The Truth About Corsets!

Cat_243_dover_2 by Mary Jo, and more particularly, Nina Paules

Regular Word Wench visitor Nina Paules is writing a Regency historical so she decided to experience Regency costume first-hand.  I found Nina’s comments on her experience so interesting that I asked if I could stitch some of the highlights together in a “you are there” blog.  So, turning the pixels over to Nina:

NINA PAULES:  It all started with one innocent question.  “How far down the hip does a Regency corset extend,” I inquired of Kalen Hughes, during her November online class on HOW REGENCY CLOTHES WORK, (http://kalenhughes.com/) and where does all the extra (in my case fat) go when one sits down?"  I just had to know. 

Four months later, with the help of Kalen’s excellent suggestions and my Mamá’s ingenuity, I stood for the last fitting of my very own Regency corset.  Scandalously Regencycorsetfrontmm striped in ivory, gold and blue, it was the most beautiful undergarment I had ever owned.  It did magnificent things to my silhouette, lifting my DD’s to heights never before seen, even in my youth. 

And, oh! my posture—sitting straight required less effort thanks to the thick busk running from breast to about 2 inches below the navel and standing tall with shoulders back was all that I could do.  And while bending at the waist was now a foreign concept as was raising the shoulder above its normal set, limited movement was a small price to pay for the exquisite beauty of my décolletage.

Regencycorsetbackmm Now, lest you think me crazy, which would not be wholly inaccurate, or find me self possessed, I had a very good reason for doing this mad thing, my dear fellow wenchlings.  Research!  I did it all in the name of research.  If I was to convincingly transplant a 21st century heroine into 19th century England, I needed to know, (and so did she) how it felt to wear a corset.  But, before I could don my stays and play the buxom Regency hoyden to my hero, I received an email from Mary Jo.  A Ladies’ Regency Weekend was being held in Riverdale, Maryland.  I just had to go.

More advice from Kalen, countless trips to fabric stores, twice as many fittings and three waves from my Mamá’s magic wand, made me the proud owner of a white eyelet, full-length petticoat, a deep purple walking dress with matching bonnet and reticule, a simple yet elegant day dress and a burgundy-red silk ball gown with matching shoes and gloves that was sure to turn any royal duchess green with envy. 

Walkingdressmm I was stunned by how much yardage it took to make these delightful confections.  When wearing my day dress, I am encased in four different layers (shift, corset, petticoat, dress), totaling about 15 yards of fabric and at my back are 8 hooks and four different gathering laces safely securing everything in place.  Experiencing the putting on and taking off of so many layers along with the hooking of the hooks and tying of the strings, put me to wondering just how do our heroes manage to avoid entangling themselves while attempting to free their heroines’ from those bothersome frocks.  But, I suppose that is what makes them heroes, eh? (Nina in the walking dress at right.)

Oh, by the by, did I mention that not one garment, save the shift, am I able to put on or take off by myself.  Hmm.

Swathed in my purple walking frock, I arrived, quite alone, at Riversdale in the late afternoon of April 20.  The mansion was completed in 1807 and was originally the home of George and Rosalie Calvert.  ( http://www.riversdale.org/ ) The 90 minute car ride had left me feeling rather breathless and confined.  Sitting with one’s bum lower than the thighs (as in a bucket seat) while trussed in a corset is quite uncomfortable, indeed.  Bring on the straight-backed seat of a traveling coach!

Glad to be free of my incommodious mode of transportation, I dropped my anachronistic keys into my reticule, donned my flowered purple bonnet and ivory tatted gloves, then set myself to lifting my portmanteau (a.k.a. suitcase) from the trunk. 

Pettycoatmm It was here I discovered a corset posed greater than expected limitations on independence.  The heavy busk, which I had become quite accustomed to, unexpectedly rendered my abdominal strength wholly ineffective for lifting.  Now I know why Ladies have need of a footman.

(MJP: Nina entered Riversdale and was greeted by the hostess (Ann Wass) and offered refreshments.  She found that several of the dozen or so ladies present were writers of Regencies, creating a most congenial company.  Then came dinner….)

NINA:  I supped upon cold ham, an assortment of cheese, bread and a most wonderful unleavened cake topped with lemon curd, all the while learning that eating in a corset required more than a bit of finesse.  That is if one wished to keep one’s décolletage free of food and earn a view of the plate set before her. 

Riversdale_mansion Firstly, I scooted back a bit in my chair, but the distance left my lap perilously exposed.  So I discreetly reseated myself and pushed my plate a bit deeper into the table, but that merely increased the opportunity for an errant blob of mustard or curd to most embarrassingly drizzle over the brocade table linen.  Finally, I gently nudged the food to the far side of plate (so I could see it) and carefully tended to each piece before allowing it to embark upon the perilous journey over the two ripe melons protruding above my bodice as if proudly displayed on a grocer’s shelf.

As the evening aged, I thought to slip away from the activities and prepare for bed.  But I was quickly reminded by the swish of skirts about my feet that I was not able to undo even one hook to free myself from the many swathing layers.  No longer was I the independent, self reliant modern woman I had been just twelve hours ago.  Indeed, I was becoming a Regency lady.

Mycorsetbuddymm  Soon the evening was called and wonderful Marie—my tall, young “corset buddy” (an arrangement we had secretly made earlier in the day) — set her nimble fingers to the task and before long, the walking dress and petticoat slid over my hips.  I could taste the coming freedom.  Then she began to tug on my double knotted corset strings and I suddenly realized my lovelies were about to head south, very far south, in front of her.  In front of everybody!  (Right–Nina and her "corset buddy," Marie Grenchik.)

That I would be naked, as my shift covered me wholly, from shoulder to knee.  Nor was anyone staring.  But I am, as most women probably are, accustomed to much more privacy when my less than flattering secrets are laid bare.  No wonder ladies insisted on traveling with their maids as submitting one’s self (and one’s best kept secrets) to a stranger feels, well, strange. 

(MJP: After an educational Saaturday of sewing, gaming, and socialization–and glancing out the window to estimate time since the modern watch had gone the way of the car keys–it was time for the ball that would end the Regency weekend.)

Ballgownfullmm  NINA: We danced and played the evening away, a swirl of community held together by the illusion of transport we all seemed to guard tightly in our breasts.  The dances were divine, allowing every dancer to dance with every other in the room as we turned and turned again, always reaching for another’s gloved hand.  We left for the gaming tables just as the windows of the Great Hall were being thrown open, inviting the cool night air to join us when next we returned.  And we did return, drunk with laughter, and danced again. 

Issmariegrenchikmrskristinacookmrji Much too soon, the evening ended with the Duke of Kent’s Waltz and a hearty huzzah for Mr. Jim Wass, our most excellent and long-suffering dance master. (The picture shows Maria Grenchik (green gown), author Kristina Cook (blue gown), Jim Wass (Dance Master), and Nina in her magnificent burgundy ball gown.)

Then, I stood, damp with exertion, my corset buddy at my back, again, her nimble fingers tugging on the corset strings.  Embarrassment did not enter my mind as we laughed and talked and others came and went from the room, suitcases and gowns in hand, saying a fond Adieu.  When at last I tugged on my jeans, an empty quiet had fallen over Riversdale, almost as if it had all been a dream.  But the levity in my heart and the cloud of crowned curls upon my head promised it had not. 

Regencydaydresssidemm My faithful corset tucked under my arm, I descended the front marble steps, alone as when I entered, suitcase bumping along behind me.  The illusion fading, I wondered who had the better life?–us with our easy “on/off” bras and stretchy clothing or them with hooks they couldn’t reach and laces they couldn’t untie?   “They had the better life,” was my mental decision as I easily lifted the suitcase into the trunk, then comfortably slipped into the driver’s seat.  Those women, I mused, really needed one another.  And from that base need there seemed to bloom joy in companionship. 

I started the car, then glanced back and waved my own fond farewell to a time in which I can only dream (and write) about.

Oh, by the by, should any of you still be wondering where all the fat goes when I sit down… well, thank goodness Regency stays aren’t laced that tight!

(MJP: I couldn’t resist adding a lovely meditation on Regency sensuality that Nina sent me in a separate e-mail):

NINA: It’s sort of hard to explain but wearing Regency fashion is like trading independence for power.  IMHO, both women and men lost something in the sexual revolution.  Women lost the power to tantalize and lure the opposite sex.  Men don’t need to dance with us as an excuse to touch our hand.  They don’t need to charm us with wit or a smile in public as they can freely put an arm around our waist.  We are no longer a mystery to them.  We are independent.  Their equal.  So, why should they have to open a door or help us on with our coat? 

Walkingdressfrontmm  But in proper Regency dress, while a healthy expanse of “neck” is available for admiring eyes, the shape of the body remains a mystery.  A very tantalizing one.  The right to unwrap the pretty package must be earned with winks and smiles, dancing and wit, sweet nothings and flowers.  While lacking independence, woman owned a great deal of power. 

The first time my husband saw me in my ball gown he gave me a smile I haven’t seen since our wedding day.  He wanted to unwrap the package (though he has seen it thousands of times) and he instinctively knew what he must do to do to earn the right.  Perhaps it was because I appeared untouchable, a delicate glass vase set high upon a shelf, something he could only admire.  In our entire married lives we have never danced more than once or twice.  But the night of the Regency Weekend, he took my hand, led me onto the dance floor and we danced.  After the last set he was very glad the package was his to take home and unwrap.  <g>

Thank you, Mary Jo, for having me as your guest on Word Wenches.  It has been wonderful fun.

MJP: So there are the experiences and insights of a thoughtful wenchling.  How about the rest of you?  Have you had Regency experiences you’d like to share?  Have Nina’s observations invoked some startled thoughts?  (No upper body strength gave me pause.)  If so, tell us about them!

Mary Jo, offering many thanks to Nina for sharing her Regency experiences!

180 thoughts on “The Truth About Corsets!”

  1. I’m with you on the upper body strength, I disagree strongly on the feminism = loss of power. Being able to leave = power. The mystery and sexual aspects require effort – the Regency miss was no longer a mystery after marriage so what then? Keeping interest at a high level is a timeless issue.
    I’ll take now. I tend to think not of the ballroom, but of the endless days and nights in captivity – at the mercy of other’s schedules, other’s choices about what’s appropriate for you, other’s capricious whims. That said, several of my girlfriends have worn corsets instead of bras for years and they do have much perkier puppies than I.

    Reply
  2. I’m with you on the upper body strength, I disagree strongly on the feminism = loss of power. Being able to leave = power. The mystery and sexual aspects require effort – the Regency miss was no longer a mystery after marriage so what then? Keeping interest at a high level is a timeless issue.
    I’ll take now. I tend to think not of the ballroom, but of the endless days and nights in captivity – at the mercy of other’s schedules, other’s choices about what’s appropriate for you, other’s capricious whims. That said, several of my girlfriends have worn corsets instead of bras for years and they do have much perkier puppies than I.

    Reply
  3. I’m with you on the upper body strength, I disagree strongly on the feminism = loss of power. Being able to leave = power. The mystery and sexual aspects require effort – the Regency miss was no longer a mystery after marriage so what then? Keeping interest at a high level is a timeless issue.
    I’ll take now. I tend to think not of the ballroom, but of the endless days and nights in captivity – at the mercy of other’s schedules, other’s choices about what’s appropriate for you, other’s capricious whims. That said, several of my girlfriends have worn corsets instead of bras for years and they do have much perkier puppies than I.

    Reply
  4. I’m with you on the upper body strength, I disagree strongly on the feminism = loss of power. Being able to leave = power. The mystery and sexual aspects require effort – the Regency miss was no longer a mystery after marriage so what then? Keeping interest at a high level is a timeless issue.
    I’ll take now. I tend to think not of the ballroom, but of the endless days and nights in captivity – at the mercy of other’s schedules, other’s choices about what’s appropriate for you, other’s capricious whims. That said, several of my girlfriends have worn corsets instead of bras for years and they do have much perkier puppies than I.

    Reply
  5. Could you imagine having to wear those corset everyday? Painful. But then there are some things that I would love to have seen and experienced.

    Reply
  6. Could you imagine having to wear those corset everyday? Painful. But then there are some things that I would love to have seen and experienced.

    Reply
  7. Could you imagine having to wear those corset everyday? Painful. But then there are some things that I would love to have seen and experienced.

    Reply
  8. Could you imagine having to wear those corset everyday? Painful. But then there are some things that I would love to have seen and experienced.

    Reply
  9. Oh yes, the whole “picture worth a thousand words” certainly fits here, and experiencing the fit is something I must try to do.
    You are right, it is beautiful!

    Reply
  10. Oh yes, the whole “picture worth a thousand words” certainly fits here, and experiencing the fit is something I must try to do.
    You are right, it is beautiful!

