Bustles, panniers, high heels, and corsets forced a fashionably dressed woman of the late 19th century to bend forward a bit in order to keep her balance. This posture came to be known as the “Grecian bend,” and as much as it may have been in style, it was widely parodied as well.
The last of the Grecian bend. undated. Skidmore family. American Historical Manuscripts Collection. New-York Historical Society.
The song of the Grecian bend. circa 1870. broadside. New-York Historical Society.
Grecian Bend: Tight corsets and big bustles were all the rage in the 1870’s. The posture forced upon women wearing these fashionable undergarments was called the Grecian Bend. As decompression injuries caused a similar posture, workers on the Brooklyn Bridge christened
the syndrome “the Grecian bends,” soon shortened to “the