You know it is true that the fashion blogger gets the odd freebie from the people we write about. I won’t lie about it darlings, life is pretty sweet. Except for the fact that we run out of closet space faster than normal girls we are fortunate souls.
But how far from sweet life would be, how unfortunate would I feel if I did not hit the shops and crack the pocketbook open on my own account now and then. I really couldn’t bear it. I am not compulsive about shopping but I do not like long breaks away from it. Without periodic prowls and clicks my mood goes to a short-fused and snappy place. The same place I get to when I go too long without a steamy passionate night with my fingernails leaving deep, loving claw marks on the smooth and muscular backside of a tub of ice cream.
I am soooo sorry, I just went away for a moment there. Where was I?
Ah yes. Shopping. Maidenform. There. I am back!
I just finished a tidy up of my knicker drawers, and noticed that there were quite a few things from Maidenform I hadn’t told you about. Things I picked up on my own dime. Things I always have a good day wearing. I pulled those things out and have a few words to say about them and the elegant woman of a certain age I think you should know more about, The Maidenform Woman.
She turned 90 just recently. Yes, 90. Ida Rosenthal and Enid Bissett were a pair of enterprising Gilded Age Girls working the New York Red Carpet crowd with a great idea for integrating a little elastic support into scandalously liberated dresses you could picture on Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Great idea at the right moment. From these tiny seeds did juicy apples grow. Within a couple of years the Maidenform name was trademarked and a patent was granted for the very first seamed brassiere with the pronounced uplift characteristics that we all sport pretty much daily now. Maidenform more or less set the bold standard.
All of this happened before the Golden Age of Advertising of course, and before hostilities broke out in the 1940’s when Maidenform’s expertise and manufacturing capacity were seduced into the war effort. All those paratroopers jumping out of perfectly good planes were trussed up in Maidenform harnesses. Straps are straps I suppose and lord knows the straps better work. Clearly, they did work, and the Maidenform team were victorious.
Maidenform came back from the campaigns of conquest and turned it’s energy and imagination back to the happy needs and endless lusts of a growing consumer market in post-war times with one of the most epic, long-lived, effective, advertising campaigns ever seen. The very feminine and very aspirational hopes of a couple of generations were kindled and cradled by the ever-dreaming Maidenform Woman. From suburban super-markets to gilded gondola’s and other daring places in between she was found enjoying the private pleasures of beautiful underwear, underwear for the woman under the wear. Sexy for the self, sexy for the sake of sexy, necessity re-imagined as luxury, luxury within the reach of every woman.
This is a brand essence that to me is so much more appealing than 18 hours of comfort, seconds of Hello Boys titillation or even the unattainable beauty of the Angel. People of good faith can argue, and I am never far enough away from a glass of wine to argue just a little, but honestly, we should agree that Maidenform put the “Bra” in “Brand”. The brand lives on, and so do dreams.
And so, between the dreams and the pile of pretties I have scattered around me, allow me to share some product notes.
First the small stuff. Panties and such. Maidenform makes a nice bikini. Clean edges, good coverage, no pile ups and bunching, all sleek and business like. Washes well and holds up. Good value. Keep them in mind if you are shopping online and need a low price point to drive your purchase up over the free shipping threshold.
I like a good light shaping bike short under slacks, and I like a little lightness too. Fat-Free Dressing is the solution, and this lace trimmed number does the job well.
Fat-Free Dressing comes from the same Maidenform little sister brand Flexees as the Easy Up Thigh Slimmer does. Same effect as a pair of Spanx without so much of the sometimes overwhelming warmth we sometimes get from hosiery style shapers. Ban the belly, trim the thigh, get through the day not paying too high a price for slender.
Slightly more substantial things now. If getting a smooth nipped look around a troubling tummy line is a challenge that you and I share, I can recommend the Easy-Up® Pull-On Waistnipper. Firm support aided by 4 plastic stays, good effect on the waist. If you, unlike me, are blessed with gorgeous full hips and want an easy way to a more VA-va-va-voomy you, this is a good garment. If you, like me have absolutely no hips and want a little curvy definition, this is a great garment.
On to bigger challenges now. Specialty dressing, the strapless gown, the clingy party frock, bare shoulders and a statement necklace framing the girls just so require a little extra effort underneath it all to pull it all off. Or keep it all on as the case may be. Also from Flexees comes the Easy-Up® Strapless Body Briefer. Silicon stripping at leg openings and bra wings help fix this fitted lightly padded smooth cup super-slimmer in place. A wide, adjustable bra band stays well hidden beneath dresses cut low on the back. Reinforcement through the midriff is provided by stern but wearable belly reinforcements and cinching but flexible stays. Often, the biggest challenge on a big night out is simply managing to pee without totally losing one’s composure or needing a reapplication of powder. The Strapless Body Briefer’s multi-setting hook and eye all cotton gusset allows and provides for easy relief and a fast return to the dance floor.
My biggest lingerie love is reserved for pieces that Maidenform has commissioned expressly for the 90th Anniversary. The Pretty Shapewear Brief is a high waisted number that is gently, comfortably insistent on the matter of loose tummies and not-so-taut bums. This gets pinched in, that gets lifted up, and everything slides and glides around the nylon/elastine shell with silky ease. This is a practical piece of shapewear with a surprising gift of bedroom appeal. The gorgeous lace overlay front panel is possessed of a little vintage vixen vibe that winks back nicely at the dreaming Maidenform girl looking on from distant decades.
And finally the piece de resistance, the 90th Anniversary WYOB Full Slip, pictured at the top of this post in silver, and below in black. This is a completely winning tribute to the past merged with a completely contemporary and full out dreamy, sexy shaper. It stays in place at high thigh hem, secured both by (removable) garter straps to your most well loved stockings and a comfy, lined full panty with an easy open gusset. It stays put just below bust line secured by pretty lace dappled straps that provide a beautiful frame for your gifts and your favorite bra. Firm control throughout, and a look that will put you in even firmer control of whatever anniversary or other special evening you are plotting and scheming on just now.
These last 2 90th Anniversary pieces are in limited supply. I truly regret not finding the WYOB Slip in the so pretty silver. The winking eyelash trim is just so much more bold in this shade than on my model in black. I suppose someone will just have to look a little closer to see all the winking Chez Petra, ne c’est pas?
Maidenform makes lovely garments for most of us. The very full cupped and the very small banded girl will not find enough joy here, but if you are comfy somewhere between 34A and 38D, you will find things that fit, provide comfort and support and are attractive. Prices are reasonable, really quite good if you time things right and, like me, sign up for email and wait to pounce on a pretty deal.
Sometime after the holidays, I will go back to Maidenform and see if I can find a bargain on their new Comfort Devotion line of bras and shapewear. If any GP readers have already picked one up and want to share your notes with me, please, please drop a line in comments here.