A corset of mine with the round nylon cord for back lacing. (Shown on a dressform, so it doesn’t fit properly…
Not all of my readers know this, but when I started this blog, one of the things I was really trying to work on was my series of posts with the category “Dawn’s Corset Class” – a series of posts where I intended to teach a little bit about corsetry to those who were interested, leading into a chance to work-along in making your own corset….
Well, time got away from me, and other projects took precedence, but corsetry is still a big love of mine, even if it’s been a while since I made myself a new corset (for a costume, of course!). (I also don’t wear them as much as I used to, though I did a few nights ago at a memorial gathering.) When I see corsetry in the news, it sparks my interest in reading the article, even when they’re often salacious rather than very news-worthy….
Here’s a good one though, in the Metro Calgary online paper from November 17, 2014. “Waist training: 19th-century corset on a comeback” – Izabela Szydlo
The article talks about modern waist trainers as a “modernized version of the corset” with latex and hooks in the back. My guess; they’re really talking about a boned supportive garment, and not a corset at all – certainly not the kind that corseting aficionados would call a waist trainer. (First rule of thumb with corsetry – no stretch!)
I have a lot of (admittedly biased against) opinions about waist-training, and the article addresses some of them – the health concerns, the concept of ‘instant gratification’ and the unrealistic expectations wearers may have. The article also states that there is no current medical research supporting waist training for weight-loss, but interviews an Ontario resident who uses the garment this way nonetheless and is happy with it.
So what do you think?
After reading the article, what do you think about waist-training using corsets? Do you think that the modern stretchy versions should be considered corsets; are they mis-labled or do you think it’s an evolution of the style?
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I think that garment styles evolved… the conical stays from the 1600s are similar but different from the Rococo stays of a later period, but people from the Elizabethan era might have looked at Victorian-era corsets as a completely different garment all together. Likewise, the Victorians might have wondered “what’s the point?” if seeing a corset from the Regency era; it’s only after all those years that we’ve looked back and lumped all of those different shapes and designs and goals into one rather tight puddle called “corset”. (Want more information on corset styles? Read “Don’t pop a busk: selecting a corset style“) I generally see corsets as something that serve a couple of goals – changing a body shape or supporting it, incorporating lacing and boning for shape and structure, and not being stretchy. They should be self-supporting and not require straps to remain “up” (though they can certainly have them for a decorative effect or another function), and they’re underwear (even if worn as outerwear…). I don’t see anything that is “3 sizes available” as a real corset, nor do I see anything with stretch to it as a corset – but that’s entirely based on the history of the garment we now call ‘corset’.
I might wear one. For fashion though, not for waist-training!