Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you have probably seen corsets coming back and becoming trendy again. Let us take a look back at their history and understand how they made their comeback.
Originally Known as Stays/Bodices
Originally known as “Stays/Bodices” during the 16th and 17th Centuries, they are said to have been first worn by aristocratic French Women in the late 1400s or early 1500s; Stays were boned garments which were made from wood, whalebone and horns for breast and back support. Available in both front-lacing and back-lacing, Bodices were undergarments worn over a chemise.
Comeback of Corsets
The word ‘Corset’ got into mainstream use during the 19th Century, there were even multiple propagandas against it, mostly led by men! From calling women who wore them “chimpanzee brained” to even declaring that Corsets are unsafe due to medical reasons such as fainting, cancer, one’s organs ‘shrinking’ or even calling it the cause of miscarriages – they were determined to bash it.
It was said that every woman used tightlacing to enhance their figures, which although isn’t entirely false, is far away from the complete truth. Corsets never caused one to faint or stopped women from doing chores and even labour work, even when the ladies were pregnant. However, most ladies were cautious not to do tight-lacing which was never healthy for the body.
Boned corsets started to vanish mainly during the roaring 1920s when beauty standards started to change. Corsets were still in fashion in their own niche, sort of how ‘Haute Couture’, which has its long history. By the end of the 1990s, there was a halt on Corsets.
In these past two years, corsets have made a comeback and are now back in mainstream fashion again! Now known as Corset Tops, they are not exactly traditional corsets but are tops made in a similar design to a one, from fabrics ranging from silk and satin to linen.
So, how did they make a comeback and who is responsible for it?
Perhaps, it could be attributed to people’s recent fascination with period dramas such as one of Miss Jane Austen’s most famous works – Emma or the recent fan favourite show – Bridgerton which is based on a book series by Julia Quinn. The romantic period drama gets credit for spiking people’s interest in the Regency Era and clothing of the time especially during 2020 when everyone was at home because of the pandemic.
Credit for bringing back Corsets also goes to the recent ‘Cottage-core aesthetic’ which has been around for a while but people found themselves relating to it more in a way. YouTubers such as Bernadette Banner, Morgan Donner, Rachel Maksy, Karolina Zebrowska among many others also helped people to get rid of misconceptions around Corsets.
Also Read: Corset Gowns Are in Now and Here’s the Proof
How would one usually style a Corset, you ask?
There are many ways of styling a corset:
One can never go wrong with formal pants! They are classy yet trendy, might even feel like a femme fatale.
Ah, jeans! So comfortable and helpful with its little pockets! They look absolutely stunning with a corset top.
They are just adorably comfortable and it reminds you of Olivia-Newton John’s Grease (1978) look! A bit of retro mixed.
Some pair it with A-lined short-skirts and some use it with a Frill skirt. I prefer a corset belt – imagine a shirt dress with a corset belt or A shirt under a corset belt with a pencil skirt on.
Corsets are now back and very much in the fashion trends of today. A lot of the new ‘thrift stores’ are offering their own corset tops, and it is a welcome sight to see.