A Tight Squeeze

In considering women’s clothing styles in history, one of the most noticeable observations is how poised and proper period styles make them look and how their wardrobe tends to bring out their beauty clearly.  One of the biggest contributing factors is the corset, which has done wonders in shaping a woman’s figure.  The corset has been around since the mid 1500s and is attributed to Catherine de Medici, wife of King Henry II of France.  She banned thick waists in court attendance and in turn, the corset was developed.  Many women view corsets as an extremely uncomfortable and restrictive piece of clothing and some fear muscle or organ damage from its tight fit.  While these fears are not unfounded, the corset is a nice enhancement with some noteworthy advantages.

When wearing a corset, one must keep in mind that its purpose is to accent a woman’s beauty and thus, attract a man’s attention.  True, it may not be the most comfortable garment to sport, but there are several benefits that come from wearing a corset.  As a corset has the ability to transform the body’s appearance, it offers a slimmed down look overall.  And for those women desiring to take a few inches off their waist, it has been reported that some women have lost as many as three inches from wearing a corset regularly.  Another benefit of wearing a corset is the excellent lower back and posture support it provides.  This article of clothing could be a simple solution to those slouching habits, as it requires the woman to be in a straight and upright position.  As a result, a woman has the potential to come across more confident and therefore, drawing the attention of any onlooker.  Other benefits include better breathing (as the chest muscles are opened up), stronger and firmer back muscles overall, and quite possibly a boost in self-image and self-esteem.

Engineer Corset:

Engineer Corset

For those women who may complain about the discomfort of the modern day corset, they should count their blessings!  Around the turn of the 17th century, corsets were made out of whale bone, ivory, metal, and sometimes wood.  These materials created the stiffening support of the corset, but one can only imagine how it would feel against the body.  However, at that time, corsets were more of a style agent than something used for sex appeal.  And fortunately, the eccentric materials once used in corsets have become obsolete.  Nowadays, cording and elastic underlayments are commonly used for stiffening while the outer layer may consist of silk, satin, lace, and sometimes vinyl or leather.  Modern day corsets are more embellished and varied than the ones seen throughout history.

Maid Marion Riding Ensemble w/Corset:

Maid Marion Riding Ensemble w- Corset

Through the years, the corset has been kept in view through various fashion waves including the Autumn 2001 fashion collection and in the Steampunk culture, which uses late Victorian era styles in innovative ways.  For more corset clothing, see our collection at:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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One Response to A Tight Squeeze

  1. 65snake says:

    Actually, a properly made and fitted corset is quite comfortable, and looks great. The discomfort and damage issues come from cheap or poorly fitted corsets.

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