The Victorian corsets of the nineteenth century (from 1893)
In point of fact, the corps, or corset, was a boned bodice, and, differed, therefore, essentially from the corset proper, which did not come into fashion until the first years of this century.
But people soon tired of aping the maidens of ancient Rome, and little by little, a style of costume was adapted, that, while it savored but slightly of antiquity was as conventional as any that had gone before. The plain, close-fitting skirts rendered it necessary to compress the torso, and therefore the first corsets were rather abdominal belts.
Toward the end of the Empire, they became much reduced in length. A reaction, however, was at hand, and after 1815, waists grew longer and longer, while at the same time the corset grew stiffer until it bid fair to imitate the cuirass of the 16th century.
Finally, somewhere in the 1840s, a vast improvement was made in the manufacture of corsets — they were designed on a more rational basis; the double husk was invented and furnished with books, thinner bones were used and softer materials.
Variations in fashions have led to modifications, more especially in the length of the waist and the height of the bust, but the general outline has not been materially altered within the last 50 years, and the modern corset, although infinitely superior to its predecessors, is constituted on the same lines, the differences lying in minor details, important from a hygienic and artistic point of view.