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Use of the Corset

" The principal effect of the corset was to produce an unnatural silhouette that "caused both the bust and the lower part of the body in the rear to protrude." By the closing years of the nineteenth century, the corset was part of a whole range of female costume applications that reflected the tendency of women's clothing to become increasingly elaborate, at the same time that men's clothing was being simplified. Thus whereas men's clothing was adapting itself to increased flexibility and physical activity, women's clothing was having the effect of constricting women's physical flexibility and activity.

The construction of the corset dictated that it would be first and chiefly in use by the upper classes. In order to achieve the proper silhouette effect, the corset had to be laced and tightened from behind, and one must assume from the fact that the wearer could not accomplish the tightening that assistance (presumably from a servant) would be required. Design was another important factor. As Wilcox says, lingerie of people of fashion "was embroidered, lace-trimmed and beribboned. Fine handkerchief linen, and sheer, soft batiste, all white, was employed in chemise, drawer and underpetticoat. The chimise was worn under the corset ad over the corst went a full-skirted pair of underdrawers and a corset over." Corsets were a feature of fashion, perennially the purview of the upper classes. In this regard, Richmond cites the


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Use of the Corset. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:28, October 24, 2014, from
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