    Reply
  11. Oh yes, the whole “picture worth a thousand words” certainly fits here, and experiencing the fit is something I must try to do.
    You are right, it is beautiful!

    Reply
  12. Oh yes, the whole “picture worth a thousand words” certainly fits here, and experiencing the fit is something I must try to do.
    You are right, it is beautiful!

    Reply
  13. Oh, Nina! Thanks for sharing your adventure. Loved the bit about your uplifted orbs obscuring your food! Clothing (and its removal) plays a big part in the thing I’m working on now, and I know it’s really not going to be historically accurate as women simply could not dress and undress themselves, no matter what the impetus. I’m so glad you enjoyed the step back in time. I can’t even wear a longline strapless bra without wanting to shoot somebody.

    Reply
  14. Oh, Nina! Thanks for sharing your adventure. Loved the bit about your uplifted orbs obscuring your food! Clothing (and its removal) plays a big part in the thing I’m working on now, and I know it’s really not going to be historically accurate as women simply could not dress and undress themselves, no matter what the impetus. I’m so glad you enjoyed the step back in time. I can’t even wear a longline strapless bra without wanting to shoot somebody.

    Reply
  15. Oh, Nina! Thanks for sharing your adventure. Loved the bit about your uplifted orbs obscuring your food! Clothing (and its removal) plays a big part in the thing I’m working on now, and I know it’s really not going to be historically accurate as women simply could not dress and undress themselves, no matter what the impetus. I’m so glad you enjoyed the step back in time. I can’t even wear a longline strapless bra without wanting to shoot somebody.

    Reply
  16. Oh, Nina! Thanks for sharing your adventure. Loved the bit about your uplifted orbs obscuring your food! Clothing (and its removal) plays a big part in the thing I’m working on now, and I know it’s really not going to be historically accurate as women simply could not dress and undress themselves, no matter what the impetus. I’m so glad you enjoyed the step back in time. I can’t even wear a longline strapless bra without wanting to shoot somebody.

    Reply
  17. Thanks for a wonderful and witty post on the joys of Regency attire.
    I’m afraid that I have to vote for “now” too. I like my independence far to much, and have learned on a personal level that the power to be able to leave and support myself in a field that pays well is priceless.

    Reply
  18. Thanks for a wonderful and witty post on the joys of Regency attire.
    I’m afraid that I have to vote for “now” too. I like my independence far to much, and have learned on a personal level that the power to be able to leave and support myself in a field that pays well is priceless.

    Reply
  19. Thanks for a wonderful and witty post on the joys of Regency attire.
    I’m afraid that I have to vote for “now” too. I like my independence far to much, and have learned on a personal level that the power to be able to leave and support myself in a field that pays well is priceless.

    Reply
  20. Thanks for a wonderful and witty post on the joys of Regency attire.
    I’m afraid that I have to vote for “now” too. I like my independence far to much, and have learned on a personal level that the power to be able to leave and support myself in a field that pays well is priceless.

    Reply
  21. From Nina:
    Top of the morning to you Mary Jo! Fabulous job with the post and pictures. Bravo! You made being a WWs guest great of fun.
    Liz… With you on “The mystery and sexual aspects [of marriage] require effort.” It is a timeless challenge.
    KimberlyL – I have considered making my corset part of my everyday life, but the hotels I regularly visit in the course of work don’t offer the service of a lady’s maid and the hotel manager is rarely up to the task.
    Gillian… yes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Didn’t Mary Jo do a wonderful job? And, if you get the chance to experience a corset, do!
    Maggie… I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Dealing with the historically accurate dependency issues around dressing and undressing is challenging. I’ve always thought involving the hero in the required effort, without allowing him to enjoy the fruits of his labor, would be an interesting way to go.

    Reply
  22. From Nina:
    Top of the morning to you Mary Jo! Fabulous job with the post and pictures. Bravo! You made being a WWs guest great of fun.
    Liz… With you on “The mystery and sexual aspects [of marriage] require effort.” It is a timeless challenge.
    KimberlyL – I have considered making my corset part of my everyday life, but the hotels I regularly visit in the course of work don’t offer the service of a lady’s maid and the hotel manager is rarely up to the task.
    Gillian… yes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Didn’t Mary Jo do a wonderful job? And, if you get the chance to experience a corset, do!
    Maggie… I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Dealing with the historically accurate dependency issues around dressing and undressing is challenging. I’ve always thought involving the hero in the required effort, without allowing him to enjoy the fruits of his labor, would be an interesting way to go.

    Reply
  23. From Nina:
    Top of the morning to you Mary Jo! Fabulous job with the post and pictures. Bravo! You made being a WWs guest great of fun.
    Liz… With you on “The mystery and sexual aspects [of marriage] require effort.” It is a timeless challenge.
    KimberlyL – I have considered making my corset part of my everyday life, but the hotels I regularly visit in the course of work don’t offer the service of a lady’s maid and the hotel manager is rarely up to the task.
    Gillian… yes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Didn’t Mary Jo do a wonderful job? And, if you get the chance to experience a corset, do!
    Maggie… I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Dealing with the historically accurate dependency issues around dressing and undressing is challenging. I’ve always thought involving the hero in the required effort, without allowing him to enjoy the fruits of his labor, would be an interesting way to go.

    Reply
  24. From Nina:
    Top of the morning to you Mary Jo! Fabulous job with the post and pictures. Bravo! You made being a WWs guest great of fun.
    Liz… With you on “The mystery and sexual aspects [of marriage] require effort.” It is a timeless challenge.
    KimberlyL – I have considered making my corset part of my everyday life, but the hotels I regularly visit in the course of work don’t offer the service of a lady’s maid and the hotel manager is rarely up to the task.
    Gillian… yes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Didn’t Mary Jo do a wonderful job? And, if you get the chance to experience a corset, do!
    Maggie… I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Dealing with the historically accurate dependency issues around dressing and undressing is challenging. I’ve always thought involving the hero in the required effort, without allowing him to enjoy the fruits of his labor, would be an interesting way to go.

    Reply
  25. Great summary of the weekend, Nina. And I have to second JackieToo–your Mama is VERY talented. I had the pleasure of being on the weekend and observing your gowns firsthand. They are to die for!

    Reply
  26. Great summary of the weekend, Nina. And I have to second JackieToo–your Mama is VERY talented. I had the pleasure of being on the weekend and observing your gowns firsthand. They are to die for!

    Reply
  27. Great summary of the weekend, Nina. And I have to second JackieToo–your Mama is VERY talented. I had the pleasure of being on the weekend and observing your gowns firsthand. They are to die for!

    Reply
  28. Great summary of the weekend, Nina. And I have to second JackieToo–your Mama is VERY talented. I had the pleasure of being on the weekend and observing your gowns firsthand. They are to die for!

    Reply
  29. Nina, your gowns are just as beautiful as you are. I loved what the corset did to your figure. The back view of the corset showed off the waist and swell of the hips beautifully. I imagine it was a very “uplifting” experience, too. *g*
    How fortunate you are that your mother is such a spectacular seamstress. And just think–you can claim those clothes and your Regency weekend as “research” on your taxes!

    Reply
  30. Nina, your gowns are just as beautiful as you are. I loved what the corset did to your figure. The back view of the corset showed off the waist and swell of the hips beautifully. I imagine it was a very “uplifting” experience, too. *g*
    How fortunate you are that your mother is such a spectacular seamstress. And just think–you can claim those clothes and your Regency weekend as “research” on your taxes!

    Reply
  31. Nina, your gowns are just as beautiful as you are. I loved what the corset did to your figure. The back view of the corset showed off the waist and swell of the hips beautifully. I imagine it was a very “uplifting” experience, too. *g*
    How fortunate you are that your mother is such a spectacular seamstress. And just think–you can claim those clothes and your Regency weekend as “research” on your taxes!

    Reply
  32. Nina, your gowns are just as beautiful as you are. I loved what the corset did to your figure. The back view of the corset showed off the waist and swell of the hips beautifully. I imagine it was a very “uplifting” experience, too. *g*
    How fortunate you are that your mother is such a spectacular seamstress. And just think–you can claim those clothes and your Regency weekend as “research” on your taxes!

    Reply
  33. From Nina:
    A hearty thank you to everyone for your kind words about my Regency Wardrobe. I am very blessed to have such a talented Mama.
    And yes, Susan in DC, she does adopt. There were several ladies at the weekend talking to her about having dresses made. But what she’s really itching to try her hand at again is another corset. I think she enjoyed the effect of transformation almost as much as I did.
    Sally MacKenzie!… thanks for stopping by. My gowns may be to die for, but it’s THE NAKED EARL that I’ve been enjoying. Great book.
    Sherrie… Yes, wearing a corset is a very uplifting experience, especially when one sits down. (I didn’t have the guts to send that photo to Mary Jo, for fear she’d use it.) Oh, and then there’s what happens when one decides to enjoy an overstuffed sofa. Is a helpless beached baby whale coming to mind?
    But if one can avoid soft chairs and overstuffed sofas, a corset will take years off the body. Truly! When at dinner, (during the Regency Weekend) I introduced my family to the guests at the table (who have never seen me out of a corset) and jaws dropped. They refused to believe I was 40 with a 12 year old daughter and had been married for half my life. It’s the corset, I told them. What else could I say?

    Reply
  34. From Nina:
    A hearty thank you to everyone for your kind words about my Regency Wardrobe. I am very blessed to have such a talented Mama.
    And yes, Susan in DC, she does adopt. There were several ladies at the weekend talking to her about having dresses made. But what she’s really itching to try her hand at again is another corset. I think she enjoyed the effect of transformation almost as much as I did.
    Sally MacKenzie!… thanks for stopping by. My gowns may be to die for, but it’s THE NAKED EARL that I’ve been enjoying. Great book.
    Sherrie… Yes, wearing a corset is a very uplifting experience, especially when one sits down. (I didn’t have the guts to send that photo to Mary Jo, for fear she’d use it.) Oh, and then there’s what happens when one decides to enjoy an overstuffed sofa. Is a helpless beached baby whale coming to mind?
    But if one can avoid soft chairs and overstuffed sofas, a corset will take years off the body. Truly! When at dinner, (during the Regency Weekend) I introduced my family to the guests at the table (who have never seen me out of a corset) and jaws dropped. They refused to believe I was 40 with a 12 year old daughter and had been married for half my life. It’s the corset, I told them. What else could I say?

    Reply
  35. From Nina:
    A hearty thank you to everyone for your kind words about my Regency Wardrobe. I am very blessed to have such a talented Mama.
    And yes, Susan in DC, she does adopt. There were several ladies at the weekend talking to her about having dresses made. But what she’s really itching to try her hand at again is another corset. I think she enjoyed the effect of transformation almost as much as I did.
    Sally MacKenzie!… thanks for stopping by. My gowns may be to die for, but it’s THE NAKED EARL that I’ve been enjoying. Great book.
    Sherrie… Yes, wearing a corset is a very uplifting experience, especially when one sits down. (I didn’t have the guts to send that photo to Mary Jo, for fear she’d use it.) Oh, and then there’s what happens when one decides to enjoy an overstuffed sofa. Is a helpless beached baby whale coming to mind?
    But if one can avoid soft chairs and overstuffed sofas, a corset will take years off the body. Truly! When at dinner, (during the Regency Weekend) I introduced my family to the guests at the table (who have never seen me out of a corset) and jaws dropped. They refused to believe I was 40 with a 12 year old daughter and had been married for half my life. It’s the corset, I told them. What else could I say?

    Reply
  36. From Nina:
    A hearty thank you to everyone for your kind words about my Regency Wardrobe. I am very blessed to have such a talented Mama.
    And yes, Susan in DC, she does adopt. There were several ladies at the weekend talking to her about having dresses made. But what she’s really itching to try her hand at again is another corset. I think she enjoyed the effect of transformation almost as much as I did.
    Sally MacKenzie!… thanks for stopping by. My gowns may be to die for, but it’s THE NAKED EARL that I’ve been enjoying. Great book.
    Sherrie… Yes, wearing a corset is a very uplifting experience, especially when one sits down. (I didn’t have the guts to send that photo to Mary Jo, for fear she’d use it.) Oh, and then there’s what happens when one decides to enjoy an overstuffed sofa. Is a helpless beached baby whale coming to mind?
    But if one can avoid soft chairs and overstuffed sofas, a corset will take years off the body. Truly! When at dinner, (during the Regency Weekend) I introduced my family to the guests at the table (who have never seen me out of a corset) and jaws dropped. They refused to believe I was 40 with a 12 year old daughter and had been married for half my life. It’s the corset, I told them. What else could I say?

