How the Victorian Corset Became a Thing of the Past

Emma Rose Millar

10.-Emilie-Floge-and-Gustav-Klimt Photograph of Emilie Floge and Gustav Klimt

I recently blogged about celebrated Viennese fashion designer, Emilie Flöge, whose signature loose fitting, wide sleeved dresses featured in many of the paintings by Gustav Klimt.

gustav_klimt_portrait-of-eugenia-primavesi Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Eugenia Mada Primavesi

But this style, known as Reform Dress, didn’t begin in Vienna, and its significance went way beyond being simply a fashion statement.

The task of getting dressed in the 1850s was an arduous one. Every morning, fashionable women would begin putting together structures that would create the perfect frame upon which to hang their gowns: stockings gartered above the knee, which restricted the circulation, knee length drawers and chemise, hip length vest and petticoat, a corset stiffened with strips of whalebone, which was tight laced, squeezing and rearranging the position of her internal organs. Next there was a corset cover, a bustle to made her look as if she had…

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About emmarosemillar

Mum, chocolate maker, author of THE WOMEN FRIENDS: SELINA and the award-winning novel FIVE GUNS BLAZING.
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