History of Fashion – Corsets

It is possibly a bit unfair to lump all corsets into the same category, since there were so many varieties over time.
The short stays worn by Jane Austen and her friends, for example, were designed to give support, much like modern bras today, and were not tightly laced. The big offenders when it came to corsets were the Victorians, who took their hour glass figures to crazy extremes.What makes it really insane is that the doctors of the day suspected that corsets could cause dyspepsia, cardiac palpitations, mammary abscesses, displaced livers, prolapsed uteri… and a hundred other serious medical conditions. Despite this, women continued to wear them, with the smallest recorded waist being 13 inches in diameter. As a result of their pursuit of beauty, Victorian ladies suffered from difficulty breathing, fainting episodes and even broken ribs in some cases.

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