Friday, March 2, 2012

Fashion Friday: C is for Corset

Corsets are a defining element of steampunk fashion. A friend of mine once said that if your corset doesn't leave bruises you're not wearing it right, but I think that may be taking things a little too far. Thanks to modern elastic materials and better manufacturing techniques you can get the benefits without the pain of whalebone and steel digging into your ribs.

Unfortunately, the health consequences of wearing tightly laced corsets hastened their demise. Medical studies in the 1880s and onward showed how tightly laced corsets caused problems with heart, lungs, circulation, breasts, uterus, gall bladder and colon. In some cases tight lacing was directly linked to organ failure.

Not to worry these days though. So long as you don't take my friend's advice modern corsets will not do you any harm.

I love the above picture. I suppose in those days it was enough to fool the unsuspecting, but anyone with half an eye for photoshop will quickly pick up the fact that everything below the bustline on the right hand picture is drawn, not photographed at all. The shadows are all wrong, the buckles on the garters don't have the right amount of detail, and the stockings lost their tendency to curl at the top.

A more modern corset. This one by Lageuse leather corset with brass rivets and only a slight bit of 'glue some gears on it and call it Steampunk' is a pretty typical high-end model.

Ooooh, Shiny! This corset by Nola incorporates actual brass for the trim. She has a few 'making of' pics on her website as well.

That's it for me this week. Until next time, keep your boilers hot and your fashion steamy!


Kimberlee Turley said...

Oh my goodness, Nola's Steampunk portfolio is amazing!

Before you mentioned photoshop, I looked at the image and knew something was wrong. A corset can't slim her legs and butt *that* much.

Mark Fenger said...

Yeah, I love finding new stuff like that. That's one of the things I enjoy most about blogging, it gives me an excuse to spend some time looking for cool stuff on the Internet, and there is so much cool steampunkness to find these days.

Unknown said...

Actually the "scientific proof" that all corsets are bad for you was nothing but 19th century quackery. It's true that SOME women went in for tight-lacing and squeezed themselves nearly to death, but for the vast majority of women for hundreds of years, corsets were merely underwear, support garments as are our modern bras. A well-made corset, fitted exactly to one's body shape, is amazingly comfortable as long as it is laced snugly but not tightly. It is necessary in many costumes not only to get the proper silhouette but to support the multitudes of skirts and petticoats. I have made multiple corsets and I wear them all the time, for hours at a clip, with absolutely no bad effects. For further information, see wonderful information at American Duchess blog, Karolina Zebrowska's youtube channel, and any reputable custom corset maker. Thanks and have a great time steampunking! :)