i'm so sick of these people thinking no corset/stays = feminism! or whatever bizarre misinformed notion... like... sorry its a necessary article to complete a historic outfit. and on being able to ride horses in the costumes, these costume designers really did so little research on historic clothing that they didn't know women wore corsets to horse ride for centuries *eyerolls* and yeah the iconic yellow dress really looks like a modern prom gown and an ugly one at that :/
Yeah, agreed. And especially corsets pre-1800. They were not designed to narrow the waist per se. They were designed to push the breasts upwards and flair out over the hips. Which is effect made the waist narrower, but this was not a goal in itself. If anything, they could restrict the arms more than the waist.
A main idea was that the corset supported the torso, not necessarily re-shaping it. If exaggerated - for grand occations - they could be a challenge. But for everyday wear they were just a part of the attire, giving a welcome support to a torso which may have carried several children and which may be exposed to hard physical work.
There is negative things to be said about the corset, but much of this stems from the early 20th century, where the corsets frankly were at its worst. They pushed the bust out in front and the butt out in the back, while keeping the stomach straight. It gave the torso a most challenging S shape. Here’s 18th century stays and paniers VS early 20th century stays:
It was also in the late 19th and early 20th century tight-lacing became a fetish, where the laced-in waist was to be as narrow as possible. But this short-lived corset phenomenon shouldn’t be translated into corsets 1600-1800 whose shape was conical and function fundamentally different.
And that’s also why the talk of corset or non-corset in “Beauty and the Beast” rubs me the wrong way. They sauce every corset myth ever together in a strange soup, and the conclusion is of course that they don’t like this strange soup, so they’re not gonna deal with it. Sigh.