Shaping the Female Figure
Lingerie takes an important role in shaping and moulding the female figure. From push-up bras to girdles, basques and shapewear the lingerie industry continues to push the boundaries of sculpting the female form.
History is filled with moulding, shaping and sculpting fashions, from the obvious corsetry of the early 20th century, to the subtle bindings of the Greco-Roman period and the boyish girdles of the 1920's.
In particular crinolines and bustles stand out for me. A vital contraption of the 19th and 20th century fashions, crinolines and bustles would amplify the size of the posterior and hips, helped by corsets nipping in the waist, giving the illusion of a dramatic hourglass figure.
Originally crinolines were made from stiff fabrics and horsehair. By 1830 they would have been made from fabric and steel hoops or even whalebone hoops. These rigid structures would hold-up the petticoats and skirts and would shape the outerwear in the fashionable contour of the period.
The crinoline would have been worn by every social class and was widely available. However, width of the crinoline and choice of style, trend and fabric would have defined a woman's social rank in the late 19th century.
The 'cage crinoline' as it came to be known, imprisoned women, and could have been up to 180cm in diameter. The issues included, sitting down, revealing ankles and perhaps more, knocking over items when passing by, windy days and more importantly; catching fire, and being caught in machinery in factories.
As with every decade, fashion and trends is of the highest priority to all women, so the crinoline had a reasonably long-lived life. The onset of the industrial revolution reduced the width of the crinoline to a bustle around the back of the dress. This steel contraption would have been attached around the hips and would have supported and shaped a dictated curve on the posterior.
The bustle is typically associated with the Victorian era. Combined with the corset of the period the style female form defined a generous posterior, a refined and fine waist and ample bosoms.
Crinolines and bustles are almost unknown in contemporary fashion, however women and fashion still seek to modify the natural figure to convey dictated trends, although perhaps not to the extreme of the 19th and 20th century fashions.
High-waist briefs, inspired by the 1940's and 1950's briefs accentuate hip curvature, push-up bras will amplify bosoms, girdles will nip at the waist and longline bra's will define the bosom whilst the longline bra gives the illusion of a small waist defining the natural hips protruding.
Playful Promises looks forward to the next wild and saucy trends that inspired the lingerie industry, however we are thankful to be free from the shackles of 'cage crinolines' and bone crunching corsets – we offer an alternative to these corsets with the beautiful Vintage stitch corset.
Defining and shaping your waist, pushing up your bosoms and highlighting your hips. Ideal!