I am VERY pro-foundation garment. And I will say this unequivocally, you WILL need to wear one (some) if your goal is to achieve the vintage ascetic.
My personal gripe is seeing someone wear an adorable vintage 40s dress and have it be so skin tight that the person is afraid to move in it. Know that a garment measurement is totally different from YOUR measurement.
But personal gripe aside, also take ease into consideration when you make a dress based on foundation garments.
When I made my duct tape dress form (hi, Onda), I was wearing my everyday dress foundation garments. Why? Because I always slip those on when I check a dress in progress for it. All the pictures that I take of me in my clothes, Im waring them. My measurements with and without them are a bit different. Not so much in how big I am, but in how things drape.
I know women who get angry at me when I mention my emphatic approval of foundation garments. "Why do you want to look different?" "Why do you want to change your body?"
Everyone wants to change their body.
I look at it this way. I dont see foundation garments as a way of changing my body from something I dont like, but more of making my body look its best. I dont see them as alteration tools, but enhancers. Their goal is to smooth my lines. Whether they make you smaller is beside the point, a smooth silhouette is far more appealing to the drape of your clothing than a lumpy one, no matter your size.
I dont change my foundation garments based on era. I cant do 20s boobs, too saggy for me. Ive determined a fairly standard shape for myself (Onda) and I make my clothing to compliment that. Ive had to alter some styles to accommodate, but I rather do that than have it be the other way around.
I also have some fairly strict criteria when it comes to foundation garments:
-Ease of bathroom use
-My thighs cant touch
All of these criteria have to be met every single time, especially the last one. The LAST thing I want is chafing for a week because I was too vain and thought I could go without, which Ive done, and I regretted. Tis the challenge with being 'stout'.
I dont own a girdle. Not that I dont want one, I do! I just have an odd shape and the ones Ive had never fit in the waist, or hips, or bust. Well geeze, whats the point then?!
But I have some criteria anyway, and although these look awesome, and I secretly hold out for the warehouse to be found where they were made so the patterns can be reissued (far easier to find a corset pattern than a girdle one), I try and make due. Here are some of my ways.
Here are some examples of some of the foundation garments I wear for my everyday dresses. I figure Ill go over why then as time goes on, list my more major stuff.
A good bra. A classic bra. A granny bra.
I wear this Glamorise daily.
It is one of the most classic shaped bras around. Your breasts are not to round, or too pointy, or too saggy, or show too much cleavage. You didnt see much of the girls in vintage wear. I LOVE this bra, and I got my correct size. GET FITTED!!!! I can not stress this enough. I am a 38I in this bra. Would I have know that on my own, of course not! Go out of your way to do it if you have too. Pay to have it done if need be. It is the only sure fire way to improve your posture, silhouette, even your feeling about yourself. Try tons of bra types on by different makers (sizes will vary) and get the one you like that fits the best.
Once you have done that, Id say next is to invest in some t shirts.
Thats right. You know how most vintage dresses can have nasty pit stains, well some lady didnt wear her shields. I dont bother with that because I dont like my bare skin touching a garment I worked 12 hours on. I cut all my clothing with a bit more ease so I can wear a cotton t shirt beneath.
I have a closet full of them. Three different types, all mens basic cotton t-s.
One for winter, long sleeve crew neck.
One for general everyday, a basic v neck.
And more fitted (size medium) with an altered neckline to remain hidden beneath all of my dresses.
No matter how formal I am, I am always wearing one of these. I would rather pay $8 and wear these out in a year than have ruined a really pricy fabric dress with my BO and stuff.
Cotton t shirts are my everyday wear. Im in one now! To clean them, I do soak all my cotton whites in an oxygen soak for 24-48 hours before laundering them. They always come out clean and white as can be!
They are light, breathable, and classic. This is me with no foundation garments on (sans my bra).
So I got the bra, I got the t shirt, I wear cotton undies, mostly Hanes (high cut), but now is the time to tell you about my secret weapon. Its a modern cheat, but all's fair in love and foundation garments.
I LOVE these. Love them. They are breathable, comfortable, I can go to the ladies in them rather easily, and they keep my thighs from touching. PLUS, they offer great support for daily wear and keep me shaped up rather nice. Perfect. I cut them off right above the knee (the extra from the legs cut into pieces make great pony tail holders) and trim the legs with lace so they dont ride up. I tend to wear two: the one touching my skin is a size under the top one. I know, it seems like a lot of work, but its a breeze. I can wear them 12-15 hours without feeling crazy. Id call that a win.
JMS doesn't have them on their site. I know, right!? I have only been able to find them at CVS drugstores. They run from $6-$8 a pair.
Last would be the slip.
Ive made some half slips from cheap fabric and gave them an elastic waistband. They are great. Yes, you NEED a slip.
Thats about it for my daily wear. On my next installment, Ill cover formal/evening wear.