Thursday, July 22, 2010

Corset advertisement for 1807

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Loretta reports:

Sometimes the advertisements from the times tell us more than the fashion plates and descriptions do.  This one, from the July 1807 La Belle Assemblée, mentions some common complaints and viewpoints about health as well as fashion.  It offers as well a glimpse into selling practices.
The elastic cottoned long Stay invented by Mrs. HARMAN, who alone can make them in their genuine perfection.

These so much admired Stays obviate every objection complained of in Patent Stays, not being subject to the disagreeable necessity of lacing under the arm, or having knit gores, so very elastic as to be in effect no stay or support whatever.  Mrs. Harman's Stays adapted to give the wearer the true Grecian form, must be seen to give Ladies an adequate idea of their beauty and utility, therefore Mrs. H. has various sizes ready to send for the inspection of those Ladies who live at a distance from London.

Stays, being in the present style of dress of great importance, Mrs. Harman recommends it to the serious consideration of Ladies what sort of Stays they wear; long Stays have now for a considerable time made part of the female costume, and have been variously made according to the knowledge, taste, or strength of invention in the maker, so have they, more or less pleased, but one general complaint has attended them, namely, that on some forms they would wrinkle on the hips, and prove uncomfortable in sitting; Mrs. Harman from a close observation and imitation of nature, has constructed a Stay which will not be attended with these inconveniencies, and at the same time will give an agreeable and graceful shape to the shoulders, reducing the bosom if too embonpoint, or increasing its natural appearance (if too diminutive) to the taste of the wearer, and as her cottoned Stays are exquisitely easy and pliant, they preserve to the slender form all its native roundness, while they guard from cold, the most susceptable parts of the body. Mrs. H. in availing herself of the Lectures of Statuaries and Medical men, on the subject of the female form, feels herself competent to say, that her Stays are the most perfect combination of study, talent, and attention to fashion and health that can be produced.  Those Ladies living at a distance from London or Bath, applying by letter, (post paid) will be informed of the proper method to send their measure for Stays, No. 18, New Bond-street, London; or No. 6, Westgate Buildings. Bath. [564]

From La Belle assemblée, Volume 2
Publisher J. Bell, 1807


Amy DeTrempe said...

I cannot even begin to imagine wearing stays. Especially in the heat and humidity.

Laura said...

"...exquisitely easy and pliant..." Brilliant! Being as I am a proper distance from both London and Bath, irritatingly in the middle of the country, I'd better send off for instructions right now!

Mme.Tresbeau said...

Oh my that caricature is priceless!

Pauline said...

"...they guard from cold, the most susceptable parts of the body".

British understatement at its very best!

nightsmusic said...

Um...that chubby lady in the top picture...I really don't remember posing for that, but it's ME! O_o

Finegan Antiques said...

What a saleswoman. She could probably sell salt to a thirsty man in the desert.

Who invented these torturous and terrible undergarments: stay, girdles and bras ....?


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