‘A package has arrived for you that has vintage boobs all over it,’ the text message from my housemate read. Oh, that’ll be the Maidenform samples, I thought. Last week, Helen and I got to grips with some pieces from the autumn/winter Pretty Collection to find out if the famed underwear brand’s shapewear could turn us into shapely pin-up beauties with curves to rival the likes of Christina Hendricks.
Hendricks, or rather Joan, her Mad Men character, is precisely who we were trying to emulate because Janie Bryant, costume designer on the series that fashion mags love to replicate the most, is official Wardrobe Mistress for Maidenform, providing creative input for the brand. So how did we get on with a bunch of vintage dresses, a bustier and something called a waist nipper? We took to my roof terrace armed with Helen’s camera to document our experiments. Here, in typically melodramtic infomercial style, are the results:
Let’s face it, even without our exaggerated posing, the Pretty Collection bustier (£32) did a darn good job of turning me from a skinny minnie to something more shapely. Now, I must confess, since I’m not really a 34B bust (far from it) there’s a bit of an illusion going on here. But under that slouchy green velvet dress no one has to know, right?
Same for Helen’s clingy black dress – I think the sexy secretary look gets added fifties authenticity when worn with the bustier. The other thing about this kind of shapewear is that the firm control fabric holds you very securely, so you feel so much more feminine. It really makes you sit up straight and think about your posture. Or, in the case of wearing the lace trimmed waist nipper (£28) under my extremely tight strapless blue metallic dress, I found it a little bit hard to breathe.
So the key takeaway for us is that sizing is all important when it comes to your intimate underpinnings. Get that right and you’ve got the foundation for an authentic pin-up figure.