Many women start planning their wedding days months or years in advance. The romance and love spill over into a realm of fantasy they’ve never before imagined. This is the one time in their lives they can be big and extravagant. They can make their every fantasy a reality. One of the most effective ways to achieve your Wedding Fantasy is with a Sexy Corset.
The History of Weddings
Modern weddings aren’t all that different from weddings throughout history. In fact, many traditions we incorporate in our ceremonies today are traditions that have been handed down through the generations.
The wedding party, for example, dates back to ancient Roman times when bridesmaids would wear matching dresses toconfuse evil spirits.
White For The Bride
As recently as the 19th century, women simply slipped into their best dresses on their wedding day.
It wasn’t until 1840 that the white wedding trend started. That’s when Queen Victoria slipped on an elaborate ivory silk gown with a Honiton lace flounce to wed Prince Albert. After that, the whole world followed suit. Perhaps we can consider Queen Victoria as one of the original wedding trendsetters.
Women still choose white wedding dresses today and with quite similar designs for their special days. We might not have to worry about evil spirits anymore, but we still have fun with our bridal parties and our big wedding dreams. Many of these dreams incorporate a wedding fantasy with a sexy corset.
Some brides have no limits on their bridal gown fantasy.
Ramping Up the Romance
Above all, when it comes to your wedding day, it’s all about the romance. Few things are as romantic as the classic wedding dress. Wedding dresses often have details such as crystals, lace, appliques, cascading tulle ruffles, cut-outs, and pearl beads to heighten the allure. Nothing is quite as sexy, however, as your natural shape highlighted and enhanced by traditional corsetry.
A wedding corset highlights the waist while maintaining the curves of the breasts and hips. Corsets range from sultry and sexy to delicate and feminine in style, and they can work with just about any fantasy wedding.
Even better, corsets look great on every body type whether you choose a simple cinched bustier or a classic steel-boned lace-up corset.
Wedding corsets also have a long history behind them. They have been worn by brides for centuries and perhaps even longer than the traditional white wedding dress itself. Differing from fashion today, corsets were originally worn as foundation garments. The corset was used to shape the figure, and smooth the lines underneath the tight fitting dress.
Although you and your dress are the stars of the show on your big day, what’s under your dress can be just as important. No, that’s not a reference to the risque!
Foundation garments keep everything exactly where it needs to be by lifting, supporting and flattening so that your gown lays properly. For this reason, some women opt for shapewear. However, corsets do the job more effectively and certainly with an added allure.
Corsetshave the ability to lift the bust, trim the waist, accentuate the hips and create long, lithe lines, making you look like a queen on your wedding day.
Corsets can be worn under the dress, but they can also take the place of a conventional bodice. Bridal corsets like these are designed a little differently from costume corsetry and often have eye-catching features. Many are adorned with pearl or crystal beads, Venetian lace, satin, and other embellishments.
Similarly, they can simplify the dressing process by doing two jobs at once. By eliminating the need for foundation garments they can replace the traditional bodice. The modernized look of today has brides showing their corsets on the outside. Most noteworthy, the corset has proudly taken on a fashion statement in its own right.
Finding the Fantasy
Women today are enjoying the freedom to choose the weddings they’ve always wanted, whether that’s a destination wedding or a themed wedding.
Make your fantasy a reality with the dress of your dreams. Choose from Renaissance and Medieval dresses to princess and fairytale dresses. Certainly, a gorgeous boudoir-style bustier can be the perfect touch for any of these dresses.
Choosing Your Fantasy Look
1. Finding the Right Style
Corsets are available in a wide range of styles and fits, from waspies and waist trainers to bustiers and long-line corsets. The best bodice-ripping bustier for you is the one that fits your body, your style, and your wedding theme perfectly.
2. Choosing the Right Size
Corsetry requires a number of measurements for proper sizing. Because of the exact measurements, a custom corset can have the perfect fit for both comfort and style. Every aspect of your wedding corset can be sized to your exact need. You can have a flawless look and superior comfort on your big day.
3. Designing the Right Look
While you certainly have the option of buying a bustier “off the rack,” customized corsets offer you the best options for getting exactly what you want. You can choose whatever design you want, add exactly the right details for your wedding and have your bodice made to fit with your wedding dress for a dreamy look.
From Fantasy to Fairytale
In conclusion, a custom wedding corset is a perfect addition to any fantasy wedding. This standout silhouette works with Celtic, fairytale, Medieval, steampunk and classically romantic weddings.
Corsets can even work with sleek, modern bridal wear! With corsets, state-of-the-art construction and technology can be combined with romantic styles. Added to that, classic boning, and exquisite detailing, ensure couture-quality corsets perfect for your bridal day.
The cosplay culture is a hot topic. More and more people are discovering the fun of dressing up in cosplay costumes as their favorite characters. Their fantastic creations can be shown off at conventions and festivals.
First they start with ideas that are gleaned from graphic novels, movies, comics, books and TV shows. Moreover, those who are into cosplay craft costumes range from simple to complex. The actor will often spend hundreds of dollars and even more hours creating just the right look.
What’s the attraction?
The History of Cosplay
People have loved dressing up for centuries. Fancy dress and masquerade balls were once the primary outlets for people who wanted to be someone else for the evening.
In fact, the first known occurred at a masquerade ball. That was when Ohio couple Mr. and Mrs. William Fell dressed up as newspaper comic characters. The trend didn’t take off right away, but it did spark an interest.
In the 1970s, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” brought cosplay to theaters around the country. At showings of the film, moviegoers would arrive dressed up as various characters. Their style would range from fishnet stockings and a cosplay costume corset worn by Dr. Frank N. Furter, to Magenta’s flirty French maid costume. After that the film quickly became a cult classic. Likewise, part of its popularity has its standing in personation culture.
More than four decades later, cosplay continues to attract corseted and be-glittered guests to midnight screenings across the country.
Around the same time in history, steampunk fashion started picking up steam. This Victorian/cyberpunk trend was a blending of history, technology and sci-fi. Because of this, one big costuming extravaganza was created.
Still, it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the role-playing trend finally got its name. Japanese producer Nobuyuki Takahashi observed sci-fi convention attendees in their array of costumes and coined the term “cosplay”. To clarify, this combined the words “costume” and “play.”
As it turned out, Japanese anime fans had been dressing up as their favorite characters since the ‘70s, too. Now they had a name for the phenomenon. As a result, it exploded in popularity both in Japan and the U.S. and eventually, around the world.
Today, people from all walks of life get into cosplay. The reasons can be as varied as the people involved. Pretending gives us an opportunity to channel creative interests into intricately detailed costumes, to interact with other members of fandoms, and to express ourselves in new ways.
Even better, it’s a hobby anyone can get into, from your next door neighbor to such well-known celebrities as Tom Hiddleston and Matt Smith.
So what are the Top 10 Reasons to Get Involved in Cosplay?
10. Cosplay is inclusive.
Anyone can dress up as anyone they want. When it comes to subterfuge, the limits are your own imagination. Age, ability, size, sex, and other personal characteristics fade into the background as you transform into your character.
9. Cosplay is freeing.
Acting can be a fantastic way to really let your hair down. It can be especially liberating for people who just don’t feel like they fit in. When you mask your appearance, you can to shed all those worries and use your character to connect with people.
8. Playing a role can boost your confidence.
First of all, step into the shoes of someone else for a few moments or days. After that, forget the worries of your day-to-day life. You can tap into the strength of your character and experiment with new ways of looking at things. Consequently, this can translate into real-life confidence.
7. Cosplay is versatile.
Cosplay ideas range from the classic steampunk costume to fanciful anime costumes, to colorful superhero costumes. Because of this, you can be as simple or as sexy as you want. For instance, try dressing up your look with handcrafted details or adding a costume corset for an alluring boost.
6. Dressing up is creative.
Whether you’re planning, creating or purchasing your costume, you’re getting ample opportunities to be creative. Showcase your imagination as you pull together disparate elements to create a whole new version of your favorite characters.
5. Cosplay builds community.
Although you can certainly roleplay on your own, it’s even more fun to do it as a group. You can go with a partner, a friend or a lot of friends using themed costumes, or you can go to your favorite con convention or party alone. Make new friends for future dress-up adventures.
