July 29, 2010

edwardian posture - ideal vs. reality

The Gibson girl silhouette is so pleasing to eye. By 1908 the S bend line has softened a bit compared to a few years earlier, but the leaning forward, scooped in small of the back, and mono-bosum look was still the ideal. Here is an ad for American Lady corsets found in April 1908 edition of The Designer.

The new snug hip! Let's compare the illustrated model's posture to a few photographs of actresses wearing the latest fashions.

They are all standing like upright citizens with good posture. The third lady from the right comes closest to the ideal, and the draping on her bodice definitely helps her achieve the desired look. For fun I laid a piece of vellum over the photo and drew the American Lady corset on one of the ladies to see how it would fit.

Very shapely. But still not leaning forward. And not nearly as long and slim a line as shown in the ad. By the way, the actress with the exposed corset is Maxine Elliott and quick search will result in tons of beautiful pictures of her.


  1. I think, perhaps, that this is a prime example of how advertising has been manipulating the look of women's bodies for ages, even before the advent of photo shop! :)