    Reply
  37. What a fantastic blog, thanks to both of you for putting your heads together on this!
    Very interesting insights, Nina, sort of an Everywoman’s Guide to Wearing Regency Dress. And you look wonderful in those gorgeous dresses, as if you feel right at home wearing the clothes. I can imagine dancing and dining in a corset and gown– but long distance driving while wearing a full corset is a whole other consideration! wow.
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  38. What a fantastic blog, thanks to both of you for putting your heads together on this!
    Very interesting insights, Nina, sort of an Everywoman’s Guide to Wearing Regency Dress. And you look wonderful in those gorgeous dresses, as if you feel right at home wearing the clothes. I can imagine dancing and dining in a corset and gown– but long distance driving while wearing a full corset is a whole other consideration! wow.
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  39. What a fantastic blog, thanks to both of you for putting your heads together on this!
    Very interesting insights, Nina, sort of an Everywoman’s Guide to Wearing Regency Dress. And you look wonderful in those gorgeous dresses, as if you feel right at home wearing the clothes. I can imagine dancing and dining in a corset and gown– but long distance driving while wearing a full corset is a whole other consideration! wow.
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  40. What a fantastic blog, thanks to both of you for putting your heads together on this!
    Very interesting insights, Nina, sort of an Everywoman’s Guide to Wearing Regency Dress. And you look wonderful in those gorgeous dresses, as if you feel right at home wearing the clothes. I can imagine dancing and dining in a corset and gown– but long distance driving while wearing a full corset is a whole other consideration! wow.
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  41. I, too, had the pleasure of seeing how stunning Nina looked in those gowns that weekend! The photos don’t even do justice. Everyone was drooling over her ensembles!
    I, too, wore a corset most of the weekend, and it was definitely an eye-opener for me. More than anything, I realized how physically ‘restrained’ the heroines are that I write about. The busk makes it impossible to slouch–I really appreciated that aspect of wearing the corset as my back never felt better. But it also makes it impossible to bend from the waist, as Nina said, or to raise your arms above your shoulders. Once, I made the egregious error of donning my shift, stays, and gown BEFORE donning my slippers. Big mistake. It’s nearly impossible to reach one’s feet, once you’re laced into the corset, no matter how loosely it’s laced. I felt quite helpless sometimes, and realized just how necessary a lady’s maid was.
    Another interesting lesson was learned when I was asked to read a passage from Northanger Abbey aloud–and reading aloud is something that Regency misses did quite often. Between the super long sentences and the corset I was wearing, I found myself entirely breathless by the time I finished a passage. Reading just a page and a half left me gasping for air!
    Also, I’m slightly claustrophobic, and a couple of times I got very panicky at the thought that I was laced into that thing and couldn’t get out of it on my own, even if I wanted to. Very scary.

    Reply
  42. I, too, had the pleasure of seeing how stunning Nina looked in those gowns that weekend! The photos don’t even do justice. Everyone was drooling over her ensembles!
    I, too, wore a corset most of the weekend, and it was definitely an eye-opener for me. More than anything, I realized how physically ‘restrained’ the heroines are that I write about. The busk makes it impossible to slouch–I really appreciated that aspect of wearing the corset as my back never felt better. But it also makes it impossible to bend from the waist, as Nina said, or to raise your arms above your shoulders. Once, I made the egregious error of donning my shift, stays, and gown BEFORE donning my slippers. Big mistake. It’s nearly impossible to reach one’s feet, once you’re laced into the corset, no matter how loosely it’s laced. I felt quite helpless sometimes, and realized just how necessary a lady’s maid was.
    Another interesting lesson was learned when I was asked to read a passage from Northanger Abbey aloud–and reading aloud is something that Regency misses did quite often. Between the super long sentences and the corset I was wearing, I found myself entirely breathless by the time I finished a passage. Reading just a page and a half left me gasping for air!
    Also, I’m slightly claustrophobic, and a couple of times I got very panicky at the thought that I was laced into that thing and couldn’t get out of it on my own, even if I wanted to. Very scary.

    Reply
  43. I, too, had the pleasure of seeing how stunning Nina looked in those gowns that weekend! The photos don’t even do justice. Everyone was drooling over her ensembles!
    I, too, wore a corset most of the weekend, and it was definitely an eye-opener for me. More than anything, I realized how physically ‘restrained’ the heroines are that I write about. The busk makes it impossible to slouch–I really appreciated that aspect of wearing the corset as my back never felt better. But it also makes it impossible to bend from the waist, as Nina said, or to raise your arms above your shoulders. Once, I made the egregious error of donning my shift, stays, and gown BEFORE donning my slippers. Big mistake. It’s nearly impossible to reach one’s feet, once you’re laced into the corset, no matter how loosely it’s laced. I felt quite helpless sometimes, and realized just how necessary a lady’s maid was.
    Another interesting lesson was learned when I was asked to read a passage from Northanger Abbey aloud–and reading aloud is something that Regency misses did quite often. Between the super long sentences and the corset I was wearing, I found myself entirely breathless by the time I finished a passage. Reading just a page and a half left me gasping for air!
    Also, I’m slightly claustrophobic, and a couple of times I got very panicky at the thought that I was laced into that thing and couldn’t get out of it on my own, even if I wanted to. Very scary.

    Reply
  44. I, too, had the pleasure of seeing how stunning Nina looked in those gowns that weekend! The photos don’t even do justice. Everyone was drooling over her ensembles!
    I, too, wore a corset most of the weekend, and it was definitely an eye-opener for me. More than anything, I realized how physically ‘restrained’ the heroines are that I write about. The busk makes it impossible to slouch–I really appreciated that aspect of wearing the corset as my back never felt better. But it also makes it impossible to bend from the waist, as Nina said, or to raise your arms above your shoulders. Once, I made the egregious error of donning my shift, stays, and gown BEFORE donning my slippers. Big mistake. It’s nearly impossible to reach one’s feet, once you’re laced into the corset, no matter how loosely it’s laced. I felt quite helpless sometimes, and realized just how necessary a lady’s maid was.
    Another interesting lesson was learned when I was asked to read a passage from Northanger Abbey aloud–and reading aloud is something that Regency misses did quite often. Between the super long sentences and the corset I was wearing, I found myself entirely breathless by the time I finished a passage. Reading just a page and a half left me gasping for air!
    Also, I’m slightly claustrophobic, and a couple of times I got very panicky at the thought that I was laced into that thing and couldn’t get out of it on my own, even if I wanted to. Very scary.

    Reply
  45. Kristina… LOL! about the shoes. What ever did you do?
    Thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights with us. I remember you reading from NA. The breathlessness made you appear to be a delicately fragile Bath-miss.
    Nina

    Reply
  46. Kristina… LOL! about the shoes. What ever did you do?
    Thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights with us. I remember you reading from NA. The breathlessness made you appear to be a delicately fragile Bath-miss.
    Nina

    Reply
  47. Kristina… LOL! about the shoes. What ever did you do?
    Thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights with us. I remember you reading from NA. The breathlessness made you appear to be a delicately fragile Bath-miss.
    Nina

    Reply
  48. Kristina… LOL! about the shoes. What ever did you do?
    Thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights with us. I remember you reading from NA. The breathlessness made you appear to be a delicately fragile Bath-miss.
    Nina

    Reply
  49. Nina!!! Your stays are AMAZING, and your gowns look wonderful. I’m so glad it all worked out so beautifully. Next year I’m going to have to see if I can fly out to play with you all.
    I loving seeing (and hearing) about such successful adventures. Thanks so much for sharing yours!

    Reply
  50. Nina!!! Your stays are AMAZING, and your gowns look wonderful. I’m so glad it all worked out so beautifully. Next year I’m going to have to see if I can fly out to play with you all.
    I loving seeing (and hearing) about such successful adventures. Thanks so much for sharing yours!

    Reply
  51. Nina!!! Your stays are AMAZING, and your gowns look wonderful. I’m so glad it all worked out so beautifully. Next year I’m going to have to see if I can fly out to play with you all.
    I loving seeing (and hearing) about such successful adventures. Thanks so much for sharing yours!

    Reply
  52. Nina!!! Your stays are AMAZING, and your gowns look wonderful. I’m so glad it all worked out so beautifully. Next year I’m going to have to see if I can fly out to play with you all.
    I loving seeing (and hearing) about such successful adventures. Thanks so much for sharing yours!

    Reply
  53. From MJP:
    I’m too much a product of my times to relish the idea of giving up my hard won independence to be a Regency lady, but I love Nina’s comments on the trade-offs, and how clothing shapes our self-image and interaction with the world. I think I’m beginning to understand why furniture of the time was so hard! Clearly the over stuffed styles of today (which I LOVE) where like quicksand for corseted ladies.
    I ahouls hCW mentioned that Nina supplied all the photos. Naturally I wouldn’t have used one she preferred not to use, but now she’s made me curious about what didn’t get sent. 🙂
    Kristina, that’s interesting how the combination of garments and reading left you hard up for breath. I suspect my latent claustrophobia would start kicking under such circumstances!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  54. From MJP:
    I’m too much a product of my times to relish the idea of giving up my hard won independence to be a Regency lady, but I love Nina’s comments on the trade-offs, and how clothing shapes our self-image and interaction with the world. I think I’m beginning to understand why furniture of the time was so hard! Clearly the over stuffed styles of today (which I LOVE) where like quicksand for corseted ladies.
    I ahouls hCW mentioned that Nina supplied all the photos. Naturally I wouldn’t have used one she preferred not to use, but now she’s made me curious about what didn’t get sent. 🙂
    Kristina, that’s interesting how the combination of garments and reading left you hard up for breath. I suspect my latent claustrophobia would start kicking under such circumstances!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  55. From MJP:
    I’m too much a product of my times to relish the idea of giving up my hard won independence to be a Regency lady, but I love Nina’s comments on the trade-offs, and how clothing shapes our self-image and interaction with the world. I think I’m beginning to understand why furniture of the time was so hard! Clearly the over stuffed styles of today (which I LOVE) where like quicksand for corseted ladies.
    I ahouls hCW mentioned that Nina supplied all the photos. Naturally I wouldn’t have used one she preferred not to use, but now she’s made me curious about what didn’t get sent. 🙂
    Kristina, that’s interesting how the combination of garments and reading left you hard up for breath. I suspect my latent claustrophobia would start kicking under such circumstances!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  56. From MJP:
    I’m too much a product of my times to relish the idea of giving up my hard won independence to be a Regency lady, but I love Nina’s comments on the trade-offs, and how clothing shapes our self-image and interaction with the world. I think I’m beginning to understand why furniture of the time was so hard! Clearly the over stuffed styles of today (which I LOVE) where like quicksand for corseted ladies.
    I ahouls hCW mentioned that Nina supplied all the photos. Naturally I wouldn’t have used one she preferred not to use, but now she’s made me curious about what didn’t get sent. 🙂
    Kristina, that’s interesting how the combination of garments and reading left you hard up for breath. I suspect my latent claustrophobia would start kicking under such circumstances!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  57. Hi Nina and Mary Jo!
    What fun this was to read. I loved the photos! Nina, I am mind-numbingly envious of your beautiful corset and wardrobe. What a mom you have!
    I have a couple of impertinent questions. . . (smile)
    First, what happened to the corset during pregnancy? Was it completely abandoned? Or was there some kind of special pregnancy version? (Perhaps a nice supportive sling?)
    And second–Nina, how was the–er–underwear issue handled? Did you have some lovely pantalettes? Did you go au naturel (isn’t that the historically accurate way)? Did you cling to the 21st century and wear a lovely bikini or thong? Or is this perhaps something a Regency Lady (even a temporary one) Just Does Not Discuss?
    (This reminds me of the “boxers or briefs” question. . . sorry!)
    Melinda

    Reply
  58. Hi Nina and Mary Jo!
    What fun this was to read. I loved the photos! Nina, I am mind-numbingly envious of your beautiful corset and wardrobe. What a mom you have!
    I have a couple of impertinent questions. . . (smile)
    First, what happened to the corset during pregnancy? Was it completely abandoned? Or was there some kind of special pregnancy version? (Perhaps a nice supportive sling?)
    And second–Nina, how was the–er–underwear issue handled? Did you have some lovely pantalettes? Did you go au naturel (isn’t that the historically accurate way)? Did you cling to the 21st century and wear a lovely bikini or thong? Or is this perhaps something a Regency Lady (even a temporary one) Just Does Not Discuss?
    (This reminds me of the “boxers or briefs” question. . . sorry!)
    Melinda

    Reply
  59. Hi Nina and Mary Jo!
    What fun this was to read. I loved the photos! Nina, I am mind-numbingly envious of your beautiful corset and wardrobe. What a mom you have!
    I have a couple of impertinent questions. . . (smile)
    First, what happened to the corset during pregnancy? Was it completely abandoned? Or was there some kind of special pregnancy version? (Perhaps a nice supportive sling?)
    And second–Nina, how was the–er–underwear issue handled? Did you have some lovely pantalettes? Did you go au naturel (isn’t that the historically accurate way)? Did you cling to the 21st century and wear a lovely bikini or thong? Or is this perhaps something a Regency Lady (even a temporary one) Just Does Not Discuss?
    (This reminds me of the “boxers or briefs” question. . . sorry!)
    Melinda

    Reply
  60. Hi Nina and Mary Jo!
    What fun this was to read. I loved the photos! Nina, I am mind-numbingly envious of your beautiful corset and wardrobe. What a mom you have!
    I have a couple of impertinent questions. . . (smile)
    First, what happened to the corset during pregnancy? Was it completely abandoned? Or was there some kind of special pregnancy version? (Perhaps a nice supportive sling?)
    And second–Nina, how was the–er–underwear issue handled? Did you have some lovely pantalettes? Did you go au naturel (isn’t that the historically accurate way)? Did you cling to the 21st century and wear a lovely bikini or thong? Or is this perhaps something a Regency Lady (even a temporary one) Just Does Not Discuss?
    (This reminds me of the “boxers or briefs” question. . . sorry!)
    Melinda

    Reply
  61. Trust Melinda to ask The Big Questions!!!!
    Nina & Kristina – how many books have we read where she’s slipped her shoes on and off or is hiding her bare feet and searching for a shoe? I’ll never read that passage the same way again.
    Are either of you familiar with PEERS in the Bay Area? among other events & balls they do the Dickens Fair at the Cow Palace – if you’re in the area you might check them out.