4. Cosplay can be a way of life.
Socializing, expressing yourself and enjoying the process can all be great benefits of masquerade. Some people, however, take it a step further and make cosplay their livelihood. In addition to their own costumes, they create cosplay costumes for others. This is one hobby that can be quite profitable if you have the passion and talent.
3. Costuming is an art form.
The design, detail, and creativity that go into the average costume make it more art than game. However, unlike costume designers, you’re usually working with a limited budget and without a team of professional when you start creating your costume. That’s pretty impressive!
Many costume clothing designers share their ideas online. You can follow step by step instructions on ways to make an incredible costume on Youtube. https://youtu.be/VZ5hnFF6EdE
Moreover, you can buy a book from Amazon to learn how to make your cosplay costume.
2. Role-playing is an escape.
You can be anything you want to be when you role play: cartoon princesses, sexy siren, frightening sci-fi character, video game persona and more. You can be the hero or villain of your own dreams!
1. Cosplay is fun.
Of all the reasons people cosplay, this might just be the biggest. Cosplay gives you an opportunity to relive your favorite childhood comic characters. You can get involved in your fandom in new and exciting ways, creating colorful works of art that you can wear.
Get Inventive With Cosplay
For some, play acting is a fun weekend hobby. For others, it’s a way of life. Many spend thousands creating just the right costume, but you can just as easily use items you already have. Much like dressing up for Halloween, cosplaying gives you an outlet for playful creativity.
If you’re ready to jump onto the cosplay train, there’s no better time to get started. Planning and making your own costume is just a fraction of the fun.
Don’t limit your role play to conventions, movies or festivals. Try hosting a steampunk costume party or sci-fi theme night with your friends. In short, wear a cosplay Halloween costume to take the holiday to the next level. There are simply no limits when it comes to cosplay costume play.
We are a society that thrives on merchandise. Every day we are confronted with new things to buy. If you have the extravagant taste of a connoisseur you may ask yourself why some corsets are so expensive? In contrast, if there is a comparable item, what makes one cost more?
Some of the items we buy in life are produced to make our life easier, while some of them are just for show. There are things to make you feel good and others to make you look better, younger, and feel happier.
While most of these things may start out as a new idea that someone has come up with, be it a design for a new purse or a tailgate on a new truck, they all have a beginning. From there the item gets refined, improved upon, copied and enhanced. The price may start out as minimal or exorbitant, depending on how much it initially cost to produce it.
But how do we get to the decision making step in the first place?
It Finally Happened
It finally happened, your favorite shoes have taken their last breath. No more coaxing can revive them. The heels are worn and the leather is tired, therefore no amount of sprucing will improve them. You’ve been dreading this time for decision making. Your old shoes are now considered vintage. You had a bond with them like an old pair of slippers. They have carried you through many good times and you will mourn their passing.
The company no longer produces the style or color you have. Now you will have to choose another pair that you are not familiar with. And most importantly, because you may have the new ones for a long time, you are careful about your decision-making process. You do thorough research and weigh your options.
The models you have been looking at are unsimilar. They are a different
style with a different look, a higher heel and peculiar material. Decisions
galore overwhelm you.
The new shoes can make or break an outfit! It becomes overwhelming you begin
to wonder if you should just look for something else entirely. You really just
want a good looking pair of shoes. A pair of shoes that are comfortable and
don’t leave you wondering if it will match this outfit or that one. You want
shoes that you don’t have to think about first thing in the morning with a
In conclusion, while I am hopefully amusing you with my story of the search for a new pair of shoes, I have made you aware of some of the choices we make on a daily basis.
While not all of these choices are of utmost importance, some are. Some of
them are simple choices that won’t alter your lifestyle. Some of them may send
a significant jolt to your bank account.
Cost Relevance to Quality
Let’s take the example of the new shoes. While researching information about shoes online we can see that there are literally thousands to choose from. They range from very simple to the exclusive. Furthermore, the price range is adjusted accordingly.
Some people believe that the cost of an item is relevant to the quality. Whereas this may not always be the case, the final decision is based on their opinion.
Why Quality is Expensive
Some people just want to pay more. Some want the unique and rare that is
seldom seen. They also may want to have something that others cannot afford. Or
perhaps something that no one else has. Because of this, there is always the
market for the expensive.
The exclusive comes at a high price, however. Be it perfume, shoes, a fine wine, jewelry, or cars, everything has a value attached to it. The value of the exclusive is usually based more on desire than need, because it makes you feel good about yourself.
The Reason for the Decision
How do we come to the final decision? First, you must decide the reason for
wanting the item in the first place.
Sometimes you want to spend the extra money to have something entirely exclusive,
and other times you want to just fill out your wardrobe.
Some days you dress to impress, and other times you stay in and wear
What About Corsets
Now let’s relate this to corsets as this is my specialty. Corsets are an exclusive and unique fashion item. Because they are a fashion item that is not worn every day. They can, however, be an awe-inspiring fashion statement. Perhaps you want an addition to your wardrobe that will make others stand up and notice. Corsets can show off curves that you didn’t think you had, with an instant waist reduction.
A striking corset can instantly stop conversations and have everyone
reaching for their cell phones. Speechless, stunning, and impressive, are the
words on the lips of the onlookers. Cameras are recording and the envy is
Let’s Make a Comparison
In short, I have been asked why corsets are so expensive. “Why should I pay upwards of a thousand dollars for something that I can get for two-hundred dollars somewhere else?” you ask.
Well first you must do your homework. Most importantly, are the two items that are so far apart in price really comparable in quality?
Do you get the same customer service, amenities, and quality when you
purchase Honda as you do a Mercedes? I should say not. That is not to say that
one is completely inferior to the other. They are simply different purchases
for different reasons.
If you are purchasing a pecocky corset to wear to a costume party, then you may not want to fork over a lot of money. However, if you desire a corset that you will wear many times, you will want one that fits correctly and is well made.
First, let’s understand the word ‘custom’. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, custom, is defined as “something made or performed according to personal order”.
A custom corset is a corset made to your measurements and design specifications. This involves a process that will require you to have some involvement. The design can be as outlandish and inspiring as your imagination.
Many hours are required to produce a custom corset before the final model is finished. But as with any custom item, the cost is equal to the amount of customization you desire.
In this article we are going to outline the basic process of making a custom corset. Hopefully then you will understand why corsets are so expensive.
Steps of a Custom Corset
To begin a custom corset there are four basic steps:
1 . You provide your measurements to the corset maker using the outline and charts they provide. This is usually a simple and straightforward process but takes a little time, and requires the assistance of a friend.
2. Together with the designer, you will come to a conclusion about what design you would like. The type of fit you want to have is usually based on the reason for your purchase. Is it for a special occasion, for whittling down your waistline, or just to have a one-of-a-kind outfit? The helps to determine a cost estimate for you. This process can be done by email or by phone.
3. A mockup is constructed for your fitting once the measurements have been determined. This is not as complicated as it sounds. The mockup can then can be mailed out, with photos sent back to the designer. Or you may be able to have an in-person fitting. Some corsetieres charge for this while some do not.
4. The actual construction of the corset begins when the correct fit has been achieved. Most corset makers pay particular attention to the branding of their company name and incorporate labeling into the construction of their corsets. This is their reputation at stake after all.
Now that you have started the process of the corset with the measurements and fit required, the construction process begins.
First of all, a corset is unlike most garments as the fully lined corset is like putting together a down jacket but with a precise fit. Each garment has two layers identical to each other that are sewn together back to back. That is where the similarities between the corset and the down jacket ends however. With the down jacket, each section is then stuffed with the soft down material and the finishing touches are completed. With a corset however, there are many steps to be completed before the final project is done.
Because a corset is a garment that requires a considerable amount of time to
construct a good corset maker takes his or her time. To rush the process could
mean skipping a necessary step completely. To do so could mean wasting the
entire project to start over again.
The fabric needs to be prepared by finishing the edges or pressing the
material in advance. All materials are usually gathered in advance to make sure
the proper items are on hand.
