" A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy Forever ", But It'll Cost You

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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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dressing corset 1829.JPG

Fashion extremes have had pens stuck in them since Eve found a couple cute fig leaves. With reason. This is decades pre-war ( 1829 ), lampooning the corset craze. 40 years later no one seems to have worried much. We still laced ourselves into disarranging ribs. One of my favorite images, Hathitrust.

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One fairly restrained article denouncing tightly laced corsets. There are dozens. It genuinely was a crazy fashion- doctors published endless warnings.

It's always seemed to me our female ancestors have so much convoluted legend attached to their stories it's tough disentangling various threads. They were delicate, hot house creatures given to swooning AND tough as nails, capable women who lived to be 108 while raising livestock and great grandchildren while knitting small houses. You know what I mean.

Here's something making you a little thoughtful. Guessing it was both. There's a possible reason- different lifestyles ( and this is just, plain conjecture, no claims otherwise ). Our farm wife ancestors tended to not be ' women of fashion '. Yes, they'd have had more sheer physical work than their fashionable peers but that's not it. Pretty serious when I say being one of the women of fashion whose images seem so enchanting was risky stuff.

A day in the life.

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Women in the process of cementing arsenic paste over their faces, arms and er, bosums. To achieve a coveted whiter-than-white status.

Arsenic. Did a thread on how a woman's trip to the beauty salon included a process much valued to enhance how very, very white they were. ' Enameling ' was a process whereby you were kinda cemented over, various ingredients slathered over one's face, bosum and arms. Intent was WHITE, the whiter the better. *sigh*. Implications there are depressing but it's what we did. Arsenic was a chief ingredient. No idea why but can anyone imagine what in blazes happened when you literally wore the stuff?

Happy with one's extreme whiteness, you'd get dressed. We were still eons away from ensuring what we wore didn't kill you. Dyes were becoming less plant based, MUCH more chemically based. Example is a dye called " Paris Green ". So toxic there's a reason poor Mary Tepe chose it as her means to commit suicide, it was used for everythinggggg. Paper, wall paper, faux greenery used in bonnets ( milliners were prone to early deaths ) and yes, dresses.
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Once again newspapers and medical journals exploded- warnings, pleadings and appalling facts went nowhere. Paris Green wasn't the only offender, apparently the most lethal. This country did not stop importing Paris Green until 1920.

Then of course we had crinoline. Warnings did seem to have an effect- despite all the charming images we still love in 2019, it was a killer. Literally. Between 1858 and 1866 or so enough tragedies blazed across headlines to sink in. Really, they were awful. Several threads on it already so won't beat a dead hoop.
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One of the milder cartoons lampooning hoops as extreme fashion.

There's more- riding habits so voluminous in fabric women were dragged to death either when they fell off, skirts catching on saddles or even passing carriages. Awful stories out there. Let's see, spun glass used to ornament coiffures and hats? Unsurprisingly easily shattered. wearers blinded. OH and back to arsenic dissolved in water- which made your skin glow.... .

Like I said, sheer conjecture, far too many variables to consider but seems safe to say the length of one's life when launching into the fashionable world seems questionable compared with the girls home milking cows, raising chickens and far removed from chasing beauty. Risky stuff.

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byron ed

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We'd been advised that there were cases where habitual use of the corset on some women had so weakened their body core that it was advised to keep the corsets on during labor and the birth of their children.

Can anyone verify that? If that's only an "old wives tale" we'll present it that way.
 
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Yankee Brooke

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Not much has changed in 2019...how many of us run to the tanning salon, despite dermatologists warnings not to, while wearing too high stilettos that doctors also warn us to avoid? Bleaching teeth? That can NOT be good for us. I'm now seeing studies showing hair dye may not be good for your health either(although I admittedly still do that one). All in the name of fashion and beauty.

We modern ladies have a lot in common with our 19th century counterparts, it seems.
 

Mrs. V

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And then there was the mercury used in hat making...

Having worn corsets for Living History, I can tell you they are not that bad to wear. Then again, I am not lacing super tight, and I have not been waist trianing since I was a youngin either. And having seen many period pictures, I don’t see many women all that tightly laced!

In the modern fashion trends? We’ve had artificial nails harboring fungus...eyelashes providing homes for lice..*shudder*...ankle twisting platform shoes..then there were those speedo swimsuits the guys wore..often horribly..”Ethel, avert your eyes!”..
 

Yankee Brooke

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And then there was the mercury used in hat making...

Having worn corsets for Living History, I can tell you they are not that bad to wear. Then again, I am not lacing super tight, and I have not been waist trianing since I was a youngin either. And having seen many period pictures, I don’t see many women all that tightly laced!

In the modern fashion trends? We’ve had artificial nails harboring fungus...eyelashes providing homes for lice..*shudder*...ankle twisting platform shoes..then there were those speedo swimsuits the guys wore..often horribly..”Ethel, avert your eyes!”..
If we look back in history, besides the 19th century, I'm sure it's basically always been a thing we women did. All those aerosol fumes during the 80's, the 70's platform shoe craze, those platform flip flops from the early '00s were banned at school for safety reasons... nothing on the Chinese though, with their foot binding. :eek:
 
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Deni7492

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We'd been advised that there were cases where habitual use of the corset on some women had so weakened their body core that it was advised to keep the corsets on during labor and the birth of their children.

Can anyone verify that? If that's only an "old wives tale" we'll present it that way.
We'd been advised that there were cases where habitual use of the corset on some women had so weakened their body core that it was advised to keep the corsets on during labor and the birth of their children.

Can anyone verify that? If that's only an "old wives tale" we'll present it that way.
I’ve personally never read anything about keeping a corset on during labor but I know some women continued to wear throughout pregnancy with some corsets being specially designed for this purpose. Here are a couple of examples.
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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We'd been advised that there were cases where habitual use of the corset on some women had so weakened their body core that it was advised to keep the corsets on during labor and the birth of their children.

Can anyone verify that? If that's only an "old wives tale" we'll present it that way.

Hadn't heard that but there were a lot of objections by doctors over corsets- sounds as if the dangers were very real. Found an excellent article highlighting exactly which organs were squished, displaced and damaged. IMO, women had the strength of steer wranglers, lugging around all that fabric but guessing the core would seriously be affected. So, interesting!

I could see where just worrying about it would lead to having wear the corset during deliveries.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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I’ve personally never read anything about keeping a corset on during labor but I know some women continued to wear throughout pregnancy with some corsets being specially designed for this purpose. Here are a couple of examples.

Thanks for the images! That would have had me running screaming into the streets! Uncomfortable enough by month 7 or so, add a corset? Just no. Guessing quite a few said OHHHH no.

God and I are having a long, long conversation one day when I get there. I have a List. It's the " What was THAT? " list. Pregnancy is number 3 or so. Poorly planned on behalf of we girls.
 
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