Mad About Structure

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.


3 Discussion to this post

  1. […] Tomima of HerRoom, wrote an excellent article about the structure of modern shapewear and how garments comfortably contour bodies into classic silhouettes like those seen on Mad Men. You can read it on Lingerie Briefs. […]

  2. Karen says:

    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.

  3. […] My “Mad about Structure” blog, written for Lingerie Briefs, explains why I’m a devotee of structured shapewear. If you’ve seen the show Mad Men, you know how incredible the ladies look in their clothes. Those fabulous curves are the result of structured shapewear pieces that do more than just compress tissue and hide panty lines. And, if the show’s costumes prove anything, there’s a place for shapewear in every woman’s wardrobe – whether you’re full-figured like Joan or identify more with Betty’s shape. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.