Archive for April, 2010

More new corsets!

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Here is my latest crop of corsets – much progress has been made on my mountain of work – thanks to those clever mice….

Corset History

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Here is an small part of an interview with Valerie Steele – possibly the most knowledgeable fashion historian we have today.   It was origionaly part of a ‘Big Think’ video interview, recorded Sept. 24. 2009 

Topic: The evolution of the corset
Valerie Steele: “… I think it’s the single most controversial garment in the entire history of fashion. I think most people look at it as being something which was deeply oppressive to women and that somehow a patriarchal society forced women to wear it. But if you look at the history more carefully, and it did last 400 years, you see how it’s more complicated than that. Women had a number of reasons why they choose to wear corsets often in the face of male opposition. I mean, male doctors more or less would say ‘don’t wear corsets’, they are unhealthy, they’re bad for you, and they’re bad for your unborn child. But corsets were associated with upper class status because upper class wore them first. They were associated with physical beauty, because that whole hourglass figure, and particularly the waist/hip differential are associated with female sexual beauty and being at childbearing age.
And they were also respectable that if you went out without a corset it was like in the 50’s going out without a bra. I mean, you were bouncing around. It was sort of embarrassing. What kind of a woman would do that? So, if it made you look more upper class, more beautiful, more respectable, etc. and your mother and your grandmother were pushing you, oh, you have to wear a corset. A man can’t dance with you if you are not wearing a corset; he would touch all this flesh – sort of soft flesh. There was a lot of pressure. Often pressure put on by other women for women to keep on wearing corsets.
And when corsets began to go out of fashion, it was in large part because new ideals of beauty came in. So, for example, one of the fashion magazines that I was looking at around 1900, when women still wore corsets, they would ask these actresses, who is your favorite couturier? Who’s your favorite milliner, who’s your favorite corsetiere? And a lot of these actresses would say, I don’t need to wear a corset. And you’d look at the photograph and you’d go, Babe, you are so wearing a corset…”
This is just a taste of a very interesting subject of study – and will be continued.  I have been working on an artical based on a question I ask  my clients – “Why do you wear a corset?”  – and someday, I’ll finish it and post it here for you!