420-FINAL PAPER.docx - Corsets Origins of the corset The...

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Corsets Origins of the corset The corset has been common in the western society for the past five hundred years. The corset itself originated as an undergarment and later became an outerwear garment that constricts the torso. It is reinforced with stiffeners such as boning. Throughout the lifespan of the corset, it has been made from many different fabrics and has taken many evolving forms. The corset is a controversial garment and has been ridiculed for many different reasons. The first true corset was invented between 1500 and 1550. Originally is was made out very rigid materials such as whalebone, horn and buckram and often referred to as “whalebone bodies”. This original corset had one stay placed vertically in the center of the torso to keep the garment straight and was the length of the torso stopping just above the pelvic bone. Catherine de Medici (1519-1589) was given credit for introducing the corset to fashion in France. History gurus remember the corset as being popular during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the mark of aristocratic women. ("Reshaping the Body: Clothing & Cultural Practice | Claude Moore Health Sciences Library: Historical Collections Online Exhibit", 2016) How was the the corset used in periods of fashion and its evolution The corset has a very long history and has made small changes throughout its lifetime in order to evolve with the fashion trends of that time. Before the true invention of the first corset stiffened undergarments were introduced in Europe in order to keep the upper body erect. Tight bodices raised the bust line pushing the breasts into one unified bosom. This occurred between 1490 and 1510. The exact year and date is unknown, but between the years of 1500-1550 was
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when the first true corset was invented. It was commonly worn with shoulder straps to hold it up. Between1500 and 1599 aristocratic women are wearing corsets with hoopskirts attached. The corset reached extreme lengths and leg-o-mutton sleeves are used to enhance a smaller waist. The upper body is elongated with a conical shape that tapers to a small waist. In 1595-1620 the conical shape continues to be ideal. Stays on the corset remain long in the front and on the sides exposing the hip. The neckline of the corset lowers which in turn reveals the top of the breasts. In 1620-1640 short corsets become popular and are worn under short-waisted bodices. Between 1660-1680 bodices with off-the-shoulder sleeves return with an elongated form. The corset reflects this silhouette and neckline. During this time highly boned bodices are sometimes worn in place of a traditional corset. Between 1680 and 1700 there is a new angular silhouette that continues to lengthen. This emphasizes a straight vertical line. Between 1700 and 1770 decorative stomachers are worn on the outside of the stays as part of the gown ensemble. The corset changes by separating at the base into tabs that splay over the hips and continue to accentuate a tiny waist. Between 1770 and 1789 a tightly laced wasp waist prevails. This look is more prevalent in England than in France, in fact corsets begin to fall out of fashion in France. In
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  • Spring '13
  • PattiFischer

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