Claudia's Fashion Ideas

Posts Tagged ‘corsets

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I heard a story on the radio this morning about the young Queen Victoria. They were talking about corsets. The actress who was playing the role was joking that to be an English actress, one must wear a corset in the movies at least one. She claimed to be on her third movie with corsets involved and was looking forward to wearing sweatpants soon and giving her ribs a break. When you think about it, imagine having to lace up like that every day, we who have made a fashion statement out of being comfortable. The American woman barely wears control top panty hose, much less anything truly confining. But they were beautiful, those Victorian fashions. I can just picture those great skirts and fabrics and the expanse of shoulders and bust. We’d all like to sweep into a room looking that magnificent at least once, wouldn’t we? I’d take the swashbuckling cavalier too.

In the quest for the perfect “hourglass shape” women of the past often turned to the simplest solution, the corset. Imagine, no dieting, no exercise, no hunger, but an instant flat tummy! Of course, our modern sensibilities of “instant results” can easily understand the appeal of this 10 second tummy-tuck, but in reality the corset was yet another adherent to the “no pain, no gain” principle. Often made of uncomfortable materials (bone, metal, wood, and eventually plastics), the corset was designed to literally squeeze a woman into shape at any cost. Though their efficacy cannot be denied, the pain that a woman endured to contort her body in this way is not hard to imagine. Anyone who has ever worn a too-tight pair of jeans knows the feeling of a waistband cutting into their hips, one merely needs to extend this principle a bit further up the body and they can begin to sympathize. Even though this brand of vanity was clearly torturous, one can clearly see the links between the tummy tuck of yesteryear and our own obsessions with appearance today. The “quick fix” approach to anything never promised to be painless, and the corset was no exception!