fashion through history

features historical costumes from ancient world to modern age.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

history of corsets

Ancient Corsets

Corset – like ‘idols’ have been discovered on the Greek island of Crete that date back to around 2000 B.C. By placing two ceramic pots together by their bases, a waist shape was obtained, with the handle of the upper pot representing the nose. The hour – glass shape was a traditional primitive Cretan style, and not necessarily representative of the local women. Earlier icons were decorated with loincloths, with later examples wearing a loincloth and open lace tunic.

Traditional garb for some 15th Century virgins was a tightly bound dress, evocative of a corset.

Iron Corsets

Several museums today have examples of iron corsets. Some historians claim these to be everyday wear for European women and girls throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but such a garment or device would have been costly and beyond the pocket of everyday women. Such a corset would more likely to have been an orthopaedic tool to correct posture or obesity.

Assassination was a real threat in those days, and an iron corset as armour provided protection from bullet and knife. Favored initially by men, the iron corset went on to be worn by both women and men on court or dress occasions. Both corset and the dress of the time were very heavy, and considerable padding had to be worn underneath, the whole lot being decoratively covered with silk. Silk was a an expensive luxury, which indicates again the status of the corset then.

Only when worn by women was the garment referred to as a corset, it being called a waist coat or vest when sported by men.

Corsets with Stays 1550 – 1890

Stays were worn externally laced over the clothing (dress or skirt), unlike more conventional corsets which extended over the hips. Stays of the time were hand crafted from whale bone ( baleen ) and were popular around 1860. Eventually, stays became shorter, and evolved into a type of brassiere, with shoulder straps.

Victorian era corsets, 1831 – 1901

When most people imagine a corset, they are most likely to think of a corset from Victorian times. The Victorian era lasted some seventy years, during which time the corset underwent many changes of style and fashion as it evolved. One notable style was the ‘horizontal waist’, popular from 1850 to 1899. This complemented the fashionable ‘bustle’ of the day.
by: Davina Vincentes

Sunday, March 25, 2007

History of The Vibrator

Sometimes, misunderstood and revered, but secretly loved by its supporters, the Vibrator has as colorful a history as the modern day models that sit proudly on the store shelves or the pages of websites, waiting patiently and offering the promise of pleasure to an eager purchaser.
Some are not too different in form and function from the earliest ones found, much to the embarrassment of archaeologists earlier this century.

Excavations of ancient civilizations unearthed stone objects that were clearly sculptures of penises. Probably used in fertility or religious rituals, these objects played an important role in their communities.

The ancient Greeks with their olive oil and phallic objects understood a little better than most and realised that if they went to war and they wouldn't be around to satisfy their women, that they would develop a wandering uterus, so they would leave their wives with phallic shaped objects made of wood or leather to pleasure themselves until they returned. Naturally the olive oil came in handy as a natural and healthy lubricant for such devices.
These days Vibrators are far more developed and their usage is certainly different to that prescribed in their unusual beginnings..or is it?

The historical documentation of their development is certainly an interesting story to note.
The first mechanical vibrator was invented in the late 1800's by a British physician as a way to more efficiently perform a type of therapeutic massage on female patients.
First we must set the scene in the 1800's with a society of well dressed gents and ladies in flowing gowns who carried parasols and certainly didn't discuss pleasures of the flesh.
Imagine for a moment all these ladies parading around in their finery but hiding a deep mysterious affliction.

What was this affliction?

Apparently it was called "hysteria" a sinister type of madness. Hysteria was originally perceived as a disease, but what it basically boiled down to was sexually frustrated women suffering from an intense need or longing for an orgasm.

This forced repression began early on in the schools for young women where the matrons would glove the hands of their pupils at night in their dormitories to prevent them from their carnal desires to masturbate, anyone caught would have the further embarrassment of having their hands strapped to their beds while they slept.

To cure this affliction or Hysteria, doctors would manually massage women to orgasm in the hope of relieving them of this mysterious illness. No doubt it came as a huge relief when the first steam powered device was invented. Doctors all over Britain, suffering from repetitive strain injury, no doubt breathed a sigh of relief as now they would just have to stoke the small steam contraption and let it do the work for them.

Can you imagine how busy those doctors were!

One wonders how many women feigned hysteria simply to get to the doctors for some hands on relief!

Fortunately in the 1950's this idea of hysteria was replaced by the theory that it was simply a revolt of the womans need for sexual liberation following periods of sexual deprivation. How many husbands were suddenly jolted by the realisation that the local GP had been masturbating their wives for them for years.

I would imagine there were a few doctors a little disappointed by the downgrading of this 'disease' as well!

Today, gone are the crude stone, wood and steam powered models. They come in different lengths, sizes, shapes and textures to more adequately replicate that which they are representing. Some have collections to perform different functions while couples may use them as an enhancement to their sexual lives.

Owning a vibrator is a sign that you are comfortable with your sexuality and that as a woman you don't need to rely solely on another man to give you satisfaction. How could we compete as men with these battery operated or rechargeable wonders anyway. As hard as we try we have some stiff competition.
by: Martin Hunt

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