Tuesday, January 15

If you ever wanted to be Wonder Woman....

Because let’s face it, who didn’t? Her costume was FAR and away the best of all the super-heroines AND she was a feminist icon to boot (She hailed from Themyscira, an Amazonian island successfully run and inhabited solely by women… until a man came along and buggered it all up. For more on this fascinating history go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Themyscira)

Or as an alternative, what about my favourite, Scarlett O’Hara. Scarlett, or any other pre-20th century femme really who paraded an hour-glass figure, underskirts and a wasp-waist.

Yes, since my early says I have been fated to be an ardent lover of all things corsets for both Scarlett and Wonder-woman relied upon, firstly, a corset and, more often than not, ‘foundation wear’. ‘Foundation wear’ for the uninitiated is any undergarment incorporating bones, originally wood or whale bone, now steel. I’m talking corsets, corselettes, girdles, suspender belts and brassieres.

Now for me, these five items are the five pieces of armour (in both a literal AND metaphorical sense) essential in EVERY woman’s wardrobe.

We (the female ‘we’) all wear bras, of course (at least I hope we do. The 60s are over.) But, alas, the other four lapsed into obscurity in the latter half of the twentieth century. And, well, I am here to try to fix that.

It was once said by some nameless, impertinent man, that should I ever be in a position of power (above and beyond the innate power my Y-chromosome awarded me as my birth-right that is), my first decree would be that all women should wear corsets. And that nameless man was not far wrong.

Alas, I am in no such elevated position of power. Lamentable - yes and a fact that makes the world a poorer place for it, but no less true I am afraid. I am, however, through the art of narration and opinion-giving (aka. this blog) in a position to set forth a persuasive and informative argument to help usher in a re-visit to the by-gone days of foundation-wear.

So let the persuasion and information commence.

Let us first start with the best and most exciting of all the foundation wears… the hallowed corset.

My first ever corset, in the foolish days of my corset-nyophytry (yes, I made it up) was a PLASTIC-BONED!! under bust corset. As the name implies, the under bust corset starts under your bust. The under bust is not meant to be seen really, its purpose is to hug the waist and hips to create ‘the wasp waist’.

Under bust corset here:

Freakish unhealthy, not to be recommended at all, we don’t like it, oh no it gyps but you get the idea anyway, wasp waist here:

And who WOULDN’T want an extra teeny waist for some guy named Rhett to come and pick you up by and spin you around in a field of barley before collapsing laughingly into a heap of joy and romance. I know I can’t be alone?

So anyway……once you have your wasp-waist, you layer on your waist-loving clothes. Think 40s and 50s.

My favourite EVER waist-loving clothing item is the superlative ‘Wiggle-dress’. Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Betty Page… all these ladies know the power of the wiggle. In fact, Marilyn was never OUT of a wiggle dress. Try finding a picture of her wearing anything else and it’s not easy. And that’s because it simply IS the best dress in the world. As you can see:

Now, to crash the dreams of men throughout the globe, Marilyn did not just pull on her wiggle dress and wiggle over a man-hole or two. Marilyn, like most women, was not born a perfect wiggler. To achieve the perfect wiggle, you need…. the cheeky girdle.

The cheeky girdle does for the hips what the corset does for the waist; it primes and curves it to perfection. The green girdle below is a perfect choice for a wiggle dress. It is high waisted so will tuck in your waist at the same time. For the perfect Marilyn wiggle get yourself a girdle.

Girdles are also a more theatrical alternative to suspender belts - they always come with snaps attached. A word of warning here, always look for a girdle with six snaps if you are planning on wearing seamed stockings. Without six snaps, your seam will travel halfway round your leg – numbers five and six keep it poker straight.

The corselette is a combo of three foundation wear pieces. Corset, bra and girdle. It usually comes with snaps attached a separate suspender belt (after all this glorious fancy under wear, you do NOT want to go and spoil the whole look with a pair of 40 denier opaque tights! Silky stockings are a must.) On this point, as a general rule, get rid of your tights. Stocking and suspenders/girdle or at minimum hold ups are FAR more attractive - ask ANY man - and more sensible... if you ladder one leg, you don't have to throw aay the whole caboodle, keep the remaining stocking andmary with another pair!)

