Date: c. late 1940s-1950s
Fabric: Cotton sateen, elastic net, silk velvet, cotton bobbinet
Brand: Custom made
A cincher crafted from heavy cotton sateen and a centre back panel of elasticated net. It is structured with spiral steel bones encase in silk velvet lined channels, supported with an elastic waist tape. There are four suspender straps made of cotton encased elastic, ending in metal grips with satin ribbon flashes. The cincher closes with a row of hooks and eyes at the side front seam. The garment is embellished with a cotton bobbinet tulle ruffle at the hip edge, and with an elaborately quilted bow motif on the centre front panel. The cincher was likely custom made for a particularly petite individual, as its closed waist measurement is close to 18″/46cm.
Waist cinchers have a wide range of names, including but not limited to, guêpières, waist nippers, waspies and even corsets. The style grew in popularity in the early 1950s, as it offered dramatic waist shaping whilst being lighter weight and less constricting than other shapewear styles. Women’s Wear Daily addressed the style in September 6th 1951: ‘Because they do not attempt to nip the figure too much, but are designed primarily to give a smoother waist and rounder hips, these styles are more comfortable to wear. Satin elastic, elastic net, and lace elastic are favored materials. Styles made of all-elastic materials have a slight edge over those with fabric sections in popularity’.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska