Vintage Corset


Vintage Corset

most women know exactly what is in their underwear drawer but most men don't seem to have one. Interested or not, the best antique lingerie is worth much more than a pretty penny and prices look set to continue rising.

The Charles A. Whitaker Auction Company in America ( sold a late 19th century, red satin French corset for £1,740,

Undergarment history began in ancient times when it was widely functional. In the Middle Ages, straightforward linen was all the rage.

The Elizabethan fashion of the 16th century was much more adventurous with the farthingale (hoop worn under skirt) focusing attention on childbearing hips.

The padded silhouette with a flat stomach and narrow waist appeared toward the end of the Renaissance and was greatly overemphasised during the 17th century when the corset became a near straight jacket.

Copious use of damask, satin or brocaded silk, embellished with embroidery, disguised the rigid structure of the whalebone within.

If you had lived through the 19th century, you may have enjoyed its complete exaggeration: vast full sleeves, a corseted waist, followed by whalebone hoops and crinolines covered with yards of fabric, flounces and trims.
Vintage Corset

Then there was the bustle, frilled pantaloons and multiple layers of petticoats. Narrow your focus

If you're keen on collecting lingerie, the advice is to play it smart and narrow your focus.

Perhaps collect 20th century or specialise.

You could try foundation garments and underwear, like the corset, that has becom outerwear. Or you could opt for 18th centuy shirts, worn as underwear by men.

If you have a desire to preserve history, focus on plain garments, once affordable to ordinary people.

Vintage Corset
These items are quite difficult to fir and heavy duty, homespun garments that hard-working people would have worn are particularly sought after.

If you're keen on the 20th century, look for fine silk, lace and other delicate underwear fabrics.

Most petticoats had splendidly frilled edges - a glimpse of an ankle was an enticing sight in the early 1900s.

A camisole and up to six layers of petticoats were worn over the corset too, while stockings and garters were also fastened to it.

The popular body shape image of the time was achieved by the grotesque S-bend corset.

/In 1907, French couturier Paul Poiret heralded the beginning of modern fashion and pre­sented a more natural look.

Vintage Corset
The tango craze around 1915. followed by the First World War, had women discarding their corsets and, in 1913, the brassiere made its first appearance - the patent was reportedly sold to Warner’s for around $1,500 (£800).


If you like the 1920s, look out for its decadent and provocative style.

They enjoyed showing their stocking tops to the beat of the Charleston.

The ideal was a flat chest and a slender body so the corset developed into more pliable girdle.

Hollywood stars of the 1930s, like Marlene Dietrich and Jean Harlow, emphasised busts and bras with fitted cups appeared for the first time.

A new style of line erie developed and man-made fibres,such as rayon, were used.

The Second World War offered only the most basic fabrics.   

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