Some social commentary on corsets, 1910

Ladies Home Journal, June 1910 thedreamstress.com

I bought the June 1910 issue of the Ladies Home Journal (it was the American Fashion Number!) when I was in the US, and thought I should share this fascinating piece of corset related social commentary from it with you:

Ladies Home Journal, June 1910 thedreamstress.com

And if you can’t quite read that one:

Ladies Home Journal, June 1910 thedreamstress.com

Ladies Home Journal, June 1910 thedreamstress.com

Ladies Home Journal, June 1910 thedreamstress.com

So many layers! The anti-tightlacing message, right as longline corsets came into fashion. The message that corsets should be looser, without even a hint of a suggestion that they should be left off. The weird overtones about fertility. The use of ‘man’ and ‘girl’. The idea that women dress for men. The mansplaining…


  1. ceci says

    Doesn’t his knowledge of/attention to her undergarments seem a bit indelicate? I’m shocked!


  2. ‘It’s juices could not rise’ D:

    And they look a similar age, but he’s ‘a man’ and she’s ‘a girl’.

    Good thing it’s the future and magazines would never run articles about what men think women should wear… right?!

  3. How bizarre. I wonder if the man’s tight collar cuts off the ‘juices” to his so it might wither & die too?

  4. Jenny Wren says

    Also, young unmarried women are generally tightlacing to look thinner, and tbh it seems to be working for this girl- her head is the widest part of her. They’ve chosen to persuade girls not to tightlace by showing them a picture of an ethereally beautiful, thin woman who *does* tightlace. The logic… it burns…

    • Tightlacing as a whole never seemed to have been very common – no more common than waist training is now. Some women do it, but the vast majority don’t. Most of the reports of tightlacing have been shown to come from men’s pornography of the era – never the best source for accuracy in depicting women!

      While, by modern standards, the girl in this looks ‘ethereally’ and ‘thin’ – things we think of as good, she is shown as being significantly thinner than the women in their fashion pages, or the women in the corsetry ads in the magazine, indicating that her look was not the desirable silhouette for the era. 🙂

  5. Tegan says

    “Why thank you kind sir! I would never have learned such deep thoughts with my tiny woman brain!”

  6. Elise says

    Ok, what I like: the dude is showing the lady why, rather than simply demanding and requiring obeisance. I wish that men even today respected the intellect of women to be influenced by evidence and reason.

    What I don’t like…Oh my. All the oh my. You are right, there is so much to unpick.

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