Retro foundation garments have certainly come more into public awareness with the advent of Mad Men. But have you noticed how people only talk about the girdles? Girdles are only half the equation that will get you that Joan shape. I was pleased to see costume designer Janie Bryant mention longline bras in her new book and give them credit where it's due:
How do you think Joan Holloway achieves that seamless hourglass silhouette with nary a visual hiccup to her sensuous curves? She wears a long-line bra that comes down to her waist and a closed-bottom girdle, which resembles a pair of modern-day bicycle shorts, with boning and garters.The first time I wore a longline bra that actually fit, I felt like I had discovered the Holy Grail. I'm really into this Carnival fronthook one. Not only are they super comfortable (seriously!), but they smooth your midriff and define your waist like no pair of Spanx can. They make the perfect wiggle dress even wigglier! I did have to do some trial and error, though, so here are a few tips I discovered.
- You might want to go up a band size. If you have a substantial ribcage, you may find that your normal band size is too small in a longline. I discovered this the hard way.
- Once you get the band size right, you may then discover that the cups are too big. This can be remedied by taking the cups in with your handy sewing skills. (This may sound like a lot of fiddling around with a bra, but I promise that a custom-fit longline is worth the trouble.)
- I have also read that if you have the opposite problem, i.e. small torso and a bigger bust (I'll try not to be too jealous), you can sew darts into the midriff of the bra to make it snugger.
- The cups aren't lined at all, so I added thin sew-in cups from the notions store.
- I've also tried this Rago model, which I love the look of, but it's tricky to get on (you have to fasten it in the front and then shimmy it around to the back) and the cups aren't as easy to customize as the Carnival one.
- You'll probably want some sort of control garment on the bottom to keep that smooth line going. But don't feel like you need to go all old-school girdle. I've found that control-top tights work fine, as does a pair of Spanx. (Also: if you're between sizes on Spanx, go up a size rather than down! I don't think it's worth compromising on comfort.)
- If the fit issues on a longline are bringing you down, I also like this Rago waist cincher which allows you to wear your own bra.
P.S. Hey, I missed you all! It was nice having a little blogging break, but it's sure good to be back.