Saturday, 17 November 2007


A corset is worn to mould and shape the body, or specifically the torso.

The corset is and was most commonly used to slim the body and create a “fashionable” silhouette. It emphasises the figure by reducing the waist, sometimes by extreme proportions, and exaggerating the shape of the breasts and hips.

Typically corsets are made of flexiable material (such as cloth or leather), stiffened with boning channelled in the cloth or leather. Sometimes steel or whalebone are favoured.

Most commonly corsets are held together by lacing in the back or side. Tightening or loosing the lacing causes changes in the firmness or tightness of the corset and creates the required size reduction.

In Victorian times a well-off lady would have a made to lace up her corset. By tightlacing the waist can be reduced to unnatural sizes.

Tightlacers normally aim for waits between 40 to 43 centimeters (about 16 to 17 inches). However, in 1998 Ethel Granger was recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records as having the smallest waist at 32.5 centimeters (about 13 inches). Other women with extreme waist sizes were Cathie Jung and Polair.

Corsets were first worn during the 16th century and remained a stronghold of fashion until the French Revolution, but to the current day they are worn by a few disciplined but loyal followers. Sometimes with amazing (and slightly awe inspiring) consequences.

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