historical corsets

1900s Combination Corset Bloomers: It has little shell buttons all the way down the back.  soft sheer white cotton with the finest Valenciennes lace details all over front & back. There’s a small name embroidered on the front side it says “Helene”, There are little delicate ribbon “belt loops” inside the front lace near bust for a silk ribbon that will tie it in tighter for shape.This has that wonderful antique Gibson Girl style/shape commonly called a pigeon front, for the way it billows out full in front.                

9

Katherine Pierce 1864

3

Autumn’s Daily Corset Post:

One of my favorite corset myths is that Victorian women regularly had their lower ribs removed. I won’t go into how incredibly absurd this idea is, but instead will talk about where the myth may have begun.

Corsets need to be supported by vertical stays, which eventually were called ‘bones,’ because many were made with whalebone, a misnomer for baleen.In fact, boning is simply called “baleine” in France, even today’s steel boning.

While baleen molded to curves well with steam, it was also quite brittle, therefore the “bones” broke easily and needed to be removed and replaced. I believe that it is these bones that women removed and in the game of “historical telephone” it became “rib bones.”

PSA: The Duchess War (ebook) by Courtney Milan is free now [on Amazon]. This is the first book in her “Brothers Sinister” series, which is my go-to rec for people who have a) never read a Romance novel and are open to challenging any negative preconceptions they may have about the genre, or b) have just never read these books.

The Duchess War stars a chess-prodigy heroine who was raised by a couple of penniless but loving “maiden aunts” who took her in after her father was convicted for entering her (as a boy) into chess competitions for profit & a duke with sekrit plans to smash the patriarchy hereditary aristocracy.

Other stories in the series feature:

  • A pregnant former governess with lavender-farming ambitions who camps out rain or shine outside the home of the aristocrat who raped her demanding that he pay up & the villain’s man of business, a former pugilist with ruthless ambition but an admiration for intractable women.
  • A grumpy doctor hero who thinks that men who lie to women about their own bodies belong in a lower rung of hell & pines for the beautiful, resilient young woman he failed to save from the medical malpractice of a slut-shaming misogynist when he was a medical student.
  • The socialist duke’s ginger-haired bastard half-brother with political ambitions & the loud-mouthed, gauchely-dressed heiress who saves him from selling his soul while also protecting her chronically ill sister from medical abuse & false imprisonment by their Uncle. Meanwhile, the sister falls in love with an expatriat Indian lawyer & saves herself.
  • A sharp-tongued lady scientist/her slutty-pants childhood BFF who pines for her like the woodsiest of pine trees but refuses to publish her work under his name ANYMORE. There is also knitting in this book, and a lot of women protecting other women. Plus, SCIENCE.
  • An outspoken newspaper editor/journalist & Women’s Rights advocate and the Lost Heir whose horrible brother is trying to terrorize her out of business partly for ideological reasons, but mostly because she refused his advances; a secondary f/f romance featuring the heroine’s best friend & the “Straight Girl” who is Too Smart & Pretty for her to talk to without blushing & stammering, omg.
  • A shy Black math prodigy heroine who works as a “calculator” for astronomers & a scandalously funny, rakish Irish writer who pens the satirical “Ask a Man” column for a Feminist newspaper.

tl;dr This Victorian-set series abounds with explicit feminism & other social issues; more PoC, queer, and non-upper class characters than typically found in mainstream historical romance (i.e. any); lots of politics & science!

flickr