Actress Beauty tip #18: The Hollywood figure

This is the eighteenth installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

Barbara Stanwyck in "The Lady Eve" showing off the ideal 1940s figure.

Back in May I did a post about Jean Harlow weight loss in honor of swim suit season.  Now that we are getting into colder months full of comfort food and holiday gatherings, it can be difficult to keep down the weight-sometimes a little artificial help is handy.

Hollywood actresses always usually looked impeccable. I’ve always envied the tiny waists and flat hips they have-especially in the 1940s. Several of them were thin due to athletics and exercise-Barbara Stanwyck was very outdoorsy-and constant dieting-Claudette Colbert was very careful about what she ate. However, even the skinniest actresses hid any lumps, bumps and imperfections with the use of undergarments, particularly girdles.

I’ll admit I’ve always been interested in girdles/shapers and have wanted one for awhile.  These beauty tips gave me the perfect opportunity to try one and see what women of the 1940s and 1950s went through.

I looked around on Ebay to find a reasonably priced, cute and hopefully effective girdle. Ones made of rubber from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s were harder to find and a good bit more than I was willing to pay.

I ended up buying a latex girdle that fit like a strapless one piece bathing suit.  I wore it during the past weekend, including while riding in the car for long periods of time and under my Halloween costume.

An example of a 1940s girdle. This is from 1946, advertising the use of rubber in girdles since war time rationing had ended.

I didn’t see a life changing difference figure wise, but it wasn’t uncomfortable to wear. It was a little snug but not squeezing my insides (some women had health problems when girdles were popular because they were too tight. I think this is why my mom didn’t want me to get one). The only problem I had with it was one side of the plastic boning is starting to come out so it poked me in the side and left some scratches, though I think I can try to fix it.

To review: The type of girdle I got was not painful to wear, though I plan on buying a few others especially ones made of rubber.  If you aren’t wanting to buy a vintage girdle, the thing that would be most similar to a girdle would be “Spanx” camisoles, shorts and hosiery.

Stop by in December for more beauty tip fun!

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6 thoughts on “Actress Beauty tip #18: The Hollywood figure

  1. So cool you tried this! I love this feature of your blog. 🙂 I’ve always wanted to experiment with girdles and petticoats and all of that other foreign (to me) structuring apparel that helped shape the silhouettes of the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s. I’m always worried that this type of thing would be really uncomfortable, though. Good to know that isn’t always the case!


      • Sandy, I haven’t but I’d like to try those too. I’ve heard garters can be a pain (from my mom pre-panty hose days) but I have always liked the way actresses looked wearing them! They are so feminine!


    • 🙂 Thanks Audrey, I’m glad you enjoy it! I’ve always wanted to try all of those structuring body garments. I was always kinda nervous they would hurt, were usually expensive and my mom always stopped me haha. But finally I was like “Gosh Darnit I’m buying a girdle for my blog”
      I’m sure there are some uncomfortable girdles, mine isn’t though. I think I’m going to get others that are different styles too to test


  2. Hi, I love your blog.
    Lyrca on the thighs, girdles, corsets, and boned body shapers are to keep you from jiggling when wearing a tight, say pencil skirt, and my mom say’s she was wearing them since puberty, I noticed the waist cincher did wonders for my figure, I bought the lace up kind and have a much smaller waist then when I started.
    Thank You.


    • 🙂 Thanks!
      I want to try the thigh girdles next to smooth out my bottom half. For whatever reason I have a harder time finding those! I’ll have to try the lace up kind too. Makes me think of Gone with the Wind as she’s holding on to the bed post haha


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