Here are some quick frequently asked questions regarding the history of corsets.
Were corsets created as a control method? No corsets were brought to popularity as a fashion piece, and not a male-influenced method of control. Since the first known corset dates back to 2000 BC, we can be sure it is not a long-lasting torture device.
Were women’s ribs morphed while wearing a corset? While there was a lot of propaganda out and about that stated the corset’s negative effects on your ribs, overall they did not morph the ribcage. The only time that it can actually happen is with tightlacing since that is deliberately forcing your waist into an unnatural and bizarre shape.
Did women remove ribs to wear a corset? No this is a silly urban legend. The height of the corset was in the 19th century, when surgery really wasn’t something that you would want to do. Having a rib removed back then would have probably actually killed you.
Are the corsets of today the same as the corsets of yester year? To a point they are. There are quite a few similarities, but the ones of today are easier to get in and out of. The corsets from the 1800s were designed for comfort and good posture. I don’t think the same is true of the corsets of today. The plastic boned corsets in today’s fashion are pretty flexible, but also not meant to be worn for very long.
Were whalebones actually used in corsets? Yes they were. It’s where the term boning comes from. The whale bones were meant to keep the corset nice and stiff. In the order designs, the bones were removable so they could be replaced as they broke down over time.
Is the corset of Kim Kardashian like the corsets from the 1800s? Not really. The purpose is the same and the design serves the same function, but the materials are totally different. And unlike the women of the 1800s, Kim Kardashian wears one to make her butt look bigger and her waist look smaller. While a small waist was a good perk of the corset, it wasn’t the needed purpose for all women who wore one.
How did Catherine de Medici affect the history of corsets? De Medici was an Italian aristocrat who married the French king and brought with her the fashion of the corset. Since she became the Queen of France, it became vogue in France to wear a corset. Though she was known for doing quite a few pretty terrible things in history, people may have also adopted the corset out of fear. But that’s really conjecture.
Will the corsets of today morph my ribs? If you tighten the corset enough it can definitely morph your ribcage. You are squeezing your floating ribs inward and moving the placement of your organs. While they haven’t shown any long-term consequences of relocating your ribs, I can’t imagine that it is the best thing for your ribs, your digestive tract, or your lungs.
I started writing this blog about corsets kind of due to a morbid fascination. I had seen the propaganda from the 19th century that had demonstrated warped rib cages and declared all of the horrible side effects that had come from wearing the corset. Read More…
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