Just before leaving the gym the other day, I stopped in front of the sink to freshen up. As I was looking in the mirror, I noticed a woman to my left, who was clearly struggling to breathe while tightening something under her shirt. I sent furtive glances her way so she wouldn’t notice me staring, but then she flipped up her shirt and revealed what it was she was struggling with – a corset. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about corsets that one wears in the bedroom. No, I’m talking about the old-fashioned, organ crushing, shape-inducing corset. Something that I believed to have died out by the end of the Victorian Era has made its appearance once again within the last two years.
Corsets were first introduced in the late 1400s, as a means to support a woman’s bosom and obtain a desirable hourglass figure. The corset would undergo numerous alterations since its initial appearance, until its demise in 1901. However, many women ditched the corset for good by 1914, as they entered the workplace. Although some continued to wear the corset after 1917, it would only make an appearance every now and then in the fashion world.
Recently, I’ve noticed this trend gaining traction again among women. At first, there was news coverage of Kelly Lee Dekay, a 27-year-old woman who wears a corset to obtain a 16-inch waist. Although she says it is more for an “artistic feel” than achieving a specific look, it caught my attention. Suddenly, celebrities like Kim Kardashian were talking about “waist-training,” and more and more people began feeding into this fad.
Personally, I see it as an allusive means to diet and exercise. Now, some might strive for a cartoonish-figure, or some might simply want a smaller waist. However, if diet and exercise can do just that, then why constrain your body? People are essentially making it harder for themselves to breathe, squeezing their ribs to a dangerous degree, and potentially causing a great deal of harm to their internal organs. So here’s my question to you: What are your thoughts on waist-training, and would you try it? Do you think that corsets should have been left behind in the Victorian Era?