Corset: “No sigh, no gasping …”


The first corsets, which appeared in ancient times, were narrow leather bandages intended to support the bust. Bandages were worn either on the chest or under the chest.

In the Gothic period, a fashionable, body-tight clothes with a complicated cut came to replace the free draped, elements such as a dart and a fastener appeared in it. To correct the flaws of the figure, iron and wooden bars inserted between the chest glands and stretched from the top to the lower part of the abdomen were inserted into the cotton lining of the clothing. Corsets were laced in front, side and back, with the relaxation of lacing the bars often fell out. To afford such an expensive pleasure as a corset, only women belonging to a higher society could. In the men`s wardrobe of that time, the role of the corset was played by trousers and a jacket (tunic). Warriors belonging to the cavalry wore a shell of leather or metal, covering the trunk from the neck to the upper half of the thigh.

In the Renaissance, men`s corset armor began to be made of lace iron, later appeared flexible corsets with a baleen cloth reinforcement, covered with a cloth. Female corsets separated from the dress and steel were made of leather with the use of metal and wooden beams to give stability and hardness. The first such corsets tried on Spaniards, the modern hygienists rightly called such designs the instruments of torture. On the sides of the corset were inserted special hinges, and the edges of the round holes, located throughout the corset for air access, with the contraction crashed into the body and brought terrible torment. To achieve the desired form, secular ladies tightened their waist up to 20 centimeters in the half-engagement. A narrow corset caused damage to the whole body: when it was worn, the liver was squeezed, the stomach shifted, the kidneys and stomach contracted, blood circulation was disturbed. Such deformations often led to death.

In the eighteenth century, the Baroque style came into vogue, and the corset ceased to be an instrument of torture – it began to be made from a more flexible whalebone, and its rigidity was limited only by the rigidity of the material. Lacing at the front began to enter as a decorative decoration for the dress. Disregard for the corset was considered a bad form even in the lower strata of society: if it was possible to refuse from everyday work at home, then when you went out into the street you had to wear a corset.

“Aspen waist” remained in fashion until the beginning of the twentieth century – the corsets were drawn so tightly that the female silhouette became like the letter S. The development of medicine and the struggle of women for equality led to the fact that throughout the nineteenth century The war was against the wearing of corsets. One of the first against the conventional costume was the French writer Georges Sand. The reason that the corset, despite all the harm done to health, was not out of fashion, it was simple: it was believed that it supports the internal organs and allows the outer clothing to take a silhouette in the spirit of the time.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the corset continued to be used, retaining a beautiful curve of the back, but not causing a strong deflection at the waist. Thus, the steepness of the hips disappeared and more natural lines of the body were achieved. Soon, a straight corset was created, deforming the chest, supporting and slightly lifting the stomach, but leaving freedom and flexibility of the waist. Subsequently, the upper part, separated from the straight corset, became known as a brassiere, and the lower part became a belt. Later appeared bust holders on straps, better formed and supported the shape of the breast. In the 40s, corsets appeared that corresponded to the natural anatomy of a man, this marked the beginning of the invention of modern, various in design and form, corsetry.

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