In these belt-tightening times, Daphne Merkin wonders why she can't find a decent girdle. Spanx abound and corsets have been re-conceived as fetish objects or ironic fashion statements, but the real body armor has become taboo, she writes in the New York Times T Magazine. "Try Brighton Beach," one shopkeeper told her, "They still cater to zaftig women."
Corsets signified womanhood for 300 years. The flappers ruled briefly, but waist-cinching returned with Dior's New Look in 1947 before kicking the bucket 2 decades later. Merkin, who finally got suited at Livis Lingerie on Third Avenue, admits, "I would be less than honest if I said it restored me to my 20-year-old body." As for the girdle she gave to her 19-year-old daughter? She's "been eyeing it for erotic purposes."