The corset remained a necessary staple of ladies’ clothing in the Victorian era. For many years, the corset had been worn from an early age to encourage the desired hour glass shape: a rounded bosom with a tiny waist. In the beginning, corsets were often made of iron, quite heavy by our standards of today. The stability was made strong with the insertion of whale bones in select pockets along the corset vertically. During the Victorian era, many ladies desired a 19″ waist circumference. Pregnancy was no “excuse” for having a thick waistline, and reports detail that some ladies even suffered miscarriages from insisting upon corset-wearing.
During earlier historical eras, some men also donned corsets. The hourglass shape was desired for males as well as females in some of these eras. Georgian era men often wore corsets. Historical accounts mention children’s corsets as well. Training the body to grow within defined specifications began at the earliest stage of physical development. The corset’s rigid structure was also used to discourage a swayed spine, or humpback, which was undesirable. A lady without a corset was considered to be vulgar or lewd. Poorer ladies often owned no over bodice, so they wore the corset as a visible item.
During the 1920’s, the brassiere was developed and largely replaced the corset. As with all historical eras, some ladies continued to wear the corset instead. Often, when new styles arrive, some people will tend to don the earlier styles. This has been typically true of the older members of society. As they say, change is not welcomed by all persons. This is evident today, in the wearing of bell-bottom jeans and tye-dye t-shirts from our previous groovy “hippie era” of the 1970’s.