Staylace writes about Tight-Lacing

Published on Author Corset Manager

TIGHT-LACING. – A correspondent, adopting the signature STAYLACE, says – “In reply to the invitation from the lady from Edinburg to a discussion on the popular system, amongst our sex of compression of the waist, when requisite to attain elegance of figure, I beg to say that I am inclined, from the tone of her letter, to consider her an advocate of the system, she at first sight appears to condemn. This conviction of mine may arise from my own partiality to the practice of tight-lacing, but the manner in which she puts the question almost inclines me to believe that she is, as a corset maker, financially interested in the general adoption of the corset screw. Her account of the whole affair seems so artificial, so made up for a purpose, so to speak, that I for one, am inclined to totally discredit it. A waist “easily clasped with two hands.” Ye powers, what perfection! how delightful! I declare that ever since I read that, I have worn a pair of stays that I had rejected for being too small for me, as they did not quite meet behind (and I can’t bear a pair that I cannot closely lace), and have submitted to an extra amount of muscular exertion from my maid in order to approach, if ever so distantly, the delightful dimensions of two handfuls. Then again, how charmingly she insinuates that if we will only persevere, only submit to a short probationary period of torture, the hated compression (but desired attenuation) will have become a second nature to us, that not only will it not inconvenience us, but possibly we shall be obliged for comfort’s sake itself to continue the practice. Now, madam, as a part of the present whole of modern dress, everyone must admit that a slender waist is a great acquisition, and from my own experience and the experience of several young lady friends similarly addicted to guide me, I beg to pronounce the so-called evils of tight-lacing to be a mere bugbear and so much cant. Every woman has the remedy in her own hands. If she feels the practice to be an injury to her, she can but discontinue it at any time. To me the sensation of being tightly laced in a pair of elegant, well-made, tightly-fitting corsets is superb, and I have never felt any evil to arise therefrom. I rejoice in quite a collection of these much-abused objects, in silk, satin, and coutil of every style and colour, and never feel prouder or happier, so far as matters of the toilette are concerned, than when I survey in myself the fascinating undulations of outline that art in this respect affords to nature. With all this I still claim some title for consistency, for I admit that if we went partially unclothed or loosely draped as the ancient Greek sculptors have made their beautiful statues, I for one should be no advocate for corsets. I consider them but as part of a whole. They are in keeping with our style of dressing, and a clumsy waist is now as much out of place as an attenuated one would be on a nude or classically draped statue.”