Monday, December 18

What Is a Skirt-Supporting Corset?

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The 1800s woman didn’t hit the gym or jump into the latest diet fad when she wanted to tone up her middle, she strapped on a corset.   Long before infomercials were pitching the latest waist-slimming gadgets, the attempt to tame the curves of the female body was sparking invention and innovation.  The skirt-supporting corset came about as a way to make women more comfortable back in the days when there was enough fabric in a skirt to cover a sofa sectional and two side chairs.

Function

A metal band on the back of the corset and shoulder braces at the top doesn’t really sound too sexy, but they did have a purpose.  The added features took some of the weight from a woman’s skirts off her waist, distributing it to the hips and shoulders. 

History

Newspapers and catalogues carried advertisements for skirt-supporting corsets from the 1860s through the 1890s.  Lavinia H. Foy, known as Madam Foy, held a number of patents for skirt-supporting corsets.  She, along with her husband and son ran a successful business selling the “Madam Foy Improved Corset.”

Identification

In addition to the band on the back and the shoulder braces, skirt-supporting corsets often had side lacing, which made it easier and more comfortable to wear.  Skirt supporting corsets were usually made from cotton, in white or a neutral tone.

Significance

The skirt-supporting corset demonstrated the increasing drive to improve sales through innovations.   People were wising up to the fact that women would go for a little extra comfort if they could get it.

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