Do you know what these two items are? At the bottom is a piece of whale baleen. (Some whales have teeth, others have baleen in lieu of teeth. The plates of baleen act as a filtering system when a krill-eating whale whooshes in a mouthful of sea water and krill.) At the top of the picture is the underwire from a modern bra.
You may wonder what whale baleen and underwire have in common. It’s all about fashion. We use metal wire in bras today to add uplift. In Victorian times, they used the plastic-like baleen as vertical boning in corsets to reduce inches.
Back in those elegant Victorian times, corsets compressed a woman’s waist to a circumference as small as eighteen inches. You may recall in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novel, LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS, set in the 1800s, the author mentions that when her mother and father were married, her father could span her mother’s waist with his hands.
I’ve never much been into pain, and I’ll choose today’s foundation garments above corsets anytime! However, I’m fascinated by the elegance of Victorian dresses. Still, I have to admit, I’m a blue jeans girl. My husband is definitely a sweatpants kind of guy, although on occasion he dresses up, and he looks great in a tux!
(Princess Cruise Photo)
How about you? Comfort or elegance?