I’ve been assembling an informal catalogue of extent undergarments for my reference, and I have noticed something odd.
I can’t find a single representation of an 1850s corset in a reputable online collection!
OK, that’s not entirely true. There is one. At the Met. But it looks like this:
What the heck is that!?!? It doesn’t look like any other corset, anywhere, of any period. It’s got some 1830s-40s elements (the bust insets), but otherwise it looks like a weird variant of a 1790s corset, with some stuff never seen on any other corset before or after, like the folk embroidery. It’s interesting, for sure, but definitely a fashion anomaly.
So where are the 1850s corsets? You know, the ones normal people wore? The ones advertised in fashion magazines? The ones made by professional corset makers? The ones that (presumably), would transition between the longer, straped, corsets of the 1830s/40s, and the strapless, short corsets of the 1860s.
Is there some odd reason that no 1850s corsets survived?
Or have museum’s dated their corsets by pushing the dates of anything with straps back to the 1840s, and anything without to the 1860s, leaving a decade gap?
Or do I just really suck at finding stuff on the internet?