2017 saw us through a lot of fashion faux pas. As nice as clear plastic boots may have looked on Kim Kardashian, wearing them is just asking for everyone to know exactly how much your feet sweat. Tearing up denim even further resulted in what essentially amounted to denim underwear. Let us never forget the fact Balenciaga sent platform crocs down the runway. But one controversial trend we’re most glad to see the back of this year is the corset.
Fashion is an industry that will consistently gain inspiration from past times, events and trends—the scrunchie deserves to come back as many times as it pleases. The corset, however, has a deeply steeped history of controversy and health issues. The modern day interpretation—both the waist trainer and the corset belt—are just as divisive (and just as hard to breathe in!).
The corset and tight lacing: the historical medical concerns
Experts still argue whether the corset was a sign of patriarchal control over women’s bodies, or was a clothing choice made by the woman. It wasn’t necessarily the boned bodice, which was a standard in women’s everyday wardrobe that was an issue, but the metal eyelet, and the introduction of tight lacing. If women wanted to mould their body to the desired shape of the time, the back of corsets were laced up to create a more exaggerated figure. It wasn’t as necessarily violent and extreme as has been portrayed in movies (and creating a 13 inch waist was fairly uncommon) but it wasn’t particularly healthy.
Restriction to the lungs was one of the biggest health concerns; the lower lobes of the lungs couldn’t expand fully to take a breath, straining the lungs. Back muscles could atrophy, as the boning of corsets kept the wearer’s back straight—as opposed to the wearer working on it themselves.
Don’t waste your money on waist trainers
If you were present at all on Instagram in 2015 (and followed any single one of the Kardashians) there’s no way you could’ve missed the #sponcon rise of the waist trainer. First off, remember that just because a celebrity endorses a product, doesn’t mean it’ll work whatsoever; they’re being paid to promote it. The problem with waist trainers: roughly the same as the original corset. The constant compression of the waist trainer causes the rib to press into digestive organs. Gas is the best uncomfortable symptom you’re asking for in that case. In terms of the worst, you’re looking at stomach ulcers.
Corset Belts: Not as bad, but not a great connotation
Isabel Marant SS17, Bella Hadid’s street style, and as per usual, the trend has trickled down to Zara. Everywhere you look, someone’s styling a corset belt. Even toddler North West has worn a slip dress featuring a corset lace up detail in the front. The look has been trendy for some time, but as all good things do, has succumbed to overexposure. Everyone’s probably been exposed to just how uncomfortable they are as well. It’s time to give our waists some time to breathe — there’s still ways to emphasise your waist that doesn’t throw back to the era of tight lacing. Or, you can make like Joey Tribianni and borrow Rachel’s maternity pants. They give you the freedom to move, breathe, and most importantly, demolish an entire Turkey with no restriction.