In the world of women’s lingerie and slimming shapewear, the terms “girdle” and “corset” are often used interchangeably with one another. However, girdles and corsets are two separate and distinct items that have different functions. A corset is primarily designed to provide a woman with an hourglass figure where one might not exist. In addition to slimming the waistline, a corset separates and lifts a woman’s bust line. In contrast, a girdle is intended to shape and contour a woman’s midsection, thighs, derriere, and hips. It does not modify a woman’s bust in any form of fashion. The corset’s neckline reaches slightly over a woman’s bust, and it generally ends at the top of a woman’s hips. The top of a girdle mere reaches the top of a woman’s midsection. There are girdles available in a wide variety of different lengths, from those that end at the top of a woman’s thighs to those that run the length of a woman’s calf.
The construction of a corset typically involves the use of boning, which runs the length of the corset in several different locations. This additional reinforcement to the garment makes it ideal for compressing and contouring a woman’s midsection. However, girdles are generally constructed from materials like nylon, Spandex, and Lycra. It incorporates the use fabric “control” panels, in order to reshape a woman’s figure. The girdle is adept at shaping and toning a woman’s silhouette; however, it may not be effective in removing inches from a woman’s figure.
The corset is commonly worn in social settings as an attractive top. When paired with a pair of blue jeans and high heels, many women enjoy the effect it provides. The primary downside to wearing a corset for hours on end is that it is not comfortable. The boning of the garment is quite restrictive, and it limits a woman’s ability to move freely. However, girdles are designed to be worn as a “second skin”, underneath one’s clothing. Additionally, due to the lack of restrictive materials in its composition, girdles may be worn for extended periods of time comfortably.