Medium: Multicolor silk brocade
Date: c. 1750
Credit: Museum purchase
Corsets originated in the beginning of the 16th century, when aristocratic Spanish women first adopted "whalebone bodies." Stays (later known as corsets) rapidly became fashionable throughout Europe. In 1588, the French essayist Michel de Montaigne wrote, "To get a slim body, Spanish style, what torture do women not endure, so tightly tied and bound . . . " Although doctors and moralists remonstrated, women continued to wear some form of corset until the middle of the 20th century, because corsetry was associated with feminine beauty, aristocratic display, and self-discipline.
Object Number: 99.79.3