Friday, 20 February 2009

Tight Lacing

Now, I am far from wishing to encourage tight-lacing, but if girls and women will practise it I should like to point out how it may be done with the least possible injury to the organs of the body. But I must repeat that in doing this it is under protest against tightening the stay-lace at all. However, girls (and women) will tight-lace, no matter what strength of protest is made, and it is better for them to do it in the least injurious way, if possible. Therefore I offer the following advice:-

Instead of one long stay-lace, three shorter ones should be used. The top one should be carried down to a depth of about five eyelet holes, and there should be a bountiful provision of the lace left here, in order to give abundant breathing room to the lungs, permitting the chest to expand to the fullest, and allowing long, deep breaths to be drawn without that peculiar catch which denotes injurious tightness. There need be no exaggerated looseness, but only sufficient to afford perfect freedom from pressure. Instead of spoiling the look of the figure, this actually improves it.

The second lace should fill the eyelet holes below the first one down to the waist line, and should end there. It is sometimes, even, advisable to leave an eyelet hole on either side free from lacing, between the first and second stay-lace. But the object of the whole arrangement is to enable the second one to be drawn tight without squeezing in the upper part of the figure in the least. And the third lace, in the same way, enables the wearer to avoid pressure on the hips, where it is highly injurious to some of the internal organs.

Of course, this is all unnecessary when funds are available to command a well-made corset from a trained physiologist, as are all really good corsetiers, who fit the figure with exactest skill, and, without squeezing or tightening, give it a graceful outline. But with the cheap, ready-made article the above advice will, I believe, be found really useful.

I should like again to repeat that I wholly disapprove - but, no. I have said enough.
from How to be Pretty though Plain by Mrs Humphry "Madge" of "Truth" author of "Manners for Men" (this publication is not dated, though the cover bears an illustration that puts it mid 1890's)

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