Ask Miss Victory Violet

Ask Miss Victory Violet- Shapewear or Natural?

Dear Miss Victory Violet,

I was wondering – do you wear a corset or any shaping wear on a daily basis? I can’t help but notice that you have such a tiny waist and bomb hourglass shape. I’m not overweight, but I have a wider waistline and have just been struggling to get the small waisted / hourglass figure. I would love to know what magic you have going on under there! Unless of course, you are just lucky enough to have that exaggerated figure. 😉

Any advice appreciated, thanks!
Chicago, USA

Hi Annie!

This is a question I get a lot and I think a lot of people assume I waist train with a corset. Here’s the truth: I do not wear corsets on a daily basis or waist train of any sort. I also don’t have a hourglass shape (defined by having equal bust & hip measurements) but am very much a Pear- it’s just not as obvious when I wear swing dresses!


I have a naturally small waist which I think is made to look even smaller because of my much larger hips- I have 15″ between my waist and hips! I don’t feel the need to wear corsets, I only wear them when I’m wanting a extra defined curve, usually for photoshoots. However, I do love to wear longline bras which smooth that area out and eliminate back bulges that regular bras can create. Ever since I bought my first Rago 2202 Longline Bra, I’ve never looked back. It’s so much more comfortable and I love the smooth look it gives.


I also tend to cinch my belts in tight especially if I’m wearing a top and skirt and I want to make sure everything stays in place. When I used to wear a regular bra, I would find the few inches of skin between the band of the bra and my belt would often feel uncomfortable so that’s another reason why I love wearing the Rago 2202.

Just recently I got a waist cincher from What Katie Did and have been wearing that every once and a while. This nips in my waist a little bit but works more at smoothing and defining. I don’t find it quite as comfortable as the 2202 but it’s brilliant for wearing with regular or strapless bras if your top requires it.


If you are wanting to define your waist a little more, I think a waist cincher is a good start. They are less hassle and easier to put on than a corset but will still give you some definition. They don’t provide as much reduction as a corset does but more helps to define and smooth. What Katie Did have several styles or you could look at Rago too.
Another trick to define your waist is to add a thin waist belt to your outfit- but don’t get too caught up on getting the ‘hourglass’ figure- you can still dress pinup as a pear (like me), an apple or whatever other shape you may be!


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8 replies »

  1. You’re so lucky — I’m slim-hipped and *cough* straight-waisted, but love vintage, and it’s *so* difficult. (And “just wear 20s” is a little too limited, when my heart belongs with 40s.) I’ve worn corsets for steampunk, and find them difficult to keep my breath in.

    • Hi Catherine! If it helps, I’ve gotten a waist cincher from Rago and once I had worn it in a few times, it never felt restrictive but did the job of cinching my waist a bit. Rago is great with that – I never felt as though I couldn’t breathe or couldn’t eat normally. It’s actually comfortable now and kind of just feels like a big hug. For reference, I have a 29.5″ waist and bought the Rago that measures a 28″ waist and it works perfectly on me. I hope that helps!

  2. It’s great to be reminded not to get caught up on a certain type of figure, seriously put that in bold! Especially when it’s not the figure we have without manipulating our bodies to some extent to achieve it, because in a sense then we’re always working against ourselves, not with our figures, and it’s tough to hold up an ideal (even if we enjoy and choose to pursue that ideal) and always be positive, mentally well adjusted chicks at the same time amiright?!

    If this is the look you’re after, then you are lucky Ella – not holding that against you! But I want to mention that I find it hard to stay well adjusted sometimes and why, maybe you Ella or other readers will relate? I just want to put it out there, in a supportive way, hope you’ll allow this!

    Given that the pinup aesthetic is a well defined/constructed aesthetic that is built on a certain figure which is indisputable (but go ahead and dispute it if I’m incorrect), it can be hard to do pinup and *not* get caught up on getting the hourglass figure when the pinup silhouette essentially is the hourglass figure! And important to note, if you want to be as ‘authentic’ as you can, well damn is way easier if you already have that shape!