    Reply
  62. Trust Melinda to ask The Big Questions!!!!
    Nina & Kristina – how many books have we read where she’s slipped her shoes on and off or is hiding her bare feet and searching for a shoe? I’ll never read that passage the same way again.
    Are either of you familiar with PEERS in the Bay Area? among other events & balls they do the Dickens Fair at the Cow Palace – if you’re in the area you might check them out.

    Reply
  63. Trust Melinda to ask The Big Questions!!!!
    Nina & Kristina – how many books have we read where she’s slipped her shoes on and off or is hiding her bare feet and searching for a shoe? I’ll never read that passage the same way again.
    Are either of you familiar with PEERS in the Bay Area? among other events & balls they do the Dickens Fair at the Cow Palace – if you’re in the area you might check them out.

    Reply
  64. Trust Melinda to ask The Big Questions!!!!
    Nina & Kristina – how many books have we read where she’s slipped her shoes on and off or is hiding her bare feet and searching for a shoe? I’ll never read that passage the same way again.
    Are either of you familiar with PEERS in the Bay Area? among other events & balls they do the Dickens Fair at the Cow Palace – if you’re in the area you might check them out.

    Reply
  65. From Nina:
    Kalen…thanks for commenting. I would have never known how to do this if I hadn’t taken your awesome class. When is the next one? Riversdale is doing the weekend next year. Please, do come. It would be fun to meet you. (Janet Mullaney was there this year.)
    RevMelinda!… how did I know you would be the one to ask the underwear question? You’re correct. Going au naturel is the historical way. Thongs and bikinis, while a good thought, come too far up the hip to clear a Regency Corset. And no, I don’t have pantalettes. Going about “without” definitely leaves one feeling very exposed despite the long skirts. Never mind the value of having a layer of absorbency “right here.”
    So, before I went on the weekend, I did some experimentation and discovered that most cotton underwear works well with a corset, but only in one direction. Down. The path back up is not as easy. I did learn how to bunch and tuck so I could get by, but, needless to say, food intake and potty breaks were carefully considered. Corsets not only lift, separate and knock years from your looks, they’re also one heck of a diet plan.
    As for corsets and pregnancy, Kalen would be the best one to answer, however I will give my impressions. I don’t see how a woman could wear one after six months. (or at whatever point she pops out) The busk (running from between the breasts to about two inches below the navel) leaves little room for a tummy unless it’s nice and squishy, like mine.

    Reply
  66. From Nina:
    Kalen…thanks for commenting. I would have never known how to do this if I hadn’t taken your awesome class. When is the next one? Riversdale is doing the weekend next year. Please, do come. It would be fun to meet you. (Janet Mullaney was there this year.)
    RevMelinda!… how did I know you would be the one to ask the underwear question? You’re correct. Going au naturel is the historical way. Thongs and bikinis, while a good thought, come too far up the hip to clear a Regency Corset. And no, I don’t have pantalettes. Going about “without” definitely leaves one feeling very exposed despite the long skirts. Never mind the value of having a layer of absorbency “right here.”
    So, before I went on the weekend, I did some experimentation and discovered that most cotton underwear works well with a corset, but only in one direction. Down. The path back up is not as easy. I did learn how to bunch and tuck so I could get by, but, needless to say, food intake and potty breaks were carefully considered. Corsets not only lift, separate and knock years from your looks, they’re also one heck of a diet plan.
    As for corsets and pregnancy, Kalen would be the best one to answer, however I will give my impressions. I don’t see how a woman could wear one after six months. (or at whatever point she pops out) The busk (running from between the breasts to about two inches below the navel) leaves little room for a tummy unless it’s nice and squishy, like mine.

    Reply
  67. From Nina:
    Kalen…thanks for commenting. I would have never known how to do this if I hadn’t taken your awesome class. When is the next one? Riversdale is doing the weekend next year. Please, do come. It would be fun to meet you. (Janet Mullaney was there this year.)
    RevMelinda!… how did I know you would be the one to ask the underwear question? You’re correct. Going au naturel is the historical way. Thongs and bikinis, while a good thought, come too far up the hip to clear a Regency Corset. And no, I don’t have pantalettes. Going about “without” definitely leaves one feeling very exposed despite the long skirts. Never mind the value of having a layer of absorbency “right here.”
    So, before I went on the weekend, I did some experimentation and discovered that most cotton underwear works well with a corset, but only in one direction. Down. The path back up is not as easy. I did learn how to bunch and tuck so I could get by, but, needless to say, food intake and potty breaks were carefully considered. Corsets not only lift, separate and knock years from your looks, they’re also one heck of a diet plan.
    As for corsets and pregnancy, Kalen would be the best one to answer, however I will give my impressions. I don’t see how a woman could wear one after six months. (or at whatever point she pops out) The busk (running from between the breasts to about two inches below the navel) leaves little room for a tummy unless it’s nice and squishy, like mine.

    Reply
  68. From Nina:
    Kalen…thanks for commenting. I would have never known how to do this if I hadn’t taken your awesome class. When is the next one? Riversdale is doing the weekend next year. Please, do come. It would be fun to meet you. (Janet Mullaney was there this year.)
    RevMelinda!… how did I know you would be the one to ask the underwear question? You’re correct. Going au naturel is the historical way. Thongs and bikinis, while a good thought, come too far up the hip to clear a Regency Corset. And no, I don’t have pantalettes. Going about “without” definitely leaves one feeling very exposed despite the long skirts. Never mind the value of having a layer of absorbency “right here.”
    So, before I went on the weekend, I did some experimentation and discovered that most cotton underwear works well with a corset, but only in one direction. Down. The path back up is not as easy. I did learn how to bunch and tuck so I could get by, but, needless to say, food intake and potty breaks were carefully considered. Corsets not only lift, separate and knock years from your looks, they’re also one heck of a diet plan.
    As for corsets and pregnancy, Kalen would be the best one to answer, however I will give my impressions. I don’t see how a woman could wear one after six months. (or at whatever point she pops out) The busk (running from between the breasts to about two inches below the navel) leaves little room for a tummy unless it’s nice and squishy, like mine.

    Reply
  69. “Oh, and then there’s what happens when one decides to enjoy an overstuffed sofa. Is a helpless beached baby whale coming to mind?”
    Nina, just keep in mind what one of Captain Jack Aubrey’s midshipmen said when Dr. Maturin commented on how portly Jack had grown. Aghast and offended, the midshipman said, “Sir! Captain Aubrey’s not fat! He has an uncommon genteel figure!” Captain Aubrey’s dimensions were a source of great pride to his men.
    Sherrie, who also has an uncommon genteel figure

    Reply
  70. “Oh, and then there’s what happens when one decides to enjoy an overstuffed sofa. Is a helpless beached baby whale coming to mind?”
    Nina, just keep in mind what one of Captain Jack Aubrey’s midshipmen said when Dr. Maturin commented on how portly Jack had grown. Aghast and offended, the midshipman said, “Sir! Captain Aubrey’s not fat! He has an uncommon genteel figure!” Captain Aubrey’s dimensions were a source of great pride to his men.
    Sherrie, who also has an uncommon genteel figure

    Reply
  71. “Oh, and then there’s what happens when one decides to enjoy an overstuffed sofa. Is a helpless beached baby whale coming to mind?”
    Nina, just keep in mind what one of Captain Jack Aubrey’s midshipmen said when Dr. Maturin commented on how portly Jack had grown. Aghast and offended, the midshipman said, “Sir! Captain Aubrey’s not fat! He has an uncommon genteel figure!” Captain Aubrey’s dimensions were a source of great pride to his men.
    Sherrie, who also has an uncommon genteel figure

    Reply
  72. “Oh, and then there’s what happens when one decides to enjoy an overstuffed sofa. Is a helpless beached baby whale coming to mind?”
    Nina, just keep in mind what one of Captain Jack Aubrey’s midshipmen said when Dr. Maturin commented on how portly Jack had grown. Aghast and offended, the midshipman said, “Sir! Captain Aubrey’s not fat! He has an uncommon genteel figure!” Captain Aubrey’s dimensions were a source of great pride to his men.
    Sherrie, who also has an uncommon genteel figure

    Reply
  73. This was an absolutely fascinating blog, and I warmly echo the many compliments on the elegance of the corset and the charming effect of the whole Regency costume as worn by Nina.
    As a professional archaeologist, I have always been conscious of the special value of practical experiment and what is now called ‘re-enactment’; the person who tries to step into the shoes of the past, literally, will inevitably discover some things, ranging from the trivial to the crucially important, that no amount of theoretical research would have been likely to reveal.
    There is one caveat, however, and it is an important one. Whether we are eating an Iron Age meal or wearing a Regency dress or riding in a Roman saddle, we are starting off from a different place than the person who grew up in the era concerned, and that different experience will have affected both our minds and our bodies in ways that may vastly exaggerate the difficulties.
    At the simplest level, an adult Western man who has only ever worn trousers will find long skirts of even the most straightforward kind really difficult to manage, impossibly unwieldy and confining; a Middle Eastern male who often wears a full-length robe over his trousers will not; he has known how to manage skirts from boyhood. Instinctively, a person will try to do things in the way they have grown up doing them, so having to use a different method will inevitably seem very awkward at first. But to the person who grew up in that culture, there is no awkwardness, because there are no other possibilities. Physical strength and development from childhood and adolescence will actually have taken a path that compensates for the restrictions of the culture’s clothing and other accoutrements, and exploits their advantages. Another example from contemporary society: many modern westerners are so reliant on the existence of chairs that they are physically unable to squat for even quite short periods. They can be rather disconcerted by the lavatories they have to use in some parts of the world! Squatting, even for long periods, isn’t difficult, but you need some practice.
    I believe that the serious research that goes in to a project like the one described by Nina is immensely valuable and interesting, and I applaud it. But we must not forget that we cannot feel ‘the same’ as a Regency (or any other era) woman, because we have started out from a different point.

    Reply
  74. This was an absolutely fascinating blog, and I warmly echo the many compliments on the elegance of the corset and the charming effect of the whole Regency costume as worn by Nina.
    As a professional archaeologist, I have always been conscious of the special value of practical experiment and what is now called ‘re-enactment’; the person who tries to step into the shoes of the past, literally, will inevitably discover some things, ranging from the trivial to the crucially important, that no amount of theoretical research would have been likely to reveal.
    There is one caveat, however, and it is an important one. Whether we are eating an Iron Age meal or wearing a Regency dress or riding in a Roman saddle, we are starting off from a different place than the person who grew up in the era concerned, and that different experience will have affected both our minds and our bodies in ways that may vastly exaggerate the difficulties.
    At the simplest level, an adult Western man who has only ever worn trousers will find long skirts of even the most straightforward kind really difficult to manage, impossibly unwieldy and confining; a Middle Eastern male who often wears a full-length robe over his trousers will not; he has known how to manage skirts from boyhood. Instinctively, a person will try to do things in the way they have grown up doing them, so having to use a different method will inevitably seem very awkward at first. But to the person who grew up in that culture, there is no awkwardness, because there are no other possibilities. Physical strength and development from childhood and adolescence will actually have taken a path that compensates for the restrictions of the culture’s clothing and other accoutrements, and exploits their advantages. Another example from contemporary society: many modern westerners are so reliant on the existence of chairs that they are physically unable to squat for even quite short periods. They can be rather disconcerted by the lavatories they have to use in some parts of the world! Squatting, even for long periods, isn’t difficult, but you need some practice.
    I believe that the serious research that goes in to a project like the one described by Nina is immensely valuable and interesting, and I applaud it. But we must not forget that we cannot feel ‘the same’ as a Regency (or any other era) woman, because we have started out from a different point.