The items used in the construction of a corset are not common items that can be found in a local sewing store. The correct size of busk needs to be purchased, as well as specific grommets and often special lacing. These specialty items can only be purchased through a place that supplies corset items. Stiffener and interfacing are specific items that make a well made corset stand out from the others.
There is a variety of terminology used when referring to a corset today. Many people mistakenly refer to a corset-top as a corset when the two are worlds apart. For a garment to be correctly known as a corset it must encompass a busk in the front and also have lacing at the back.
The busk consists of the metal pieces in the front that close the finished
corset. It has hooks shaped like loops on one side and small buttons or pins on
It takes time and precise measuring to get the busk installed correctly as
it is sewn inside the center front sections. Once it is installed it cannot be
moved or changed without damaging the garment.
The interfacing and inner layers are added to the corset next. Sometimes
multiple layers of stiffening and structure are added to make a fully bespoke
Depending on the corset being constructed, the interfacing may be attached
or sewn onto the lining or outside layers of fabric at this point as well.
As with everything else in a corset, so many different types of interfacing can be used. Heavy interfacing made with goat hair, which is used in men’s suits, can be found inside the quality made corsets.
Fusible interfacing may be used on outside fabrics that may need extra structure. Another time extensive item is the hand stitching that may be needed to hold the various layers in place correctly.
Before the boning is added many seamstresses add a cloth tape or ribbon at the waistline. This is sewn onto the inside at the waistline for additional support. This is done to keep the corset from pulling apart when the tight lacing is done for waist restriction. Because of this, your corset will last longer.
Sometimes the waistline tape is added later, depending on the preference of
the seamstress or designer.
The boning channels are stitched in next or boning tape is added. Every piece of boning requires its own space to sit correctly because e ach seam needs to be precise to have a beautiful finish. It will be quite obvious the more precise and exacting the seamstress is.
With corsets that have a bra cup design at the bust there may be a special
underwire for the bust section. This requires not only a separate boning
channel for the underwire but often there is additional padding under the bust
section as well.
Once the outside and inside sections are sewn together and the boning
channels are sewn in, the boning needs to be inserted. Each and every
individual piece of boning needs to be cut to the exact size for the corset to
The ends of the boning need to be finished or protected so that they do not
cut the corset fabric during wear. This is done with a variety of methods,
dependent on the type of boning used. Sometimes this is done with special
stitching that is sewn on the outside by hand to hold the boning in place.
Many modern corset makers use a variety of boning types in one individual
corset. This requires different techniques in finishing each piece of boning.
Now that the front busk is in, the interfacing added, sections are sewn
together, and the boning is inserted, it is time to complete the back.
The back will typically have many grommets attached to each side for the
lacing to go through. As with the front, precise measuring must be done to
ensure correct placement of the grommets.
A machine is used to attach the grommets securely in place. If they are not attached correctly, the grommets will come out during wear or the lacing or unlacing of the corset.
After the grommets have been placed, lacing is added to the back for proper closure. Similarly, a variety of lacing types can be used from satin ribbon to nylon cord. Some corsetieres use various ways that they lace the corset together at the back. Moreover, this is done for uniqueness and design.
At this point the top and bottom edges are finished with an edging fabric.
If there is fabric that goes up to or wraps around the neck, this needs to be
added before the finishing edges now.
Now we are close to the final completion.
If there is a modesty panel in back this will be added at this point or
sooner if the designer deems it necessary.
Any additional embellishments are added at this point for the final look.
Any necessary hand stitching may be done for support or design. Hand beadwork is applied as desired. The most noteworthy labels can be sewn on by hand or by sewing machine during the process.
In conclusion, many labor-intensive hours and attention to detail have gone into the corset. It is an exclusive garment that cannot be changed, and the size cannot be altered.
Price of over-bust corset with no embellishment $275
1 yd fashion fabric $15
1.5 yd twill $11
.5 yd binding fabric $4
10 yd Boning $15
Boning tips $2
Busk (regular) $15
8 yd Ribbon laces $10
12 yd Twill tape $5
3 yd fusible webbing $6
1 roll fusible webbing $2
2 spool heavy duty thread $5
Drafting paper $1
Basic materials $96
1 yd cotton duck $7
Basic materials $12
Total materials Costs: Approx $108
Labor for each corset:
pattern draft 5 hours
sourcing materials 5 hours
making mockup 5 hours
altering pattern 2 hours
make corset 40 hours+
email correspondence 5 hours+
Post office 1 hour
hours on each corset 63+ hours
$275 Corset price
-$108 Materials Costs
$167 for labor
Divide $167 by 63 hours of labor = $2.65 hour for skilled labor
Now let’s say you didn’t count the time spent responding to client email, sourcing materials, trips to the post office, etc. That’s about 50 hours spent on each corset., which comes to $3.34 an hour. That’s half the minimum wage in America.
sewing machine attachments
pattern drafting tools
steel bone cutting tools
industrial grommet setter
iron/ ironing board
washing machine/ dryer
Two years of FIDM fashion design major ($60,000)
15 years corset making
18 years sewing
Web site fees
Web hosting fees
Shipping for materials
Custom Corsets Made by Corsetieres
Whereas some of the items that were used in the making of their corsets are a different quality from other corset makers, the basic cost is comparable. Because each corset is somewhat or sometimes completely different, the cost of time and materials vary considerably.
Most corset makers use certain items in each and every corset they make. As a result, they have reliable quality in their products. Outer materials vary considerably, while interfacing, lining materials, boning, and finishing touches are consistent.
Some corsetieres send their designs off to a manufacturer to be produced on
an assembly line. Other custom corset makers do each and every item by hand
Cost of a Well Made Corset
Hopefully, this has given you a peek into the process of a well-made corset. The next time you ask “why corsets are so expensive”, perhaps you will have a better understanding.
As with that pair of shoes that you are hoping to buy, you get what you pay
for. Quality does not come cheap. Much more goes into the production of a well
Finally, it is up to you to decide if you want the item that is better made, more exclusive, yet more costly. Only you can decide if that Yeti cooler is worth the money or the Rolex watch is within your budget.
The Realized Dream
The news reporter Robin Abcarian writes in her article on actor Billy Porter and ‘His fashion statement’, “Just like the fashion runways of the world, the Oscars red carpet is a fashion fantasy land. For the fantasy to work, everyone must buy in”.
Billy Porter is best known for his performance as Lola in the musical production of “Kinky Boots”. In addition, his attention-grabbing works from television to the theater have taken him to the red carpet many times.
For Billy Porter it was a realized dream of wearing a voluminous ball gown on the red carpet at the Oscars. “I’ve always wanted to wear a ball gown” he says, “I just didn’t know when“.
Share the Elation
In the article written by Robin Abcarian he continues, expressing his elation at having the gown custom made for him by designer Christian Siriano. The first time he tried it on he says “I felt alive. I felt free. And open, and radiant. And Beautiful! Which has not always been the case for me. I haven’t always felt so good about myself. It really is astonishing how much of an effect clothes can have on your spirit.” In conclusion, he finished with the emotions he felt on Oscar night by relating, “I felt like I can float on air. I can conquer the world.”
We all have that opportunity. So what’s in your closet?
Cultural taboos in society often frown on revealing the female breasts. Even innocuous activities such as public breastfeeding can garner controversy and public disapproval. Society hasn’t always had such a prudish take on this natural, necessary body part. In fact, delving into history, they were used as a sexy fashion accessory or political statement.
The Cultural Significance of Cupid’s Kettledrums
Breasts have been turning heads just about as long as women have had them. Cultural impact has a strong influence on the way people perceive female breasts. The practical function of breasts is often ignored because of cultural influence.
Breasts signify the onset of sexual maturity, symbolize motherhood and embody the beauty of the female form. In religious art, they play a prominent role. There are numerous paintings of Madonna nursing the Christ child. And more of nude statues of ancient goddesses concealing their genitals but displaying their breasts proudly. Even legends offered a nod towards the incredible natural power of a woman’s breasts. Such as the legend of Pero keeping her own father alive when he was sentenced to starvation.
Thanks for the Mammaries!
