The Perfect Shape

The right foundation garments are essential to your vintage wardrobe, they can make all difference in how a wiggle dress looks!

There are so many different types of shapewear out there, it can be tricky to know where to start. It is even harder when you have to order mostly online and hope that the sizing will be correct!

My problem area that I am always targeting is my butt and thighs, so this post predominantly features items that focus on that area. I am still yet to find the perfect item of shapewear, one that solves the issue at hand (like smoothing my butt/thighs) and not creating another issue (like back rolls!).

I will probably delve into this topic more in the future, but as a starting point I thought a comparison between the different types of shapewear I own would be helpful. To show my shape off, I picked the Pinup Girl Clothing Monica dress- My favourite wiggle dress!

Let’s get started-

Firstly, this comparison would not work if there wasn’t a photo of me with no shapewear so here it is-

No Shapewear

I should mention that the Monica dress does have a built in shaper but to be honest, it doesn’t do a a heck of a lot for me as I think I need the smaller size to make it tighter in the waist/stomach.


The Rago 1294 Open Bottom Girdle

My first shapwear purchase, as  recommended by Jessica from Pin up Persuasion. The 1294 features power mesh for firm hold and 6 garter straps. The zip plus hook and eye closure mean there are no issues with it coming undone and also makes it relatively easy to get off and on. It is meant to be worn right up under your bra but if I did that,  it would stop just past my butt and I want more lower thigh shaping than that. So I tend to wear it lower down. This however does create back rolls as you can see in the picture and can be solved by wearing a wide belt or a longline bra. You can see the difference in the thighs and butt area compared to the natural picture.


When ordering the Rago 1294, go by your waist meaurement. They do recommend that if your hips are more than 10″ wider than your waist (mine are 15″) to size up but I find I can still fit into the correct waist size just fine. Rago is a very common brand within the Vintage Reproduction community and the 1294 is one of the more popular styles so lots on stores and websites stock it- Rita Sue Clothing, Pinup Girl Clothing and Orchard Corset are my top picks




– Firm Shaping
– Longline shape for extra coverage
– Good quality materials including the zip and garter straps
– Easy to get off and on
– Reasonably comfortable

– Can create muffins at the top of the girdle
– It will show through tight bengaline dresses
– Where it stops on the thigh will also show though some clothing


Rago 1294 + Corset

This is my ultimate shaping combination and I love how I feel with it on! For this, I pull the Rago 1294 down further, nearly to my belly button (I have a size up from my normal size to be able to do this) and lace the corset over the top. The corset solves the issues with the girdle creating a muffin at the top and gives a gorgeous hourglass shape.

It’s not for the feint hearted, sitting down isn’t exactly comfortable and going to the bathroom isn’t easy but it’s worth it for the shape! Also the underbust corset pushes your boobs up a little too so not only do your have a smooth butt and tiny waist, but also a great cleavage!

The corset doesn’t have to be anything too expensive or fancy just as long as it’s spiral steel. The one I am wearing in this picture is this one here from



I also have the What Katie Did Morticia Corset  which is amazing quality but I bought a size too big and need to get the next size down. It has gored hips so is perfect for us girls with a big hips-to-waist ratio.

Rago 1294 + Corset


Waist Definition

If you compare this picture with the one with just the Rago 1294, you can see a noticable difference in my waist definition.

– Full firm shaping
– Waist definition
– Bonus cleavage perks 😉

– Can be uncomfortable sitting down for long periods
– Because you are wearing the girdle down lower, the garter straps come down too low to wear stockings
– The smoothness of the Girdle and Corset means the dress can ride up a little
– This combo works well with dresses like the Monica as the ruching hides the lines of the corset. This would not work as well with a tight bengaline dress


Rago 1361 Girdle-

This girdle I bought with the intention for it to go under swing dresses as I don’t need the high-level of shaping. I knew before I bought it that I would never wear it under a tight dress as it is too short to provide the shaping I require. However I included it in this post to help compare it to the others.

Rago 1361 Girdle

As you can see it creates pretty bad muffins at the top of the girdle and makes my waist look bigger than it actually is. The smoothing around the butt and thighs is quite nice but since it does nothing to enhance my waist, it’s a definite no.

Rago 1361 Girdle


– Power Mesh shaping through butt and thighs
– Zip and hook & eye closure is secure
– Good quality materials including zip and garter straps
– Reasonably comfortable

– Very short so top cuts into stomach area
– Not ideal if you are wanting waist definition


Shaping Shorts-

The least glamourous looking of all the shapewear items in this post! These shaping shorts are ones that I bought for my high school ball when I was 16. I rarely wear them now, opting instead for the vintage style shapewear. I can’t tell you the exact brand as the tag has worn off but these Spanx look very similar-


So no where near as sexy as a girdle and stockings! Especially if you accidentally flash in public!

However, in saying that, these are definelty the most comfortable out of all the shapewear I have compared. They are easy to move in and their seam-free quality makes them perfect for bengaline dresses that show every bump. The silky smoothness of them does make some dresses ride up when you walk so the occasional tug-down is necessary.