    Reply
  75. This was an absolutely fascinating blog, and I warmly echo the many compliments on the elegance of the corset and the charming effect of the whole Regency costume as worn by Nina.
    As a professional archaeologist, I have always been conscious of the special value of practical experiment and what is now called ‘re-enactment’; the person who tries to step into the shoes of the past, literally, will inevitably discover some things, ranging from the trivial to the crucially important, that no amount of theoretical research would have been likely to reveal.
    There is one caveat, however, and it is an important one. Whether we are eating an Iron Age meal or wearing a Regency dress or riding in a Roman saddle, we are starting off from a different place than the person who grew up in the era concerned, and that different experience will have affected both our minds and our bodies in ways that may vastly exaggerate the difficulties.
    At the simplest level, an adult Western man who has only ever worn trousers will find long skirts of even the most straightforward kind really difficult to manage, impossibly unwieldy and confining; a Middle Eastern male who often wears a full-length robe over his trousers will not; he has known how to manage skirts from boyhood. Instinctively, a person will try to do things in the way they have grown up doing them, so having to use a different method will inevitably seem very awkward at first. But to the person who grew up in that culture, there is no awkwardness, because there are no other possibilities. Physical strength and development from childhood and adolescence will actually have taken a path that compensates for the restrictions of the culture’s clothing and other accoutrements, and exploits their advantages. Another example from contemporary society: many modern westerners are so reliant on the existence of chairs that they are physically unable to squat for even quite short periods. They can be rather disconcerted by the lavatories they have to use in some parts of the world! Squatting, even for long periods, isn’t difficult, but you need some practice.
    I believe that the serious research that goes in to a project like the one described by Nina is immensely valuable and interesting, and I applaud it. But we must not forget that we cannot feel ‘the same’ as a Regency (or any other era) woman, because we have started out from a different point.

    Reply
  76. This was an absolutely fascinating blog, and I warmly echo the many compliments on the elegance of the corset and the charming effect of the whole Regency costume as worn by Nina.
    As a professional archaeologist, I have always been conscious of the special value of practical experiment and what is now called ‘re-enactment’; the person who tries to step into the shoes of the past, literally, will inevitably discover some things, ranging from the trivial to the crucially important, that no amount of theoretical research would have been likely to reveal.
    There is one caveat, however, and it is an important one. Whether we are eating an Iron Age meal or wearing a Regency dress or riding in a Roman saddle, we are starting off from a different place than the person who grew up in the era concerned, and that different experience will have affected both our minds and our bodies in ways that may vastly exaggerate the difficulties.
    At the simplest level, an adult Western man who has only ever worn trousers will find long skirts of even the most straightforward kind really difficult to manage, impossibly unwieldy and confining; a Middle Eastern male who often wears a full-length robe over his trousers will not; he has known how to manage skirts from boyhood. Instinctively, a person will try to do things in the way they have grown up doing them, so having to use a different method will inevitably seem very awkward at first. But to the person who grew up in that culture, there is no awkwardness, because there are no other possibilities. Physical strength and development from childhood and adolescence will actually have taken a path that compensates for the restrictions of the culture’s clothing and other accoutrements, and exploits their advantages. Another example from contemporary society: many modern westerners are so reliant on the existence of chairs that they are physically unable to squat for even quite short periods. They can be rather disconcerted by the lavatories they have to use in some parts of the world! Squatting, even for long periods, isn’t difficult, but you need some practice.
    I believe that the serious research that goes in to a project like the one described by Nina is immensely valuable and interesting, and I applaud it. But we must not forget that we cannot feel ‘the same’ as a Regency (or any other era) woman, because we have started out from a different point.

    Reply
  77. Interesting post. I always thought it was rather amusing when the hero had the heroines disrobed and then robed again by the time they arrived at the ball. Or readjusted by the time they reentered the ballroom from the “walk” in the garden. I am assuming that in real life regency a lot of the intimate contact was made while still clothed, which makes me wonder, with the corset just how enjoyable that would be. Ever the romantic, that’s me.

    Reply
  78. Interesting post. I always thought it was rather amusing when the hero had the heroines disrobed and then robed again by the time they arrived at the ball. Or readjusted by the time they reentered the ballroom from the “walk” in the garden. I am assuming that in real life regency a lot of the intimate contact was made while still clothed, which makes me wonder, with the corset just how enjoyable that would be. Ever the romantic, that’s me.

    Reply
  79. Interesting post. I always thought it was rather amusing when the hero had the heroines disrobed and then robed again by the time they arrived at the ball. Or readjusted by the time they reentered the ballroom from the “walk” in the garden. I am assuming that in real life regency a lot of the intimate contact was made while still clothed, which makes me wonder, with the corset just how enjoyable that would be. Ever the romantic, that’s me.

    Reply
  80. Interesting post. I always thought it was rather amusing when the hero had the heroines disrobed and then robed again by the time they arrived at the ball. Or readjusted by the time they reentered the ballroom from the “walk” in the garden. I am assuming that in real life regency a lot of the intimate contact was made while still clothed, which makes me wonder, with the corset just how enjoyable that would be. Ever the romantic, that’s me.

    Reply
  81. From Nina:
    “Sir! Captain Aubrey’s not fat! He has an uncommon genteel figure!” … love it Sherrie! Absolutely love it!
    AgTigress… so glad you stopped by. Thank you for your kind comments and most poignant reminders. I wholly agree one “cannot feel ‘the same’ as a Regency (or any other era) woman, because we have started out from a different point.” Moving about in Regency clothing definitely left me feeling a bit tottery and unsure of myself as I relied on muscles I seldom use when in a business suit and heels. My primary source of “strength” for sitting, standing and walking comes from my torso. Strength that was held powerless, mostly by the busk, because I couldn’t bend at the waist. So, my arms and thighs were called upon to compensate and I realized how weak they are. Problems our Regency counterparts would not have had. Undoubtedly their bodies, shaped by their world and the fashion within it, were strong in ways in which mine is not.
    Having experienced a corset from morning to night for two consecutive days left me wondering if the trouble women often had in birthing (where strong abs are key) was more the fault of fashion than lack of nutrition and/or medical knowledge.
    Thoughts anybody?
    Nina, who is convinced she’d make a superb Regency Lady right up to the point where she had an opinion.

    Reply
  82. From Nina:
    “Sir! Captain Aubrey’s not fat! He has an uncommon genteel figure!” … love it Sherrie! Absolutely love it!
    AgTigress… so glad you stopped by. Thank you for your kind comments and most poignant reminders. I wholly agree one “cannot feel ‘the same’ as a Regency (or any other era) woman, because we have started out from a different point.” Moving about in Regency clothing definitely left me feeling a bit tottery and unsure of myself as I relied on muscles I seldom use when in a business suit and heels. My primary source of “strength” for sitting, standing and walking comes from my torso. Strength that was held powerless, mostly by the busk, because I couldn’t bend at the waist. So, my arms and thighs were called upon to compensate and I realized how weak they are. Problems our Regency counterparts would not have had. Undoubtedly their bodies, shaped by their world and the fashion within it, were strong in ways in which mine is not.
    Having experienced a corset from morning to night for two consecutive days left me wondering if the trouble women often had in birthing (where strong abs are key) was more the fault of fashion than lack of nutrition and/or medical knowledge.
    Thoughts anybody?
    Nina, who is convinced she’d make a superb Regency Lady right up to the point where she had an opinion.

    Reply
  83. From Nina:
    “Sir! Captain Aubrey’s not fat! He has an uncommon genteel figure!” … love it Sherrie! Absolutely love it!
    AgTigress… so glad you stopped by. Thank you for your kind comments and most poignant reminders. I wholly agree one “cannot feel ‘the same’ as a Regency (or any other era) woman, because we have started out from a different point.” Moving about in Regency clothing definitely left me feeling a bit tottery and unsure of myself as I relied on muscles I seldom use when in a business suit and heels. My primary source of “strength” for sitting, standing and walking comes from my torso. Strength that was held powerless, mostly by the busk, because I couldn’t bend at the waist. So, my arms and thighs were called upon to compensate and I realized how weak they are. Problems our Regency counterparts would not have had. Undoubtedly their bodies, shaped by their world and the fashion within it, were strong in ways in which mine is not.
    Having experienced a corset from morning to night for two consecutive days left me wondering if the trouble women often had in birthing (where strong abs are key) was more the fault of fashion than lack of nutrition and/or medical knowledge.
    Thoughts anybody?
    Nina, who is convinced she’d make a superb Regency Lady right up to the point where she had an opinion.

    Reply
  84. From Nina:
    “Sir! Captain Aubrey’s not fat! He has an uncommon genteel figure!” … love it Sherrie! Absolutely love it!
    AgTigress… so glad you stopped by. Thank you for your kind comments and most poignant reminders. I wholly agree one “cannot feel ‘the same’ as a Regency (or any other era) woman, because we have started out from a different point.” Moving about in Regency clothing definitely left me feeling a bit tottery and unsure of myself as I relied on muscles I seldom use when in a business suit and heels. My primary source of “strength” for sitting, standing and walking comes from my torso. Strength that was held powerless, mostly by the busk, because I couldn’t bend at the waist. So, my arms and thighs were called upon to compensate and I realized how weak they are. Problems our Regency counterparts would not have had. Undoubtedly their bodies, shaped by their world and the fashion within it, were strong in ways in which mine is not.
    Having experienced a corset from morning to night for two consecutive days left me wondering if the trouble women often had in birthing (where strong abs are key) was more the fault of fashion than lack of nutrition and/or medical knowledge.
    Thoughts anybody?
    Nina, who is convinced she’d make a superb Regency Lady right up to the point where she had an opinion.

    Reply
  85. Ok, weighing in here . . .
    Yes, women wore stays during pregnancy. There are extant examples or patterns of them from the 18th century on up. They had expanding slits in the bottom that laced and so could be used to support the belly. There was also something called a lunette belt, but no extant example or picture exists to tell us what this was. Think about it? Your boobs get BIG and HEAVY. Don’t you want support for them? Women of the Georgian/Hanoverian/Regency/Romantic periods are not using stays to hide their pregnancy (as women of the Victorian era sometimes did) as the idea of sequestering (“confining”) oneself once you had started to show was not yet an issue.
    Underwear. I’m sorry to disillusion you, and to be gross on top of it, but drawers and pantalettes are honestly just one more thing to get in the way (and accidentally pee on!). They’re open for the full length of the crotch, they chaff, and I hate them. It’s hard enough to manage all those skirts and petticoat when you’re in the toilet. And when you can’t bend from the waist, pulling modern panties up and down is pretty much a no-go.
    Childbirth. You’re starting to mix Victorian problems in with earlier eras. Women of the Georgian/Hanoverian/Regency/Romantic periods did not have trouble with reproduction due to their stays. The whole internal organ rearranging, mushing, problem thing is a mid to late Victorianism brought about by the movement towards the waspwaist (1860s on). It was physically impossible to lace tightly enough to cause these sorts of problems before the invention of the metal grommet (1828 or 1829 can’t remember just now), because the fabric would give out before the garment could get that tight. The use of the metal grommet doesn’t become common until a bit later on, and the movement for tight-lacing as we think of it today is strictly Victorian.

    Reply
  86. Ok, weighing in here . . .
    Yes, women wore stays during pregnancy. There are extant examples or patterns of them from the 18th century on up. They had expanding slits in the bottom that laced and so could be used to support the belly. There was also something called a lunette belt, but no extant example or picture exists to tell us what this was. Think about it? Your boobs get BIG and HEAVY. Don’t you want support for them? Women of the Georgian/Hanoverian/Regency/Romantic periods are not using stays to hide their pregnancy (as women of the Victorian era sometimes did) as the idea of sequestering (“confining”) oneself once you had started to show was not yet an issue.
    Underwear. I’m sorry to disillusion you, and to be gross on top of it, but drawers and pantalettes are honestly just one more thing to get in the way (and accidentally pee on!). They’re open for the full length of the crotch, they chaff, and I hate them. It’s hard enough to manage all those skirts and petticoat when you’re in the toilet. And when you can’t bend from the waist, pulling modern panties up and down is pretty much a no-go.
    Childbirth. You’re starting to mix Victorian problems in with earlier eras. Women of the Georgian/Hanoverian/Regency/Romantic periods did not have trouble with reproduction due to their stays. The whole internal organ rearranging, mushing, problem thing is a mid to late Victorianism brought about by the movement towards the waspwaist (1860s on). It was physically impossible to lace tightly enough to cause these sorts of problems before the invention of the metal grommet (1828 or 1829 can’t remember just now), because the fabric would give out before the garment could get that tight. The use of the metal grommet doesn’t become common until a bit later on, and the movement for tight-lacing as we think of it today is strictly Victorian.