Breasts have often been associated with motherhood and religion. But they have also been a flirty fashion statement for centuries. Ancient Egyptian women, for example, wore elaborate jeweled dresses designed specifically to show off their breasts. As time passed, social and cultural norms changed, especially in the Western world.
By the 15th century, fashionistas were increasingly showing off “nature’s fonts”. In fact, some of those most stylish ladies, especially at court, became quite well known for their fashion derring-dos.
While Western women didn’t necessarily have a “let it all hang out” attitude, breasts were definitely on display more.
Early modern Europeans and Americans had a bit of a Madonna-Whore complex when it came to breasts. Mothers and queens could bare their bosoms without fear of social judgment. For them, breasts signified purity and the nurturing relationships between mothers with their babies and queens with their countries. Mistresses and prostitutes were also known to share their “three-penny bits”. These women, however, had somewhat fewer notions of purity and a lot more implications of fun.
Court fashions tended to expose a considerable amount of cleavage, whether a woman was a queen, mistress or courtier. Possibly far more than we’re used to seeing even today. Agnes Sorel, the darling of King Charles VII’s court and the first officially titled mistress, made many bold statements. She made cleavage a hot commodity in the rarified style world of the 15th-century court.
Royal mistresses weren’t just “the other woman” in those days. The mistresses often played important political and personal roles at court and were considered trendsetters. As the maitresse-en-titer, Sorel was no exception. She’d deliberately wear her bodice open with glittering jewels to better frame her shapely breasts. Her daring couture coups set tongues wagging and shocked the more buttoned-up courtiers. It also ignited a trend, however. One that continues today with models on the runway and celebs at awards shows.
Renaissance Era Fashion
By the 16th century, women were wearing low-cut dresses as a rule rather than a flirty exception. An extra dose of titillation was added with specially made cosmetics that would deepen the color of their areolae. This could heighten their sex appeal. Stays, later known as corsets, were used to flatten and support the torso during this time period. Later on they had the added benefit of creating an alluring swell of breasts above the stays.
While French and Venetian courts were more open-minded regarding partial nudity, English courtiers were a little more reticent. The English women tended to soften the risque look for a more dramatic effect. The exposed bosoms were often displayed with a gauzy scarf. Even these modest adjustments were left by the wayside over time.
Busts and Bustiers
A simple “nip slip” or flashing carried with it a certain daring but was still considered socially acceptable. This was particularly seen in the elite and aristocratic classes. The right garments made breast exposure not just possible but highly desirable. Although generally considered an undergarment, corsets were often just as decorative as the dresses worn over them. Many displayed luxe brocade, decorative embroidery, and other beautiful details. Corsets can create curves which not only emphasize the breasts but also nip in the waist and create robust hips.
Earlier corsets tended to be long in front with shoulder straps. This ensured a straight posture and high breasts. The contrast they created, with a flat torso and rounded breasts, made the, prized possessions. The style was equally effective whether women had large or small breasts. Eventually, near the end of the 18th century, corsets began to shrink into something resembling bustiers. This created the alluring shape so many women still crave today.
By the Victorian era, breasts had become a little more outré. Even the slightest hint of decolletage being considered risque in the extreme. Women covered up more with their dresses often reaching their necks. Still, that didn’t mean women were moving away from their natural shape. If anything, they had found new ways to emphasize their curves, using sleek styling, cinched waists, and voluminous bustles.
From Bubbies to Boobs
Women’s bodies have come a long way over the years. Today’s women are just as stylish in sleek yoga pants or workout wear as they are in business suits and formal wear. Shapewear has taken the place of busks and girdles for many women. But corsets will continue to enjoy a certain amount of popularity and sex appeal.
A corset can create curves and offer strong support for good posture. A stunningly sexy corset can be worn on the top of your clothing or undercover. An intimate environment calls for a corset in place of your clothing.
Maybe it’s time to start channeling your inner Agnes Sorel with your own daring, vintage-inspired, breast-emphasizing corset!
Are we emotionally affected by the clothing we wear? Does it reflect the inner workings of our mind, or is that taking things a little too far? Why does it matter what we wear? We know that people have been fashion conscious for thousands of years, so what has led us to the all-out obsession we have with fashion today?
I have always loved fashion myself. My motto is “fashion is my passion”. No matter what I work at in life I always seem to go back to fashion as my first love. It’s the inspiration that gets me excited. It is my way to feel and display my moods and emotions on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis. In my lifetime I have been in awe of the intricacies of clothing, astounded by various styles, and repelled by some trends. Why do people wear what they do? My mind is full of questions! My goal in this 4 part blog is to not only pique your interest but to educate as together we take a journey through time.
Let’s start with the Earliest Known Evidence of actual clothing.
As far back as man can date the presence and existence of our species on this earth we assume that clothing was worn. “There is very little archaeological evidence (however,) to determine the date that clothing (actually) started being worn”.  The findings that are based on theories, calculate it to be between 40,000 to 170,000 years ago. That’s a pretty wide-spread of time.
Proof of clothing
Eyed needles and various tools have been found which lead us to believe that clothing may have been fashioned from animal hides to cover and protect the body. Why do they think these tools were used for clothing instead of shelter? Scientists observed lice! “Scientists observed that clothing lice are, well, extremely well-adapted to clothing. They hypothesized that body lice must have evolved to live in clothing, which meant that they weren’t around before humans started wearing clothes. The findings of the study are significant because they show that clothes appeared some 70,000 years before humans started to migrate north from Africa into cooler climates.”. The timing here would put a man in the era of the Ice Age. Ian Gilligan, a lecturer at the Australian National University, said: “Modern humans probably started wearing clothes on a regular basis to keep warm when they were first exposed to Ice Age conditions.”
Clothing as protection
Okay, so we have determined that people have worn clothing for a very long time. Artifacts were found and the type of clothing or coverings, such as they were, were simple and basic in the beginning. They were initially made from the skins of animals and held together in a primitive fashion. These animal skin coverings served as protection against cold heat and rain.
But let’s delve a little further as things are bound to get interesting.
Beauty in the garments
The scientists dug a little more and extended their search. They determined that about 25,000 years ago, give or take a millennium, the clues and artifacts they found pointed to a weaving technology. Dyed fabrics made from various plant fibers and the wool from sheep has been discovered as well. “The earliest dyed flax fibres have been found in a prehistoric cave in the Georgia and date back to 36,000”. 
This meant that people were concerned with what they wore and how they looked. For that reason, they wanted variety and beauty in their garments. Their coverings may have been draped over the shoulder and secured with a belt at the waist, while they made a statement with their style. We have always been concerned about the clothing we wear.
Advances in Fashion
Then around the mid-1300’s big advances in fashion were made. Fashion began to get interesting. “For instance, clothing started to be made to form fit the human body, with curved seams, laces, and buttons. Contrasting colours and fabrics also became popular in England. From this time, fashion in the West began to change at an alarming rate, largely based on aesthetics, whereas in other cultures fashion typically changed only with great political upheaval, meaning changes came more slowly in most other cultures.” 
Fashion is now coming to the forefront. It’s not just a cover-up anymore. Different parts of the world are beginning to make a statement about who they are. “Look at me. I am different from you”, they say as they present themselves.
So Do the Clothes We Wear Reflect What’s Inside Us?
Kat Rectenwald, an anonymous writer in Germany states her opinion on a writers’ forum named Quora. “No, Your clothes reflect how you want to see yourself and be seen by the world around you. It reflects parts of your self-image, your social identity, your class and often your education, too. But don’t confuse any of this with what may be “inside” of people. Apart from your aesthetics and the above mentioned it doesn’t say a thing about who you are. You can’t draw any conclusion on a person’s intelligence, morals or character from this.” 
Good point Kat! But just because we can’t actually determine a persons’ “intelligence or moral character” from the clothes they wear, does that mean that we won’t form an opinion? Absolutely not. Many studies on fashion and clothing style have shown that it is human nature to form an instantaneous opinion of someone based on the way they dress.
