Tight-Lacing tames a Tomboy

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Dear Editor, – As a little girl I was always tight-laced, since I can remember. Because I was such a tom-boy mother put me into stays very early to keep me from romping around with the boys. When I behaved very badly she would lace me at the tightest and when I ran around too much she put me in high heels. Finally I had to stop sitting like a boy because I couldn’t stoop or run fast without getting very breathless, and behaved more as a young lady should.
Then we went to Brazil from England and mother continued the practise so now I am quite tight-laced indeed. For morning wear I generally wear the following clothes. Stays that are very heavily boned and have no front opening at all but a very heavy busk is there instead. These stays are worn next the skin as I have found out the lacing tears the underwear severely. The waist is laced to seventeen inches and the stays are so high in front they force the bust up a little, and are high in the back to hold the shoulder blades into position. Then, as being so laced makes one very easily away back with a deep arch at the wais-line, heavy steels are inserted to prevent this and the sides are nipped in over the hips.
On my feet are Oxfords with a four inch spike heel which are harder to walk in than a higher Louis heel, but I think they look much more dainty. I wear a peach coloured silk vest, which falls sheer to the hips with a costume slip added in the same manner. The frock fits loosely down to the hips where a belt holds it in place so that I appear modern by hiding my small waist and no would think I was laced in tightly. The skirt is a trifle below the knees, for then one gets the delightful pull from a tight skirt that is absent from one of knee length.
I also wear gloves of shoulder length all the time to keep my hands cool and they look better encased in high, tight gloves anyway.
For the evening I like the dresses of the old fashioned girl the best, as being more feminine. In this costume I wear buttoned boots half way up the calves, with a full Louis heel of 6 inches. As my foot is very narrow at the sold, being only 2 in. wide and 2 ½ in. long, I like to display them to advantage. In order to keep one from running the heels over small steel plates are placed in the boots on each side of the ankle to hold them straight. I don’t walk much, I tell you. The same stockings are worn, and I wear the old fashioned frilly and lacey umbrella drawers like those in Victorian fashion plates, and four belaced petticoats in this age of no petticoats too. The frock reaches to just clear of the floor so my tiny little feet peep in and out. Then, after the frock is adjusted around my waist, a very high and tight collar is added so that I cannot look down or turn my head. Through the sleeves, glimpses can be had of my high tight shoulder length gloves. For going out a loose, floppy hat is worn, held on by hat pins with a nice cute veil reaching my nose.
When I retire at night my face is given a good massage and made-up as for the morning. I sleep in my stockings and boosts as mother thinks that if I left them off my feet would grow larger.
Then out old servant takes me to another room where my brother has a stretching machine and I lay face down while she makes my feet fast, and then I am stretched out straight. When this is done the laces are slackened and the heavy back steel’s removed and I am quickly laced in until the waist is pulled in to fourteen inches.
Yours truly,
MARIE HILDAGO

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