Styling with Corset Corset is a type of garment that is worn around the waist area to give the appearance of a smaller waist. It is essentially a tool that pulls the waist in and gives a lift to the bust. This results in the appearance of an hourglass figure. The origin of corset in women’s fashion dates back to the 16th century. So why are we discussing this ancient piece of fabric in today’s fashion world? Well, because it is back in a way. We have been seeing the corset in modern fashion from quite a few years now. Let’s take a walk down the history lane to know more about this unique piece of garment.
The origin of corset is credited to Catherine de’ Medici, wife of King Henry II.
She banned thick waists for appearances in the court. Corset was a part of women’s lingerie in the mid 1550s. Corsets were popular as a part of women’s lingerie for close to 350 years. In the early 19th century, even men wore corsets for the appearance of a small waist. Waists of as small as 16 inches were popular during this time.
There were many different types of corsets available such as the underbust (which started under the bust and extended till the hips), the overbust (which included the bust and extended till the hips), and the longline corset (which extended till the mid thighs). The corset has also been used for medical reasons to support the back and for better posture.
Corsets were made with strong yet flexible fabric such as cotton, satin or leather. Rods made from whalebone or reed were used to give shape to the garment and the body as well. The whalebone was replaced with steel in the course of time. The corset has eyelet holes in the back to hold the lace used for fastening the garment. The corset immediately cinches the waist to give the appearance of fuller curves and a smaller waist.
Whalebone & cotton corset, 19th century
Lace in the back of the corset
Eventually, the corsets went out of fashion around the 1920s in Europe and North America. In the mid 20th century, there were protests against the corset as it was seen as a method of restricting women under the disguise of fashion. Its revival in the contemporary fashion came after the Kardashian clan was seen sporting waist trainers for their famous tiny waist and large curves. Although it is used as outerwear and not as a part of lingerie.
Kim wearing a corset
Here’s a look at some corset moments seen on the runways in the recent years.
Balenciaga SS 17
Isabel Marant SS 17
Giambattista Valli AW 17
A lot of celebrities have been spotted wearing corsets. Let’s take a look at some iconic looks.
Madonna in her iconic corset and conic bra by designer Jean Paul Gaultier at her concert in 1990
Vivien Leigh as the iconic Scarlett O’Hara in the movie by the same name