Variety Performer’s Views on Corsets

Published on Author Corset Manager

Dear Sir, – Enid, and other correspondents to your very fascinating paper, are probably right in saying that it is impossible to give up corsets once the habit is formed.
My own subjection to “My Lady Corset” dates back twenty years to the days when I was a boy of seventeen years, and played a girl’s part in a school play, a role impossible to present at all convincingly in those days unless one were properly laced.
I was quite a success, indeed I made a good looking girl, and afterwards, during the holidays my mother and sisters often amused themselves by dressing me up. Then I gave a few amateur performances, and, to cut a long story short, launched out on the Halls as “a female impersonator,” quite a popular turn in those days, remaining on the provincial stage for nearly seven years.
It was a curious job, but quite amusing, though I had to be far more careful of my figure and complexion than any girl. I always wore corsets on and off the stage, and laced rather tightly even for those days. Towards the end corsets expanded a little, which was as well.
One thing which always struck me as odd was the attraction my turn seemed to posses for women of all ages. Of course every artiste gets a certain number of letters from those “in front,” which he ignores if he is wise, but judged by this standard my brother artistes, many of them fine looking fellows, were “washouts” when compared to my fashionable frocks, lacy petticoats, rouged face and artificial tresses.
When I left the stage I discarded my corsets with relief, but in a very short time I was wearing them again, simply because I couldn’t do without them, and except for my War-service I have worn them ever since. I cannot imagine that a tight leather belt can be a satisfactory substitute. If one is going to wear anything, and I don’t advise anyone to start it, there is nothing to touch the old-fashioned lady’s corset, properly bound to give a straight front and to compress the waist rather than the hips.
The modern girl is very wise to discard her corsets while fashion allows her. But for dress to be effective it is essential that fullness in one part should be contrasted by tightness in another, and that is why the tight waist and full skirt, the most delightful of garments, has always been a success. Soon it will return.
With apologies for annoying you,
E. N. JAMES.