Monday, January 16, 2012
Writing Historicals and Learning about Corsetry
Here's another reason why I both love and hate writing historicals: corsets.
I don't actually need to know a thing about corsets. But I'm writing this new historical set during the Edwardian era and I have to give a fairly accurate description about the kinds of corsets that were worn back then...specifically around the year 1912.
According to wiki, "a corset is a garment worn to hold and shape the torso." According to Edwardian Corsetry Fashion History, "the corset started just above the waist and fitted well down the thighs." In other words, corsets were longer and more streamlined after 1907. In some cases, by 1912, corsets reached the knees and it was difficult for women to sit down. Had I not done the research, I would have described the corset as what we see to today in those erotic boutiques. And I would have been dead wrong.
This longer, streamlined corset was designed to enhance the figure of a woman and to compliment the fashions of this time period. And it didn't last long. From what I gather, the corset started going out of style around World War I and dropped out almost completely in the l920's when the girdle took its place.
But the research had to be done, even though it wasn't a large part of the story I'm working on right now. I could have lived a long full life without this information, but once I started reading about it I have to admit that I did find it interesting from a trending pov. Evidently fashion has always been trending, and it always will trend. And corsets played a huge part in the history of women's fashion, which couldn't be overlooked in the story I'm working on right now.
I'm also sure a lot of women today are thrilled they don't have to wear the corsets of 1912.