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It’s Back | Manolo for the Big Girl

It’s Back

Francesca has been welcoming the re-appearance and renewed popularity of the thigh-high stocking.

But she never thought that the corset would come back into style.

Yes, the corset — both under and over clothing — is making a comeback, and Francesca is not sure how she feels about it.

On one hand, there is no denying that the corset creates a lovely hourglass figure. It can help an Apple fit into a wider variety of styles, accentuate the assets of the well-endowed woman, and create the appearance of well-endowedness for others. It shoes off the hips and the breasts. It is feminine. It is hourglassy. It is the corset!

On the other hand, it is a corset. There are reasons we gave up on these things decades ago. First of all, one must be careful not to lace one too tightly, lest one faint a la Keira Knightly in Pirates of the Caribbean.  Second, wearing one every day has severe effects on one’s health; they prevent full breathing capacity and move organs around.

Third,  Francesca posits that corsets are coming back into style for the same reasons they were in style to begin with: it is so important in our society to be thin and beautiful and have a specific shape, that we’d rather have that shape than be able to breathe.

And Fourth, there are the corset waist-trainers, who frankly freak Francesca out.

And yet . . . they are pretty . . .

What thoughts have you, dear readers?

16 Responses to “It’s Back”

  1. Lisa November 3, 2008 at 2:40 pm #

    It’s definitely not a garment for everyday wear, but I think once in a while when one wants to feel more womanly this would definitely work. For me, the reason to wear this is only to have it taken off in heated passion.

    I don’t think of corsets as trying to be thin. I would wear one to show off my assets on top and enjoy having a waist for however long I’d be wearing one.

  2. Sara Darling November 3, 2008 at 5:10 pm #

    I’m quite okay with the return of the corset. I don’t think it’s fat-girl oppressive since no corset is going to make a chubby girl look skinny. It just shapes what’s there. It’s certainly not something I’d wear every day but I do think it can be quite flattering and fun to wear for special occasions.

    Like any fashion item, you don’t want to take it too far, but if we’re going to burn any item that makes us look sexy and hurts us at the same time, the high heels should have gone on the fire long ago. I can deal with “extremely supportive” underthings much easier than five inch stilettos.

  3. Jeni November 3, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    A well fitting corset can be quite comfortable. I am a civil war reenactor which means I spend ALOT of time in a corset (I make my own). The key to comfort is fit, like everything else.

    I wish people who do not wear corsets (well fitting ones) would stop spreading false information about them. Corsets are perfectly safe and comfortable provided they fit well and you go slowly. I take 5 inches off my waist when I wear a corset and there has never been a health issue. While in my corset I regularly scrub pots, cook over a fire, chop wood and run after children. I can breath just fine. As for it moving organs around what do you think being pregnant does?

    As long as a person is smart and does their research they will be fine wearing a corset (even tight lacing if they wish). But if you go out and buy a corset (even one made just for you) and try to tight lace the first time you, deserve whatever pain you get.

    So yea, I’m all for them coming back.

  4. Twistie November 3, 2008 at 7:06 pm #

    I’ve worn corsets. I’ve done re-enacting and also worn them on stage. They can be perfectly comfortable, BUT, I cannot in good conscience encourage choosing to wear something for purely aesthetic reasons that – no matter how well fitted and how slowly tighter lacing is acheived – seriously restricts the lungs and actually rearranges the internal organs.

    A decorative light corset for bedroom antics? Sure. Why not? As part of re-enactment? You won’t be convincingly in period without one (assuming you re-enact a period in which they were commonly worn). A non-restrictive piece of clothing that mimics the look? Can be quite attractive.

    But I’ll be damned before I’ll be tightlaced – or even mediumlaced – for everyday wear.

    Nope, not for me. Not at any price.

  5. raincoaster November 3, 2008 at 9:10 pm #

    There’s a famous corset maker in Paris, Mister Pearl is his name, and he specifically says that corsets are unhealthy and not for everyday; they are not to be trifled with, is his point. They are not ORDINARY. They are perfectly in line with the philosophy “il fait suffrir pour etre belle.”

    Here is an interesting interview with him: http://coilhouse.net/2008/03/18/mr-pearl-on-corsetry-technology-and-posession/

    As for me, I have always wanted a real corset, but I have never deluded myself that it’s anything other than an indulgence and definitely special occasion wear!

  6. AmazonPrincess November 3, 2008 at 11:47 pm #

    They are fun for dressing up, and when they fit right, are comfortable.

