The history behind girdles and shapewear is a lot more magical than you might have imagined! See StyleLists's informative article, The Story Behind Shapewear: From Girdles to Spanx
"The first form of shapewear is believed to be the girdle: a woven, garment-like a belt. In ancient times, the girdle was believed to have magical powers, and Ishtar, goddess of Babylon, wore one for fertility. Girdles became a symbol of virginity, and were considered strength-giving for men, or protection for women..."
Read more: http://www.stylelist.com/view/the-story-behind-shapewear-from-girdles-to-spanx
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