Myths about corsets

One of my biggest pet peeves is misinformation about historical clothing. Once we overcome the fact that people were smaller in the 19th century, cherished clothing that was carefully packed away was likely for special occasions and not every day, and we realize that our modern ideals of beauty and comfort cannot be applied to historical clothing trends, it isn’t that difficult to spot the misinformation. Luckily there are also lots of museums, universities and clothing historians who help to preserve the history of how certain clothing evolved and was worn. For example, did you know that the mobcap you see on Colonial women’s costumes had some legitimate purposes in addition to being a fashion item? During the Renaissance, Europe was coming out of a mini ice age and as such, the temperatures were a little bit lower than we are used to. Long sleeves on dresses were a must and hats helped keep a person warm. In addition, wearing a hat to cover the hair was considered respectable and modest by “proper” women. This habit stayed around well into the 19th century. Finally, the mobcap helped prevent lice and fleas from either landing on your body or leaving your body for your neighbors.

What does this have to do with corsets? Well, there seem to be a LOT of myths about corsets that are accepted as fact — they are laced shut, uncomfortable, you can’t move in them, women had their ribs removed….you see where I’m going here. In an effort to prevent the further spread of half truths and outright lies, I have compiled a list of Top 10 Myths About the Victorian Corset, a new page on the site. I hope you like it! Click the corset ad below to take you to the page, or click the “Corset Myths” heading above.

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