    Reply
  87. Ok, weighing in here . . .
    Yes, women wore stays during pregnancy. There are extant examples or patterns of them from the 18th century on up. They had expanding slits in the bottom that laced and so could be used to support the belly. There was also something called a lunette belt, but no extant example or picture exists to tell us what this was. Think about it? Your boobs get BIG and HEAVY. Don’t you want support for them? Women of the Georgian/Hanoverian/Regency/Romantic periods are not using stays to hide their pregnancy (as women of the Victorian era sometimes did) as the idea of sequestering (“confining”) oneself once you had started to show was not yet an issue.
    Underwear. I’m sorry to disillusion you, and to be gross on top of it, but drawers and pantalettes are honestly just one more thing to get in the way (and accidentally pee on!). They’re open for the full length of the crotch, they chaff, and I hate them. It’s hard enough to manage all those skirts and petticoat when you’re in the toilet. And when you can’t bend from the waist, pulling modern panties up and down is pretty much a no-go.
    Childbirth. You’re starting to mix Victorian problems in with earlier eras. Women of the Georgian/Hanoverian/Regency/Romantic periods did not have trouble with reproduction due to their stays. The whole internal organ rearranging, mushing, problem thing is a mid to late Victorianism brought about by the movement towards the waspwaist (1860s on). It was physically impossible to lace tightly enough to cause these sorts of problems before the invention of the metal grommet (1828 or 1829 can’t remember just now), because the fabric would give out before the garment could get that tight. The use of the metal grommet doesn’t become common until a bit later on, and the movement for tight-lacing as we think of it today is strictly Victorian.

    Reply
  88. Ok, weighing in here . . .
    Yes, women wore stays during pregnancy. There are extant examples or patterns of them from the 18th century on up. They had expanding slits in the bottom that laced and so could be used to support the belly. There was also something called a lunette belt, but no extant example or picture exists to tell us what this was. Think about it? Your boobs get BIG and HEAVY. Don’t you want support for them? Women of the Georgian/Hanoverian/Regency/Romantic periods are not using stays to hide their pregnancy (as women of the Victorian era sometimes did) as the idea of sequestering (“confining”) oneself once you had started to show was not yet an issue.
    Underwear. I’m sorry to disillusion you, and to be gross on top of it, but drawers and pantalettes are honestly just one more thing to get in the way (and accidentally pee on!). They’re open for the full length of the crotch, they chaff, and I hate them. It’s hard enough to manage all those skirts and petticoat when you’re in the toilet. And when you can’t bend from the waist, pulling modern panties up and down is pretty much a no-go.
    Childbirth. You’re starting to mix Victorian problems in with earlier eras. Women of the Georgian/Hanoverian/Regency/Romantic periods did not have trouble with reproduction due to their stays. The whole internal organ rearranging, mushing, problem thing is a mid to late Victorianism brought about by the movement towards the waspwaist (1860s on). It was physically impossible to lace tightly enough to cause these sorts of problems before the invention of the metal grommet (1828 or 1829 can’t remember just now), because the fabric would give out before the garment could get that tight. The use of the metal grommet doesn’t become common until a bit later on, and the movement for tight-lacing as we think of it today is strictly Victorian.

    Reply
  89. Question for Kalen and anyone else who might know…would it be possible for a woman to fire a gun larger than a pistol, say a rifle or musket, while wearing Regency-era stays?
    (I’ll REALLY be glad when my life gets a little less hectic and I can do some reenacting myself to find the answers to questions like this, but as long as I’m doing the full-time job and parenting a preschooler while trying to write, I don’t think it’s going to happen. 🙁 Sigh.)

    Reply
  90. Question for Kalen and anyone else who might know…would it be possible for a woman to fire a gun larger than a pistol, say a rifle or musket, while wearing Regency-era stays?
    (I’ll REALLY be glad when my life gets a little less hectic and I can do some reenacting myself to find the answers to questions like this, but as long as I’m doing the full-time job and parenting a preschooler while trying to write, I don’t think it’s going to happen. 🙁 Sigh.)

    Reply
  91. Question for Kalen and anyone else who might know…would it be possible for a woman to fire a gun larger than a pistol, say a rifle or musket, while wearing Regency-era stays?
    (I’ll REALLY be glad when my life gets a little less hectic and I can do some reenacting myself to find the answers to questions like this, but as long as I’m doing the full-time job and parenting a preschooler while trying to write, I don’t think it’s going to happen. 🙁 Sigh.)

    Reply
  92. Question for Kalen and anyone else who might know…would it be possible for a woman to fire a gun larger than a pistol, say a rifle or musket, while wearing Regency-era stays?
    (I’ll REALLY be glad when my life gets a little less hectic and I can do some reenacting myself to find the answers to questions like this, but as long as I’m doing the full-time job and parenting a preschooler while trying to write, I don’t think it’s going to happen. 🙁 Sigh.)

    Reply
  93. Fascinating subject. I have another question. Where in society was the “corset line”? Did the milkmaids wear them, or were they confined (!! sorry) to the middle classes and upwards? I’m thinking that maybe poor Ruskin wasn’t put off by his wife’s pubic hair, but simply by the sight of her real shape! Of course this brings up the whole subject of nudity; is this another area where the pre-Victorians were far more like us than the Victorians were?
    Gotta wonder… how would Jane Austen felt in sweats?

    Reply
  94. Fascinating subject. I have another question. Where in society was the “corset line”? Did the milkmaids wear them, or were they confined (!! sorry) to the middle classes and upwards? I’m thinking that maybe poor Ruskin wasn’t put off by his wife’s pubic hair, but simply by the sight of her real shape! Of course this brings up the whole subject of nudity; is this another area where the pre-Victorians were far more like us than the Victorians were?
    Gotta wonder… how would Jane Austen felt in sweats?

    Reply
  95. Fascinating subject. I have another question. Where in society was the “corset line”? Did the milkmaids wear them, or were they confined (!! sorry) to the middle classes and upwards? I’m thinking that maybe poor Ruskin wasn’t put off by his wife’s pubic hair, but simply by the sight of her real shape! Of course this brings up the whole subject of nudity; is this another area where the pre-Victorians were far more like us than the Victorians were?
    Gotta wonder… how would Jane Austen felt in sweats?

    Reply
  96. Fascinating subject. I have another question. Where in society was the “corset line”? Did the milkmaids wear them, or were they confined (!! sorry) to the middle classes and upwards? I’m thinking that maybe poor Ruskin wasn’t put off by his wife’s pubic hair, but simply by the sight of her real shape! Of course this brings up the whole subject of nudity; is this another area where the pre-Victorians were far more like us than the Victorians were?
    Gotta wonder… how would Jane Austen felt in sweats?

    Reply
  97. “Would it be possible for a woman to fire a gun larger than a pistol, say a rifle or musket, while wearing Regency-era stays?”
    Yes. I’ve done it. You only have to raise your arms shoulder-high, so it’s no problem.
    “Where in society was the “corset line”?”
    There are parish records showing that the indigent poor were allotted money for stays, as well as records of them being provided to servants. There are also costume studies (such as Life in Yorkshire, 1814) that show working women in their stays:
    http://www.maggieblanck.com/Land/OPCE.html
    Stays, along with a shift and petticoat, were the most basic form of clothing common to all women of all classes. The poor frequently wore leather stays, which were scored instead of boned, and the 18th century style hung on well into the 19th century.
    I have a great article on non-fashionable stays that I’d be happy to snail mail to anyone who’s really interested.

    Reply
  98. “Would it be possible for a woman to fire a gun larger than a pistol, say a rifle or musket, while wearing Regency-era stays?”
    Yes. I’ve done it. You only have to raise your arms shoulder-high, so it’s no problem.
    “Where in society was the “corset line”?”
    There are parish records showing that the indigent poor were allotted money for stays, as well as records of them being provided to servants. There are also costume studies (such as Life in Yorkshire, 1814) that show working women in their stays:
    http://www.maggieblanck.com/Land/OPCE.html
    Stays, along with a shift and petticoat, were the most basic form of clothing common to all women of all classes. The poor frequently wore leather stays, which were scored instead of boned, and the 18th century style hung on well into the 19th century.
    I have a great article on non-fashionable stays that I’d be happy to snail mail to anyone who’s really interested.

    Reply
  99. “Would it be possible for a woman to fire a gun larger than a pistol, say a rifle or musket, while wearing Regency-era stays?”
    Yes. I’ve done it. You only have to raise your arms shoulder-high, so it’s no problem.
    “Where in society was the “corset line”?”
    There are parish records showing that the indigent poor were allotted money for stays, as well as records of them being provided to servants. There are also costume studies (such as Life in Yorkshire, 1814) that show working women in their stays:
    http://www.maggieblanck.com/Land/OPCE.html
    Stays, along with a shift and petticoat, were the most basic form of clothing common to all women of all classes. The poor frequently wore leather stays, which were scored instead of boned, and the 18th century style hung on well into the 19th century.
    I have a great article on non-fashionable stays that I’d be happy to snail mail to anyone who’s really interested.

    Reply
  100. “Would it be possible for a woman to fire a gun larger than a pistol, say a rifle or musket, while wearing Regency-era stays?”
    Yes. I’ve done it. You only have to raise your arms shoulder-high, so it’s no problem.
    “Where in society was the “corset line”?”
    There are parish records showing that the indigent poor were allotted money for stays, as well as records of them being provided to servants. There are also costume studies (such as Life in Yorkshire, 1814) that show working women in their stays:
    http://www.maggieblanck.com/Land/OPCE.html
    Stays, along with a shift and petticoat, were the most basic form of clothing common to all women of all classes. The poor frequently wore leather stays, which were scored instead of boned, and the 18th century style hung on well into the 19th century.
    I have a great article on non-fashionable stays that I’d be happy to snail mail to anyone who’s really interested.

    Reply
  101. “I’m thinking that maybe poor Ruskin wasn’t put off by his wife’s pubic hair, but simply by the sight of her real shape! Of course this brings up the whole subject of nudity; is this another area where the pre-Victorians were far more like us than the Victorians were?”
    I’m just now reading a book (Sex in Georgian England) that gives a really interesting theory on why body hair wasn’t shown in art, even though we know that people weren’t shaving or waxing it off . . . the author says it’s all related to the rise of classicism. The artistic ideal was Greek and Roman statuary, and the statuary rarely showed any body hair (with the exception of very artful male pubic hair, and even that was frequently “figleafed”). So contemporary Georgian/Regency artists left it off in imitation of classic art, and this then became the “norm” for the depiction of the human form.

    Reply
  102. “I’m thinking that maybe poor Ruskin wasn’t put off by his wife’s pubic hair, but simply by the sight of her real shape! Of course this brings up the whole subject of nudity; is this another area where the pre-Victorians were far more like us than the Victorians were?”
    I’m just now reading a book (Sex in Georgian England) that gives a really interesting theory on why body hair wasn’t shown in art, even though we know that people weren’t shaving or waxing it off . . . the author says it’s all related to the rise of classicism. The artistic ideal was Greek and Roman statuary, and the statuary rarely showed any body hair (with the exception of very artful male pubic hair, and even that was frequently “figleafed”). So contemporary Georgian/Regency artists left it off in imitation of classic art, and this then became the “norm” for the depiction of the human form.

    Reply
  103. “I’m thinking that maybe poor Ruskin wasn’t put off by his wife’s pubic hair, but simply by the sight of her real shape! Of course this brings up the whole subject of nudity; is this another area where the pre-Victorians were far more like us than the Victorians were?”
    I’m just now reading a book (Sex in Georgian England) that gives a really interesting theory on why body hair wasn’t shown in art, even though we know that people weren’t shaving or waxing it off . . . the author says it’s all related to the rise of classicism. The artistic ideal was Greek and Roman statuary, and the statuary rarely showed any body hair (with the exception of very artful male pubic hair, and even that was frequently “figleafed”). So contemporary Georgian/Regency artists left it off in imitation of classic art, and this then became the “norm” for the depiction of the human form.

