Visitors' postings
(Commentary and Observations)
---Plus some editorial comments worth archiving---

Charles S.      Roger K.      Stephen K.      Aarkey


The Specialist Corsetière´s Advice

by Dr. Helen Stern


A reader writes:

This article is about underwear, in the old days.  The author quotes her sources, so this might be the "normal" for which those London Life stories is the exception!  If this is how the folks out on the farm dressed..."


Some time ago, this interesting incomplete manuscript
was anonymously forwarded to us.
Does anyone know its origin, or have the complete text?


Brett tells us of an interesting article,
with an the Australian perspective


 Misha writes: Here is a link to a short discussion of male corseting:


Update article on prolapse and the v-belt:  #1    #2

(See patents from 1879)


[The Four Feathers - 2002 film]  In an interview, Kate Hudson says that she had to wear 'a very tight corset' for her 1884 costumes.  I don't think this implies they are visible, though."
Interview     Film details

[ED: We have included this as a matter of interest, but our viewing of this film shows little that might be of interest to corset aficionados]


Angeloso writes:

Link:   "How to create a corset step by step with a custom corset pattern generator…
you can put in your measurements and the program will make the calculations for you." 


Scott contributes this factual story:
'Tisn't Just Virtue That Protects A Lady!
Arming the Adventuress
By J. Ruth Dempsey

     "On August 8, 1840, after scalping their way across south Texas, Buffalo Hump and his 500 Comanche Warriors galloped into Linnville, a port on Lavaca Bay. One of their first victims was Major Watts, the customs collector.   Turning to the attractive Mrs. Watts, several warriors tore off her dress, then tackled her corset. After a lengthy struggle with its multiple hooks and crisscrossed laces, the men abandoned the assault, but not Mrs. Watts. With her in tow, they advanced on the town's center. It was empty. The residents had seized the opportunity to flee in their boats to the middle of Lavaca Bay while the Comanches were fighting their losing battle with the corset.

     "After looting a warehouse and setting fire to houses, the Indians turned to their last piece of business in town. Tying the still-corseted Mrs. Watts to a tree, they administered the coup de grace - an arrow shot into her chest and left her for dead.

     "When the Texas Rangers following in Buffalo Hump's tracks found Mrs. Watts on August 9, she was not dead, only sunburned.
The arrow had struck a tough whalebone stay, thus losing so much force that the injury to Mrs. Watts was minor. No one could doubt that this corset was made of the right stuff."

     "The Secret Weapon of Mrs. Watts," Time-Life Books Library of Curious and Unusual Facts:
A World of Luck,
1991, pp. 84-5.



Margit & Rupert's wedding
14 June 2003

Although we announced the event here on LISA, we did not display a picture of the charming couple. Tom has remedied that!


 "Zip" sends in this interesting article


Terry Q. writes:

"To the Compiler of the Ethel Granger Biography -- You have to admire the Grangers for living life on their own terms -- and in some ways, their willingness to publicize their lifestyle brought out other like-minded people who possibly felt their desires were too eccentric for anyone else to understand.

But I remain curious as to the years not covered by the biography which by my calculations was everything after 1960 - does anyone know how the story continues? -- I would be interested to know how far they went with their 'experiments,' as Will calls them."

Editor: Write - if you have enough to say, why not open a topic on our Tightlacing Topics forum?  If you do, we shall publicize that here.


Dave Potter writes:

"Recently I have been searching the Internet for pictures of fine gowned actresses from famous films and have stumbled across Eras of Elegance, an incredibly good site for anyone interested in more genteel years.
Their film database is the most extensive that I've found."


In 2001, we put up several candid pictures of The Bal des Gracieuses, an event known to us all, and which, in our estimation, is a bit of a public "spectacle" (meant in a positive sense ) for the Corset Community.  We have reluctantly removed this fine page, due to the selfishness of some of the participants who have asked us to do so.  While we recognize the right of a person to deny us this opportunity, one would think that, in the interest of the Corset Community, they would be a little more generous and gracious to us all.  That appears not to be the case.  After all, we here at LISA. never reject requests for publicity from ANY corset company, including their listings, even though we attempt to help The Community, using C&S Corsets, and try to invoke that spirit of Community.  Apparently, others do not.  A shame for us, and shame on them.

