I laughed when I wrote the title for this post. Just the thought of pondering anything in an 19th century corset sounds stifling! Haha! But, anyhow, that is what we will be talking about today. Corsets! I got the idea to research this after reading Siri Mitchell's book, She Walks in Beauty and everything Clara had to endure to get the "perfect" waist size.
So to begin with, for any non-historical readers out there, a corset is a garment worn to shape the woman's waist into a desired shape. The first thought that might pop into your head (at least it popped into mine when I first heard of it) was "Cool! Something to make my figure look perfect!". But as I learned more about the corset, I found it more of an instrament of torture than to give a woman a nice figure. Just hearing the size of some of the woman's waists back then--18 inches--makes me cringe! (and Clara was forced to shrink her waist to a 16 inch! :-o)
Where did corset's come from? Well, the created of bringing them into style goes to Cathrine de' Medici, wife of King Henry II of France. During the 1550's she enforced a ban on thick waists at court attendance. I guess she had a problem and, since she was Queen, went to great lengths to see a bunch of thin-waisted women! (Talk about extreme! Wowza.)
Over the years the corset has undergone many changes. Its interesting watching the clothing fashion for women change as the years roll by until, in the 1900s, the corsets slowly faded from history. While I in no way would want to force my waist to 16 inches, the corset seems like such a neat part of the 1800s--at least to me, it did. I love watching the special features to movie set years ago and listen to the actors complain about not being able to breath in the corsets! Haha! Make's me want to wear one just to experience it. :-)
Well, that's all I have to say on corsets. If you have anything else to add about it, though, feel free to jump in with your knowledge in the comments section. I love learning more about our history!! :-D