Corset Characteristics for Spring and Summer 1916
The most attractive feature of the Spring line of corsets is the variety of beautiful materials used in their construction. Where hitherto there has been a few good broché corsets in every line, now there are numbers of them, of choice figure designs and in several shades of pink as well as white.
The different qualities of broché are ranged from a beautiful corset that retails for $1.50 to garments that will satisfy the most luxurious taste at the most extravagant prices.
Most of the broches are of firmer texture than formerly, a significant improvement, for in the looser weaves there was always danger of stretching, which sometimes developed to an unpleasant degree.
For real Summer corsets there are silk batistes with figure designs so lustrous that they might almost be described as luminous, and for the first time, these lovely shimmering things are guaranteed not to crack or split at the seams.
Silk batiste corsets are delightfully lightweight and even when substantially boned are the coolest, most comfortable garments that has ever been offered in luxurious materials.
Among the silk corsets, there is a reappearance of an old favorite, a corset made entirely of three-inch silk ribbon, which is modeled on current lines, with a medium-high bust, slightly curved waistline, and moderately long hip.
It is lightly boned and particularly adapted to very slender figures. There are also silk ribbon girdles that are such small affairs it is a mistake to call them corsets, though there is a slight demand for them.
Elastic webbing as inserts is not featured so extensively as last year, but it is kept in some of the very long models, to give freedom at the bottom, and in the top of many of the new low corsets. The new low models are significantly improved.
The tops are considerably fuller, eliminating the sensation of restriction just above the waistline, which was an unpleasant feature in many of the low corsets of last season.
The new waistline, which is natural, allows the low corsets to touch the body instead of bridging it at the waist, producing a very' pretty curve that is comfortable as well as beautiful and prevents the corset from creeping up on the body.
The trimming, which to many appears to be of secondary importance, assumes a greater significance as the corset grows higher; there is a more substantial opportunity for elaboration which is seized upon to increase the visual appeal of the corset, but there is one dominant note in our trimming, it is all flat—no coarse, stiff lace that is harsh to the touch, or clumsy embroideries, but soft, delicate lace and ribbon bindings that are not in the least bulky; finished at the front with small flat bows.
Pink corsets are trimmed with white ribbon bindings and silk galloon that precisely matches the body of the corset if the material is plain, or the predominating shade if the garment is made of broché; also a flesh-colored corset may be trimmed with a fine Val and beading, through which a narrow pink ribbon is drawn.
There is no attempt at fantastic decoration; all the designs are plain and functional, the product of skilled workers who are adept in artistic combinations of trim materials.
Even the little low top corsets with an elastic band just above the waistline, and those having rubber inserts at the top are trimmed with galloon, adding significantly thereby to their attractiveness.
A feature often overlooked and underrated is the quality of the strips used for bone casings; many times, when a woman complains that a corset is uncomfortable, the reason lies in the clumsy stripping which presses against the body. Tape stripping is soft and comfortable.
Many Summer specialties are now offered for consideration and orders are placed far in advance for specific garments that promise to become a staple.
Now is the time when the buyer yearns for the gift of prophecy: it is a little challenging to be decisive in March on whether the bathing season will be in full swing in June or whether the weather will be so cold that the season for bathing corsets will be unduly short.
A fair quantity of bathing corsets, however, must be bought now for future delivery, as the hot weather may come in May when it will be impossible to obtain them in time to meet the demand.
Bathing corsets are low-priced but indispensable; their superiority over the ordinary corset for this particular purpose has been fully demonstrated.
Although at first a corset made of rubberized cloth seemed a paradox when the wearer is bent on getting wet anyhow; but the rubberized corset is justified in many ways; it dries very quickly and for that reason is much easier to bundle and carry about than the ordinary corset, which takes a seemingly endless time to dry.
Furthermore, it never stretches out of shape or shrinks; and every other cloth does one or the other when subjected to repeated wetting, particularly in salt water. In addition to this, it is perfectly rust-proof, even salt water having no ill effect. A bathing corset of good shape is an absolute necessity to the “Summer Girl," so the department must carry it in stock.
An increased variety of corsets made of elastic webbing are among the season's goods, and they are manifestly improvements on the older designs; the figure lines are much shapelier and more attractive, the webbing is better and the artistry superior in the finish.
There are several heights and lengths to suit diverse types of figures, and the boning is more or less adapted to suit the figure for which the corset is designed.
The successful limit for the height of the bust in an elastic corset is four and a half inches, with the average much lower. Models long below the waist and equipped with six hose supporters of good quality are among the best sellers.
Many of these corsets, ordinarily quite plain because of the character of the elastic webbing, are trimmed with a silk galloon which softens the severity of the top and is applied by sewing on with the elastic stretched to its full capacity.
“The Corset Characteristics for Spring and Summer” in The Corset and Underwear Review, New York: The Haire Publishing Co., Inc., Vol. VI, No. 6, March 1916, p. 49-50.
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