In the past, I have mentioned I am not one for shapewear since I don’t like the squeezy/bindy feeling of having all my tissue and organs sucked inward. It doesn’t help I find most shapewear pretty ugly with its strictly utilitarian “There’s a job at hand” feel, stubbornly making no concessions toward color, texture, or attractiveness. If Bridget Jones had a pair of black shaping knickers with pink lace color blocking panels and detachable garter straps, the whole functional vs. sexy debate would never have happened. While known for having some pretty industrial, totally unattractive but effective shapewear, Rago also knows how to blend form and fashion perfectly to create a piece that provides hold without seeming like actual shapewear, like the 721 Waist Cincher.
Rago entered our quaint little shop because I received request upon request from desperate brides and bridesmaids who wanted a shapewear piece that practically reshaped their bodies, dropping a size and pulling in the waist. After some investigation, the brand constantly recommended was American-made and designed Rago Shapewear, which proudly carries the torch for girdles, cinchers, and even bullet-bras, and the company certainly lives up to its reputation. Many of the Rago pieces offer superior hold to products like Spanx or Yummie Tummie, particularly because Rago often utilizes rigid tummy panels, flexible boning, and/or heavy powernet mesh. In the coming weeks, I will review the 6101 as well as the 821, which definitely fall on the traditional side of the spectrum, but today, I want to showcase the sexy, flirty, and surprisingly comfortable 721.
In contrast to Rago’s heavy-duty pieces, the 721 uses a softer, smoother fabric with more give to contour to curves, but the side boning keeps the stretchy fabric stabilized to prevent rolling. Front hook-and-eye closures make the 721 easy to put on by yourself too. Sizing is pretty flexible here and more about personal preference. For the photos, I am wearing a size medium, which I like because it offers hold and shaping without feeling too binding. (Note: My weight has been a source of struggle lately, and my waist/hip measurements are currently at 31″/42″.) In fact, I found it to relieve pressure on my back and improve my overall posture while sitting, so this is not a piece best worn when you’ll be standing/walking only. However, be forewarned this is one of Rago’s stretchier, more forgiving pieces. In nearly everything else I have tried, I need the XL/32.
While the comfortable hold and shaping is wonderful, what I really love is the vintage flair. The heavier front panel has a pink underlay to contrast the black back and sides, and the soft, flat-laying lace adds texture without being disruptive under clothes. Furthermore, the 721 doubles as a very sturdy suspender belt. The snaps on the legs are fully-adjustable and utilize metal closures which grip and last longer than cheaper plastic models. However, if you aren’t a fan of stockings or prefer holdups, they are totally removable too.
The overall quality of the piece is impressive, and you can see the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into the construction. This is not something that will fall apart on you. Because the quality blends perfectly with the attractive design, the 721 is certainly a wearable piece—and a piece way hotter than Spanx. Of course, the downside here is that the 721 does have the boning and the seaming, so dresses made from very thin materials are not ideal to wear over it. Rago does have smooth options too, but the 721 has that gorgeous vintage appeal which makes it so special. Not to mention, buying from Rago means you are supporting American design and manufacturing, thus sending more money into our economy.
Overall Grade: A
P.S. I bet this would totally work as an outerwear piece too, perhaps layered over a button-front or sleek black dress?