Author Topic: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!  (Read 29230 times)

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Offline RomanovFan

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The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« on: November 26, 2005, 04:03:54 AM »
Who invented them? Why were they considered so "fashionable" at the time? When did they go out of style?
~LESLIE~

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Offline anna

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2005, 07:57:59 PM »
Interesting. I also wanted to know more about this so did a bit of browsing.

I don't think anybody in particular invented the corset.
Archeological excavations gives us examples of  frescos, mosaics and sculptures that proofs even 4000 years ago efforts were made to produce a small waist.
In other periods of history, it was customary for men to wear a corset and for children to be strictly corseted to make them grow up straight and tall.

The corset is probably the most controversial piece of garment in fashion history, it is seen as an instrument of torture, causing illness, death and miscarriages, an oppressor of women.

The first real corsets dates back from the first part of the 16th century, aristocratic women in Spain and Italy wore rib bodices. The aristocratic body was proud, stately, a theatrical work of art unlike the commons.

In the second part of the 18th century also the lower class began to wear corsets, especially in Paris. During the French revolution the corset became a point of discussion -liberté egalité fraternité-. However between 1814-1815 the loose empire style was out, fashion changed and the corset made her comeback. Women of all social classes got more access to the corset because of industrial revolution and democracy of fashion.Being beautiful was a duty - and a right-. In 1861 only in Paris more than 1,2 million of corsets were sold.

Again the corset became a subject of discussion by  feminist and doctors. In the 20th century the corset became an orthopedic thing for the more matured women. It became more fashionable to say you didn't needed one, although the corset never went away it had its ups and downs in fashion.

I found an interesting article by Valerie Steel who wrote a book "The Corset a Cultural History", she looks at it from a different angle less anti- women.
The corset did not only attack the body, but gave women social status, selfdiscipline, artistically, respectability, beauty, youth and eroticism. Because in the 19th century the corset became an erotic attribute, she wanted to point out stories like squeezing in the waist so thight a woman nearly fainted were just fairy tales. Those stories came into the world by historians who took 19th century fetish pornography as a serious historic source in fashion history. She also questions if they were really a threat for womens health. Stories of deformed ribs, depressions and having ugly children and medical facts as removal of ribs are dismissed as a myth.

Wearing a corset wasn't maybe that bad , uncomfortable yes, tho I'm grateful they invented Lycra ;)

Anna
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Offline Shvibzik

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2005, 08:11:09 PM »
EDIT: Didn't see Anna's post!  I must've been typing this up while she posted it.  Sorry! :-X


Corsets have been worn since 2000 B.C. and the Cretan women (actually, it's pretty vague when it was actually "invented") into the twentieth century, making it an essential piece of clothing for fashionable dressing.

The whole reasons corsets were always so fashionable because they flattered the figure.  There's not much more than that.  Women have always wanted to look (or be) skiny! :P  It's a problem today, even.

But they finally started to go out of fashion after some controversy about the (un)healthiness of it.  The debate reappeared often throughout the remainder of the century, but particularly flared in the late 1860s and early 1870s, aroused by the "unusually constrictive prevailing fashions as well as simmering social tension over women's rights."  Doctors were particularly against it because when laced very tightly, it squashed the ribs and inner organs.  

http://web.nwe.ufl.edu/~kchancey/supertight.jpg
Actress Polaire, tightlace enthusiast, 1890

http://web.nwe.ufl.edu/~kchancey/Doctored.jpg
Two copies of the same 1890s fashion postcard of actress Ada Blanche.

Hope this helps some, and I know it's a little vague, but if you really want to know more, you can search it on the Internet. :)

Pictures belong to http://web.nwe.ufl.edu/~kchancey/corsetmain.html
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Shvibzik »

Offline RomanovFan

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2005, 09:10:35 PM »
Wow....thanks guys! :) Going back to our TITANIC subject (not to mess up with our other thread) I feel bad for women back then! :(
~LESLIE~

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David_Pritchard

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2005, 08:56:34 AM »
It would not surprise me at all to learn that during the first part of the 19th century that corsets were worn by Russian men because of their extremly tight fittting fashions. Could Emperors Aleksander I and Nikolai I really have had such wonderful figures into middle age without some sort un-natural assistance?

David

Offline anna

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2005, 10:45:01 AM »
You won't have to be surprised, men did wear corsets. I think Alexander I and Nicholas I did so too. As you can see on paintings from that period they must have worn a corset, by reducing the waist, and thereby exaggerating the bust.

Yes, there was a period from around 1820 to 1835 when a hourglass figure (a small, nipped-in look to the waist) was also desirable for men; this was sometimes achieved by wearing a corset.

Military men and "dandies" too, were known in the eighteenth century, and even into this century, to wear corsets to achieve proper military straight-up-and-down shape and fit of the uniform, or to cut a fine figure. The weight belts that men wear in modern gyms are direct successors to military corsets for men, and a near relative to the waist-training leather belt.  

