historical corsets

anonymous asked:

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.


Adelaide Kane as Mary Queen of Scots in ‘Reign’ (2013-). Perhaps not strictly an historical drama, but who doesn’t love a bit of historical fantasy as well? 👑

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.                

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!