    But I grew up going to the Renaissance Faire and the Dicken’s Festival. I’m pretty used to corset/bodice breathing issues. :-)

  7. megaera November 4, 2008 at 12:38 am #

    You know, there is some point to the corset I have actually found a *really* (and by this I mean solidly, not made with flimsy aluminum or plastic substitutes) well boned corset to be the only way I can ever wear anything strapless. I have what might be termed the “vast tracts” and can no longer find strapless anything to fit my breasts. Corsets provide an unmatched support, as well as enforcing good posture. Nothing requires that you lace them so tightly as to move organs or bend bones. Should one desire to do so for aesthetic value, that is one’s own choice. I merely lace tightly enough to support the shelf I carry around on my ribcage. :)

  8. De November 4, 2008 at 9:27 am #

    Tight lacing/waist training to me is a form of body modification – along similar lines as extreme tattos, implants, plastic surgery, and piercings which dramatically change the area they are placed. They are something that, if you wanna do it, then go for it – but it should be a personal expression choice, not a requirement of fashion/society.

    Do I think corsets should come back as the norm/expected underthing? Heavens no. And I don’t think they will, at least, not in my lifetime. Too many people of my generation and the one after me (OH MY, I suddenly feel very old) are too….free spirited and like their comfort above their fashion :D.

    All that being said: I own 2 corsets, and wish to have a third – but I own the metal boning variety and they can be very expensive. I love the way they feel – a properly fitted and laced corset is completely comfortable and I can breathe just as deeply IN as OUT of it. It feels like a warm embrace all day, like very strong arms are holding you. And my bust looks ~magnificent~.

    And I can go down 5 inches as well on my waist, but I tend to have an hourglass figure to START with, and all a corset does for me is emphasize a shape that was already there. Others’ mileage may vary.

  9. Ashe Mischief November 4, 2008 at 10:27 am #

    I am pleased to see so many thoughtful responses to this post!

    I wear corsets. I wear corsets custom made for my body; they are comfortable. They do not restrict my movement, my breathing, or harm my body. They are not for daily wear, nor do I wear them for reenactment purposes.

    The first part of corsetry is making people understand that, like anything, mileage and reaction will vary from person to person. Some women cannot wear turtlenecks because it suffocates them; others cannot/will not wear heels. Just because in the past it had a bad reputation does not mean that modern day corsetiers are not educated, thoughtful, and creating a beautiful product meant to enhance a woman’s body. Most corsets for the average wearer do little more than a pair of Spanx would, though I find the corset infinitely more comfortable.

  10. ChloeMireille November 4, 2008 at 12:13 pm #

    Mmmmm……corset love. I have an entire bookmark folder dedicated to corsetmakers.

    I’d love to own a real one. I don’t want to waist train, though it might help re-arrange my self-induced muffin top from over a decade of big girl denial.

    However, I don’t have $300+ to shell out on a real one. On top of that, I have no idea where the corset makers in Houston are.

  11. Ashe Mischief November 4, 2008 at 5:33 pm #

    Chloe Mireille, AZAC Designs is based out of Houston. http://www.azacdesigns.com/

  12. CanadianChick November 4, 2008 at 11:08 pm #

    no, no, no…

    a properly made, properly fitted corset, especially for those of us who are especially well endowed up top (I’m an H cup), is far more comfortable than a bra, and also helps to improve posture etc. Eliminates back fat lumps too.

    is there restriction? Yeah, there can be. I couldn’t sit the way I am at this very minute if I was wearing a corset – on a low couch, typing on a low coffeetable, with my knees elevated, etc…but it wouldn’t stop me from sitting at my work desk.

    Bras were considered more comfortable for the majority of women who are small busted – but for those of us who are generously endowed, they can be more comfortable!

  13. rabrab November 5, 2008 at 1:05 am #

    What’s frustrating about looking for a corset is that most information out there about them assumes that *of course* anyone who would want one is interested in either fetish or tightlacing. That’s like assuming that anyone who wants four-inch stilettos is either a pole dancer or a dom.

  14. ChloeMireille November 5, 2008 at 1:39 pm #

    Ashe Mischief,

    I forgot all about AZAC/Azrael’s Accomplice! Thanks for reminding me.

  15. Katherine November 19, 2008 at 8:03 am #

    I love corsets. I’ve always had a love affair with them, from my first Gothic novel. I don’t really find them to be all that oppressive, but I’m not the kind that has the attention span to spend alot of time in a corset. I think its another beautiful accessory like high heels, done hair, and long nails. If I had it my way, I’d have a bigger collection of corsets for all my red-carpet nights. (The ones in my mind. haha)

    I also have no problem with tight-lacers. I find it a distantly admirable practice, and frankly its not anything that has been dead for SO long that it should be shocking. Women have long been practicing body-mods of this sort. I think that like all things, if one takes it in moderation rather than extreme, that it can be positive.

    I’ve seen quite a few plus-sized girls who’ve found waist-training actually empowering.

  16. ThaHotness January 26, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

    What about latex girdles such as this one?

    http://www.bodyshapewear.com/girdle_shaper_corset_belt.asp

    Ain’t gonna lie, wear this everyday I can and I feel flabby and gross w/o it.