Strap those girls in! A Short History of the Corset


How did something renowned for making it impossible to breathe ever become associated with femininity and sexytimes? Restricted air flow brings that nice pale look to your your otherwise rosy complexion. Sexy!

Time to jump back in history and find out more:

  • Before cloth corsets, there were IRON CORSETS. Yes, made out of metal. An iron-hinged, armor-like corset was worn to flatten the body giving a smooth outline beneath gowns.
  • By the mid-to-late 16th century, linen corsets started being worn by more women. At least they were a bit lighter.
  • All a misconception: In the 16th century, the corset was not meant to draw in the waist and create an hourglass figure; rather, it was designed to mold the torso into a cylindrical shape, and to flatten and raise the bustline. There is one 16th century reference to a small waist being fashionable, but on the whole it was a fashionably flat-torsoed shape, rather than a tiny waist, that the corset was designed to achieve.
  • These corsets helped create a contrast between the rigid flatness of the bodice front and the curving tops of the breasts peeking over the top of the corset. Peek-a-boo!

Columbina

Image Sources: 1, 2

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3 thoughts on “Strap those girls in! A Short History of the Corset

  1. My grandmother once told me that she thought one of the best things about women’s lib. was that they got rid of corsets. She probably meant girdles (she only wore hers when she went “visiting”). She’ll be 97 soon!

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