Anna
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Offline anna

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2005, 11:13:41 AM »
Wasn't it the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich who also had the habit of wearing a corset?
Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions.
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Offline RomanovFan

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2005, 01:34:36 PM »
Men wore corsets too?!  :o I didn't know that! I doubt Nicholas II did...or were they still "IN" for the men of society?
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Offline anna

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2005, 02:18:21 PM »
Don't be shocked ;D Even today there are men who wear a corset and not only for their back problems.

Have a look on paintings of society and militairy men, you will clearly see they had a very small waist and sort of high bust therefore had a very straight-up look.

No, Nicholas II never wor a corset, you only have to look at his photo's his clothes are very loose.

Anna

Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Offline Douglas

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2005, 10:18:14 PM »
Sometimes when I wear my Tsar uniform I wear a little corset  but please do not tell anyone.  I would be so embarrassed.

Tsar Doug.......slim and trim ;D

Offline Arleen

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2005, 02:54:35 PM »
Several people wrote about Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich and his corsets.  Felix Youssoupov comes to mind, saying in his book that he use to go up behind him when he was a boy and feel the stays of his corset and it would make him very angry.

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Offline Martyn

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2005, 08:57:51 AM »
Felix used this, I suspect, to illustrate a perceived failing on Serge's part, as if perhaps he was less than masculine for wearing such a garment.  A bit ironic perhaps?

The wearing of corsets with uniforms was not uncommon in the nineteenth century and should not necessarily be an implication of anything other than a desire to achieve the sharpest look when in uniform.

Tight-lacing is known to have caused health problems in women but the average corset-wearer in the nineteenth century would have eschewed this practice and been comfortable, if the garment was well-made and fitted.  The idea of the corset is to provide a firm foundation upon which the top garments may lie smoothly and elegantly; there was also an element of decency involved, as the wearing of the corset was synonymous with being decently dressed.

Certainly, respectable women regarded the wearing of a corset as essential and the tea gown was the only acceptable form of dress which might be worn without a corset, and that only in the privacy of the boudoir.  Naturally advanced pregnancy would result in the leaving off of the corset, but would also result in a social state bordering on purdah for middle-class, aristocratic and royal ladies.

We marvel nowadays at the wearing of such garments; who is to say that  future generations will not find our current fashions and modes equally impractical and strange?
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Offline Ssyentz

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2005, 12:49:47 PM »
Okay,  time for "modern" history!

Having been brought up in the 50s and 60s, I can tell you that many of us were used to wearing long-line bras and girdles on a daily basis!  Those were the days of suits, heels, and hats to college football games!  (It couldn't possibly have been as hot in Gainesville, Florida, then as it is now...we all would have dissolved in perspiration puddles!)  

The idea was not necessarily to appear to be thin; it was to allow clothing to lie on the body with as few interruptions as possible.  For those who still purchase and wear, when the occasion calls for such detail, such undergarments, the intent is the same.

For a really good illustration of that intent being a more distantly historical one, look at Mary Adelaide.  She was not in any position (read:  condition!) to make attempts at thinness yet she employed undergarments that smoothed out the bumps.  There really was no variety of styles available for her to employ, so she went for developing her own unique version of statuesque elegance.

Those of us who have similarly removed the word "thin" from our range of personal thought employ all available options to present as attractive an impression as possible.  And, I must add, it would be a wonderful thing if young gals who are not blessed with the assets of excellent physical attributes would begin to take the same attitude.  Many of today's fashions simply do not enhance every body type.  Wearing that which is becoming seems to have become lost in the quest for displaying ownership of the "right" labels.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Ssyentz »

Offline imperial angel

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2006, 11:38:47 AM »
Corsets could go overboard-just like at those two photos! And no doubt at some level they were not all that good for women's health. Certainly, they were uncomfortabe if laced too tight, and to our modern mentality would be uncomfortable all the way, because we are not used to that. Men did wear corsets in the early 19th century, because of the way fashions were, and also later in the century. It wasn't really until the '20s that corsets were somewhat eliminated, or at least tightly squezzed waists, circa 1880s/early 1890s. By the edwardian era, corsets were certainly still around, but were not as tight, because fashions did not call for it. The main idea was to be thin, but there will always be things people think are beautiful, that are rather barbarous customs, not beauty. ( some varities of plastic surgery come to mind).  Anyway, I have long marveled at the tightly squeezed waaists of some royal women  from the1880s, until after the edwardian era. Beautiful, yes, but rather uncomfortable.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by romanov_fan »

Offline Mie

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Re: The cause of fainting spells--CORSETS!
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2006, 09:59:21 AM »
It is kind of *strange* to think that in Japan and China the cultur were different! Their fachion was Geishas -who did not use corsettes. To them it was erotic to that women had small foot(and to having small foot they did violence)! Actually they did not like women wore corsettes... strange.. The culture was so different but there is similaries: the women had always been an odject to men and had to bee beautiful and for that they had to feel pain! Strange... :-/ how it chanced? I know that very long long time B.C wimen status was different: there has been femail soldies there has been islands and cultures where women were appraised and as like royals. Like men before ... :-/