If you want to see at least the C&S Corsets that were there, please visit this page.


"KQ" writes in 2000:

"As a follow up to your recent postings of Victorian royalty in corsets, readers might like to know about Torosay Castle on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, which has some stunning photo albums of society parties featuring some very small waisted ladies from the turn of the century."


Minimus sends this this humorous item regarding typical governmental perspective on sensibilities:

"This article (here) on wartime corsets reminds me of US wartime efforts to minimize civilian usage of rubber, especially for such things as women's girdles. Therefore a government bureau issued instructions on how best to don and remove a girdle.  One line suggested that the girdle be worked down a bit and then 'removed by a good strong yank.'  Somebody thought that the use of 'yank' might be construed as 'Yank,' as in a member of the fighting forces, and the pamphlet was hastily rewritten and issued with the following substitution: 'removed by a good strong jerk'."


Tony points out this URL of of interest (particularly Gallery 7)


Chloe Madeleine K writes:
"The Lost World of Mitchell & Kenyon
    Discovered in 1994 and now restored, the work of early English film makers (from Blackburn. North West England).  I have seen one trailer on the television and it looks very likely to have great scenes of beautifully turned-out Edwardian ladies."  



Sarah writes:

"On a lighter note, down here (in Australia), SBS (a local television station) is currently airing (2005)
The Colony,
where 4 families are to live for 4 months in situations as did our colonial pioneers (incidentally, their spot is a beautiful location just north of Sydney, their site being located on the banks of the Hawkesbury River (any one who has been there will agree with my complimentary remarks). Well, the girls were given their corsets last night, weren't they. Goodness!  What a pack of sissies! these stays were not even tightlacing models and the groans of torture were so put on it wasn't, funny with countless additional remarks of how helpless women made themselves for the sake of fashion. Our beloved garment received not one speck of positive press. Wish I was there to show 'em how real women do it! Can you imagine any of these fair maidens managing a 7 inch reduction as do I, day in day out, fulfilling all the challenges of our fast-paced 21st Century life; let alone what they're expected to do in their temporary surrounds?  If there are any (sighted) fans from down  under, you might want to see if they can capture the clip for showing on LISA, though, I'd have loved to have been there if only to flaunt my wonderful womanly hourglass!"


Mike sends this interesting article


S. Titus Canby comments on rib removal:

"I suspect that all the tales about women in the wasp-waist era having ribs removed to facilitate achieving an extremely small waist are apocryphal. Supposedly Anna Held, an American actress famous for her figure, who became the wife of impresario Flo Ziegfeld, underwent this operation, but this story seems most likely to have originated from her husband, who was ever on the lookout for free publicity. Another story that he issued to reporters said Anna Held bathed in asses' milk, which seems equally implausible.
Rib removal, in short, seems like an urban legend from the era from 1860 to 1910, when some women practiced undeniably extreme forms of tight lacing. The French actress Polaire started in the café-concerts in the 1890s as a singer with a normal waist and gradually made her waist smaller, achieving and retaining a size of only 13" from approximately 1905 to 1909. There can be no doubt of this amazingly small size, because in one of her stage performances, strips of paper 13" in length were distributed to the women in the audience, who were challenged to see if the ends would meet around their waists. Polaire demonstrated that one of those strips did indeed meet when wrapped around her waist.
       More recently Ethel Granger achieved the same size, 13", and retained it for several decades. Another tight laced Englishwoman, Ethel Kayne, a contemporary of Ethel Granger, also was said to have achieved a 13" waist, and photographs of her make her claim seem very plausible. Of the three, Polaire, Mrs. Granger, and Mrs. Kayne, none ever claimed to have had a rib removed in order to achieve a world-record size.
       In the 18th century many women among the upper classes and nobility laced very tightly. According to one writer of the period, Soemmerring, in some cases the lower ribs overlapped. Surgery then was performed without anesthesia, so removing ribs to facilitate tight lacing was not an option.
       Experience shows that removal of ribs is not necessary to achieve an extremely small waist; unrelenting pressure over a period of months or years, which may involve wearing a corset day and night, can gradually reshape the rib cage and greatly reduce a woman's normal waist measurement. Advertisements from a century ago offered mass-produced corsets in sizes down to 20", and smaller sizes were available made to measure. Many women achieved such sizes by gradually reshaping the rib cage rather than by having ribs removed.
       Rib removal is clearly not necessary to achieve an extremely small waist, and tales that it was done to this or that actress seem intended mainly to increase the circulation of  sensational newspapers or attendance in theatres."


