Tales of a Corset

Scarlett Osborne

Tight-Fitting Devils or Misunderstood?

Throughout the centuries, corsets have gained an infamous reputation around the world. We have all seen the stories of how restricting they were, how often the Ladies would pass out, and how they would suffer.

As today, corsets have stayed as a symbol of patriarchy and an example of the struggles they had to go through for men. But is that really what they were?

One thing we all should keep in mind is that the most famous movies and books that depict corsets that way, have actually been written way after they had gone out of fashion. In fact, I could not find any mention of corsets being shown in a negative light during the “corset-era”.

Did you know that maids wore corsets too?

Poor or rich, it didn’t matter. Everyone wore a corset. Maids were not pressured to look beautiful or pretty in front of anyone, so why would they wear a corset if it truly was a sign of patriarchy?

That’s because it wasn’t 😀

Corsets were much like the bras we have today. They were there to keep the “girls” in place and allow the body to rest. Women of size A or B had no problem with this, but imagine women with size G and D. It was their savior.

If you have seen pictures from the Victorian age of maids lacing, you might not have noticed that they were also laced. This is more proof that wearing corsets doesn’t restrict movement as many stories say.

Men Wore Corsets Too

Perhaps the most surprising thing I found out during my research was that corsets were not uncommon amongst men. I always had the impression corsets were a sign of femininity, but it seems that they were a way bigger part of society than originally thought. 

Men, of course, didn’t wear corsets for the same reasons as women. It was still used for back support and comfort, but some had an insecurity they wanted to hide well; What we today refer to as “beer bellies”.

Although it didn’t do that good of a job, it still shows that almost everyone wore corsets during that time.

Right Size, Right Prize

If you don’t wear the right size and you tighten your corset to the max, you will definitely feel more than just discomfort. The feeling is suffocating, and you will lose your breath. 

You won’t die from it, but I would not advise you to wear it like that in the heat or during a workout session (if that’s even possible :D); as there is a high chance you will pass out. 

Your organs won’t move, your body won’t deform and your breathing will be normal if you wear the right size. Even everyday, 24/7 use won’t cause that.

Opera singers wear corsets all the time and they move and breathe just fine, without any problems. But that is because they have done their research and are aware how they’re worn. 

Remember, always do your research beforehand and you will be safe!

Happy corseting!

-Written by Scarlett Osborne

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