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Intro Clothing Beds Corsets and Undergarments



"The stupidity and wickedness of this custom is scarcely possible to exaggerate," said one Victorian home journal on the subject of corset-wearing. Corsets -- tightly laced, rigidly constructed undergarments that exaggerated the female physique by constricting the abdomen and pushing up the breasts -- were worn by most middle- and upper-class women from puberty until death. Despite their painful fit and numerous health risks, they remained in fashion until the 1920s. Beauty standards prompted women to further embellish their figures at the expense of comfort by wearing ruffled underskirts called petticoats, often two or three at a time, that made their buttocks appear enormous in contrast to their willowy, corseted waistlines. Victorian men got off easy; their underwear, usually of the woolen long-john variety, was merely itchy.

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