lunes, 20 de agosto de 2012
What a real corset is and what to expect from it
Wikipedia may help us a little to clear up a definition for corset: "A corset is a garment worn to hold and shape the torso into a desired shape for aesthetic or medical purposes (either for the duration of wearing this item, or with a more lasting effect). Both men and women are known to wear corsets, though women are more common wearers". And continues: "In recent years, the term "corset" has also been borrowed by the fashion industry to refer to tops which, to varying degrees, mimic the look of traditional corsets without actually acting as one. While these modern corsets and corset tops often feature lacing and/or boning and generally mimic a historical style of corsets, they have very little if any effect on the shape of the wearer's body. Genuine corsets are usually made by a corsetmaker and should be fitted to the individual wearer."
Crystal clear by now. But lets go a bit deeper and take real examples to really understand these features.
There's a picture at the top that will hopefully explain the differences at first sight. On the left, there's a striped black and white item subtitled "fashion corset". It should not be considered a proper corset despite people usually call it so. As you can see, it may look like a corset but it barely has a shape, and if you open the picture on another tab to watch a bit closer you'll see there's no boning -which is a feature of real corsetry: no bones, no shaping, and this is the purpose of a corset!! If the garment has bones, they're usually plastic bones that tend to break, bend and give the top a funny look. These bones are poor quality and won't give the top the smooht look of a real corset. I've seen them closing at the back or one side with a zip, hooks and eyes at the front and laces at the back, or laces at the front and a zip on one side to get in faster. Real corset lacing systems are used to tighten the garment an mold your body, but laces in this case won't do any job but maybe get a better fit. Ok, you may think "I just want to get the look, I don't like tight garments". Then this is the item for you. Fashion corsets, or corset-like tops as I prefer to call them, are comfy, cheaper and easier to find than real corsets.
The second item on the picture above is a red and black lingerie corset. I have to distinguish between, let's say, "low" and "high quality" lingerie corsets.
The "low quality" ones are actually pretty much the same stuff as fashion corsets, but these are more used as an undergarment or as spicy lingerie for a special moment. I've seen people using these as outer garments though.
The "higher quality" ones shall have special fabrics or reinforced areas to mold your body, keep your tummy flat and so on without using bones.
The lingerie corsets, no matter their quality, are very lightly boned if so, and tend to use hooks and eyes to close at the back or front (as bras do) to avoid the bulk laces would make.These can have attached garters to hold tights, have padded bra cups, etc. Lingerie bustiers are more commonly boned (yet with plastic bones so there's little support from it).
Both fashion and lingerie corsets are as a standard made of a single layer of fabric, with some plastic bones or none, and slightly change your body or have no effect.
Now, there's a third image on the right of the picture above and that's a true victorian corset. If you study it you'll see the smooth and sturdy appearance and the hourglass shape. This garment is structured with steel bones, has a busk closure at the front and tightens at the back with laces. If we could see it inside out we could even see there's a waist stay -which is a wide ribbon placed aroud the waist of the garment to prevent the fabric from stretching due to continuous stress on that area. Remember corsets are aimed to pull in your waist and make it look thinner. Also, real corsets usually are made out of two or more layers of fabric, depending on their thickness and strenght. These previous features are probably the most characteristic things to keep in mind when guessing what's a corset and what's not. Anyway, real corsets will always have steel bones, a waist stay, and strong two-piece eyelets and laces at the back to tighten it. These features are why corsets can mold your body and pull your waist in.
I'll make another entry exclusively on the corset's anatomy to keep things clear and have the exact vocabulary.