Buried Treasure From Godey's; Ladies, Take Back Curves!

JPK Huson 1863

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#1
dance print regency.JPG

Dance? Pre-1960's women had the energy to dance. This Regency era print illustrates a centuries long satisfaction with feminine curves- and delight in them.

Era fashion does not enable you to see ' figures ' well although familiarity did not prepare me for this. " Lankys ", whether a made-up term by this author or an identifiable ' type ' were women whose Oreo stash was a little low. Lacking womanly curves, objects of pity and too thin. Yee haw, people.

Somewhere in the last 50 years or so the expectation we all look more like tall boys and less like the females our ancestors somehow, in all their unenlightened states, knew we were, has become carved in bone. How silly.


african american woman1.jpg

Chose this era image because this woman is an obvious a follower of fashion, beautifully dressed, a stunning woman who took great care to present herself this way- and as obviously has not focused on ' thin ' or not thin. The focus, as focus generally seems to be in ear photos, is on the woman, her clothing, sometimes family and wedding and children and occupation. She may be a college student or teacher, hence the book.

Came across a magazine article making hash out of everything which ' sells ' in 2017. Not a thing ' wrong ' with the lankys, either- spent most of my life poking new holes in belts and chopping off the long end. It's the societal attitude- and the massive change, our ' new ' insistence we all fit somewhere most just, plain do not.
Because we're girls. Our ancestors liked us that way.
lankys 1.jpg

Told you this was a treasure!
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lankys 2 harpers lankys.jpg


demorestmagazine.jpg

Yes, the corseted waist- meant to enhance curves.

lankys 3.jpg

lankys 4.jpg


A diet was included, pretty much what you would expect. It's a little like what we now refer to as ' comfort food ' and see women confess to their BFF's, over non-fat, no caffeine, tepid taste brown water lattes the next day. For lunch.

A lot of slender women can be pulled up from the internet in photos dating between 1861 and 1865, certainly. We worked really hard. Processed food did not exist, not as it does today. Same women laced those corsets more tightly- these morphed into girdles, enhancing other feminine charms. It all went to heck when Twiggy splashed across media in the 1960's. We've fought our own figures ever since, the tall-little-boy ideal somehow replacing our own genes.

dem cors.JPG

Demorest's corset- designed ' above ' and ' below ' for women. It sold hugely.

Mme. Demorest was an incredibly successful business woman. She and her husband built a fashion empire based on women looking wonderful and feeling wonderfully feminine- and terrific about themselves. You learn a lot hanging around in History.
 

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Anna Elizabeth Henry

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#5
Fascinating post when you think about the history of women's fashion in conjunction with their weight/body type. All the great masters of art tended to paint very curvy women an it was seen as desirable and beautiful. I wonder who decided all of a sudden in the fashion world that little waists were a 'thing'? Because when you look at clothing from the Regency era to now, maybe only the 1920's demonstrated less concern on waist size with those drop waist dresses - interesting that is the era when women got the vote. Then in the 30's & 40's things started to cinch back up at the waist. Hmm...now if I was a college student this topic might prove to be a really great topic for a paper :wink:
 

JPK Huson 1863

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I am 5'2" and when I weighed 120lb, I was still seen as fat, because I am a curvy wench. I will never ever be a twig. It has taken my entire lifetime to embrace my body type. Now I wear my civil war attire and smile.

Yes and how lovely for you! Ideas of beauty have changed in such crazy ways- the worst has been insisting no one has hips, thighs to carry those hips nor breasts, really. We're all to embrace being tall, young boys then feel awful we cannot get there? How did we get here and why are we believing any of it when just kinda melting into early images shows us so many centuries when women's figures were celebrated.

My mother would not allow us to own Barbies. It was a brilliant move on her part. OH we all whined a great deal. All our friends had them. She made no speeches, just said ' NO '. Never got it in my head this was some ideal, pretty sure, when in the 60's and 70's, that was IT. She also took one look at Twiggy and said something about feeding her, so that was out. 85, this kind of thing has been coming up in conversation because she lives with us now.

It just seems so clear our ancestors, for all the corseting, hot curling, crinolines and things which look odd to us were more enlightened than we are in 2017.
 

Anna Elizabeth Henry

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#8
I am 5'2" and when I weighed 120lb, I was still seen as fat, because I am a curvy wench. I will never ever be a twig. It has taken my entire lifetime to embrace my body type. Now I wear my civil war attire and smile.
I hear you! I'm 5' tall and 126...the last time I was 'skinny' I was probably in high school and weighed 95 lbs soaking wet. Ironically, I was told to gain weight then as I was under...now sadly I think I might be over, you can never make anyone happy whether doctors or perceived notions of the era you live in. That's why it is important to embrace whatever God gave you and be happy! Curvy Civil War Wenches Unite!
 