James writes:

"If you ever get a chance to see Mitchell and Kenyon (an Edwardian film), go for it.   It consists of 28 hours of film found in an old photographer's shop in Blackburn in Lancashire.  I saw it with my wife at the Cambridge Film Theatre and it is exquisite.

"You see a typical street scene, and amongst the ladies you’ll see someone who really does take her waist seriously.  Not once but several times.  In one scene there is a procession for a degree ceremony at Birmingham University.  Lots of trim ladies!"


Jűrgen W. sends the below, from the book, Revenge, in German.

This is a photo book is an photo book by photographer Ellen von Unwerth, edited in Santa Fe 2003, containing 238 photo pages. Obtainable at  Froelich & Kaufmann Bookshop, Postfach 650634, D-13306 Berlin, Germany, Article number 235938

There is a interview with Ellen von Unwerth about this book on  At least one of the pictures in the gallery is a closeup of a woman wearing a corset. Salon is, of course, available by subscription, but 24 hour access can be obtained by viewing a rather long and somewhat annoying ad.

More books


Bender writes:

Thought this might be of interest. Scroll down for a list of stories, some of which are corset-related.
Not bad reading:



From Phil Boarder (2003):

"The marriage of Jane Cunningham and Irish footballer Shay Given was a
while ago now,  but these pictures tell a story. Is that a nervous look on the bride's face or a little discomfort?"



Julie writes: 

"I've been reading about Urban Legends at  Under the "Horrors" section, in the subsection about "Fatal Vanities", the website debunks a rumor that Cher had her ribs removed. The website then goes on to discuss the Victorian habit of tight-lacing. Interesting reading."


An interesting 2001 missive from Lysteria:

"In light of the recent postings in the January Update Log about corsets in current fashion collections, the irony of this trend hit me. As a female corset enthusiast myself, I enjoy my curves and have never tried to fit a supermodel body type. Being thin is not a priority in my life, though I watch my weight to maintain health and I am as vain about looks as the next woman. A small amount of body fat is best when tightlacing because it lends itself to enhancing curves.

Though I enjoy the pictures of the fashion runways, Versace & Gaultier use such thin models (with the exception of the statuesque Sophie Dahl) that corseting seems ludicrous on their frames. Why even bother? The models work hard to starve every inch of body fat from their shapes, then the designers add padding and corsets to put it all back, but there is nothing on them to cinch. We're left with a shadow of a woman in a corset that overpowers her body rather than enhancing it.

I'm not sure if I should find the fashion collections humorous or pitiful. Though the design work and fabrics are beautiful, the models they've chosen to display them on are severely lacking. A woman needs a real shape to corset, and I can barely tell any of the models are wearing corsets unless it is blatantly displayed outside their clothing. Even then, there is little difference between their waists and hips because there is simply nothing to cinch up.

A great piece of artwork can be ruined by the wrong frame. Though thin models look great in straight lines, they lack the curves needed for these collections. Bones and breast implants are not complimentary to the corseted shapes used and putting the body of a 17-year-old androgyne/anorexic into a corset is laughable. I only hope the trend in models will catch up with the trend in clothing so the beauty of curves will someday replace angles. Gaultier & Versace make beautiful designs with great imagination, and the clothes in these collections deserve more womanly shapes to fill them


'HJP' writes:

"Here are a couple of articles that I found in the news:   #1   #2

(There is only a brief mention of corsets in #2 above, but it'll be interesting to see if the film is produced.)"



