Edwardian manufacturers produced sophisticated and complex corsets, which represented the accumulation of centuries of skill and experience. Technology had managed to perfect the hourglass shape, drawing in the waistline and accenting the bust, whilst the hips were compressed. The practical innovation of suspender belts to attach to the stockings were introduced after about 1900. Corsets could also be highly decorative, tempting buyers with patterned cover-fabrics, such as this seductive black and pink woven cotton.
By the later nineteenth century, the Rational Dress Association and similar "artistic" and "aesthetic" dress movements were advocating much looser styles of corsets, or even the casting aside of corsets altogether. Admiration for a simpler, "purer" more classical silhouette meant that very restrictive corsetry became increasingly unpopular, backed up by medical opinion which publicised the most extreme examples of tight lacing. However, not until after the First World War and the adoption of the boyish looks of the 1920s did corsets substantially change from nineteenth century models.
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