The #Corset – How do You Wear Yours?

brunette corset

The corset: a close fitting piece of clothing worn around the stomach, which has been stiffened in some way to add fashionable shape to a woman’s body.

The term ‘corset,’ was widely used throughout the 19th century, but there are many documentations of similar garments, referred to as ‘stays,’ which were widely in use before this time.


Famous Legends Inspired by the Corset

Most legends of course are about impossibly small waists. The “oldest” and most extreme one is the one that asserts that Katerina de’ Medici, Queen   of France in the late 16th century, required her ladies-in-waiting to have 13   inch waists. Someone who doesn’t use inches in everyday life will first try   to convert that into centimetres and then start to wonder which inch   they should use since there were so many different units of that name. Someone   must have written about it in Katerina’s time – which inch did they   use? Did the author (19th century, I think) that spread this legend know or   even think about the fact that there were different inches about? Did they convert   them to modern inches, and if yes: To which one? And did they have proper information   about how long a contemporary inch was? That’s a lot of questions already. And   the 19th century author may well have invented it all, because as far as I know,   no contemporary source for the statement has been found. Well, let’s just say   we’re talking about 13 British Imperial inches. Even the most extreme modern-day   exponent of tight-lacing, Cathy Jung, only manages 15 Imperial inches in an hourglass corset. With a 16th   century conical corset, this would be impossible even if one takes into consideration   that women used to be smaller then.

The waist of Empress Sisi of Austria is sometimes given as 40 cm, sometimes   as 47, and even as 50 cm. That variance alone should engender doubt. However,   it is well known that she was a victim of her own vanity.

Some early photographs show women – mostly actresses – with extreme waists. In some cases, the rigid, artificial-looking posture shows that this   was not their normal state. Retouching was used extensively in those days and   brought forth masters of the art. Porn photographs of the time show women who   would not be considered slender by modern standards. Contemporary patterns of   the 1880s quote waist measurements of 58-64 cm, those of the 1890s (the height   of tight-lacing) 54-60 cm. With an average height of 160 cm, this seems realistic.


Corsets have been known to damage and tear the flesh, bruise internal organs and even crack ribs. There are also tales of death associated with its wear, when it’s use has been taken to extremes.

As you can guess, I’m now writing about my heroine ‘Jennifer Redcliff’ being laced into her corset. Will I take it to extremes? Of course! (It’s my fantasy after all…)


Image credits: and

7 thoughts on “The #Corset – How do You Wear Yours?

  1. Christina, may I ask, if this is a strong fantasy for you, can you trace it back to an event in your life that crystallized the fantasy?. I would be intensely curious to know so I can apply to my own situation 🙂 Missy x

    • Oh, I love just about everything in the land of BDSM, but I can safely say that reading Anne Rice’s Beauty Trilogy sent me off on a whole new path at a reasonably young age 🙂

      That lady has a lot to answer for… ~grin~

  2. I think corsets are sexy as all get out. Fun for play and fantasy. The corsets you’ve described in your historical retrospective were dangerous and did cause injury. One of the sexiest books I’ve read involving a corset was “Controlled Response” by Joey Hill in the anthology Unlaced. OMG!

  3. Funny you should mention Anne Rice and the Beauty trilogy. Reading your book I had some very fond flashbacks to that series…and I mean that as a compliment.
    Hope to be corset shopping for little flower soon, she is working towards a goal and when reached I promised her one.

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