Mad About Structure

September 4, 2013

By Tomima Edmark
I’m a big fan of the series Mad Men. The plots never fail to draw me in, and I couldn’t love the authentic look and feel of the sets more. I most look forward to seeing what the show’s women are wearing. The time period’s fashion staples – pencil skirts, snug sweaters, capri pants and dresses that nip in the waist – are meticulously recreated, right down to the garments worn under them.triumph-elasti-1963-gir

Those curve-flattering styles and flawlessly smooth finishes wouldn’t have been possible without highly-structured, near industrial-strength shapewear. We can take a cue from the Mad Men ladies to achieve the same gorgeous silhouettes.

The best modern-day shapewear looks a lot like what women wore during the 50s and 60s. Fortunately for us, they’re worlds away in terms of comfort. New fabric creations and developments in design can sometimes make you forget you’re even wearing them.

When you think of shapewear manufacturers, which one comes to mind first? The answer I commonly hear is “Spanx,” but there are several manufacturers specializing in the more structured shapewear of which I’m a proponent. A few of these companies have even been designing shapewear since the Mad Men era.

Take Rago, for instance. They’re pretty much the Cadillac of shapewear manufacturers. With decades of design experience, they’ve honed the construction of their shapewear to deliver true, consistent contouring and smoothness. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the shapewear we’ve seen on Betty and Joan isn’t by Rago.


Va Bien and TC Fine Intimates are also among the premier designers of structured shapewear. Like Rago, they offer a broad selection of shapewear styles including longline bras, shaping panties, body briefers, bustiers, torsettes, and the list goes on.VaBien-Smooth-Underwire-TC-

As you explore the options to discover your ideal shapewear garment(s), remember:

  • Shapewear made of slick, shiny fabrics and flat-sewn seams allows clothing to glide/slide over them.
  • Panties that come up high, even slightly above the natural waistline, hide midriff bulges and create a smoother line, overall.
  • Lycra spandex-based fabrics make structured shapewear more comfy, and two-way stretch nylon fabric like Powernet won’t constrict you or stretch out.
  • Flexible boning comfortably sculpts your figure and holds shapewear garments in place, even when you bend or move.
  • Snap-crotch closures and split-crotch designs are an absolute must for one-piece shapewear styles.

Some final advice for the tall and petite… Manufacturers typically design for the bell curve of women’s height. As such, bodysuit shapewear mainly fits women 5’4” to 5’8” tall. If you’re outside of this range, your best bet is to buy a top and bottom, not a single piece. A shaping camisole and a biker short or brief should work well for you. A torsette is another good choice because it has straps that can be adjusted, and you can wear your own bra with it.

Do you still have questions about shapewear? Write me if I can help.

  1. Karen Thursday - 16 / 01 / 2014 Reply
    Being a "mature" woman I understand what you are saying here. I was 12 when my mother took me shopping for my first girdle and have worn one most of he time since. It is too bad most of these modern women don't take a long look in the mirror when they wear a tight dress with their Spanx underneath and they would understand what you are trying to say here. We recently went to a holiday part and my husband of 35 years commented on how good my figure was in comparison to many of the women half my age. I just smiled but he and I both knew why.


A Lingerie Insider


A Lingerie Insider
In 1999, Tomima Edmark realized there was a gap in the options women had to buy lingerie; our choices were department store, lingerie boutique or mail order. Why shouldn’t we have the same ease buying bras that we had for, say, tee shirts or music? An entrepreneur with a series of unconventional successes, Tomima turned to the internet and HerRoom was born. Over the years, she has fine-tuned the business to offer women high quality, good design, comfort, fit, and value. Tomima hasn’t relied on instinct alone. Using an exhaustive approach to learn the industry, she has picked the brains of designers, manufacturers, and consumers to offer women the best possible products, services, and buying tips. For Tomima, HerRoom isn’t just about shopping for sexy lingerie. She wants women to find the styles and sizes that fit them best—for all body types and tastes.