History of the Corset

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Blog by Catie-Reagan Palmore

Corsets are used to help women, and sometimes men, create an hourglass figure. The word corset was not used until the 19th century. Previously it was referred to as a stay or a stiff bodice. In the 16th century, a woman’s body was viewed as an article of clothing that needed to be shaped in order to conform to whatever the fashionable silhouette was at the time. Along with corsets were farthingales that were used to create an inverted cone shape to keep skirts looking stiff.

Photography | Alyssa Michelle Photography

Depending on the time period, the neckline of corsets was either very high or low. In the 17th century, many upper-class women completely exposed their breasts as a status symbol and sign of beauty.

Photography | J&D Photography

There’s no doubting that corsets can create tiny waistlines and accentuate your curves, however, the negative effects that corseting has on the body outweigh the pros. Not only do corsets make it difficult to breathe, but the device also squishes your lungs and ribs, forcing your organs to reposition themselves into your lower abdomen, which can create permanent digestive issues.

Photography | Melissa Mullins Photography

Nowadays waist training has been made popular by celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Amber Rose, and the Kardashian sisters. The concept is that if you wear the waist trainer for a certain amount of time each day, your body will magically shape itself into a slimmer figure. Believe me, I know the struggle of trying to achieve a perfect hourglass figure. When someone says all you have to do is wear a waist trainer and you’ll magically be thinner, it’s hard not to jump on board. However, experts suggest that this method doesn’t actually work. It’s impossible to reduce the amount of fat in one certain part of your body. For long-term weight loss, this plan is not ideal because no matter how long you wear the waist trainer, the fat does not magically go away. Wearing the device for too long can even lead to fractured ribs and compressed lungs.

Photography | J&D Photography

This post isn’t to scare you away from ever wearing corsets again. The modern designs are much more comfortable and not severely tight. Designers have gotten creative with intricate detailing and the use of a variety of fabrics.

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