Clothes make the woman

A personal story by Deborah Roberts of ABC documented her experience in a corset over about a weeks time.  Nowadays, some women are returning to the corset to create an artificially thinner waist and also to force some form of portion control.  In addition, with the advancements of the internet, more and more lingerie outlets are advertising their line of product.  The dangers of the corset are well researched and that -among other reasons- is why it has not been a regular piece of clothing in some time.  Times do change though, as does fashion, and as our society continues to believe in a particular body image, we may see the corset return to women’s (and possibly men’s) fashion.

Last time I checked, the corset went out of style when the Ottoman Empire still existed. But what do I know?  I own only two pairs of shoes.  In any case, apparently, the corset is beginning to make something of a comeback in both fashion and for the supposed health benefits it offers.

One need not look far to see the corset in modern fashion.  For anyone who keeps in contact with Lady Gaga, they are most likely all too well aware of the bizarre fashion choices that she makes on a regular basis.  Just last week she took a stand against wasted meat products and constructed a corset of her own from the discarded remnants of a local butcher shop.

Perhaps you realize I am being a little bit facetious (yes, I needed a dictionary for spelling), but you all probably understand my point.  And while I can’t imagine that Lady Gaga was actively making an ironic point against wearing a corset, we can still draw some interesting ideas from her fashion statement.

For her to wear a corset is nothing completely outside the realm of normalcy.  While it may have fallen out of style, it is still a sort of erotic piece of clothing, and artists and performers have worn them on stage for years for the obvious sex appeal.  But the interesting part is that it was designed from meat; as if to say, “am I just a piece of meat?”.

This line of reasoning is nothing new, and after she worse the infamous “meat dress” in 2010, there was similar analysis done.

The corset was long perceived as a literal and figurative restriction on women.  It dramatically contoured the body to fit a male definition of beauty, and has been documented to lead to deformed internal organs and breathing irregularities.

But now it is the women who are making the decision the wear corset for themselves, which could lead to a “reclaiming” of the article of clothing.   This, much in the same way “slutwalks” were created as a way of embracing a stereotype and reclaiming it for women.  In addition, it is being used now as an unconventional way of getting healthy.  It forces the wearer to eat less, and thus make better decisions.  After a while, these new habits would become enforced even after the corset is removed.  While this is conforming to perhaps a slimmer version of beauty, there is no doubt that healthier eating is better for the body.

And, the corset creates great posture.

All this is tied to choice though and thats what makes women wearing corsets now far different than in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries.

Will the corset become an every day garment again?

Probably, and in my terrible fashion opinion, hopefully not.

But does it serve a purpose in the modern world?

To that, the answer is certainly yes.

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