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Italian suit, Met, 1740-60
And now for an update on my personal sewing fiascos: I’m starting to bind the tabs on my eighteenth century stays (which is all I have left to do on them). I’ve only just begun and I already feel like swearing but, of course, that’s not very ladylike! But if something slips out, it’s understandable, I’m sure.. after all, just look at that hairpin turn!
em-aytch asked: This is based on what I've read about men's fashion, but it seems like a lot of 20th century fashion is based on the growing popularity of wearing sporting clothes everywhere. That's why there's a stigma about them being uncomfortable; they weren't made for lots of activity. I actually find wearing a suit to be more comfortable most days, if I'm just going to be sitting around anyway. There's also, as you've said before, the fact that we went from a custom made clothes culture to off the rack.
Another perspective that applies, yet for a different type of garment! The input is much appreciated :)
dannigeek asked: THANK YOU for clearing up the whole maternity corset pic becuz I'll admit I did think "what the hell" at first but now I understand. Consider me educated! (:
I’m incredibly pleased to hear that! :)
alyharania asked: I agree with the corset stuff you've been posting. The problem doesn't initially lie in corsets, but in badly made corsets that don't fit the women wearing them. I had a horribly painful corset last year in a production I was in, as it was both badly made and didn't fit me. It also ended up breaking and literally stabbing me with a stay. It was a horribly constructed garment. Corsets, like bras, have to be made well and fit to be comfortable. It's also something to get used to, like underwire
Thank you for sharing your experiences! Very true.
veritinme asked: Re: the ppl wearing corsets: after I started wearing mine for work (I'm a reenactor for a living museum), my doctor noticed a lot of improvement in my back pains stemming from arthritis, so I'm medically directed to wear one sometimes! It's the funniest prescription ever, but it gives me an excuse to troll for new corsets to make on a regular basis. Anywho, just my $0.02
What a funny story! Thanks for sharing!
ficsandteamakeahappyme asked: On the subject of corsets do you have any recommendations on where to find an affordable corset today?
Affordable is the key word here. Corsets can be absurdly expensive (upwards of $300), but for good reason - they are made by experienced corsetiers who lovingly handcraft a garment that will fit you like a second skin, which is exactly what you want. A corset needs to fit you perfectly or you will hate it. It won’t be comfortable. And that’s going to cost you. A quality corset should not cost less than $100-150. End of story.
However, you can find some that aren’t too much out of this price range. What Katie Did is a vintage lingerie shop that also sells beautiful corsets in the $215-375 price range. In a better range, Originals by Kay offers period corsets for prices from $55 (a small corset without a busk, although I’m not sure she still offers this) to $128. That being said, many people I’ve known have had problems with Kay’s corsets, such as the binding unraveling, the laces snapping, and incorrect measurements (Kay apparently has a particular problem with making her corsets extra short-waisted on a regular basis). Blockade Runner sells an 1860s corset from $150-190, although I ordered a corset twice from them and both were the wrong size; therefore I would not recommend their work. Etsy also has amazingly talented artisans who make corsets, but they’re usually pretty pricey. Period Corsets has some of the most stunning reproductions I’ve ever seen, though no corset is under $250. The Staymaker sells mostly 18th century stays, but also Victorian corsets; her work is also expensive.
Long story short, corsets are an expensive investment. In terms of a relatively inexpensive (compared to some $500 corsets I’ve seen) and beautifully made (or so it appears) corset, I’d recommend What Katie Did. I do not, however, own any of these corsets, nor have I seen them; I make my own corsets. This Youtube user referenced by fripperiesandfobs would be a better guide on this subject, since she buys and reviews many corsets from different companies, including ones I haven’t mentioned. If you’re still interested, I’d suggest going over there and watching her informative videos!
asedcvghbn asked: Is there any legitimate reason corsets get such a bad rap? Were they ever too tight or did they ever mess up the innards and organs of a person?
They can cause muscle atrophy, like I posted in the previous ask. Even if only reducing your waist a couple of inches, you slightly lose lung capacity. And, as shown in well-known drawings of the uncorseted and corseted body, internal organs and even the lower ribs are moved.
There is, however, a catch. The “dangers” of corset wearing are mainly involved with tight lacing, the unnecessary and constant reduction of the waist through continuous wear, day and night (23 hours a day, typically, with breaks only to bathe and change). This occurs with the brief and extreme “wasp waist” fashions of the late Victorian period, as well as modern tight-lacers.
Other than that, corset wearing is hardly hazardous. As you know, I’ve worn them plenty of times, for long hours, and I’m still healthy enough! I think corsets have such a bad reputation through the continuation of misinformation in “historic” novels, films, and popular culture.
For more details, I love this video playlist about the medical and physical side of corset-wearing, including what happens to the bones and the organs as well as its effects on breathing and other bodily functions.
historyismymuse asked: I'm pretty much giving up bras for corsets. They really help my back out and strengthen your posture. I don't find them uncomfortable at all~~ (not to mention in my delusional world I like to pretend I'm a noble getting ready for my daily duties haha)
You are so cute! I like to believe things like that as well :3 (It happens to the best of history and historical fashion lovers!) Love to get another woman’s opinion on this!
The only modern caution I have is the muscle atrophy that constant corset wearing can cause. Some women in the Victorian era were said to be almost unable to support their own body after wearing corsets day and night throughout their entire lives; this also happens to modern tight-lacers. It can be prevented by not wearing corsets 24/7 (like tight lacers), exercising without the corset on to keep your own muscles strong, and not lacing yourself in more than is necessary on a daily basis!
calicovirus asked: If people think corsets are so uncomfortable, how do they explain the long use of stays/corsets in Western fashion? A garment doesn't get to be a staple without being comfortable and useful. I spent a summer at a living history museum in 1860s farm clothes (corset included - no crinoline or hoop because children get funny ideas about those skirts) and people really underestimate how comfortable those clothes are for running about chasing kids and animals.