JPK Huson 1863

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I hear you! I'm 5' tall and 126...the last time I was 'skinny' I was probably in high school and weighed 95 lbs soaking wet. Ironically, I was told to gain weight then as I was under...now sadly I think I might be over, you can never make anyone happy whether doctors or perceived notions of the era you live in. That's why it is important to embrace whatever God gave you and be happy! Curvy Civil War Wenches Unite!

Yes, agreed. It's annoying to me when I see 99% of the population unhappy with their looks simply because they do not look like some image agreed upon by ( guy ) corporate heads in board room somewhere. We are who we are, that's it. And truly how hugely boring would it be if we all looked the same? What a snore!

Ran across yet another Regency portrait, very striking. I used to think the era favored a kinda beanpole effect and no. Fairly voluptuous, emphasis on er, hips and other points south being rounded and highlighted by flimsy fabrics. Not a hip bone in sight.
 
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#10
Yes, agreed. It's annoying to me when I see 99% of the population unhappy with their looks simply because they do not look like some image agreed upon by ( guy ) corporate heads in board room somewhere.
My husband's theory is that the powers-that-be in the fashion/beauty industry have something against women and thus enjoy making our gender dance like marionettes. He thinks we're perfect left on our own, without the influence of Vogue, etc.

He once cautioned me when I was at the height of my weight training that I was getting a little too lean. Felt my natural feminine "soft curve" was superior.

One of the many reasons I like him. :wub:
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#11
So had a hopeful conversation with my daughter. It does seem perhaps we're finding our way back. More and more, girls are claiming for themselves and each other the dignity of curving, not curving, refusing to grow or topping two yardsticks. From what I hear they're educating that generation of male peers exactly how it's no ones business to comment on ' looks ' despite their tendency to grapple with basic math.

Sometimes progress isn't. 150 years ago curves were just fine and really, they'd feel someone required plumping up if they were too thin. Actually women's fashion tended to annoy men- so much for worrying about being ' judged ' on that stupid 10 scale. Men loathed crinoline, we wore it anyway. Makes you glad a new generation can forget to call The Guys and check in, to see if how they look that day is acceptable.

curves and corsets.jpg
 

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#12
So had a hopeful conversation with my daughter. It does seem perhaps we're finding our way back. More and more, girls are claiming for themselves and each other the dignity of curving, not curving, refusing to grow or topping two yardsticks. From what I hear they're educating that generation of male peers exactly how it's no ones business to comment on ' looks ' despite their tendency to grapple with basic math.

Sometimes progress isn't. 150 years ago curves were just fine and really, they'd feel someone required plumping up if they were too thin. Actually women's fashion tended to annoy men- so much for worrying about being ' judged ' on that stupid 10 scale. Men loathed crinoline, we wore it anyway. Makes you glad a new generation can forget to call The Guys and check in, to see if how they look that day is acceptable.

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I suspect they loathed the crinoline because they could no longer get close and cop a feel! Not without the skirt swaying and giving them away...and yes, I love the fact that there does seem to be some movement toward embracing more body types. Seeing this in the undergarment industry especially.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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I suspect they loathed the crinoline because they could no longer get close and cop a feel! Not without the skirt swaying and giving them away...and yes, I love the fact that there does seem to be some movement toward embracing more body types. Seeing this in the undergarment industry especially.

Ha! No, it was how intrusive they were. Cartoonists of the era had a field day- men complained about how seats a woman took up, how much dust they kicked up, how dances were difficult- if not torment because apparently sprung wires tended to stab partner's legs and worst- the death toll. Reading the outcry against the deaths caused by crinoline alone, it's amazing those things lasted as long as the did. Well, it was a lucrative industry.

Threads here somewhere about it. I know I was very surprised to see how pervasive were campaigns against wearing crinoline- we tend to get enchanted by images. They are enchanting. Boy, seeing the other side makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
 

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Ha! No, it was how intrusive they were. Cartoonists of the era had a field day- men complained about how seats a woman took up, how much dust they kicked up, how dances were difficult- if not torment because apparently sprung wires tended to stab partner's legs and worst- the death toll. Reading the outcry against the deaths caused by crinoline alone, it's amazing those things lasted as long as the did. Well, it was a lucrative industry.

Threads here somewhere about it. I know I was very surprised to see how pervasive were campaigns against wearing crinoline- we tend to get enchanted by images. They are enchanting. Boy, seeing the other side makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
Yes! Not being able to see how close you were to open flame was not a good thing. I believe I am correct in saying that was the leading cause of death in the day..*shudder*...and yes, they do take up a ton of space.

