Let’s delve a little into world history. The corset is considered one of the most ancient wardrobe items that have survived to this day. However, the corset as such did not appear immediately, about a thousand years ago people got acquainted with his “grandfather” – a wide slimming belt. Such belts were very popular on the island of Crete, where both men and women emphasized the waist with it. In addition, such a belt protected men during a very extreme entertainment – jumping over the horns of bulls. Although, of course, later wearing a corset became no less extreme and dangerous pleasure.
Bandage for the perfect figure A little later, in the 13th century, a bandage appeared in Europe – a wide belt, which was now worn only by women. Such a belt supported the chest and highlighted the waist. Over the centuries, the ideals of beauty changed, and by the 15th century, the hourglass figure came into fashion. Women were supposed to have large breasts, a thin, wasp waist and wide hips. It was then that a wide dragging belt came to the rescue, which some women laced up so tightly that it led to a violation of blood circulation in the body. Women literally fainted en masse, and no one was surprised at this.
The thinnest waist in the world In the 17th century, the first whalebone corsets appeared. Inhuman standards came into fashion: the ideal female waist was 40 centimeters! And Catherine de Medici, without thinking twice, reduced this rate to 33 centimeters! In the 20th century, the French actress Pauline Poehler was distinguished by such a wasp waist. But as the owner of the thinnest waist, it was not she who entered the Guinness Book of Records, but Ethel Granger, a resident of Great Britain who died in 1982. The fact is that her husband hated the fashion for shapeless figures that reigned in the 20s of the last century. It was for her beloved that Ethel began to diligently lose weight and wear corsets, thanks to which, after 10 years, she acquired a waist of 33 centimeters.
Let’s go back to our days.
According to shopping platforms Like To Know It and Lyst, inquiries related to corsets have increased by more than 100 percent since The Bridgertons premiered on December 25. Also, the latest statistics from eBay confirms that the demand for vintage things in the spirit of the Regency era has increased by 39%.
The series, which has already garnered 63 million views on Netflix, has sparked a whole trend – Regencycore (from the English regency – “regency”). It includes all kinds of frills, straight silhouettes in the Empire style, long gloves and pearl-encrusted headbands. And, of course, corsets.
However, this “renaissance” is associated not only with historical dramas. Last summer, some celebrities – for example, Hailey Bieber and Dua Lipa – tried on the “summer corset”. But, as we all know, the tradition of slimming the waist goes much deeper. The not-so-humane boned corset — with hard lines and a bodice tied together — has a hugely controversial history. Due to its practical purpose – to hold the female body in a tight vise of whalebone and lacing – the corset has long been associated with the strict foundations of patriarchy. But still, many beauties wore it voluntarily and with pleasure – so it became a symbol of femininity and sexuality, which fashion designers and photographers still use.
The corset is still on the catwalks now – we saw it in the spring-summer collections and most recently at the spring-summer 2021 shows. For example, Philosophy, Versace and David Koma. In the past year, too, many brands – from Mugler to Jason Wu – have included corset elements in their collections. And in the previous autumn-winter 2019 season, we saw corsets at Alexander McQueen, Etro, Prada and others.
And although in the eyes of many this item still symbolizes patriarchy and the sacrifice of health in the name of beauty, girls continue to love the corset – and the way it emphasizes the waist, changes the figure and gives femininity. This amusing little thing, which appeared in both the Great and the Bridgertons, is clearly not worth writing off. Here are some models that will easily fit into your everyday wardrobe.
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