Transparent Corsets

I am not talking about flimsy scraps of titillating diaphanous lingerie here, I mean real corsets.

 

 

Hot summers are rare in Britain and so the 'transparent corset' was much more a feature of the American and Australian corsetry houses where the 'Miami or Melbourne Matron' could achieve her shape confined within a girdle of well-boned Aertex. Personally, I have no desire to see a panorama of compressed cellulite reflected in my dressing room mirror but Spirella, Spencer, Jenyns, Triumph and Camp all offered and advertised see-through Aertex and thin nylon materials.

The Spencer fitter shows the light-weight corset to the client who I'm sure will, as the advertisement claims, lose every bulge. The problem is the transparency of the material compared to the bone casings. I have a morbid dread of my corsets being seen through my clothes and I suspect that however cool and effective that Spencer corset might be, its presence will be detected through a thin dress. Also I just hate the material.

I have written elsewhere regarding the corsetry owned by an aged relative who travelled extensively:

Amazingly, they found 20 Spirella corsets in nearly identical sizes, give or take the odd half inch. They were all white, but in different materials, brocade, satin, nylon and a light aertex quality. They were all front-laced and secured by a long, offset row of hooks-and-eyes. ------- The corsets were, indeed, roughly grouped into fours, indicating three active garments and a fourth ready to replace the oldest corset of the trio when its controlling days were numbered. The brocades would have been for winter, the nylons and aertex for the hotter climates that she and her husband used to enjoy visiting.

 

 

 

British women by and large wore the same foundations summer or winter, however, in tropical climes, the heavy brocades and satins were completely unbearable before the advent of air-conditioning.

 

One could even have one's surgical corsets reproduced complete with all the bones and steels necessary for it to achieve its function, the whole contraption held together by a virtually transparent fabric (Spencer on the left and Camp on the right).

 

Much research (and presumably some embarrassing failures) went into designing a fabric that was light enough to breathe in summer, yet strong enough to withstand the powerful forces generated by Samuel Camp's and Anne Spencer's engineering*.

 

 

* There never was a real Anne Spencer despite her name appearing on numerous advertisements.

 

 

Jenyns is delighted to announce that larger ladies can enjoy transparent corsets and even Triumph (of Germany - right) marketed a lightweight nylon version, however, the lady in the middle holds something quite incredible. Is this a corset made of plastic?