter, flatter fronts that sucked in every belly bump and lump.'
Hit TV series Mad Men is thought to have reignited the trend for corsets and shapewear.
Pelling, former editor of Erotic Review, said: ‘Mad Men has led to a
stampede for corsets. It hasn’t been a fashionable look, but now the
women with waists and busts are striking back.’
Belly flattener: This vintage advert how to make your 'clothes fit swell'
VIDEO: It's back to the sixties for Mark Jacobs and his spring collection..