Lace Corsets have been a mainstay in many societies since the early 1500’s. Over time, their look, shape feel, design and even purpose have adjusted with each era. The word “corset” has French origins, but later became a staple of the English language in the 1700’s. The skill of creating corsets is called corsetry. There have been 3 major uses for corsets throughout history: Fashion, medical and fetish.
Fashion is the most commonly used purpose of corsets. The slimming figure that a lace corset (often referred to as “hour glass) creates is that of a silhouette that over emphasizes the hips and waist. For men, corset have (and to this day still) are primarily used to slim the figure. Garters Belts are also know to complete a corset ensemble Steampunk Corset. The purpose of garter belts it to hold up stockings. Corsets are very popular at renaissance festivals throughout the United Sates and other parts of the world. Today corset wearing has experienced somewhat of a revival, with the focus of the corset being worn as underwear more so than outerwear. However, the steampunk culture reversed this same focus and makes use late Victorian fashion shapes in new ways, but the objective is still to improve the body in a responsible and safe manner.
People who have had serious injuries or back conditions can make use of corsets to assist with their ailments. Injuries of the internal nature and even scoliosis can be fitted with a form lace corset for treatment. Unlike lace corsets used for fashion and fetishes, medical corsets are generally worn under clothing.
Sexual Fetishism is the 3rd most popular use for corsets. The dominant person in these types of relationships can often be seen wearing a lace corset; imbuing an appearance that is unbending, authoritative and commanding. Outside of fetishism, corsets are quite commonplace during conventional sexual encounters or other engagements of the intimate variety.
Overbust corsets and underbust corsets are the two forms of corsets. Overbust corsets cover the mid section and the breasts, while an underbust corset cover only the midsection. Waist cinching corsets cover the waist and hip area. Corsets also come in the form of dresses or can be tailored to specific body parts. Corsets for the neck and mouth also exist. A corset dress is longer version of the traditional look. The main difference between the two is that it covers the leg area- partially or wholly.
When it comes to fashions, history dictates what comes and goes. Sometimes previous trends make returns. This is the case with the lace corset. It purpose is in tune with the goals of people, no matter the time period. Its flexible shape allows it to be redesigned and reformed to suit any color, any style and any occasion. The corset’s history is one of regality. Many high ranking officials and even royalty have made use of its skills. This symbolism is alive even today. Corset are known to provide a sense of confidence and empowerment to its wearers.