When my son and I were dancing he did remark on how hard it was to work around the crinoline and how squeamish he felt encroaching on it.
 

Cavalry Charger

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Love that!

My mother would not allow us to own Barbies.
Neither would my mother, but I take the opposite perspective on this. I do not believe for one minute that a Barbie doll would have caused me to think I needed to look like Barbie. It was more about the fashions and dress up of the doll than body type. I think we have used Barbie as a focus around this issue when little girls playing with dolls will not read into this the way adults do. Show me a celebrity that teen girls look up to and whom they are more likely to set their expectations around. These are the people who populate the media, music, movies, fashion industry, etc. That they have such a high profile is what generates the myth around women's bodies. And we could take the Kardashians for instance. Now our butts aren't big enough, our lips aren't plump enough, etc. See any of those girls without makeup and you wouldn't even recognize them. So, I wouldn't blame little girls Barbie dolls. I would blame the industries that keep feeding us, and on which we keep feeding, that tell us fame and celebrity - with whatever body type that entails - should make us want to be someone other than who we are.

We need to get to the beauty on the inside. That's what needs to get out there.
 
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#16
He once cautioned me when I was at the height of my weight training that I was getting a little too lean. Felt my natural feminine "soft curve" was superior.
Amen to that!! I really can't see why that praised "hard body" in a woman should appeal to any man! I have a male friend and he is very fond of curved women and adored JLo when she had, well, boobs and butt. Now that she has trained a lot (don't know if she did that for herself or to please ARod) all that is gone and while the journals praise her for her discipline, my friend said that for him (and his like-minded male friends) she now has become a boring "ironing board".
But I'm with @Cavalry Charger: it's not that exaggerated Barbie doll image - every four year old notices that no real woman looks like her (and I guess we all loved Barbie for her lots of shoes and dresses and hairdo). It's the media. Look what they praised in Michele Obama: not her beautiful full figure, but her muscular upper arms! The men in my environment hate these "Rambo arms" in women, but it seems all women get crazy about them and think that is what they must work out for. Strange, really. Or look at that new challenge that came up maybe five years ago: getting back a flat belly after giving birth in no time! As if young mothers hadn't a million other things on their mind that are more important than a bikini belly. Why do intelligent women allow the media to put that kind of pressure on them? Why do we all do that? Again, strange, really!
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Oh I don't know. Kids respond to environment plus tend to register adult approval as something ' good '. I'm sticking with Barbie as an unspoken prototype for what on earth we're all supposed to aspire to. Remember a good friend from 30 years ago. She was a gazillion feet tall, so thin she said her hip bones hurt if she slept on her side and one of the most stunning girls you'll ever see. Had a small brush with the modeling world- she said they told her to go home and lose another twenty pounds. She said er, no thanks.

Assuming we all get up in the morning and remain frazzled until ascertaining yep, yep, when I go out today I'll be acceptable to any man whose approval is mandatory ( based on 1-10 ) drives me a little crazy. I've worked with enough men who seemed to feel every woman who passed by got up that morning eager to enter their contest- and got dressed for the express purpose of entertaining all of them- to be able to say We Don't Do That, guys. Honest. Spent my life reminding quite a few that was the case.

You know, in all the browsing I've done in era newspapers, periodicals and books I've never once found anyone doing what we do now. Famous beauties were admired sure, have yet to see anyone comment on their weight. We liked our curves for one thing and for another, you just didn't do some things. It was considered vulgar to comment negatively on someone's appearance. We don't even use the word vulgar any more- it's ceased to mean anything significant.
 
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You know, in all the browsing I've done in era newspapers, periodicals and books I've never once found anyone doing what we do now. Famous beauties were admired sure, have yet to see anyone comment on their weight. We liked our curves for one thing and for another, you just didn't do some things. It was considered vulgar to comment negatively on someone's appearance. We don't even use the word vulgar any more- it's ceased to mean anything significant.
Annie, 100% approval here! The whole weight/weight loss thing is a luxury problem. I think in the earlier centuries, maybe even until the early 20th century people just did not have that problem, because there was simply not that much to eat or the food was not as high caloric as today. Normal people just ate what they could get and every pound above average was an indicator of health - and if it was more than just a few pounds, then it was an indicator of wealth and the abundance of available food. Today the problem is that everyone has access to lots of easy calories from fat and sugar, and as "beauty" is always something outside the norm, then in a society of mostly normal to overweight people the extremely slender people are automatically seen as the beautiful ones. Just as in times where everyone was hungry and thin, a well formed or even overweight body was considered beautiful, beginning in the Stone Age.
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Look at her, the "Venus from Willendorf (Austria)". There were times on this earth when she was the epitome of female beauty!

It's just that you need a fair share of experience in life to understand the mechanism and don't overrate it.
 



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