The corset is a lingerie piece that has had a long history and evolved through the eras to be a main stay in any erotic and sexy lingerie arsenal. A close fitting restrictive stiffened undergarment fastened with lacings, (known as stay) or a long line of a hook and eye closure and sometimes both. Starting either above or just below the bust and continues down to the waist or below the hips, generally with garters attached to its base.
Used to shape the body a corset flattens the stomach and up lifts the breast with structure added by the use of boning. Originally designed to support and shape the torso with a belting function to make the waist smaller and raise the breasts.
There are also other similar lingerie pieces that are closely related to the corset. As women’s needs have changed so too have the functionality of the corset, thus creating a market for various versions. The Corselette, also known as Basques a tubular garment including bra; girdle; shoulder straps and suspenders, it extends further than a corset to shape the hip area. The Clincher came about during the Second World War, as a modest corset creating the hourglass figure, not shaping the upper torso as much but shaping the waist. The Girdle is also part of the corset family as it is a light weight corset which extends from the waist to the upper thigh, usually rubberized or elasticized to shape the hips and lower waist.Torsolette and Bustier are also closely referred to and often mistaken as corsets as they are very similar.
During the 16th and 17th centuries corsets were worn by men and women, with the notion of flattening the chest, later it became preferable to accentuate the breasts. Men stopped wearing the corset because of this and it’s difficulty to move efficiently for work purposes. Shaping of the waist was also a must, the smaller the better from a fashion stand point. For many ladies, a 16- to 17-inch (40-42.5 cm) waist was desirable and was accomplished by lacing their corsets tighter and tighter.
Corset design was later influenced again by fashion and dances such as the tango and bunnyhug. During wartime with more women needed to in the work force, you would be forgiven in thinking the corset would lose its popularity. In fact the opposite was true, as the corset provided strong back support, design changed again to accommodate the need for more movement freedom.
With the invention and introduction of elasticized materials (elastic) and the development of fabric technology, plus the newer easier to wear brassiere and girdle combo, corsets became less essential and functional. Corsets and glamour lingerie gained popularity as a fashion accessory promoting fantasy and eroticism at the time when Hollywood silver screen sex goddesses influenced fashion.
Now less restrictive and more comfortable Corsets have become popular with the use of softer materials and decorative finishes. Today’s materials available can cater to every style and person preference: laces, fine cottons, stretch cottons like lycra, broderie anglaise, silks, satins, jacquards, crepe de chine, georgette, to the more erotic and fetish flavours of leather and rubber. It is common practice for women to wear corsets for the benefit and visual enjoyment of a partner, but never underestimate the raunchiness, sexiness, and intimacy experienced by lacing up a well fitted, beautiful corset.