Clockwise from top left:
Original photo of Bettie Page source
Photo of Edith La Sylphe an American ballet and Follies Bergere dancer in the 1900s – 1920s. She took the already astonishing S-Bend or flat-fronted corset to even more contorted extremes with her ‘La Sylphe’ corset. How she could have walked in this I have no idea – I can only imagine how incredibly uncomfortable this must have been!
Having said that she lived until the age of 85, so it obviously didn’t do her too much damage!
Her real name was Edythe Lambelle.
I found myself wondering the other day about waist training and just how corsets and girdles have shaped women and fashions over the last century.
The fashion for different body types has definitely changed with the decades, but what underwear was needed to help women achieve this?
I hope we’re getting to an age where people are free to look the way they want to, but all I have to do is open Vogue and look at the photoshoots and I know that’s not really true. The ‘ideal’ body type at the moment seems to be just as unattainable as ever…
At the turn of the 20th century and In the early 1900s the hourglass figure was very popular and this gradually became more and more extreme.
This fashion culminated in contorting underwear such as the S-bend corset (also called the flat-front corset) which pushed the bottom out and the chest up (and must have caused a lot of back pain!).
I saw a newspaper article yesterday about student and part-time Burlesque dancer Nerina Orton and her tiny 15.7″ waist and it reminded me of 50s pin-up and model Betty Brosmer. Her waist was 18″, which is definitely tiny, but it made me realise just how small Nerina’s waist is. Apparently the world record for the tiniest waist is 15″, so you don’t get much smaller than that! Apparently Nerina spends 23 hours a day in her corset and only takes it off to shower – now that’s commitment (you can see photos here)!
What do you think about corseting and tiny waists? Is it something you do? If so, I’d love to know! If you’d like to find out more about waist training you can in our article here.
Photo source and copyright: BettyBrosmer.com
Model Carmen dell’Orefice in a white corset for a 1950s advert for Lastex. I’m guessing it’s 1950s, but judging by the hairstyle it could be late 1940s, what do you think?
The Golden Age of Corsetry inspired and brought to it’s present glory by Lastex… the miracle yarn that makes things fit
I’ve had a bit of a revelation this week after being sent a gorgeous lace corset by the nice people at Corsets UK. You see I was a rather jealous of the winners of the competition we ran with them and when I mentioned this they were kind enough to send me my very own version – and I have to say I love it!
Now, just to clarify, the corset I tried was a fashion corset rather than a serious waist-training corset (if you want to learn about those I recommend this article) so it nips you in and smooths out any bulges without being too restrictive, and I have to say it’s been great. It’s left me asking myself why I’ve been wearing unflattering control underwear underneath party dresses all these years.
I’ve been married 10 years now, and even now I have visions still have visions of that Brigitte Jones moment (the one with the big pants) whenever I need to wriggle into my Spanx! Now don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a time and a place for Spanx (other types of unflattering control pants are available), but it’s nice to discover there are much more attractive options!
The corset I tried was easier to put on than a control body (at least the one I have) as it does up with hooks and eyes at the front – this takes a bit of time, but it’s easier than trying to wriggle a supertight leotard-type body over your legs. Happily this fitted me just fine, but it also has lacing at the back if you do need to adjust it at all.
There’s no bulging - it doesn’t cut into you, you’re left with a magnificent heaving bosom and great posture (it does keep you quite upright) and I certainly won’t worry about my husband coming across it – in fact I think he’d be quite delighted. So I’ll happily say I”m a convert. Bye bye control pants, hello corsets!
Our 3 competition winners of our contest to Win a beautiful black corset are:
Melanieylang, Lucia and Caroline Stokes
Congratulations ladies we’ve passed your details onto Corsets UK and they will contact you about your prize directly.
If you didn’t win why not enter our current competition to Win a vintage mod union jack bag Entries close on 16th August so get typing and good luck!
I’ve often marvelled at the different body shapes which have been in fashion over the decades: from the skinny boyish figure of the 1920s and 1960s to the fabulous hourglass figures of the 1950s. It also got me wondering why people don’t look like that today.
It was quite a revelation to discover the practice of waist training. Of course I’d heard about corsets but I hadn’t realised the body-modifying effects they had on models and the part they played in creating those amazing tiny waists.
It was even more of a surprise to find that this practice is still widely used by models, pin up girls and burlesque performers today.
I was determined to find out exactly what was involved, so when I met Ben Gallivan and discovered that he was an expert on corseting and waist training it was a great opportunity to get the low down on this secretive art …
Here’s what he had to say: Read more