History of Women’s Corsets

Interested to the know about the history of women’s corsets? Well, lucky that you have stumbled upon this magnificent article because I have a lot of information about corsets, and you’ll get what information you have been looking for in this article.

This has been one of the most important articles of women’s clothing in Europe for many centuries. They have been evolving as the trends of fashion keep changing. Not only women use it, but men have also used the corset so that their bodies’ appearance can be changed.

They became popular back in Europe in the 16th century. At the same time, the corset is usually worn by people as one of the undergarments. They have also been worn like outer garments occasionally. The corsets that are worn like outer garments can be seen in national dresses of European countries.

Before the Start of the 16th Century

One of the early presentations of a possible corset was from a figurine from Cretan made in Circa 1600 BC. A part of the clothing that is worn has the looks of a corset. Although the corset is worn like outerwear rather than an undergarment, the breasts are left exposed. They were used in different tribes for many centuries. The corsets were used for women to be what they call “ beautified “ and also modesty to be ensured. They were tightly laced with up to 50 laces. From childhood, these things had to be worn up until their wedding night. After the wedding is consummated, the grooms need to undo every lace carefully and slowly so that they can demonstrate self-control.

The Start of the 16th to 17th Centuries

The corset being an undergarment originated from the country Italy, the person that introduced the corset to France was the woman Catherine de Medici back in the 1500s, women that were in the French court embraced the corset. They were worn underneath all the clothing, and the type of corset that they wore were elongated bodice and were tight. Women from the French court viewed the corset as necessary for every figure of females. Corsets in this centuries were usually made from fabric that is layered, glued so that it will be stiffened, and laced very tightly.

During the middle of the 16th century, they were a common garment that European women had to wear, to the continent, and also the British Isles. A way to maintain the stiff shape that it has they began to incorporate the use of the busk, which is a flat and long piece of whalebone or a woof sewn in a casing gradually. The front part of the beautifying machine was usually covered by what we call stomacher, which a v-shaped structure and was also stiff.

Blonde women with black and red corset

The 18th and the Early 19th Centuries

One of the really common types of corset back in the 1700s was a cone that was in an inverted shape. They were worn so that it can contrast the rigid torso that was quasi-cylindrical from the waist that is under. The true purpose of the corset in the 18th century was to help in raising the shape of the women’s breasts. As the midriff being tightened, back being supported, posture being improved, the women can stand straight with their shoulders to the back and down, and the waist being narrowed slightly that creates a V shape to the upper torso where that the outerwear would be worn.

When the 1800s came, the corsets became a good method in supporting the women’s breasts, by the waist being raised that is just under their bust line. That was their primary purpose though slimming the torso was not one of their primary purposes.

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Victorian Corset

The disappearance of the exaggerated shoulders, the waist had to cinched tighter so that the women can still achieve the effect that it gives out. The focus was to achieve an hourglass figure along with a tiny waist for women back in mid and even late 19th century. Tight lacing became popular in the 1840s and the 1850s. This corset was very different from the earliest corsets in a lot of ways. They did not end at the women’s hips, but the corsets flared out, and they ended some inches below their waist. They were not funnel-shaped anymore, corsets like this became more curvaceous. This was also the century where corsets were being sold in the market for a really low price, though there were still people that sewn the corsets by hand so that they can match the wearer’s measurements.

Image result for victorian corset

The Late 19th Century

This was where the corsets were called a perilous moral evil that promotes the female bodies being viewed as promiscuous and a very superficial dalliance from the fashion whims. The health risks that it gives out, which include the internal organs being damaged and being rearranged, compromising fertility, health being weakened, and the general depletion were pointed and blamed to these corsets. A lot of people began protesting, many preachers inveighed against the tight lacing, doctors counseled every single patient against the corsets, and many journalists wrote about how many women would sacrifice their body for the fashion trends. Despite all the protesting of the people, there was only little change in the restrictive fashion and the undergarments.

Edwardian Corset

This had many names like the swan bill corset, the straight front corset, the s bend corset, and the health corset. The Edwardian corset was made so that there could be fewer health risks to people that wear them. By the 1908s, the corsets began to fall apart because having a higher waistline, and a more natural form was preferred more.

And that is the history of women’s corsets! Corsets can be very dangerous to our bodies since it damages our internal organs. Though a lot of people still wear them just for fun or to achieve a smaller waist.

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