Does Our Clothing Define Us
In an article by Phil Coomes, Picture Editor September 28, 2016, titled ‘Do the clothes we wear define us?’ we are presented with various people in different clothes which “Explores the way in which our clothes shape us, that outer shell we use to accentuate or sometimes hide who we are. The aim is to see how a viewer responds to the uniform and how it shapes their perception of that person – how we prejudge based on a uniform or a certain look and style.” A few of the photos which were shown at the No Walls Gallery as part of the Brighton Photo Fringe Festival are shown here:
We observe a firefighter, nurse, entertainer and an opera singer in uniform and casual dress. All photographs courtesy Strand Collective.
So do you have a different opinion of the people in uniform as opposed to their casual dress? I think it is safe to say we all would draw our own conclusion based on the clothing style.
At the blog site International Branding, the whole world knows your name, we observe the comment; “The uniform, although broadly defined, is not just confined to the military. It signifies what apparel is appropriate, practical, or preferable for different occupations and social groups. For that reason, our clothes define the role we are taking at any particular time. This certainly applies to both business and pleasure. For instance, always dressing for work, would be regarded as eccentric, to say the least. In fact, our clothes say so much about who we are. Even refusing to follow trends gives a signal indicative of a way of thinking, which wants to be free and not conventional.”  We can see a very important consideration here. The mere refusal to follow the current trends can also be a way to define ourselves.
Opinions and Assumptions
In an article in Psychology Today magazine by Ben C. Fletcher D. Phil Posted Apr 20, 2013 entitled: What Your Clothes Might Be Saying About You, he writes; “our clothes say a great deal about who we are and can signal a great deal of socially important things to others, even if the impression is actually unfounded.” “It is important to choose our dress style carefully because people will make all sorts of assumptions and decisions about us without proper evidence. We are unlikely to know what these assessments are too, so it is quite possible that our clothes reveal more than we thought.”
The research found in published studies clearly shows that “What we wear speaks volumes in just a few seconds. Dressing to impress really is worthwhile and could even be the key to success.” 
our clothing and our thinking
So we’ve determined that our knowledge of the clothing and coverings that people have been wearing since the beginning has advanced considerably. We’ve gone from the wrap-and-stick-it animal skins to form-fitting clothing produced en masse by the factories of today.
But the questions remain unanswered. Do the clothes we wear emotionally affect us? Does it reflect the inner workings of our mind and why does it matter what we wear? We have proven that a simple animal skin would cover our bodies just as well as an haute couturedesigner dress. It would be warm and soft although certainly a bit smelly in the rain.
Continuing Our Quest
I ask that you stay with me as I continue the quest of why people wear what they do and how it affects us. In the next blog, we will venture more into the types of clothing worn during different time periods. Finally, we will follow the journey into the varied dress of different cultures from around the world.
When was thecorset introduced and why did people seek out such a restrictive garment? And most noteworthy, why has the existence of the corsetcontinued across the span of time.
Life is an amazing journey. The more you know the more interesting it gets.
Many things were happening during the time of the medieval corset.“Centuries of Roman rule in Western Europe came crashing to an end in 476. The emperor was driven from his throne by barbarian invaders from the north. Soon after, hundreds of tiny kingdoms began to form in once Roman lands. Subsequent invasions by Vikings, Goths, Moors, and infighting between neighboring kingdoms began to change the nature of European life”. From Medieval-Life.net
Clothing Worn During The Medieval Period
The medieval time periodis known as the Middle Ages, and the Dark Ages. This time period lasted from approximately 500 AD to 1500 AD. By all accounts, this was a thousand years of war, famine, rigid class systems and rampant superstition mixed with religion. These were serious times, and accordingly, women of stature wore serious clothes. The fashion attire had many layers which included, a smock, hose, kirtle, petticoats, gown and surcoat, girdle, cape with hood and bonnet.
Mary Queen of Scots lived and died in the 16th century, but her wardrobe style was still medieval. (Did the Renaissance skip Scotland?). Mary was a threat to the throne and a staunch Catholic besides. Mary was beheaded on the order of Queen Elizabeth in 1587. She was reportedly wearing only her undergarments. These were said to have been a velvet petticoat, a pair of sleeves in crimson-brown, and a black satin bodice with black trimmings.
Question: Notice anything missing from these lists? Answer: Underpants! That’s right, medieval women actually went commando.
Considering the sheer number of layers worn at the time, going bare from the waist down beneath the medieval corset and petticoats was a practical idea. There was nothing to get in the way of a quick in and out, with the cuckolded spouse none the wiser. After all, secret trysts by their very nature have to be brief. Just think about how long it would have taken for the eager lover to peel off all those layers!
The Medieval Corset
Medieval women sometimes wore “cotes,”. This was made of two stiffened layers of fabric and worn as an outer garment. Sometime around 1300, women’s styles began to be more revealing; the medieval corset was still in use but changing. Clothing was beginning to fit closer to the body. Fashion changed, necklines were lowered and the desired silhouette now had more curves.
In the desire to show off the waistline, steel, wood, whalebone or cane, were slipped into the seams. This part of the medieval corset was the ‘busk’. A busk is a piece of hardware placed into the center front of the corset that could be made of steel, wood, whalebone.
These busks fulfilled another function, as well: they served as love letters. The wooden or bone busks were often inscribed or carved with messages of heartfelt love. These busks were then given as gifts from the men to their lady loves. The ladies returned the favor by giving the laces from their medieval corset to their lovers. So far, we’ve got no underpants, wood stays inscribed with sexy messages and long laces to work with – hmm. . .
Factoid: a 12th-century illustration shows a demon wearing a medieval corset.
The outerwear medieval corset would end under the breasts, whether the corset was a straight, bust-to-waist design or an outerwear one that had shoulder straps and looked like a tight little vest that laced beneath the bust. Fabric choices for the medieval corset grew so that women of stature could choose ermine, taffeta or brocade and colors such as crimson and purple which denoted aristocratic lineage.
Petticoats in Medieval Times
Petticoats – the more the better – came into popularity sometime in the earlier 1500’s. These petticoats, worn under massive skirts to expand them outward, were often attached to the medieval corset by laces.
Around this time, too, the farthingale became a popular shaper. The farthingale was a hoop skirt made of metal banding. This metal skirt served to expand the outer skirt being worn.
“The French farthingale was introduced in England in the late 1570’s. Modern costumers conjecture that it probably consisted of one or more large hoops with horizontal stiffeners which radiated from around the waist in order to produce a flat platter-like shape when supported underneath by the “bumroll” or “French farthingale”. these rolls were made of: they were stuffed with cotton and rags and stiffened with hoops of whalebone, wire or ropes made of bent reeds. Buckram (stiff canvas) is the most commonly mentioned material. Other references describe the rolls as being starched with a form of stiffener.” (Wikipedia Farthingale, post-2018)
Eventually, this style led right into the increasingly, impossibly tightened waist.
The Dark Ages
“Medieval times often evoke images of knights battling on muddy fields, dank and dreary castles, hunger, plagues-in general, a lot of rather depressing scenes. But these Dark Ages also witnessed the birth of a romantic movement. 13th Century conventions of chivalry directed that men should honor, serve, and do nothing to displease ladies and maidens.
Secret rituals of Romance developed where women-long the loser in a double standard of adultery condoned among men-found champions who would fight in their honor. Courtly love became the subject of some of the most famous medieval poems, and where we get today’s word, “Courtesy.” Through these centuries, Europe was slowly waking from a harsh slumber, and begin to sow the seeds of a Renaissance”.Medieval–Life.net
What are burlesque dance costumes? Is it some kind of Middle Eastern dance costume you ask?
Well let me give you a little insight:
1840 London, England:
Close your eyes for a minute. Imagine yourself in the year 1840 in the city of London. It is late, and the night is dark. You find yourself walking down a small alleyway off a busy street. Finally, you spot a red door, therefore you have arrived at your destination.
You knock and the door is opened.
You are escorted by a host to a dark room inside. There is a small stage against one wall. Scattered around the room are small round tables with 2 or 3 chairs at each. You choose your seat and wait.
Now skip ahead to later on in the evening. The room is full of boisterous people, laughing, smoking and drinking alcohol. Suddenly the lights dim dramatically and conversations stop.
