Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall at sunset

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I've spent a few days researching corsets for my Gilded Age novel. Was there ever another beauty device as uncomfortable as a corset?

Then again, the the plate-lipped Sara women of Africa don't have it easy, either.

This is the classic 18 inch waist. Yowser! The goal was to have a waist that a man could "handspan" - in other words, he could put his hands around a lady's waist and his fingers would touch.

For the rich, corsets were made of beautiful fabrics like silk and satin and velvet. But they all had one thing in common - lots of boning and "stays".

Is it my imagination or does this lady look somewhat constipated? Apparently tight corseting could do all kinds of compression of your ribs and internal organs. Not to mention that you couldn't take a deep breath in them. Or eat. Come to think of it, that might actually be a good thing.

Corseting has made a comeback in recent years. Men find it sexy. Above is a modern day example, the actress Dita Von Teese. That can't be her real name.

Anyway, it's fun to research this stuff but the corset is one historical item I can live without. What about you?


  1. Oh heck no. You would not get me into one of those.

    Actually, it would be more accurate to say that if I ever am forced into a corset, I wouldn't look like that. :)

    Personally I like being able to walk down the street and not risk get a chamber pot emptied on my head. Hooray for modern plumbing!

    Also, congrats on your RAOK shoutout this week!

  2. Thank you, Miriam! I know what you mean - I love the period dresses, they're beautiful but would I really want to wear one every day with a corset? Absolutely not.


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