The Corset Evolution by Victoria Vane

posted in: history, Victoria Vane | 4
 Corsets, in one form or another, have been worn since the days of antiquity.
One of the earliest forms of the corset was even made of iron!
Although the corset has never completely disappeared from modern fashion, it is now more of a novelty to wear. But for nearly five hundred years, they were a compulsory part of every women's wardrobe.


Fashion takes a Conical Shape

Introduced by Catherine de Medici into France in the 1500s, the first corset was a tight, elongated bodice that was worn underneath the clothing.  Believed to be "indispensable to the beauty of the female figure,“ it soon became mandatory court attire.

Stays are here to stay…

The early corsets (stays) had shoulder straps and ended in flaps at the waist.  These ‘Stays’ were intended to create a rigid flat silhouette that allowed the curving tops of the breasts to peek over the top of the bodice. Stays were made up of layered fabric, stiffened with glue and were tightly laced. A ‘Busk’ or a flat piece of whalebone was sewn into a casing in the front center and a ‘Stomacher’ or a stiff, V-shaped structure came to be worn on the front of ‘stays’.


Over time, the shape of stays altered to accommodate changing fashions...  Regency stays (depicted below) served a purpose quite similar to modern "push up" bras



By the Victorian age, the emphasis had changed to reshaping the waistline. As steel replaced the whalebone, these tightly laced stays came to be called corsets. 

Although its form continued to change, the corset, used as a body shaping device, remained in fashion until well into the 20th century.



Follow Victoria Vane:

Romance Novelist

VICTORIA VANE is an award-winning author of smart and sexy romance with works ranging from wild comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Her books have received more than twenty awards and nominations to include the 2014 RONE Award for Treacherous Temptations and Library Journal Best E-Book romance of 2012 for The Devil DeVere series. She lives the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, two sons, a little black dog, and an Arabian horse.

4 Responses

  1. dholcomb1

    no matter how long they’been around, they still haven’t made them more comfortable to wear.


  2. Teresa Broderick

    Imagine the one made of steel!!!! They’re uncomfortable buggers whatever they’re made of. My mother made me wear a panty type one in my early teens. I HATED it!! Can’t see that it did anything for me either.

  3. Maggi Andersen

    We modern girls can’t imagine being so restricted. But I guess they were used to it. They were’n’t required to be as active.