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Corset

http://vcomeka.com/vccc/images/1992.119.r.jpg
Detail View of Corset
Detail View of Corset
Front View of Corset

Dublin Core

Identifier

VC1992119

Title

Corset

Description

White cotton underbust corset; Plain cream woven cotton, ivory cotton lace and ivory silk ribbon, metal grommets, metal busk, and metal boning Under-bust hourglass Bust and hip gores; quarter inch bonings in pairs every inch; bones on either side of grommets at CB; front busk closure; machine made-lace with ribbon woven through it on top edge; one-inch wide sewn at inside waist, binding in chunks along lower edge; completely machine stitched; upper and lower edges not finished; busk studs coming through unfinished cut holes

Date

1904 (circa)

Subject

Clothing and dress

Extent

25 inches (waist), 10.5 inches (center front length), 8.5 inches (center back length),

Medium

cotton
metal
silk

Type

Physical Object

Temporal Coverage

1900s

Rights

http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/

Rights Holder

© Vassar College Costume Collection. Images in this collection may be used for teaching, classroom presentation, and research purposes only. For other reuse, reproduction and publication of these images, contact costumeshop@vassar.edu.

Costume Item Type Metadata

Source Identifier

VC1992119

Cataloguer with Date

Faren Tang 3/3/2010

Dimensions Waist

25

Dimensions CF Length

10.5

Dimensions CB Length

8.5

Dimensions All

25 inches (waist), 10.5 inches (center front length), 8.5 inches (center back length),

References

Waugh ‘78 (c. 1860), 102 (1866, 1868) French? or ribbon corset, Bradfield, 324 (1904-1907)

Date Earliest

1899

Date Latest

1909

Gender

womenswear

Classification

costume
clothing

Category

Underwear

Function

underwear

Exhibitions

Vassar Girls and Other Women

Public Information

Oddly enough, it is a corset that serves as an important example of the democratization of fashion that occurred following the industrialization of the later nineteenth century. A woman could not have laced herself into many corset styles, especially those of the early to mid-nineteenth century, yet 1992.19 is one of a later type if corset developed with both back lacing and a separate front closure, so that even the middle to lower class woman who could not afford a personal servant would be able to wear a proper corset. As clothing in general became less elaborate, it became easier for a woman to dress herself; therefore a woman without a servant to help her dress would no longer be at such a disadvantage. Such democratization is especially interesting in our discussion of the 'Vassar girl': she could have come either from a background where she would have had her own maid to help her dress in the morning and undress at night, or she could have come from a background lacking in such luxury, but regardless of such previous experiences, when she arrived at Vassar she would be on her own . . . except, of course, if she was lucky enough to have a roommate around to help. While many stories indicate that early Vassar girls may have brought their maids to school with them, college historian Elizabeth Daniels, during many years of extensive research concerning the college's history, has never found any documented evidence that this really was the case.Therefore it would appear that everyone was in the same position. Propriety, not to mention contemporary ideals of beauty, still required the wearing of a corset, but a Vassar girl's scholarly activities would also require that she take less time to dress and more time to study, and her physical activities would require more freedom of movement than earlier, more structured, corsets had allowed. A ribbon corset, such as this one, was the perfect solution.

Condition Term

good

Condition

much of bias tape type edging is missing, a little rust, a little yellowy, rust stains from busk, 2 in. tear on L back side

Storage Location

E1

Repository

Vassar College Costume Collection, Drama Department, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604

Exhibition Notes

From the late Victorian era to the years following the First World War, women's bodies and the function of corsets retained discourses of rationality and hierarchy relating to race, nationalism and empire. Before the turn of the century, medical sources used these discourses in the quest to rid women of corsets; however, corset-manufacturers themselves reappropriated this language in order to sell corsets based on fears of the degeneration of national strength, offering corsets adapted to 'sport 'and even the athletic activities of men. The corset would continue to change, along with the discourses surrounding it, imbuing the ideal constriction of the waist with staying-power that resonates in fashions today.
Oddly enough, it is a corset that serves as an important example of the democratization of fashion that occurred following the industrialization of the later nineteenth century. A woman could not have laced herself into many corset styles, especially those of the early to mid-nineteenth century. This item is one of a later type once corsets had developed with both back lacing and a separate front closure, so that even the middle to lower class woman who could not afford a personal servant would be able to wear a proper corset. As clothing in general became less elaborate, it became easier for a woman to dress herself; therefore a woman without a servant to help her dress would no longer be at such a disadvantage.
Such democratization is especially interesting in our discussion of the 'Vassar girl:" she could have come either from a background where she would have had her own maid to help her dress in the morning and undress at night, or she could have come from a background lacking in such luxury, but regardless of such previous experiences, when she arrived at Vassar she would be on her own . . . except, of course, if she was lucky enough to have a roommate around to help. While many stories indicate that early Vassar girls may have brought their maids to school with them, college historian Elizabeth Daniels, during many years of extensive research concerning the college's history, has never found any documented evidence that this really was the case. Therefore it would appear that everyone was in the same position. Propriety, not to mention contemporary ideals of beauty, still required the wearing of a corset, but a Vassar girl's scholarly activities would also require that she take less time to dress and more time to study, and her physical activities would require more freedom of movement than earlier, more structured, corsets had allowed. A ribbon corset, such as this one, was the perfect solution.

Researched by Alyssa Cowley ‘11

Work Type

underwear
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