    So when I’m feeling blue and sorry for myself for not having a pinup silhouette without assistance (I’m not an hourglass or pear, which even though there’s a ratio you refer to Ella, the eye is a good enough instrument to detect a pinup-esque silhouette) I feel like women with a ‘God given’ pinup silhouette are like…more entitled to it, the ‘real’ pinups, and while it’s awesome that we can create the hourglass with shape wear, padding, cleverly constructed clothing, petticoats etc. some days, I just wonder if I’m doing something that although I enjoy it and have fun with, it kind of reinforces that I don’t have that naturally fit the ideal and because I want to really embody it, I feel… a bit fraudulent and sad! 🙁 ‘Vintage’ is more accommodating especially 1940s and 1920s for the inverse V shape and ‘apple’ shape figures, so I go for more of a variety of styles that do suit me so I have better experiences working with what I have and nailing the looks, and for me that mental shift was healthier even if I had to let go of a close to 100% pinup style ’cause..well ’cause I’m a bit ‘all or nothing’!

    So…I just wanted to share that, and also point out, for conceptual clarity, that although we are obviously free to have whatever take on pinup that we like (and I love seeing the variety and unique spins on it!), it does exist as its own cultural/historical phenomenon/concept which is fundamentally associated with a certain figure, and consequently, pursuing that ideal (in full) is to pursue the hourglass figure, and without having that figure naturally it can be challenging to not get too caught up on it! This is my experience and perception, but the facts about the pinup silhouette may need correcting, although it’s true to the best of my knowledge.

    ….Thanks for your awesome blog Ella!

  3. I have the same waist cincher from What Katie Did, but I don’t like how it doesn’t flatten my tummy but accentuates the problem areas, like my lower tummy. The boning bends and digs into my tummy so I haven’t worn my waist cincher all that often. Furthermore it only reduces like 1-2cm of my waist, while my Rago waist cincher (which is a size too small for me, 26″ inch for my 28″ waist, but actually perfect that way) reduces up to 5cm while flattening my tummy perfectly. It’s also made from much sturdier fabric so it doesn’t stretch as much and keeps it shape.

    Basically my recommendation is to go with Rago, but ONLY if you’re used to wearing shapewear. It doesn’t dig into my skin like the WKD waist cincher does, but it doesn’t have much give either (which is perfect for me, but some others might find it uncomfortable). Like I said I have lower tummy issues and I need boning that doesn’t bend or give in to my bad posture, but if you have a relatively flat tummy line, you could do well with a WKD cincher. For me, Rago waist cincher is the best, because it’s pretty much as good as you can get without using a real corset.

    I’d imagine I have my tummy issues with the longline bra, but I’d really, really want that Rago bra. <3

  4. I used to waist train with steel boned corsets but I found the corsets very restrictive and extremely hot in the summer time. I also discovered I could not use my seat heater in my car in the winter because it heated up the boning in my corset! After reading this blog on Rago shape wear combos I found a fit that works and is comfortable season round. I wear the long line bra with the high waist briefs that include garder straps for my stockings. If I need strapless I wear the Goddess strapless bra but pair it with Rago bottoms. Wish Rago would come out with a strapless long line bra! I have comfort, movement, and the shape I desire to wear the clothes I love, mostly 50’s swing dresses and skirts. I can however wear the same Rago combo under a cute top and Capri pants I just remove the garders from the high waist briefs. Since I wear the Rago long line bra most of the time I have noticed that I am getting the “waist training” results in a smaller waist which is just a perk for me! Please remember it is important to keep in mind that we choose to dress this way because it makes us feel good and glamorous. Finding the perfect foundation garments can really make an outfit and our confidence improve but it’seems loving ourselves no matter what that is truly important. I am inspired by Ella’s body confidence encouragement and I hope all you lovely retro ladies out there are too!

  5. I took a style course which the instructor told me hourglass was actually defined by shoulders and hips being the same and then at least a 10 inch difference between hips and waist, so I was put in that category, by this definition here, I am more a pear, but looking at how you manage to look hourglass it gives me hope no matter which one I am actually. Thanks for the advice.

  6. Do you think they have slips for small women… petite doesn’t fit me… (I actually buy my jeans in the girls section sad yes I know…) Do you know of any shops that cater to small women?

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