    Reply
  104. “I’m thinking that maybe poor Ruskin wasn’t put off by his wife’s pubic hair, but simply by the sight of her real shape! Of course this brings up the whole subject of nudity; is this another area where the pre-Victorians were far more like us than the Victorians were?”
    I’m just now reading a book (Sex in Georgian England) that gives a really interesting theory on why body hair wasn’t shown in art, even though we know that people weren’t shaving or waxing it off . . . the author says it’s all related to the rise of classicism. The artistic ideal was Greek and Roman statuary, and the statuary rarely showed any body hair (with the exception of very artful male pubic hair, and even that was frequently “figleafed”). So contemporary Georgian/Regency artists left it off in imitation of classic art, and this then became the “norm” for the depiction of the human form.

    Reply
  105. Kalen! Thank you! I had honestly never thought about corsets/stays and pregnancy before–just assumed they were discarded.
    It does seem like foregoing underwear is the best option. Isn’t it interesting that we feel so self-conscious/uncomfortable about/dependent on underwear even though no one can really see whether we’re wearing it or not?
    (I mean in historic dress, of course; I must admit to frequently (if inadvertently)observing others’ underwear of late thanks to the low-rise plus thong phenomenon. . .)
    Regarding the “can’t bend at the waist” observation, does this mean that all those “hero comes from behind and bends heroine over the balcony for a fully clothed quickie” scenes are impossible? (sigh)

    Reply
  106. Kalen! Thank you! I had honestly never thought about corsets/stays and pregnancy before–just assumed they were discarded.
    It does seem like foregoing underwear is the best option. Isn’t it interesting that we feel so self-conscious/uncomfortable about/dependent on underwear even though no one can really see whether we’re wearing it or not?
    (I mean in historic dress, of course; I must admit to frequently (if inadvertently)observing others’ underwear of late thanks to the low-rise plus thong phenomenon. . .)
    Regarding the “can’t bend at the waist” observation, does this mean that all those “hero comes from behind and bends heroine over the balcony for a fully clothed quickie” scenes are impossible? (sigh)

    Reply
  107. Kalen! Thank you! I had honestly never thought about corsets/stays and pregnancy before–just assumed they were discarded.
    It does seem like foregoing underwear is the best option. Isn’t it interesting that we feel so self-conscious/uncomfortable about/dependent on underwear even though no one can really see whether we’re wearing it or not?
    (I mean in historic dress, of course; I must admit to frequently (if inadvertently)observing others’ underwear of late thanks to the low-rise plus thong phenomenon. . .)
    Regarding the “can’t bend at the waist” observation, does this mean that all those “hero comes from behind and bends heroine over the balcony for a fully clothed quickie” scenes are impossible? (sigh)

    Reply
  108. Kalen! Thank you! I had honestly never thought about corsets/stays and pregnancy before–just assumed they were discarded.
    It does seem like foregoing underwear is the best option. Isn’t it interesting that we feel so self-conscious/uncomfortable about/dependent on underwear even though no one can really see whether we’re wearing it or not?
    (I mean in historic dress, of course; I must admit to frequently (if inadvertently)observing others’ underwear of late thanks to the low-rise plus thong phenomenon. . .)
    Regarding the “can’t bend at the waist” observation, does this mean that all those “hero comes from behind and bends heroine over the balcony for a fully clothed quickie” scenes are impossible? (sigh)

    Reply
  109. “Regarding the “can’t bend at the waist” observation, does this mean that all those “hero comes from behind and bends heroine over the balcony for a fully clothed quickie” scenes are impossible? (sigh)”
    Nope. LOL! It just means she’s really bending at the hip, so let’s hope the railing is a bit low. *grin*

    Reply
  110. “Regarding the “can’t bend at the waist” observation, does this mean that all those “hero comes from behind and bends heroine over the balcony for a fully clothed quickie” scenes are impossible? (sigh)”
    Nope. LOL! It just means she’s really bending at the hip, so let’s hope the railing is a bit low. *grin*

    Reply
  111. “Regarding the “can’t bend at the waist” observation, does this mean that all those “hero comes from behind and bends heroine over the balcony for a fully clothed quickie” scenes are impossible? (sigh)”
    Nope. LOL! It just means she’s really bending at the hip, so let’s hope the railing is a bit low. *grin*

    Reply
  112. “Regarding the “can’t bend at the waist” observation, does this mean that all those “hero comes from behind and bends heroine over the balcony for a fully clothed quickie” scenes are impossible? (sigh)”
    Nope. LOL! It just means she’s really bending at the hip, so let’s hope the railing is a bit low. *grin*

    Reply
  113. From Nina:
    Wow this has been a fun post. Thanks, Kalen for jumping in with both knowledge and practical experience. Much appreciated. I’m very with you on “It’s hard enough to manage all those skirts and petticoat when you’re in the toilet.” And if I might add (w/o being too gross) so is answering nature’s longer call w/o being able to bend at the waist.
    RevMelinda… the whole “over the railing” thing being unlikely never occurred to me. Curse the weight of knowledge! It’s a fantasy killer.

    Reply
  114. From Nina:
    Wow this has been a fun post. Thanks, Kalen for jumping in with both knowledge and practical experience. Much appreciated. I’m very with you on “It’s hard enough to manage all those skirts and petticoat when you’re in the toilet.” And if I might add (w/o being too gross) so is answering nature’s longer call w/o being able to bend at the waist.
    RevMelinda… the whole “over the railing” thing being unlikely never occurred to me. Curse the weight of knowledge! It’s a fantasy killer.

    Reply
  115. From Nina:
    Wow this has been a fun post. Thanks, Kalen for jumping in with both knowledge and practical experience. Much appreciated. I’m very with you on “It’s hard enough to manage all those skirts and petticoat when you’re in the toilet.” And if I might add (w/o being too gross) so is answering nature’s longer call w/o being able to bend at the waist.
    RevMelinda… the whole “over the railing” thing being unlikely never occurred to me. Curse the weight of knowledge! It’s a fantasy killer.

    Reply
  116. From Nina:
    Wow this has been a fun post. Thanks, Kalen for jumping in with both knowledge and practical experience. Much appreciated. I’m very with you on “It’s hard enough to manage all those skirts and petticoat when you’re in the toilet.” And if I might add (w/o being too gross) so is answering nature’s longer call w/o being able to bend at the waist.
    RevMelinda… the whole “over the railing” thing being unlikely never occurred to me. Curse the weight of knowledge! It’s a fantasy killer.

    Reply
  117. Beautiful clothes, Nina! I hope my mother doesn’t read this blog. She’s been after me to do something “period.” She’s a seamstress. Although I love the era, I’m disinclined to dress-up myself…but you’ve tempted me. :o)
    Cathy

    Reply
  118. Beautiful clothes, Nina! I hope my mother doesn’t read this blog. She’s been after me to do something “period.” She’s a seamstress. Although I love the era, I’m disinclined to dress-up myself…but you’ve tempted me. :o)
    Cathy

    Reply
  119. Beautiful clothes, Nina! I hope my mother doesn’t read this blog. She’s been after me to do something “period.” She’s a seamstress. Although I love the era, I’m disinclined to dress-up myself…but you’ve tempted me. :o)
    Cathy

    Reply
  120. Beautiful clothes, Nina! I hope my mother doesn’t read this blog. She’s been after me to do something “period.” She’s a seamstress. Although I love the era, I’m disinclined to dress-up myself…but you’ve tempted me. :o)
    Cathy

    Reply
  121. Beautiful clothes, Nina! I hope my mother doesn’t read this blog. She’s been after me to do something “period.” She’s a seamstress. Although I love the era, I’m disinclined to dress-up myself…but you’ve tempted me. :o)
    Cathy

    Reply
  122. Beautiful clothes, Nina! I hope my mother doesn’t read this blog. She’s been after me to do something “period.” She’s a seamstress. Although I love the era, I’m disinclined to dress-up myself…but you’ve tempted me. :o)
    Cathy

    Reply
  123. Beautiful clothes, Nina! I hope my mother doesn’t read this blog. She’s been after me to do something “period.” She’s a seamstress. Although I love the era, I’m disinclined to dress-up myself…but you’ve tempted me. :o)
    Cathy

    Reply
  124. Beautiful clothes, Nina! I hope my mother doesn’t read this blog. She’s been after me to do something “period.” She’s a seamstress. Although I love the era, I’m disinclined to dress-up myself…but you’ve tempted me. :o)
    Cathy

    Reply
  125. Nina, of course such “balcony activities” would not naturally have occured to me (smile) but I was *just* reading a book which featured such a scene occurring (upstairs, in secret) at a Regency House Party. Actually the author had the Lady in Question bending forward over the railing of a staircase.
    Most of the other such scenes I have read involve balconies and Italy.

    Reply
  126. Nina, of course such “balcony activities” would not naturally have occured to me (smile) but I was *just* reading a book which featured such a scene occurring (upstairs, in secret) at a Regency House Party. Actually the author had the Lady in Question bending forward over the railing of a staircase.
    Most of the other such scenes I have read involve balconies and Italy.

    Reply
  127. Nina, of course such “balcony activities” would not naturally have occured to me (smile) but I was *just* reading a book which featured such a scene occurring (upstairs, in secret) at a Regency House Party. Actually the author had the Lady in Question bending forward over the railing of a staircase.
    Most of the other such scenes I have read involve balconies and Italy.

    Reply
  128. Nina, of course such “balcony activities” would not naturally have occured to me (smile) but I was *just* reading a book which featured such a scene occurring (upstairs, in secret) at a Regency House Party. Actually the author had the Lady in Question bending forward over the railing of a staircase.
    Most of the other such scenes I have read involve balconies and Italy.

    Reply
  129. Fascinating! I think that we have to remember that stays were “normal” things to wear, so the comments here about being stange, painful etc would not have occurred to the Regency lady. She had worn stays since very little, all her role models wore stay.
    Annie

    Reply
  130. Fascinating! I think that we have to remember that stays were “normal” things to wear, so the comments here about being stange, painful etc would not have occurred to the Regency lady. She had worn stays since very little, all her role models wore stay.
    Annie

    Reply
  131. Fascinating! I think that we have to remember that stays were “normal” things to wear, so the comments here about being stange, painful etc would not have occurred to the Regency lady. She had worn stays since very little, all her role models wore stay.
    Annie

    Reply
  132. Fascinating! I think that we have to remember that stays were “normal” things to wear, so the comments here about being stange, painful etc would not have occurred to the Regency lady. She had worn stays since very little, all her role models wore stay.
    Annie

    Reply
  133. Very, very good. The fact that sofas and soft chairs were impractical is little-known, judging by the frequency with which I’ve seen Sherlock Holmes pastiches in which the lady-client is offered “the easy chair” or “the best chair” by Watson.
    The (slight) difficulty in rising from ALL chairs probably explains why women were often “offered an arm” by some gallant when they were about to rise.
    Annie’s observation that Regency ladies wouldn’t have noticed corsets being strange or painful because they were so normal to them is also little appreciated today. Discomfort is not purely a physical fact, but is partly socially conditioned. This is why smokers in a no-smoking zone (like a plane) can tolerate abstinence without “dying for a smoke,” for instance. Their psychology somehow is able to shut down discomfort signals in situations where no relief is obtainable. I think something similar happened in the Old Days with corsets. Where there was no social option but to wear such a garment, some psychological switch muted the pain-signal.
    Hmmm: This may be one of the reasons why there was such great social pressure to be a wearer back then: perhaps any woman who didn’t wear one weakened the subconscious pain filter that protected other women, by making Not-Wearing a conceivable alternative.
    AgTigress’s comment that today’s newbie wearer’s won’t be as comfortable as those who were habituated to the corset were seems obvious–but only after she has so nicely expounded it. It appears never to have occurred to 20th century actresses who dive into the deep end of the pool for a few hours, waist-wise. They habitually and unreflectingly proclaim that those who wore them in days gone by must have suffered intolerably.
    Suggested “edits” to the moderator; There was a double-post by Cathy five posts above this one. And the 15th paragraph in Nina’s first post should begin with a “Not.” (Before “That I would be naked.”)