Shaping Shorts

The shorts create nice smooth line with some shaping through the stomach, butt and thighs. It stops at the waist and doesn’t provide much shaping in that area but neither does it create the muffin issue which is great.

-Smooth, seam-free lines
-Medium hold and shaping
-Very comfortable and easy to walk in
-No unsightly muffins at the top

-Smooth material can make dresses ride up
-Some very tight wiggle dresses might show the line where the shorts stop
-No shaping powers at waist
-and lets be honest, they are pretty damn UGLY!


Now lets look at them all together for a final comparison-

Full Comparison front

Natural, Rago 1294, Rago 1294+Corset, Rago 1361 and Shaping Shorts

Natural, Rago 1294, Rago 1294+Corset, Rago 1361 and Shaping Shorts



And hey, if shape wear seems like WAY too much effort, just wear a swing dress!

x Miss Victory Violet

18 replies »

  1. Great post Ella! I have a hard time finding things that fit my 42 inch hips that also fit my 29 inch waist so I just say screw it and wear swings haha. Plus, I really do like to breathe, sit, etc. so shapewear isn’t my favorite thing. I have the Rago shaper that Jessica recommended to you and a corset as well so it’s good to see those two together would work if I’m ever in a pinch. 🙂

  2. Great post, love how informative it is and the images are great. I also have the Rago 1294 and love it, will try it with a long line as its a little spacey at the top for me

  3. Fantastic post – always good to hear recommendations on shape wear and having the pics showing the different affects with different shape wear is FAB!!

  4. Thank You so very much for providing all of this information. This will save me a lot of time and money when selecting the right undergarments for the Look that I want to get. I Love the Rago 1294 for its shaping ability and, with a long line bra, tends to elimanate back rolls. I would not want to wear the 1294 low to the point where I could not use the garters to hold up my stockings. I will need to forgo the Wiggle dresses to keep my beloved garters. I will try the corset with the 1294 and see how my shape – shapes up! I do a fair amount of sitting when I go out to the Casinos, so I’ll have to see how much miscomfort I can handle. Maybe I’ll try your combination of wearing the 1294 low and purchase a corset with garters.
    Again Thanks so very much for all of your work to provide all of this valuable information!! Your the Best!!
    XOXO Phyl

  5. Hello!
    I am wanting to purchase the Monica dress but there is only a small available 🙁
    I think we are a similiar size – do you think you could have sized down to a Small?

  6. So well written and being able to see the photographic differences is so helpful! I had been looking at the Rago ones on the Rita Sue website, so this helps to make up my mind. Thank you!!

  7. I have an office job and sit for most of the day. I’m looking for a comfortable shape wear that will hide my biggest problem area which is on my back under my bra. I would also like some shape to look more of a cinched waist, hoping you can help. Thanks 🙂

  8. Thank you for this very thorough and detailed post. I’ve never found anything like it and I’ve been searching for something like it to explain everything you’ve touched. The issue I’m having is finding something to fit my natural body shape. I’ve had two kids and my stomach isn’t what it once was. I need something to smooth me out but I have a “C” booty and I don’t want it squashed down. I like my butt’s shape. Are there girdles that are firm in the waist and smooth the stomach but do not push all shape of the butt down? I do have an under bust corset but find it creates this “muffin top” of sorts on my hips… My natural measurements are 38D-30″-41″

  9. A vintage girdle like the Rago 6207 back during the Golden Age of Girdles was A Women’s Best Kept Secret, and for good reason you did not just look great in a girdle but you really felt good with much more energy, the benefits of being daily girdled are real. Women today really do make a major mistakes for their figures not being in a vintage girdle. What can happen is that women once they become pregnant have a very good chance of losing their figure, if women started to be in a girdle at say 12 to 13 years old and wore a girdle everyday, once they marry become pregnant and stay in a girdle during pregnancy and immediatly delivery you are pretty much guranteed of not losing your figure.

    Also with time and gravity also has a major negative effect on your internal organs and your figure. Wearing a vintage girdle gurantees you being able to counteract this negative effect and maintaining a good figure.

    A decent vintage girdle like Rago 6207 will for sure hold mold support and maintain your figure. In todays society also with computers we sit a lot, sitting a lot is very bad for us unless we have some form of needed girdle support in your stomach and back to support us while sitting and working on computers.

    I came up with this you might find helpful:

    Also we would love hearing from you to discuss your personal girdle experiences.

  10. This post is SO INCREDIBLY HELPFUL – THANK YOU! I bought my Rago high waist shorts and longline bra because of the great information you provide here.
    I am now ready to invest in the Rago open girdle. You clearly have your favorite, but I have a question about the zipper: Do you find that it shows through your body-conscious dresses? I mean, I wear my rago under clothes made from thin fabrics like jersey, and I’d hate to buy the The Rago 1294 only to find the zipper ruins the silhouette!

Leave a Reply

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