15 Mar 04







Ey offers this:
"What happened to worn-out corsets in the olden days?"

"This is what my cousin told me over the telephone the other day: Her twelve-year old daughter had gone treasure-hunting in a loft in the girl's grandparent's big old house and found a box that had fallen from a top shelf into the dividing wall behind it, long ago. The cardboard box contained two linen blouses and a light wool jacket. The two blouses were new and unworn, in a style which dates them 1910-1912. The jacket was older and worn, but the wear had just been neatly repaired, it's style says 1906-1907. These are obviously some of my English great-grandmother's (remember the 'Cinderella Exposition' some years ago?) clothes lost, and then resurfacing after more than ninety years!  That jacket is the interesting item for us. It is in green plaid, the large squares marked by a more yellowish green.  It is a close-fitting jacket, rather short, though both the upper part and upper sleeves are quite wide. Theses sleeves, b.t.w., which are fastened so to make ridges on top of the shoulders, are supposedly called "melon arms". Below the bust the jacket is tight, form-fitting, to fit an obviously very small waist. The lining sewn into the jacket is a corset! (Hold that thought, the wearer was *not* laced into her jacket...) The bottom of the corset descending below the jacket had been cut off, the busk and boning removed, and a side opening made (the jacket closes under one arm). The lacing is still there, but only used to adjust the circumference to make the jacket very close-fitting. An exciting example of skilful recycling indeed!

This event also brought with it a couple of interesting things: Those blouses are handmade, exquisite, beautiful and rich in details. Directly from the seamstress and seemingly never even unpacked. My twelve-year old cousin-daughter (is that a valid word in English?), who by the way is totally fascinated by these old clothing styles, wanted to try them on. Since the girl is currently about the same size as her great-great-grandmother, and she also had found the items, they agreed to a careful try. The first blouse fitted perfectly, except for the waist. Even though my cousin-daughter is on the skinny side, she must become funnel-shaped and at least 20 cm less waist to fit into those! A small let-down of course, but accepted without comment. My cousin, her mother, passingly noticed her daughter becoming extra interested in pictures and texts about "la belle époque", but was still surprised when her daughter said she wanted a real corset, and since then repeatedly has made clear that she think they look sooo good, and she is the perfect age to be gradually laced into "that" shape. So convincingly that it might possibly turn into a birthday gift in a few weeks..."


Ian writes:

"Nice page with girl in corset and Chinese style silk dress."


Jenny writes:

"In the Marc 03 British edition of Mens Magazine FHM there are some pictures of the Australian pop star Holly Valance in a corset, which I reckon can be laced to no larger than 20''.  She is pictured in latex and corset and the picture is something incredible.  Elsewhere there are pictures of Christina Aguilera in a leather boned corset, and there is also an advertisement with a picture of what seems to be a leather corset.  I recommend the magazine as much as is possible and would send the pictures but have no scanner. Can anyone help?!  I hate to think that some people may not see these pictures!"


Noel writes:

"I dropped across some pictures in a Agatha Christie magazine which is on sale here in Ireland at present (2002).  It goes through her life and is quiet, interesting reading."

#1   #2

Ed: The files have been left intentionally large to enhance text legibly.


Jim writes:

A very nice article in the 1 March 02 issue of subtitled
"Far from an article of bondage, the corset has been an instrument of liberation":

Dave Potter, one of our fine contributing writers
(he gets around!), contributes this:
"In 2005 I had the good fortune to pay a visit to the Museum of Enduring Beauty, situated in the historic heart of the beautiful Malaysian city of Melaka (Malacca). The museum, part of the People's Museum, focuses on how human beings have undergone great pain to beautify themselves throughout history, the 'Enduring' in the museum's title being a double reference to the pain/endurance and the permanency of some of the beautifying practices.
The museum covers varied practices,. and includes a large section on corsetry with some examples of corsets on display. Interestingly, it has a section on male corsetry in Papua New Guinea, where young males are forced to waist train so that they may find a bride. In Papuan society, women are traditionally the food gatherers and thus prefer husbands with small appetites, thus going for the corseted male.
The museum also has extensive exhibits on Chinese foot-binding, scarification, anorexia, lip-plates, the giraffe women of Thailand, tattooing, piercing, skull deformation and other interesting and at times gruesome practices. All in all, well worth the trip!"