In terms of sex appeal, however, the corset and/or girdle are miles ahead of the corselette:

No comparison really.

The corselette mostly comes with a bullet bra built in to it. The ‘bullet bra’ was around aeons before Madonna extended it’s peaks as the 50s was the true era of the bullet bra. Don’t ask me why they like pointy boobs in the 50s because I just don’t know. I just know they did…… strangely.

For 50s fashion and bullet bras by the way, you are looking at poodle skirts and cardigans. Herewith is a poodle skirt complete with poodle motif:

It couldn’t be any clearer than that now could it.

My first corset in fact was purchased to enhance this EXACT poodle dress:

(Oh, and in case you wondered, you need a minimum ‘4 layer petticoat’ to get the sticky-out look. Petticoats have no bones….their purpose it to make you stick out not in.)

This is STILL my favourite wedding outfit so if anyone wants to get married, PLEASE invite me because I LOVE wearing it. And spinning in it on the dance floor………. preferably to the Jackson 5…….. but I digress.

So….we know the purpose of the under bust corset and girdle. How about the over bust corset? This is the one most people know and many will have some variant on in their wardrobe. (Probably, shock-horror, an un-boned or PLASTIC BONED version!!!) As you may have gathered, plastic boning is a no-no. Let’s just say plastic boning is to corsets what Bernard Matthews is to turkey…. Don’t go there……… Leave well-alone. A plastic boned corset will last all of two or three wears and the boning will have bent and misshapen already. A steel-boned corset well-looked after will last you your ENTIRE life. (Thus the reason I can justify my recent £350 expenditure on a single corset! :)) A steel-boned corset will also:

1. Force a perfect posture;
2. Prevent over eating;
3. Adjust to your natural shape over time;
4. Serve as a waist trainer should you want to train it. (Waist training is where you wear a corset for pretty much 24 hours a day for a substantial period resulting in a PERMANENT change to your waist size. It’s what the ladies in the 19 century did, including the freak-woman above, and how Dita Von Teese achieved her burlesque figure. Essentially the corset pushes your ribs up and inches your intestines (YES REALLY!) upwards, allowing your waist to move inwards. It also means you get to prance around in a corset like a queen all day!)

Over bust corsets come in many different shapes – you have amongst other, Edwardian, Victorian. I personally favour the late Victorian look (second of the following corsets):

The over bust will do one thing the under bust doesn’t. It will magnify your boobs and give you a cleavage to die for. It also looks FABULOUS, so you FEEL fabulous. If you think, a woman’s wedding dress is her piece-de-resistance. That’s when she feels her most magical. Almost ALL wedding dresses incorporate a corset, even the floaties. It’s my sincere belief that it is the corset that all women are enjoying here and, as that is the case, why limit it to one day in your life? Corsets can be worn for a multitude of occasions.

Word of warning. If you already have big boobs - stay away from an Edwardian/straight-cut corset. Go for late Victorian or combine a corset with a halter neck, otherwise your boobs will be coming out your ears…… and that’s never attractive.

One bonus practical note regarding corsets, you need a man (or a friend) on stand by for dressing. You preferably need a large, wooden, four poster bed and maybe a big woman called Mammy too. Then you go full out for the whole…..


So that…… in brief…. (get it?) is foundation wear.
It is beautiful and feminine and sexy. For me, lingerie and makeup is one of the BEST bits of being a girl. If you miss out on the likes of corsets, you are missing out on part of the style and fun of being joyously female.

Some of my favourite online sellers of all things oldy-wordly underwear are the following:

Corset history:






50s/rockabilly/pinup fasion


Thursday, January 3

God how depressing

that we are back at work

Also not happy about the fact my black cardigan is missing a button so gapes open to show my stomach area. What is the world coming to when something like that happens to a professional girl like me?

I thought when the new year started things would change.... what a foolish, naive dreamer was I.

'Tis only the same old same old.

I see I must keeps my wits sharp and my tongue sharper if I am to survive these forthcoming days and months.