Has any single article of clothing been at the heart of controversy as much as the corset? Okay, if you remove any given Lady GaGa costume out of the equation… then has any article of clothing been at the heart of controversy as much as the corset? Well? Dare you answer? Are you willing to pop out of your closet of fashion secrets long enough to say “yay” or “nay”?
I am. And I will. And you know you want to hear what I have to say.
The corset began as nothing more than an article of clothing worn to hold and shape the torso into a desired shape for aesthetic or medical purposes. The word “corset” comes from the French terms for “corps” and the diminutive for “body”. The word came into popular use around 1785 in “The Ladies Magazine” to refer to a quilted waistcoat.
In the early days, both men and women wore corsets to slim the body into conforming to a fashionable silhouette. The “hourglass shape” so many longed for was made possible by this piece of clothing. But even early treatments of spinal issues required the help of the corset.
But we don’t want to rail on about how corsets came to be or how they helped children stand up straight and tall (but I will say a hearty “bravo!” to the corset for such a noble purpose). What we want to talk about is far sexier than that. We want to talk about the corset in modern fashion — for both sexes. Does it get much yummier than that?
It’s not rare to see the corset make a comeback on the runway. Of course… those models already have worked hard at starving themselves into looking like little boys, so they need something to femme up their bodies! And why not the corset. Just a tug here and a pinch there and Voila! that little boy-waisted model now has a figure to speak of. Not only that, but breasts are nicely lifted front and center as those laces are brought together.
Okay, so I want to try to demystify something. The corset is not a device of torture (or at least doesn’t have to be). Have you ever worn a snug shirt or sweater? You can take a nicely made corset and NOT lace it down like you’re trying to cut your circulation off and still get an incredible look. That’s right — the corset doesn’t have to constrict! It can enhance, layer, add a bit of “smokin’ hot” to your look. And you don’t have to have a corset with titanium, steel, or adamantium boning! Nor do you have to spend $1,000 USD on your newest fashion bestie! In fact, you could drop couch-change on the right pair of Spanx and get some of that hourglass into your life.
But Spanx? Seriously? No. Not even slightly. We want everyone to see the glory of the corset. If you’re not concerned with forcing a polar bear body into the shape of a Barbie Doll, you don’t have to concern yourself with anything insanely pricey… and still keep an eye on fashion. Take, for instance, the fashion corset to the right. You can pick that baby up at the FashionCorset shop for $24.99 (plus shipping). You could also spend plenty o’ time shopping around there and wind up coming across this Red Leather Corset Dress (Holy Cow is that yummy!), which sells for a mere $37.99!
But what about men in corsets? Why not? If you’ve been reading me long enough, you know that i am all about breaking the trends, bucking the system, and crossing borders and boundaries most aren’t willing to cross. Hell, I cross genres, I cross dress, I cross the streams (Eddie Izzard and Dr. Peter Venkman would be so proud).
That doesn’t mean men have to do their best to break the record for the worlds smallest waist (13″ inches — shudder!). Nor does it mean men need to lose their masculinity in the wearing of the corset (although there’s nothing wrong with that either). Men can look classy, sexy, and super confident in a corset.
Ultimately It all boils down to what you like, what makes you feel good about yourself, what makes you sexy in your skin. I’m not into bondage, but I do like the feeling offered by a loosely laced corset. I sit up straight, I walk proud, men want to be me, and women want to do me.
Or at least that’s what goes on in the Jack…in the box…in my mind!
Corsets in film
We all know that corsets make their appearance in just about every period piece known to man. But le corsette isn’t relegated to only Victorian and Elizabethan drama! The corset appears in cinema across genres. One of my favorite uses of the corset in cinema was Selena (played by Kate Beckinsale) in Underworld. How could ANYONE, in their right mind, not think THAT is sexy? They can’t. Sorry. If you think that is not sexy, you are must leave this blog now! I give you leave, go!
Look, we all have a little freak in us. But it doesn’t take a freak to want to be sexy. Society and fashion has come such a long, long way. It would be a shame to knock it all back a decade or century and deny our innermost desires. So help me bring the corset back out of the dark ages and even darker closets to make it smexy again!