The girdle is often confused with corsets and full body shapewear. This may be due to the taboo nature of undergarments and the mystery surrounding women’s bodies in general. It could also be due to the fact that girdles come in various lengths, styles and the fact that even the manufacturers can’t seem to agree on a standard description.In general, the difference between a corset and a girdle is the area being controlled. A girdle will generally focus on the hips, buttocks, tummy and thighs while occasionally focusing on the waist as well. A corset usually controls the bust, middle and lower back and waist. The crossover of waist control between the two is the most likely source of confusion.

There are girdles for both men and and women with some key style differences to answer the different needs of each gender.

Men's high waisted thigh length girdle

Men's high waisted thigh length girdle

High waisted panty girdle

Photo courtesy of Secrets in Lace

There is a long history of shapewear designed specifically for men. Both girdles and corsets were an essential part of a gentleman’s daily wear.

Achieving an exagerrated waistline with a corset and girdle

Victorian man cinched in at the waist and hips with a corset and girdle

Luckily neither men nor women are held to this ridiculous physique anymore. The contemporary man is more likely to require a shaping garment like a mans girdle in order to smooth his waist line present a clean and lineless look to his trousers and suit. There are many styles available that have been designed specifically for the male form and that do not include clips for stockings. Mens shapewear girdles generally only come in the panty girdle variety and not the open bottom girdle style. Sports wear has embraced the girdle for men as can be seen in the compression and padding placement in men’s football girdles.
American Football girdle pants

American Football girdle pants

A woman’s girdle is generally an elastic belt shaped garment that can be high-waisted sitting just below the bust line on the rib cage or it can rest at or below the natural waist line. The high-waisted variety works to prevent unsightly bulges in the back or front from the bra, while tightening the curve of the waist and the lower half, whereas the lower resting types concentrate their control on the hips, buttocks and thighs. The bottom half is completely covered with a control panel of elastic to prevent unsightly jiggle from the belly and buttocks as well as eliminating visible panty lines. Many styles include 4-6 snaps for thigh high stockings.

It generally comes in one of two distinct shapes;
A tube skirt:

Open bottom girdle with stocking clasps

Photo Courtesy of Secrets in Lace

Or bicycle shorts/full panties:

High waisted panty girdle

High waisted panty girdle, Photo Courtesy of Secrets in Lace

The tube skirt variety is often referred to as an open bottom girdle whereas the bicycle short varieties are called panty girdles.

Sadly, modern control top panty hose has basically replaced the function of the girdle, however, those people looking for a more luxurious experience are still embracing the vintage allure of the girdle. Pantyhose does not carry the same level of mystery and glamour of a beautiful girdle and stocking set. Luckily contemporary lingerie designers couldn’t agree more and have a wealth of choices in both new styles such as the modern panty girdle spanx and retro styles such as those offered by Luxury Lingerie shops such as Secrets in Lace and La Magia

With so much variety and choice, there really isn’t any reason to flaunt your bulges and bubbles. So lets all strap on our vintage girdles and wear those highwaisted pencil skirts with confidence and flair!

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