Lively music begins to play from the side of the room. A spotlight comes on and a lady in a brightly colored outfit moves seductively towards the stage.
She slightly drags her foot in time to the music as she begins to sway and then skip onto the stage.
Her outfit has many layers, some heavy and opaque and others transparent and flowing. Her makeup is bold and somewhat gaudy, accentuating her facial movements.
She begins to speak. Her remarks are witty and sexual, her skits entertaining. She pokes fun at Shakespeare and opera and can pull laughter from the biggest sourpuss.
Burlesque dance can be dated back to 17th century London. It began as a way to poke fun at “serious” theater productions. It was promoted to an art form early on and continues in that tradition today.
The working class now had a way to poke fun at the upper class through laughter and lust. Using their social habits and traditions they ‘spoofed’ in a bawdy way. The distinctive look of burlesque costumes and the sly satire of the dancers’ routines are unique.
Famously performed in Paris at the Moulin Rouge theater, the burlesque dance began. There, dancers combined elaborate costumes with detailed stage sets to establish their own unique identities.
Burlesque in the United States:
Burlesque dance evolved and migrated to New York in the late 1900’s. Singers, comics, acrobats and a motley crew of other entertainers shared the stage with the fetching and scantily clad dancers.
In the 1920’s burlesque became known as the modern-day striptease show. Some performances started with an exotic dancer and ended in a boxing match. In New York City the boxing match performance was banned for a time. As a result of the ban, it stopped completely.
Did They Get Naked:
Historically, the style of burlesque costumes and how much a dancer removed depended largely on what she could get away with. Sometimes a little stripping was involved, and sometimes the performer removed all of their clothes.
The obvious fakery was used to suggest nudity. This led to a comic effect. And sometimes the dancer really did remove much of her costume, one piece at a time.
Burlesque dance costumes are ornately designed to titillate and tease. Most of them are based on a corset.
First of all, the dancer may choose a flirty little skirt, opera gloves or mesh stockings. Many dance performances include accessories like top hats and cigarette holders. Furthermore, the dancer can then choose which items to remove in an arousing manner.
Corsetsas the foundation of burlesque costume served a different purpose. They give the burlesque dancer that classic, hourglass shape.
A corset defines the ultimate femininity. They are sexy, glamorous, and cheeky without being tacky or vulgar. They have attracted the eye of the socially elite man from past centuries to modern times.
This opened the door for burlesque dancers to appear on the arms of noblemen, artists, and the aristocrats.
Many talented women have donned their burlesque costumes and taken to the stage. Often actresses got their start in burlesque, including Mae West and Fannie Brice. The 1930’s saw the emergence of such iconic dancers as Gypsy Rose Lee and Josephine Baker.
It often provided a path to respectability for women who were having a rough time of things. For some, it enabled them to earn their way out of harsh circumstances and hobnob with society.
In the resurgence of the early 1900’s, the chorus girls of the Ziegfield Follies skirted the edges of burlesque. They performed in fabulous costumes that showed a lot of legs.
By the late 1920’s we were entering the industrial revolution. The rising popularity of movies had burlesque stage shows shut down and more women arrested for indecencies and revealing their breasts.
It took WWll in the 1940’s to bring back the burlesque shows. The servicemen needed entertainment! It faded a bit again after the 1940’s. The resulting moral arguments against it began to have a suppressing effect.
At the beginning of the 1970’s, the dance began to regain its popularity. Today it is enjoying a full resurgence. Perhaps the most famous performer of the modern style is Dita Von Teese. Ms. Von Teese knows exactly how to work burlesque dance costumes and props with stunning effect. Corsets, stockings, hats, gloves, and her trademark pale skin and raven hair are instantly recognizable.
Play your Part:
Does the style and sass of burlesque appeals to you? Join the revelry!
You do not need to be a professional performer to join in the fun.
At Sultry Lady Corsets, we can make the perfect custom corset for you. Play out your private fantasies of flirting and teasing in the glare of the footlights.
“Do I really want a tight-laced corset with steel boning?” you ask yourself. Okay, so you’ve finally set down that romance novel with the beautiful heroine wearing the tightly laced corset with steel boning that trims her figure to a waspy 18” waist. She is tiny, gorgeous, and she has “the man”! Now you’ve become that damsel, swept away by the handsome rogue. “I need that damn corset,” you say to yourself! “But do I really want a tightly laced corset with steel boning? Does it need to have steel boning?” So you begin your pursuit on the internet to find something that will make your dreams come true.
You pour over all the websites offering corsets of many kinds with a very wide range in price! Some will insist that “a corset with steel boning is the only kind of corset to buy”! What’s all the hype about the steel in a corset anyway? Your curiosity leads you to follow the trail.
You do some research. You discover that corsets have been around for a very long time! There must be something to that “waspy figure” that the heroines have.
There have been many types of boning and support used in corsets over the years. Tightly laced corsets have not always had steel boning. Other forms of corset support were used at first. Reeds, wood, whalebone, and even carved ivory were some of the options. “Why is steel boning better for a tight-laced corset” you ask yourself?
Types of Boning Used:
Let’s delve into this subject and compare the various types of boning and their uses, starting with the most popular or well know types of boning used today. The topic of tightly laced corsets with steel boningis a popular subject today.
1) Flat steel Boning:
Flat steel strips are strips of steel that are painted and cut to a variety of lengths. There is also steel sold in a continuous roll format, sometimes known as “sprung steel”. These can be found in basically two widths, ¼” and ½”; galvanized and fusion coated to prevent rusting. After cutting, the ends must be covered with end caps or dipped in a rubberized coating to prevent the sharps edges from cutting through the fabric and possibly impaling the wearer of the corset.
This type of boning is very strong and rigid and has a fairly flexible bend in two directions. It provides strong support for keeping the body properly confined while retaining the shape of the corset. Since it does not have the ability to curve sideways, this type of boning cannot be used on curved seams. It is perfect for the front and back openings, however, where there are straight seams, thus producing the tight-laced corset with steel boning.
2) Spiral Steel Boning:
Spiral steel boning is a type of steel boning has the appearance of wire that has been coiled in a tight loop repeatedly to form a long steel strip. It is sold in ¼” and ½” widths by the roll or precut strips. It can be cut to the desired lengths with a strong pair of wire snips. End caps are then used to prevent the sharp cut wires from cutting the fabric or poking the body. This type of boning is flexible in four directions. It can bend sideways and can also twist.
The ability of this boning to flex sideways makes it perfect for seams and curves in the corset. The emphasis on spiral steel is the flexibility, and not necessarily the ability to retain the shape of the garment. (‘The World of Corsets; Steel Boning, Why, How Many and What Does It Do’, by Another Lone Gunman)
The design and seams of the corset will limit how much the boning can mold out of shape. Because of this, there will be a “compromise between the corset and your body”. Some corsets are inexpensively made with little emphasis on actual support. Lined or unlined makes a big difference. Steel boning, the weight of the fabric and the strength of the lining all have an impact on the strength and shape of the finished corset.
3) Plastic Boning or “Zip Ties”:
Plastic boning is a type of boning that many seasoned corsetieres are getting to know and love. Zip ties that are used in corset making, however, are not to be confused with the thin, flexible, zip ties that are used to bind your stereo wires together. The only plastic zip ties that are useful can be found online through a company that manufactures heavy duty construction cable ties. Cable ties of this form are produced incorporating stabilizers in the nylon resin, giving them strength to hold up to 175 pounds each strip!
This makes them a fairly thick and definitely resilient, strong form of boning. I have found this type of boning to become more comfortable than steel with body heat, yet it retains its strength and shape without the fear of breakage. The ties can be cut with tin snips and the edges filed down with a 100 grit nail file until smooth. This means no edges to cut fabric or poke into the body.
While I continue to use the steel boning at the front and back openings, I sometimes back it up with an extra layer of the cable ties. I can ride all day on a motorcycle and then dance all night, still in comfort, without losing any support. And best of all my corsets stand the test of time. They are still beautiful and hold their shape after many years of wear. I definitely do not agree with people that say the corset is cheaper when made with “plastic boning”. It can last even longer than its counterpart while providing much more comfort in the process.