A Plea...

I have an original photograph, that I believe is one of the daughters of Edward VII, but they all look fairly alike.
Can anyone help me out with identification? 
[email protected]




Every once in a while  we get letters, this one in 2002) from intolerant people that just BEG for an answer, and we do answer.  However, the letter below  was only signed "Jen", with no valid returnable email address. We are hoping she is morbidly curious enough to see our response. Please indulge us.

LETTER:  "I think that it's very disturbing that there is a site that claims 'to promote the concept that there is little more erotically artistic than women clad in what is popularly known as "Victorian" corsety <sic>. It does everything it can to further the use and acceptance of these rear-laced garments.' 

The corset is on one of the most retrictive <sic> garments ever made, and is a symbol of male dominance over women. Every time I see pictures of Victorian-era corsets I am disgusted at the way in which they literally deform the female body. It reminds me of another barbaric male-dominated deformity inflicted on women--foot binding. If society were really to accept the use of these garments again, as this site claims to aspire to, we would be harkening back to the days of total female oppression. Think about all the women in the Victorian era who suffered daily for their entire lives in these wretched garments. Perhaps the owner of this site, and it's visitors (male and female) should also think about why they are so taken with a symbol of female oppression and suffering."

OUR ANSWER:  Thank you for writing. However, your words regarding corsetry and the "oppression" of women are quite strange.

During the corset era, woman wore stays because they had little choice with which to support their breasts (that is why they were invented!). Later, when tightlacing became mode, it was WOMEN who insisted on the practice, NOT men. As a matter of fact, it there was a strong movement by men to abolish the practice. This is a far cry from suppression. Women "suppressed" themselves, if you insist on using that ridiculous term. In modern days, corsetry has come to represent the sexual POWER of women (far from submission).  And, yes, they look WONDERFUL!  You might also be shocked to learn that there are MANY MEN who tightlace!. How does THAT fit into your little paradigm? If you think a fitted corset is not comfortable, then you have never worn one. It is a feeling of constant embracement and support. Please do a little research before you make statements that are patently FALSE; you give the feminist movement a bad name, blaming everything on men (as matter of fact, basically HATING men, it appears). It is the spirit of EQUALITY in the movement that will win you over the men that it is essential to have supporting you in order to be successful. .We love women, but your type tax us. Do a little homework, and stop taking the word of every misinformed feminist radical that spouts disinformation, perhaps even intentionally. We’d like to hear your rebuttal, or your apology for again making men the villain (not that they were not oppressors in other instances). But you failed to leave an proper email address (coward-ness?). You should choose your battles more wisely.



This letter is being posted as a courtesy for this gentleman.  If you would like respond, please do so directly to [email protected]

(2002) "Having back trouble and losing posture as I get older, I have been wearing surgical corsets off and on when my back acted up, but I found that they were uncomfortable, so when the episodes of backache subsided, I stopped wearing them.  Being a male, I am hesitant about wearing them on a regular basis, and want to get more info from other men who are wearing them daily.  I have read the comments posted by other men, but very few of them leave e-mail addresses, so I could contact them.  I think that I could benefit from wearing a corset, but I'd like to get more advice from those who are wearing them on a regular basis.   Sincerely yours,  John W. Hoyt."  


This from Sue in 2002:

"I am in possession of an old English corset and am trying to find some information on it. It is black with pink roses all over it, has 6 garters and has a label marked 'A Gardner & Sons Ltd (Corsets), London N1  'Frangara'.  Is this corset rare as I cannot find any mention of it on the Internet? Any help would be appreciated."



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