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HISTORY OF CORSETS.

In the gay glad days following the World War it appeared as though the corset were' doomed. Slender maidens and matrons, and some not so slender discarded that age-old garment to lead a freer existence. Stout women, it is true, still clung to it<3 compressing embrace as a matter of necessity, but corset manufacturers were alarmed. Now those days are gone. The corset is back in favour and corset factories are busy as of yore. The modern woman, however, likes to speak of her corset not as a corset, but as. a foundation garment. Just who invented the corset, back in the long ago, nobody knows. Men, of course, attribute the invention to a namelesa woman, who made the first corset out of a. piece of stiff leather; but men would do that. On the other hand, women contend that men were the inventors of the corset, and their reasoning is logical. In ancient times men were much more in authority in the world than they are to-day. They did all of the fighting and all of the talking. Women simply . worked and reared families, and were allowed no time for anything else. Aid to Beauty. When the world first emerged from barbarism the men began thinking more of having their womenfolk appear beautiful. The women undoubtedly fell in whole-heartedly with the idea, so we have evidence to-day that the costume of an ancient Grecian lady never was complete without a girdle of linen stiffened with reeds or fiat pieces of wood. That type of corset speedily was adopted wherever the name and fame of Greece made any impression. It is said that the Hindu women of ancient times underwent a rigid system of fasting and training to attain the long, slender waist, a practice in vogue to this very day, and in ancient Ceylon it is said that perfection never was attained until the waist could be encircled by the fingers of the two hands. Jewish women of Biblical times wore stays. The antecedent of the modern corset is believed to have appeared in Europe during medieval times. It was Catherine de Medici, the wife of Henri 11., of France, who, in the sixteenth century, brought the corset to its highest perfection as a device of torture, rivalling even the etraitjacket and' the rack. Catherine was a stylish queen, and she wanted all of her ladies-in-waiting and the aristocratic women of France also to be stylish. Therefore she invented a kind of corset, called a "sorps," which was absolutely inflexible. Into this corset the body was squeezed, and over the corset was placed a corset cover made of thin plates of steel which opened on hinges and which could be drawn up tight with laces. In the early part of the eighteenth century there came into fashion corsets made of leather, which were stiffened with whalebone.

Three-piece Corset. In 1820 a practical corset for tight lacing was invented. It was made in three pieces, and it laced at the eidea as well as the back. Later a Frenchman, Robert Verley, went into the business of manufacturing ! corsets ' wholesale. The success of j his looms at Bar-le Due prompted ! imitators to go into the corset making business. Corsets made by the Verley factory in France, were of the woven type, but these gradually were supplanted by corsets of the stitched type, in which the stiffness was effected by ! thin (rtoel stays sewed between the inner i aad! outer fabric of the garment. _ This I type was in vogue to the beginning of i the World War and was the inspiration I of many a humorous writer and caricaturist, who pictured in word and sketch the plight of the poor henpecked husband who always was called upon at the last minute to draw tight the laces of his good wife's corset. The situation was anything but laugh-provoking for the poor husband. The corset of to-day does not depend upon tight lacing and cruel constriction to produce a stylish figure. In fact, the very young misses nowadays do not think of corsets until the time comes to put on their party dresses, and the slender and the stout women obtain very graceful effects through the use of the modern foundation garment. Comfort and freedom of movement are the first consideration in the purchase of j the present-day foundation garment.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19330208.2.125.8

Bibliographic details

HISTORY OF CORSETS., Auckland Star, Volume LXIV, Issue 32, 8 February 1933

Word Count
730

HISTORY OF CORSETS. Auckland Star, Volume LXIV, Issue 32, 8 February 1933

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