Clothes · Daily Life · Lingerie

Shapewear Series: Waist Cinchers and Merry Widows (and Panty Girdles)

If you missed the first post in this series (bra fit hints, and tips) you can find that here; the second post (corselettes and and open-bottom girdles) is here.  As it stands, I’m currently intending this to be the last post in the series, simply because I believe with these three posts I’ve covered all the basics – there are some items I’ve not looked at (long-leg panty girdles, for instance) because I don’t own any, but if you take the fit advice from the posts I’ve written, you should be able to ensure any piece of shapewear fits you correctly.

I’ve also chosen not to cover corsets, for the simple reason that – at the moment – I’m not regularly wearing a corset, and in fact the only corset that I do own (which you’ll see further below) is currently for sale in a number of places, because it’s not quite right for me any more, hence it’s been worn very little.

This week, I’ll be focusing mainly on shaping the waist; although as part of that I’m going to include a panty girdle – which, of course, shapes the hips and derrière to a greater or lesser extent.



I’m going to cover waist cinchers first, simply because I think they’re the easiest piece of shapewear to add to your wardrobe.  The one I’m wearing in my photos is the Glamour Waist Cincher from What Katie Did; and I’m wearing it with my Gossard ‘Retrolution’ plunge bra and panty in black so that you can see exactly where it’s sitting and what it covers; of course, for normal wear I’d wear it with similar coloured lingerie.




You can see it comes down past the top of my panties, and almost right up to the underwire in my bra.

What you can’t really see in these photos (or even the stock photos on the WKD website) is the shaping band at the waist.  The photo on the right gives a slight hint if you look at my waist, but there’s a thick band at the waist which helps to pull you in & create a more hourglass-type shape.


When trying on, or wearing a waist cincher, you should be able to feel that you’re being pulled – or held(!) – in, but it shouldn’t stop you from taking a nice, deep breath; nor should it stop you from moving normally.  It also shouldn’t affect how your bra sits or holds & supports your breasts.






As for what to wear a waist cincher under?  I think it looks best when worn under a ‘traditional’ circle skirt with a well-fitting top and cinch belt, which will help to define your waist just that little bit more








Of course, whether you want to exaggerate the definition in your waist or you want the more traditional shape, you’ll want to wear a petticoat underneath your skirt.

This is a chiffon petticoat, and as well as being soft it is also very full.  I’d love to wear this style of petticoat every day, but it’s not very practical for me, so it’s one of the ones I save for “high days and holidays”.


Of course, a waist cincher would also work under pencil skirts or wiggle dresses, but I have something a little extra special for those: a merry widow.


The ‘Gwendoline’ merry widow incorporates spiral steel boning – the same type of boning that is used in corsets – and it has an elastic ‘waist tape’ (waist tapes are also found in corsets), which helps to shape the waist.  In the photo on the left, I’ve worn it with the matching panty & suspender belt so you can get an idea of where it sits.

Although ‘Gwendlone’ has steel boning & a waist tape, it’s still very comfortable to wear.  It’s tight, but once again it doesn’t – and shouldn’t restrict normal breathing and movement.




The merry widow has detachable suspenders, but I prefer to keep them separate, as I tend to wear it with the matching panty girdle – as much as I use it to shape my waist, I feel like my hips are my “problem area”, so I prefer to keep them under control as well as adding more shape to my waist.

When the merry widow is paired with the matching panty girdle, some serious waist cinching starts occurring!  It’s a firm control panty girdle, and it has a thick elastic waist band, which helps to cinch the waist that little bit more.  Once again, the suspenders are detachable, and the panty girdle is tight, but comfortable to wear.  Like most other pairs of panties, it will leaves little marks in your skin, but these shouldn’t be rubbed raw from it being too tight; it should be comfortable to wear while shaping you.









When worn together, the merry widow and panty girdle provide a very defined waist with no discomfort, and because the merry widow is strapless it’s perfect to wear under a wide range of necklines.








In this instance, I decided to showcase the shaping powers of these two pieces of shapewear in an off-the-shoulder wiggle dress, with a short underbust corset worn to further define my waist, although I’m wearing it fairly loosely for the reasons mentioned above.







Have you tried, or do you own, a waist cincher, merry widow, and/or panty girdle?  How did/do you find them?  Or are you considering trying one, and has this post helped you make a decision which one would be best for you?  I’d love for you to share with me in the comments below.


7 thoughts on “Shapewear Series: Waist Cinchers and Merry Widows (and Panty Girdles)

  1. Wow, this might be my favourite post of yours yet! Great job and I have to say that you might be a stronger woman than I am for being able to wear the Merry Widow WITH the Panty Girdle WITH the corset on top for that last picture. you look fabulous by the way 🙂


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