Corsets: constricting not restricting

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photo by Bethany Barker

Chay’s Closet is a recurring column where Staff Reporter Chanson Cadet shares her thoughts on the most recent trends in fashion.

The Regency Period is arguably the most romantic period in the history of Great Britain. It was a second renaissance as art and luxury flourished with the grand balls and high-society depicted in infamous Jane Austen novels like “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility.” With the influx in popularity of new media depicting this era through the Netflix series “Bridgerton, fans have grasped at anything that would put the magnificence of the period in reach and has mutually landed on one accessory: corsets.

Since their emergence in 16th century France, corsets have been customarily regarded as lingerie. As corsets have regained their popularity, the line between what is appropriate to be worn in public has been blurred. It is rather apparent that, as a society, our standard of modesty has drastically changed since the Regency era, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.

One of the most popular corset trends has been the corset tops created by Victoria’s Secret. As featured on TikTok, the “Dream Angels Unlined Bra Top” has incorporated the boning and push-up features of corsets into a sweet flowery garment people wear every day. 

Participants of the trend have placed a modern twist on the traditional piece, pairing corsets with jeans and t-shirts. Honestly, it works. Fashion is a cycle that constantly repeats itself with time, but it is not often something from hundreds of years ago makes an appearance. 

Being a fan of classic couture without the classic physique made me apprehensive about participating in this trend. I expected a full corset to cost an arm and a leg, so when I found underbust corsets on Amazon for only $13, I was intrigued. 

Ordering a waist-constricting torture device for less than the price of a tube of mascara does not typically go over well, but I was pleasantly surprised. The corsets combine classic and modern styles featuring the typical lacing and boning with a unique satin fabric that can make anyone feel like the belle of the ball. They are marketed as waist trainers and perform as such, but have an apparent lack of structure and are more expensive or traditional corset would have. 

The structure and natural elegance of corsets encourage proper behavior. Even without the extreme lengths that noblewomen would take their lacing to, corsets still give an amazing waist enhancing effect while also straightening out your posture. 

However, in their traditional form, corsets were impractical for everyday wear; causing women’s backs to bleed and ribs to be misplaced if not treated with proper care, so this trend is one where it may actually benefit you to go the cheap route when purchasing one of your own. Sites like Amazon and Shein are the best places to buy corsets for under $25, but if you are looking for something with a bit more class, House of CB offers a wide array of options.

The most unexpected consequence of this trend is the spotlight it is placing over period fashion. For those desiring a more fanciful wardrobe than just jeans and t-shirts, now is the time to spring into action. Picking up a pair of lace gloves in addition to your corset when browsing through Amazon will bring us one step closer to making gowns expected everyday attire once again.

Scan this qr code to view a Pinterest board of different corsets and ways to style them.
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