I went to a museum today where they had an exhibition all about health. It included some wobbly mirrors which showed you how you might look, thinner, taller and wider. I looked much better thinner, in fact, I looked a lot like I looked before I had children. There was also an interesting display with some corsets and corset stays. I think I could do with one at the moment.
In 1700 it was perfectly usual for a woman’s corset to draw her waist into 23 inches. Women were deformed, must have suffered indigestion and all sorts of horrific pains for their fashion. This week I have been looking at Victorian Dresses, specifically those dating to around 1840- 1880. A period of surprising change in dress design, so much so that it is possible to date a dress to a particular decade. Even then, it must have been a squash and a squeeze for a woman.
I love this period of dresses and would happily wander around wearing replica dresses from this period, the fabric is exquisite, the quality of stitching varies between maker. But you cannot doubt that they would have made an impact. However, there is one tiny flaw, my weight gain. It’s not tons but enough for work colleagues to notice ( I fear they may be discussing third pregnancies behind my back). My waist is currently 30 inches, this is four inches bigger than pre-baby but seems a vast amount to me. Standing next to a woman of 100 years ago or more I would seem like a giant. Still, its made me think about getting back onto the straight and narrow diet and exercise wise at least. One thing’s for sure you would never have that nagging worry in the past about someone appearing wearing exactly the same dress as you.
There is one other bad thing about dresses of this type with their voluminous skirts and layers of underwear; there would have been ample places under the skirt for children to play and hide. Imagine the joy for a child to hide in a crinoline- their own personal tent with mummy included!