People get this idea about corsets from the popular film 'Gone with the wind' and others. It shows how a Victorian woman is holding tight their figure by pulling the corset strings to achieve a perfect hourglass figure. In that case, you can think about today's women who go for plastic surgery or wear high heels to look them good. That is how Victorian women took efforts for the sake of fashion. The large crinoline, protruding bustles, and heavily boned corsets create problem in their activities. But in the late 19th and early 20th century with advanced machinery and new designs, it helped the women.
The corsets were popularized for the very first time in the 16th century. After that, the people use these corsets to only improve the shape of the bust but not to narrow the waist. For the first time, the corsets what were used daily was handmade and it requires many layers of linen and heavy fabric to make it stiff. At the time of mid-1800, boning became popular with the introduction of a sewing machine.
The corset was an important undergarment what was designed in such a manner to improve the female figure. Each and every type of constructed to give benefits to the women. The corsets were laced up at the center back of the woman to give the right amount of required tightness. It was also known as tight lacing. This is also necessary to know the Victorian women used these corsets over a cotton chemise what did not directly touch the skin. Victorian corsets were one of the most popular undergarments that were worn by women, young girls and children. Young girls and the child wore corsets as similar to the type of clothes worn by the adults in the family. Young girls used this corset to get the right posture.
Clothing played an important role in Victorian society. The useful benefits of these corsets made it essential to the women. The women of the Victorian period needed to marry and to take care of their families. The women who belong to the upper class had servants to do all the household chores while the lower class women were required to do all the work on their own. Tightly laced corsets meant that the woman belongs to the upper class. On the other hand, bulges and rolls on the body indicated the woman from the lower class. There was a variety of corsets available for the women. The Victorian women who dominated sports activities used sportswear and sports bra. For that time, the corsets were found for different purposes and activities. Pregnant women also used abdominal corsets.
In 1830, the corsets were useful to give the torso a proper shape by narrowing the waist and support the breasts. In the 19th century, it was a fashion for the women to have an hourglass figure by reducing by waistline with a corset. Here the new corsets were different from the previous one. The new types of corsets were ended below the waistline. The invention of the sewing machine inspired the manufacturers to produce a variety of corsets. Because it reduced the hard work that was required for making a handmade corset. At 1860, the ready corsets were sprayed with vegetable starch and then it was placed into iron maidens.
Victorian era: The health benefits of the corset
We all know that fashion come and go, but in Victorian times, one item of clothing was necessary for the women and that was the corset. It was such an item which was worn by all classes of women. Even in prison or in the workhouse, the women were supplied with corsets. As per the reason for it, the internal organs of the women needed support. It was said the midriff of a woman was weak and the womb was not supported by it. Here are health benefits for that women use corsets such as:
When any muscles were not used, it tends to waste away and the abdominal muscles were no different. Instead of having the female version big or six-pack, the lady of the Victorian era had muscles which were equivalent to a Blancmange. Even if a lady left off her corset, she felt vulnerable and tired quickly and felt the lack of support. This is one of the great reasons why they use Victorian corsets.
To achieve an upright posture
Victorian corsets helped women in many ways. This corset also braced the back and helped women to have en elegant upright posture and bearing. This was another reason why the Victorian corsets were admired at that time.
It gave them warmth and protection
A corset was always helpful for the women because it protects the delicate organs of a human body such as the kidneys. The garment also helped them to keep their body warm and saved the kidneys from catching a chill. Even this corset provided valuable windproof weather against the vagaries of the British climate.
The corsets were also blamed for that time
As per the medical thinking of that time, it was said that the corsets are good but it could be bad when laced too tightly on the backside. But the latter was exactly what the society admired a trim figure with a tiny waist so that the women used these tools in the wrong way to achieve the same thing. At 1850 and 60, it was seen that the women are using tremendous pressure to produce a tiny waist and it was positively encouraged, especially for the young women with a husband to snare.
A smaller waist than a toddler
It was also seen that fashion schools actively worked on women to reduce the waste of their students. It was done by equipping the girls with smaller corsets and it was being laced too tightly so that they can not eat large meals. As a result, they were forced to peck at food like a bird and the corset was only removed for one hour per week to wash it.
Finally, the people were concerned about the damage of tight lacing but no one could agree on how tight was too-tight. Additionally, there was a cultural perception that a woman if remain as uncorseted then it was considered as one of the low morals. She was also considered as both flattering and healthy.
Remember that a corset was simply a supportive garment and it is not unlike our modern push up bras or body shapers. Victorian women got many benefits from their corset so they started to feel comfortable with it. In the 19th century, the outward appearance was considered as very important. It did not mean to follow the latest fashion. You can also see that for that time, all the Victorian women wore corsets and not all were tight-laced to the extremes. A corset did not do a lot more than creating the ladylike shape but it controlled the way she walked, sat and moved. After some years they easily felt comfortable with a corset. Nowadays many women see a bra as a Victorian woman saw her corset.
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