History, Fashion History, and Period Drama Bashing.
All About Corsets
The corset has a bad reputation. And unfairly so, according to real women, and actual evidence, who say this undergarment of centuries past is not nearly as evil or confining as modern folks have come to believe. First, though, a bit of quick history - The corset has been an indispensable article of clothing for several centuries in Europe, evolving as fashion trends have changed. Women, as well as some men, have used it to change the appearance of their bodies. The corset first became popular in sixteenth-century Europe, reaching the zenith of its popularity in the Victorian era. While the corset has typically been worn as an undergarment, it has occasionally been used as an outer-garment; corsets as outer-garments can be seen in the national dress of many European countries. Even as it gained popularity, the corset was not worn by everyone. Mary, Queen of Scots, for example, did not wear a corset. During the reign of Louis XV of France and again during the French Revolution, the corset went out of style, as the fashions were simpler. But, what you know as a corset, and the term corset itself only came into use at the start of the Victorian era (1820s and 1830s) and lasted up through the 50s and 60s. Previously, women (and mostly in England - the french were less keen on them) wore stays. In early 16th century Europe, corsets called “payre of bodies'' or ‘stays’ pushed the breasts upward and shaped the torso into a slim cylinder, thanks to boning made of horn, buckram or whalebone, and a flat wooden “busk” running down the center. But by the 17th century, corsets took on more of a cone-like shape, often made of two separate pieces of boned fabric known as stays, held together in the front with the busk. For a brief time, from 1800 to 1830, the Napoleonic high “empire waist” allowed for short stays to reign briefly.
Why The Costumes in Bridgerton Suck
Background on Bridgerton: A period drama set in 1813 London. The clothing is worn by British people in mostly English and some french styles, as was fashionable. The costume designer is Ellen Mirojnick, who stated her intention wasn’t historical accuracy, but that she was putting her own spin on regency dress to convey the character and story in a way that made sense. It is true that the entire plot and contents of the Bridgerton story isn’t historically accurate, so I presume that the costumes were just one more thing done wrong.