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A Brief History of the Corset

4A Brief History of the Corset

Our latest designer is the exquisite corsetiere Velda  Lauder  and has sparked a  fascination of these gorgeous garments here at Honeys Lingerie Boutique. We were intrigued to find out more about the corsets origins and how the corset has evolved and influenced our undergarments from as far back as the the 16th century.
The modern day corset is a must-have wardrobe piece for any fashionista and the options are endless, with under bust corsets, over bust corsets, bridal corsets and waspie corsets worn as sexy lingerie outerwear or eveningwear. This versatile garment not only looks beautiful and elegant but also reduces your waistline by up to 4inches extenuating the bust with the end result giving a fantastic silhouette.

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Dictated by the fashions the corset has most often used for cinching the waist and supporting the breasts to achieve the most fashionable silhouette of the time.
Traditionally the corsets of the 16th century were commonly known as bodices or stays and were worn by most European women at the time. As the fashions changed so did the style of the corset. The English corsets  “robe anglaise” were ridged corsets underneath the dress to compress the waist.
1790’s  This was the time of the French Revolution and the fashion at the time dictated a change in the corset. The Empire silhouette was popular, dresses became lose fitting and high waisted and the corset was reduced to a minimal form primarily to support the bust.
With a return of full skirts starting in the 1820’s the waist became once again the central focus of the female dress and the corset was dominant where it stayed for the rest of the 19th century. Designed to emphasize the waist it was pulled in as required. It was around this time, the term corset was first used for this garment in English.
2 Blog1900’s early this century the straight-front corset was introduced also known as the swan bill corset or the health corset as it was popularised by Inez Gaches- Sarraute a corsetiere with a degree in medicine and was intended to be less comfortable by the incursion of a busk in the centre of the corset. Unfortunately any benefits to the stomach were more than counterbalanced by the unnatural posture that it forced upon its wearer.

The straight fronted corset was introduced to create the illusion of a slimmer waist by forcing the hips back and bust forward. This was thought to alleviate some of the pressure on the abdomen.
1908 corsets began to fall from favour as the silhouette changed to a higher waistline and more naturalistic form and the girdle soon took the place of the corset which was more concerned with reducing the hips rather than the waist and early forms of brassieres started to be introduced.

By the first World War  the lack of steel for civilian use meant the end of the corset at that time which had been using steel bones in its construction since the 1860s. Women took to wearing the new brassieres and girdles which also used less steel in their construction.
After falling from popularity in the 1910s a return to waist nipping corsets in 1939 caused a stir in fashion circles but World War II ended their return. Merry Widows became the popular corset on their return in the late 1940’s.
By the 1980’s fetish fashions became popular reviving the corset as an outer garment rather than undergarments.
Now  as we approach 2010 the corset has never been so popular from under bust to demi cup, over bust to waspie the corset choices we have are extensive with high end designers still using the traditional methods of corsetry. We celebrate  the fabulous corset along with burlesque dancers, lovers, wives, mothers and  grandmothers they are most certainly here to stay!!!

Velda Lauder Corsets at Honeys Lingerie Boutique