4) Rigilene Boning:
Because it is sold in fabric stores and referred to in articles on corset making, I will talk about Rigilene boning. It is made of polyester “threads” which are fused together to form a somewhat stiff, but flexible form of stiffening for a garment. Associated with Rigilene is the Featherlite or polyester boning also sold in fabric stores. Because of the scant thickness, however, it will conform and stay out of shape with applied pressure over time. It can be used for lingerie and costumes. I would not recommend this to be used in a corset of any durability that would otherwise stand the test of time. Even with many layers of fabric,s the rigilene boning will not be sufficient support for a corset.
Other Types Of Shaping Materials:
Exciting products in the design world are the use of Fosshape® and Wonderlflex®. Industries such as “theatre, costumes, millinery, mask or armor making, puppetry, props, cosplay, craft work, model making, set design, and the entertainment industry” use these materials. Fosshape® is “limited by your imagination material”. This inspirational material can be heat shaped and formed with steam. In appearance, Fosshape is a fluffy white filler resembling quilt batting. When steamed it shrinks and becomes dense and conforms to the desired shape. The benefit is that it is durable, lightweight, breathable and you can sew through it! Costume professionals call it the “buckram replacement”. If you have never tried this product I highly recommend it. But be careful as you may become addicted.
The other product sold by this company is known as Wonderflex ®. It is a different form of support or stiffener in that it is sold as a “thermoplastic composite sheet. Made of a unique synthetic polymer that when heated in the range of 150-170 degrees Fahrenheit, Wonderflex® will soften and activate a built-in adhesive for molding and forming”. The Wonderflex® can then be cut with a good pair of sharp scissors or a utility knife and shaped with a heat gun so is easy to use. Wonderflex® cannot be sewn through. But it can be formed to shape, and inserted into those high bust sections that would otherwise be unsupported efficiently. If you have not yet discovered these fascinating products I highly suggest you check out the website: http://www.wonderflexworld.com
So once again you ask yourself, “Do I Really Want A Tight Laced Corset With Steel Boning?” From my own personal experience, I have discovered that a combination of various types of boning in a corset provides the best form of support and structure. I use strong and durable fabrics, often having 3-6 layers in the body of the garment. And, do not underestimate an authentic coutil lining. It is perfect for structure, support and comfort for your corset. At the front and back openings, it is best to use strong steel where strength is required for support. This will prevent your corset from breaking and creating an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction.
If the front steel busk is not thick enough, the thickness can be enhanced with plastic zip tie boning. In the curved seams or where you wish to provide the curve in your corset, the spiral steel boning would be the best choice. For design, or to strengthen weak fabric, I have used multiple rows of cording along with boning on a separate layer of fabric. The options are endless. However personal preference should be left to the discretion of the skilled corsetiere. Not the client that is requesting a tight-laced corset with steel boning due to the internet hype.
A good corsetiere with knowledge and skill can make the corset of your dreams. It is an investment. You want that investment to last for many years to make your dream come true.
For the love of custom corsets, women keep wearing them! First Impressions: A woman walks into a room and every head turns. The glances of the crowd may flicker away in an instant or they may linger and admire.
The way a woman presents herself gives her the power to choose whether to deflect attention or to draw it. When she chooses to walk into a room and say, “Here I am,” her clothing is part of the equation.
The well-dressed woman knows that clothing conveys status. Fabric with a sumptuous hand and design with a fashionable cut, speaks volumes. And above all, a garment with an impeccable fit sends a message: high quality.
High Concept Fashion:
High concept fashionis the product of the foremost couture houses throughout the world. The annual collections are brought out each new fashion season by talented designers with bold ideas.
The goal of an haute couture fashion show is to make the theme of the collection stand out. They strive to capture attention and turn the head with a gasp from the lips. It’s usually more of an appeal to “look at me!” rather than actual functionality. Very few designers expect to sell a look “hot off the model.” The love of custom corsets with dramatic flair has kept it on the runway.
The overall control the tailor/seamstress has over the final outcome of the corset garment is extensive. From the fitting to the refined and detailed finish, it speaks volumes to the client and overall audience. It is the highest degree of bespoke tailoring. Experienced seamstresses and tailors can produce exquisite garments that reflect a designer’s concept. They can beautifully execute any design that a woman conceives independently. The translation of the runway looks into wearable high fashion is the result of bespoke tailoring.
How Corsets Fit In:
Over the centuries the flow of fashion is often charted by the look of the dresses, coats, skirts, and slacks. As these pieces have evolved, however, so too have the undergarments. Working alongside the tailor and seamstress was the corsetier. Corsets have been shaping, slimming and flirting from ancient times to the present day.
The function of a corset has changed through history. It has been used to support an upright posture and to hold a woman’s body in the desired shape. Often it is simply used as a fashion statement. The woman of today is neither compelled nor forbidden to wear a corset. She can choose for herself the purpose for which she will wear it.
Many women like the support a corset gives them in situations where they desire a straight posture. They feel it gives them a more elegant line that suggests high status. Some women want a corset that will nip in their waist and give them the classic hourglass figure. Still, others are not interested in the function of a corset but just enjoy the fun of wearing it.
Why Custom Corsets:
So does a custom fit maintain a certain superiority? A woman who decides to explore the option of wearing a corset will find many ready-made options on the market. Unfortunately, they are made to fit the average woman with industry-standard proportions, which the average female body rarely follows.
She may also find that the seams begin to pull apart and the stiffening begins to stab before she has even begun to lace the corset tightly. This will not do. In no time at all her desire will be to remove the corset as soon as possible.
For a garment as close-fitting as a corset, the only way to get a piece that is both functional and comfortable is to have it custom made by a bespoke seamstress.
Every woman’s body is unique. The bust may be higher or lower than average, her rib cage may be longer or shorter, and her back may be wider or narrower. Only by having a custom-fit corset can all of these individual measurements be taken into account.
A bespoke corset is a gorgeous creation that will last for years. It is an item that will never go out of style. The love of custom corsets is acquired when worn to an important engagement.
From the beginning of time, Corsets and Bustiers in History and today have been a form of outward expression. As with other clothing, it is an outward display of an individual’s personality. By the same token fashion reflects the society of which it is a part.
Fashion has always had a great influence on society. Corsets and Bustiers in History is no exception.
Corsets have long been a symbol of feminine power and beauty, dating as far back as 2000 BC.
Although corsets have gone through many transformations over the centuries, their general appearance has remained constant. Their main purpose and appeal were to shape and flatter the female form in accordance with current fashion trends.
Corsets Throughout the Ages
Perhaps no other garment in history has caused as much controversy. Certainly, none have spawned so many fetishes or stood the test of time as corsets have.
Tight lacing was blamed on health issues. In reality, tight-lacing likely only caused constipation and indigestion.
Traditionally, the corset was actually a part of a dress. The corset as an undergarment has its origins in Italy. Catherine de Medici brought it to France in the 1500’s. Women of the French court not only embraced the corset but considered it an indispensable beauty tool commonly worn by women throughout Europe.
The Skilled Seamstress:
This brought about the highly skilled seamstresses that could fit the human body with a ‘second skin of sorts. They became known as the first corsetieres. From this came the literal translation of the French word ‘corset’ which came from the expression, “pair of bodies”.
From the men there came the “bespoke” tailoring. This comes from the French term, the literal translation being: “men’s clothing made to a high degree of customization”.
Leaders and Their Impact on Dress:
Napoleon hated them. His intense dislike of them influenced the Regency style, or Empire dress, at that time. This started just below the breasts and flowed loosely to the floor, eliminating the need for a corset.
Fashion then shifted from loose, flowing dresses to a more slender silhouette. This was achieved using lacing to create a tighter fitting bodice. The corset as an undergarment was not seen in Europe until the 1500’s.
And the Queens:
It is believed that Catherine de Medici first introduced Italian style corsets to France. However, the ancient civilizations of Rome, Greece, Egypt, Assyria, and Crete depicted women wearing Corsets and Bustiers in History for hundreds of years already before her time.
