Description: Silk corset with lace trim and blue flower design painted on front. Five metal stays in front, lace up back.
Underwear. We all wear it. Boxers or Briefs? Granny-panties or Thong? And for the ladies, entire stores dedicated to contraptions to hold up your bosom. Strapless or Sporty? Always the search for something a little more comfortable!
It’s lovely to see all the beautiful dresses and uniforms in museums, but don’t you wonder what they were wearing underneath? Unfortunately, like today, undergarments of the past were often used until they wore out and they never made it to the museum.
Corsets have been a part of women’s fashion for over 500 years. Their size and shape has changed, but their purpose has always been to mold the female body into the desired shape. In the late 1800s, women strove for an hour-glass figure with a waist measurement not exceeding the number of years of her age accentuated by puffy sleeves and padding at the hips and busts.
This corset is extra fancy because it was part of Cordelia Huntley Butterfield’s wedding ensemble when she married Charles Henry Childs. Cordelia was the daughter of Theodore Faxton Butterfield and Harriette Hamilton Huntley. The groom was the son of Justus Childs and Betsy Budlong. On October 19, 1886, Cordelia and Charles wed in Grace Church (next door to the Butterfield house).
*Please note that the corset was an element of middle and upper class fashion. Working class women did not often wear them.