It’s always fascinating to take a peek back in time to see how things were invented, manufactured and used. That’s why the team at Lula Lu has decided to share a brief history of the corset. Turns out that this common undergarment has an interesting background that goes back several generations to a time when women were not free to wear what they like. Here is a short, yet concise history of the corset.
Corsets date way back to Greek and Roman times when women wore tightly wrapped scarfs under their breasts and around their waists to enhance their figures so men would find them more attractive.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, it was strongly suggested that women wear corsets in order to flatten and shape their torsos. Even fashion-forward men and children wore corsets. In the 1800s, the central focus of women’s fashion was on having an “hourglass figure”. Corsets were designed to “shrink” a woman’s waist by several inches while forcing the breasts up.
Well-dressed women of the 19th century wore over an average of 37 pounds worth of clothing, 19 pounds of which hung from their corseted waists! Many women who wore corsets during this time experienced a range of health problems including fainting, reduced lung capacity, internal organ damage and even deformed rib cages. This prompted doctors to warn against the unhealthiness of corsets. Yet, in spite of these warnings, women continued wearing corsets and opted instead to take various concoctions to cure their corset-related ailments.
By the early 1900s, the lace-up-the-back, tightly fitting corset had been transformed into a girdle, which was designed to control the hips and belly with elastic material. As the girdle became readily available to women from all walks of life, the corset lost its mass appeal. Today, women still wear corsets but the modern corsets are much more attractive and comfortable including the Kyla Corset offered by Lula Lu.