The first corsets appeared several thousand years ago on the island of Crete. Among the noble Cretans of that time, it was customary to appear at ceremonial events in dresses with a deep neckline, which completely revealed the bust. The bodice of such dresses was made of very dense fabric and was tightly laced up to tighten the waist and support the chest.
A thin waist has been the ideal in many different countries and different eras. In New Guinea, for example, a child is tied tightly in the middle, so he acquires a wasp waist for life.
In ancient Rome, a sluggish chest was cleverly hidden by moving a belt on a dress under the very chest. And in the antique period, the Romans already wore a leather bra.
In the harsh Gothic era (starting from the end of the 11th century), men also began to wear corsets. It turned out that with their help you can not only model a figure, but also protect yourself from enemy attacks. At first, only warriors used such clothes, but pretty soon corsets became part of the secular men's costume of that era.
But the most severe was Spanish fashion in the middle of the 16th century. Asceticism, that is, the refusal of any worldly pleasures, was the norm in everyone's life in those years. And, of course, sex was number one on the list of forbidden pleasures. So that the curves of the female body did not remind of sinfulness, they began to tighten them into heavy shells of wooden and metal plates, which made the figure completely flat - not a hint of a chest.
Life became easier only by the 17th century, when the classic ideals of female beauty came into fashion: a thin waist and a lush chest. The need for a heavy-duty frame disappeared, and fabric and whalebone replaced iron and wood.
The golden age for corsets was the reign of Queen Victoria, who ascended the British throne in 1837. Corsets were then worn by all women, without exception - from early childhood to ripe old age. It was believed that the female internal organs must be constantly maintained, otherwise they may shift and suffer. True, the theory of the need for a corset was completely refuted by ladies in position - they were obviously harmed by corsets. In those days, it was considered indecent to appear in society after the pregnancy became obvious to others. It was assumed that at about the third month of pregnancy, the woman should be under house arrest. But thanks to the tightly tightened corset, it was possible to enjoy social life for several months longer. Of course, such a harsh effect on the body did not pass without leaving a trace. Special corsets for pregnant women were born. Their design did not allow the woman to tighten too tight. At the same time, the corset supported and protected the abdomen.
Catherine de 'Medici, the famous French queen and trendsetter loved corsets and said that the waist should be equal to the thickness of the lover's neck, and therefore she introduced the official waist standard of 33 cm.Around the same time, the name corset came about (from the old French word cors, meaning "body").
The French Revolution brought with it not only freedom and democracy, but also a change in fashion. The corset turned out to be unnecessary, because everyone and in everything should feel free and, therefore, it was reduced to the size of a belt.
Many prominent women of that time opposed the corset - among them, for example, was the famous French writer Georges Sand. But doctors managed to prove the harmful effect of the corset on women's health only in the second half of the 19th century. It became clear that lace-up clothing is the cause of a number of diseases.
In the early 1900s, bras were born, and many women began to abandon corsets. In contrast to the corset, which supported the chest from below, the bra carried the weight of the chest to the shoulders, supporting it with the help of straps, which was undoubtedly more comfortable. And the fashion for corsets began to decline ...
In the 1920s, when diminutiveness was in vogue, corsets pulled a woman from chest to mid-thigh, creating a narrow, slim silhouette. At the same time, the first corset store (the prototype of modern lingerie boutiques) was opened in Paris. He shocked the townsfolk by displaying revealing models in bows and laces in the windows.
In the 1930s, corsets began to accentuate the waist again. Thanks to the elastic materials and the improved fastening, women have the opportunity to dress themselves.
The Second World War forced to forget about the corset for a while, as women replaced men in factories, and they needed maximum freedom of movement.
1950s, Dior's New Look - corsets are popular again and help create a feminine, seductive look.
1960s. hippies did not recognize corsets, because for "children of flowers" even a bra was "a harness that humiliates a woman."
It seemed that the ladies who were accustomed to freedom would never again be able to tighten up in "armor" - but everything changed in the eighties, the era of the sexual revolution. The image of a woman in a tightly laced corset, symbolizing resignation and helplessness, unexpectedly received a new interpretation.
In the 2000s, the corset again became popudarny, this time fashion designers became interested in it and it often appears in new clothing collections, as an integral part of the women's wardrobe.