The proclamation of 1597 by Queen Elizabeth went into minute detail about the type of dress allowed for a person per position and social rank. There was strict control of everyday dress. It was essential that the Queen’s subjects know their place. This included the type of fabric, garment embellishments, the color worn, hosiery and even furs.
Corset Materials Used:
The first corsets of the 16th century did not aim to accentuate the waist but rather had a more cylindrical shape. They flattened everything from waist to bust, forcing the breasts up into an alluring curve which just peeked out at the top.
Corset styles and the materials used to make them would change many times over the next centuries. Wood, whaleboneand eventually steel replaced the iron cages to make them much more comfortable. Lacing moved from the front to the back.
And busks, which provided the stiffening with knife-shaped pieces of whalebone or wood, moved from the back to the front and eventually the sides. This whalebone was the predecessor to today’s boning.
Fabrics changed too, from linen to cotton, wool, leather, silk, and lace. However, this was largely a matter of personal preference and rank.
Virtually all women wore corsets, but not all could afford to commission a tailor to make them. Many corsets made at home used cheaper and more readily available materials. Sackcloth stiffened with readily available reeds was common. Whereas the nobility who could afford the services of a tailor and proper fit had elaborate corsets made of leather, damask, silk, and velvet.
“European aristocrats  were inclined to regard the body as a work of art. Their prominent reason being their display at court and physical self-control. Court society imposed its aesthetic erectness which was also a way of mastering the passions.”
“The Elizabethan wardrobe was quite complex. Sleeves, bodice, underskirt, corset, and ruff (neck collar), all came as separate pieces, held in place by pins. The Queen loved to receive gifts of valuable garments. A pair of sleeves embroidered with pearls were among these gifts.”
“In the Elizabethan era, whalebone (baleen) was frequently used in corsets so bodices could maintain their stiff appearance. A front stiffener, called a busk, was typically made of wood, horn, ivory, metal, or whalebone. This busk was carved into a thin knife shape and then inserted into the front bodice”.
n England stays were a part of a basic wardrobe of even working women. ‘The wives of journeymen tradesmen and shopkeepers, either wore leather stays or ‘full-boned’ stays. Worn every day for years and never washed; half laced and black as the post.”
Corsets and the French Empire:
Skipping forward a bit to the 1500’s, after Catherine de Medici introduced corsets to France, the women of the French court wore them as undergarments.
Unlike bustiers, corsets come in two different styles: The under-bust corset ends beneath the breasts and requires a separate bra, while the over-bust corset covers at least part of the breasts. The word in French remained as ‘body’, but in the 17th century the term in England was “stays”.
The French Empire in the 1700’s:
“By the 1770’s, fashionable French women began to wear a corset made of quilted linen and without bones. They were fastened in front with strings or ribbons.”
The French, ‘Ladies Magazine’ wrote an article in 1785. In this, it informed the English women that “the French ladies never wear more than a quilted waistcoat”. “The custom of imprisoning children in heavily boned stays was also disappearing”.
The Enlightenment Campaigns of Napoleonic France proclaimed “liberty and equality”. This played a role in loosening the stays. Thus high-waist neoclassical gowns came into fashion. Obviously, women still had waistlines but they no longer emphasized that part of the body. They focused on the bosom instead!
Yet, after a brief period of freedom at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, fashion for high-waist empire gowns was declining. The boned corset reappeared around 1800 and spread throughout society. The French term “corset” was first used in England about 1820. Until then, English speakers called a corset a “pair of bodies” or a “pair of French bodies”; somewhat like a ‘second skin’.
Long, heavily boned corsets continued to be worn by English women. Modesty and corsets were closely associated with sexual morality by the English.
Corsets were also considered a medical necessity in the early 19th century. It was thought that women were too fragile to stand without support. Little girls as young as 3 or 4 years old were laced into tiny corsets. After years of being continuously laced up, however, their backs were weakened. By the time they reached their teens, they were unable to sit or stand without the support of a corset.
Victorian Corsets and Tight-lacing:
It really wasn’t until the 1830’s that the hourglass shape came into fashion. This gave Victorian corsets the dual purpose of cinching the waist and supporting the bust. In the mid-1800’s, the fashionable shape was an exaggeratedly curvaceous hourglass with a tiny waist.
This is when real tight-lacing became popular. These tightly laced corsets deformed the internal organs and forced shallow breathing. The results were a lot of fainting; thus the need for smelling salts to revive the fainting ladies in repose.
Tightly laced corsets and the problems that came with them were an affliction unique to the rich. Only the ladies who were higher in class and did not have to work could wear such restrictive clothing. Working class women wore looser corsets and lighter clothing that allowed for more movement.
The early 20th century brought a change in corset shape in response to concerns about pressure on the stomach area. The new straight-front corset, also known as the S-bend corset, the swan-bill corset, or the health corset.
It featured a rigid busk that ran the entire length of the front of the corset. This gave the effect of a very flat front, forcing the hips to jut out in back.
However, the unnatural posture it forced upon the wearer resulted in many back problems. It actually caused more injury than its waist-cinching predecessor. Thus the style only lasted about ten years, from 1900 to 1910.
Around 1908 fashion changed to favor a more natural waistline and narrower hips. This, along with the advent of rubber and elastic fabrics, made way for girdles and brassieres.
Corsets in the 21st Century:
At one point the United States government asked women to refrain from buying corsets.
It’s true… it was just after entering World War I, and this single move freed up 28,000 tons of steel for use in war production. It also gave rise to the popularity of brassieres and girdles. Women’s roles in society changed as well in this time period. More women delayed marriage to seek an education, leaving corsets to overweight and pregnant women.
Garconne fashion and the prized boyish body shape of the 1920’s saw little call for corsets, as women used girdles to minimize the hips, and bras to minimize the breasts.
Soon came the fifties and a new appreciation of all things feminine. Dior’s “New Style” celebrated womanly curves, favoring a tiny waist and wide hips. This sparked a return in popularity of the corset which lasted until the rise of flower power and hippie bra-burning sentiments of the 1960’s and 70’s.
Corsets and Bustiers:
What is the difference between corsets and bustiers? It’s a question we often get at Sultry Lady Corsets, where we specialize in custom made, beautifully embellished, one of a kind corsets and bustiers. The answer to the question is that while corsets and bustiers look similar, in construction and function they differ.
Corsets have more structured than the bustier. The bustier lifts your breasts to accentuate cleavage, but don’t do much, if anything, to hold in your stomach. The corset doesn’t just enhance cleavage, it also cinches you in so that your waist and torso look slimmer.
The contemporary corset is closer in style to the corsets and bustiers that were popular in the Victorian era. This is when the hourglass figure became a measure of feminine desirability. These shape-shifting corsets used back-lacing to pull the waist into some improbably small sizes. They included boning to keep the garments stiff and supportive.
Celebrities and Corsets:
The current popularity of corsets and bustiers in history began in 1983 after Madonna appeared in concert wearing a silk corset. The demand for corsets and bustiers took off like wildfire. The underwear-as-outerwear trend has not stopped since. Her famous corset designed by Jean Paul Gaultier for her Blond Ambition tour, later sold at auction in London for more than £30,000–about $52,000– in 2012.
Modern corsets are mostly, though not completely, a fashion statement. The shape is complementing and showcasing the natural feminine form rather than trying to manipulate or transform it. To all corset-wearing women, it is a symbol of beauty and femininity.
Corsets are a favorite way to do this. Some celebrities spotted donning corsets include Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, BeonceKeira Knightley, Kylie Minogue, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Victoria Beckham, to name just a few.
Corsets as a Fashion Statement Today:
Contemporary corsets and bustiers have come a long way from the extremely constrictive Victorian style. The garments are now seductive and comfortable. The desire is to showcase the assets, not change them.
Bustiers worn as lingerie are a much more recent design than corsets. Made of flexible fabric with stretch panels, they are much less restrictive.
Bustiers often have bras built into them – with or without underwires. They are usually shorter than corsets, ending at the waist or just above it. You will often see the term long-line bra used interchangeably with a bustier.
With so many choices and so much freedom in fashion today, the corset remains a fashion mainstay. It is a fail-proof way to make a statement and honor the feminine form.