    Reply
  134. Very, very good. The fact that sofas and soft chairs were impractical is little-known, judging by the frequency with which I’ve seen Sherlock Holmes pastiches in which the lady-client is offered “the easy chair” or “the best chair” by Watson.
    The (slight) difficulty in rising from ALL chairs probably explains why women were often “offered an arm” by some gallant when they were about to rise.
    Annie’s observation that Regency ladies wouldn’t have noticed corsets being strange or painful because they were so normal to them is also little appreciated today. Discomfort is not purely a physical fact, but is partly socially conditioned. This is why smokers in a no-smoking zone (like a plane) can tolerate abstinence without “dying for a smoke,” for instance. Their psychology somehow is able to shut down discomfort signals in situations where no relief is obtainable. I think something similar happened in the Old Days with corsets. Where there was no social option but to wear such a garment, some psychological switch muted the pain-signal.
    Hmmm: This may be one of the reasons why there was such great social pressure to be a wearer back then: perhaps any woman who didn’t wear one weakened the subconscious pain filter that protected other women, by making Not-Wearing a conceivable alternative.
    AgTigress’s comment that today’s newbie wearer’s won’t be as comfortable as those who were habituated to the corset were seems obvious–but only after she has so nicely expounded it. It appears never to have occurred to 20th century actresses who dive into the deep end of the pool for a few hours, waist-wise. They habitually and unreflectingly proclaim that those who wore them in days gone by must have suffered intolerably.
    Suggested “edits” to the moderator; There was a double-post by Cathy five posts above this one. And the 15th paragraph in Nina’s first post should begin with a “Not.” (Before “That I would be naked.”)

    Reply
  135. Very, very good. The fact that sofas and soft chairs were impractical is little-known, judging by the frequency with which I’ve seen Sherlock Holmes pastiches in which the lady-client is offered “the easy chair” or “the best chair” by Watson.
    The (slight) difficulty in rising from ALL chairs probably explains why women were often “offered an arm” by some gallant when they were about to rise.
    Annie’s observation that Regency ladies wouldn’t have noticed corsets being strange or painful because they were so normal to them is also little appreciated today. Discomfort is not purely a physical fact, but is partly socially conditioned. This is why smokers in a no-smoking zone (like a plane) can tolerate abstinence without “dying for a smoke,” for instance. Their psychology somehow is able to shut down discomfort signals in situations where no relief is obtainable. I think something similar happened in the Old Days with corsets. Where there was no social option but to wear such a garment, some psychological switch muted the pain-signal.
    Hmmm: This may be one of the reasons why there was such great social pressure to be a wearer back then: perhaps any woman who didn’t wear one weakened the subconscious pain filter that protected other women, by making Not-Wearing a conceivable alternative.
    AgTigress’s comment that today’s newbie wearer’s won’t be as comfortable as those who were habituated to the corset were seems obvious–but only after she has so nicely expounded it. It appears never to have occurred to 20th century actresses who dive into the deep end of the pool for a few hours, waist-wise. They habitually and unreflectingly proclaim that those who wore them in days gone by must have suffered intolerably.
    Suggested “edits” to the moderator; There was a double-post by Cathy five posts above this one. And the 15th paragraph in Nina’s first post should begin with a “Not.” (Before “That I would be naked.”)

    Reply
  136. Very, very good. The fact that sofas and soft chairs were impractical is little-known, judging by the frequency with which I’ve seen Sherlock Holmes pastiches in which the lady-client is offered “the easy chair” or “the best chair” by Watson.
    The (slight) difficulty in rising from ALL chairs probably explains why women were often “offered an arm” by some gallant when they were about to rise.
    Annie’s observation that Regency ladies wouldn’t have noticed corsets being strange or painful because they were so normal to them is also little appreciated today. Discomfort is not purely a physical fact, but is partly socially conditioned. This is why smokers in a no-smoking zone (like a plane) can tolerate abstinence without “dying for a smoke,” for instance. Their psychology somehow is able to shut down discomfort signals in situations where no relief is obtainable. I think something similar happened in the Old Days with corsets. Where there was no social option but to wear such a garment, some psychological switch muted the pain-signal.
    Hmmm: This may be one of the reasons why there was such great social pressure to be a wearer back then: perhaps any woman who didn’t wear one weakened the subconscious pain filter that protected other women, by making Not-Wearing a conceivable alternative.
    AgTigress’s comment that today’s newbie wearer’s won’t be as comfortable as those who were habituated to the corset were seems obvious–but only after she has so nicely expounded it. It appears never to have occurred to 20th century actresses who dive into the deep end of the pool for a few hours, waist-wise. They habitually and unreflectingly proclaim that those who wore them in days gone by must have suffered intolerably.
    Suggested “edits” to the moderator; There was a double-post by Cathy five posts above this one. And the 15th paragraph in Nina’s first post should begin with a “Not.” (Before “That I would be naked.”)

    Reply
  137. Thank you, Roger Kni for your comments. I think that you are being too psychological re pain. For the 18c lady stays were necessary for shape, posture, respectibility, class etc. She expected smart/best clothes to be less comfortable than everyday clothes. Even today YEARS after the bra burning 70s we see bras in a similar way. And we accept that a really glam dress needs a bra that might look good, but is not comfortable. Wonderbras and longlines are in this category.
    Annie

    Reply
  138. Thank you, Roger Kni for your comments. I think that you are being too psychological re pain. For the 18c lady stays were necessary for shape, posture, respectibility, class etc. She expected smart/best clothes to be less comfortable than everyday clothes. Even today YEARS after the bra burning 70s we see bras in a similar way. And we accept that a really glam dress needs a bra that might look good, but is not comfortable. Wonderbras and longlines are in this category.
    Annie

    Reply
  139. Thank you, Roger Kni for your comments. I think that you are being too psychological re pain. For the 18c lady stays were necessary for shape, posture, respectibility, class etc. She expected smart/best clothes to be less comfortable than everyday clothes. Even today YEARS after the bra burning 70s we see bras in a similar way. And we accept that a really glam dress needs a bra that might look good, but is not comfortable. Wonderbras and longlines are in this category.
    Annie

    Reply
  140. Thank you, Roger Kni for your comments. I think that you are being too psychological re pain. For the 18c lady stays were necessary for shape, posture, respectibility, class etc. She expected smart/best clothes to be less comfortable than everyday clothes. Even today YEARS after the bra burning 70s we see bras in a similar way. And we accept that a really glam dress needs a bra that might look good, but is not comfortable. Wonderbras and longlines are in this category.
    Annie

    Reply
  141. Hi Annie,
    Good catch. You’re right to object to my first sentence, which was too simplistic/absolutist. I wrote, “Annie’s observation that Regency ladies wouldn’t have noticed corsets being strange or painful because they were so normal to them is also little appreciated today.”
    I plead guilty-with-an-explanation: In the rest of what I wrote I properly used degree-of-difficulty comparatives, “partly” and “muted” (not “silenced”): “Discomfort is not purely a physical fact, but is partly socially conditioned. … some psychological switch muted the pain-signal.”
    =======
    On a related topic, Mary Jo wrote, “Kristina, that’s interesting how the combination of garments and reading left you hard up for breath.”
    I have a far-fetched theory that shortness-of-breath may have been less of a problem for women who were habituated to corsets, because their red-blood-cell count may have increased to compensate for their lower oxygen intake, the same as what happens to residents in high-altitude locations. It stands to reason (?) that there’d be at least a little such compensation going on.

    Reply
  142. Hi Annie,
    Good catch. You’re right to object to my first sentence, which was too simplistic/absolutist. I wrote, “Annie’s observation that Regency ladies wouldn’t have noticed corsets being strange or painful because they were so normal to them is also little appreciated today.”
    I plead guilty-with-an-explanation: In the rest of what I wrote I properly used degree-of-difficulty comparatives, “partly” and “muted” (not “silenced”): “Discomfort is not purely a physical fact, but is partly socially conditioned. … some psychological switch muted the pain-signal.”
    =======
    On a related topic, Mary Jo wrote, “Kristina, that’s interesting how the combination of garments and reading left you hard up for breath.”
    I have a far-fetched theory that shortness-of-breath may have been less of a problem for women who were habituated to corsets, because their red-blood-cell count may have increased to compensate for their lower oxygen intake, the same as what happens to residents in high-altitude locations. It stands to reason (?) that there’d be at least a little such compensation going on.

    Reply
  143. Hi Annie,
    Good catch. You’re right to object to my first sentence, which was too simplistic/absolutist. I wrote, “Annie’s observation that Regency ladies wouldn’t have noticed corsets being strange or painful because they were so normal to them is also little appreciated today.”
    I plead guilty-with-an-explanation: In the rest of what I wrote I properly used degree-of-difficulty comparatives, “partly” and “muted” (not “silenced”): “Discomfort is not purely a physical fact, but is partly socially conditioned. … some psychological switch muted the pain-signal.”
    =======
    On a related topic, Mary Jo wrote, “Kristina, that’s interesting how the combination of garments and reading left you hard up for breath.”
    I have a far-fetched theory that shortness-of-breath may have been less of a problem for women who were habituated to corsets, because their red-blood-cell count may have increased to compensate for their lower oxygen intake, the same as what happens to residents in high-altitude locations. It stands to reason (?) that there’d be at least a little such compensation going on.

    Reply
  144. Hi Annie,
    Good catch. You’re right to object to my first sentence, which was too simplistic/absolutist. I wrote, “Annie’s observation that Regency ladies wouldn’t have noticed corsets being strange or painful because they were so normal to them is also little appreciated today.”
    I plead guilty-with-an-explanation: In the rest of what I wrote I properly used degree-of-difficulty comparatives, “partly” and “muted” (not “silenced”): “Discomfort is not purely a physical fact, but is partly socially conditioned. … some psychological switch muted the pain-signal.”
    =======
    On a related topic, Mary Jo wrote, “Kristina, that’s interesting how the combination of garments and reading left you hard up for breath.”
    I have a far-fetched theory that shortness-of-breath may have been less of a problem for women who were habituated to corsets, because their red-blood-cell count may have increased to compensate for their lower oxygen intake, the same as what happens to residents in high-altitude locations. It stands to reason (?) that there’d be at least a little such compensation going on.

    Reply
  145. Hi, this is Annie as above, but I’m having problems with account sign in!
    Perhaps Roger Kni is trying to make a non scientific activity into a lab experiment? (grin)
    I really think trying to apply logic to 18 /19 stays and their wearers is a blind ally. These ladies (and girls, and young girls) saw stays as an essential part of life. If you look at today’s life many ladies find tight jeans, high heals and makeup “essential, necessary to look acceptable, let alone beautiful, without them you have let yourself go…etc”.
    On TV recently I saw a children’s ballroom dancing competition. Girls of 10? were wearing high heels and seemed quite happy. I suspect an 18 cent 10 year old would have seen her restrictive and tight (to us) stays in the same way.
    Annie

    Reply
  146. Hi, this is Annie as above, but I’m having problems with account sign in!
    Perhaps Roger Kni is trying to make a non scientific activity into a lab experiment? (grin)
    I really think trying to apply logic to 18 /19 stays and their wearers is a blind ally. These ladies (and girls, and young girls) saw stays as an essential part of life. If you look at today’s life many ladies find tight jeans, high heals and makeup “essential, necessary to look acceptable, let alone beautiful, without them you have let yourself go…etc”.
    On TV recently I saw a children’s ballroom dancing competition. Girls of 10? were wearing high heels and seemed quite happy. I suspect an 18 cent 10 year old would have seen her restrictive and tight (to us) stays in the same way.
    Annie

    Reply
  147. Hi, this is Annie as above, but I’m having problems with account sign in!
    Perhaps Roger Kni is trying to make a non scientific activity into a lab experiment? (grin)
    I really think trying to apply logic to 18 /19 stays and their wearers is a blind ally. These ladies (and girls, and young girls) saw stays as an essential part of life. If you look at today’s life many ladies find tight jeans, high heals and makeup “essential, necessary to look acceptable, let alone beautiful, without them you have let yourself go…etc”.
    On TV recently I saw a children’s ballroom dancing competition. Girls of 10? were wearing high heels and seemed quite happy. I suspect an 18 cent 10 year old would have seen her restrictive and tight (to us) stays in the same way.
    Annie

    Reply
  148. Hi, this is Annie as above, but I’m having problems with account sign in!
    Perhaps Roger Kni is trying to make a non scientific activity into a lab experiment? (grin)
    I really think trying to apply logic to 18 /19 stays and their wearers is a blind ally. These ladies (and girls, and young girls) saw stays as an essential part of life. If you look at today’s life many ladies find tight jeans, high heals and makeup “essential, necessary to look acceptable, let alone beautiful, without them you have let yourself go…etc”.
    On TV recently I saw a children’s ballroom dancing competition. Girls of 10? were wearing high heels and seemed quite happy. I suspect an 18 cent 10 year old would have seen her restrictive and tight (to us) stays in the same way.
    Annie

    Reply
  149. I have worn Corsts for over fifty years so the Corsets are now part of my body,no pain but constant pleasure of the support

    Reply
  150. I have worn Corsts for over fifty years so the Corsets are now part of my body,no pain but constant pleasure of the support

    Reply
  151. I have worn Corsts for over fifty years so the Corsets are now part of my body,no pain but constant pleasure of the support

    Reply
  152. I have worn Corsts for over fifty years so the Corsets are now part of my body,no pain but constant pleasure of the support

    Reply

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