CLASSIC CORSET TOP
The determinately sexy corset has been filling all our virtual mood boards as of late, by virtue of Netflix favourite Bridgerton. The period drama, which features cues from 19th century ‘regencycore’ fashion, has added to an already growing trend in corsets over the past 12 months.
And while the covid pandemic means many fashion shows have been scrapped, IG feeds are proving an unlikely substitution, with social media pages for Dion Lee, Miaou, and Brock Collection pathfinders for varieties of the archetypal corset.
The sleeveless top remains the most popular class of the corset craze, loved for its flattering accentuation of the female figure. Although corsets have evolved significantly from their days as restrictive and arguably oppressive undergarments, corsets today stand as a symbol of empowerment for many women.
Panels of boning typically line the front and sides of the modern-day corset, creating a smooth waist and lifted bust. A structured bodice is a great way to experiment with shape and balance in your outfits, so coupling a sleeveless corset with straight leg trousers and chunky platform boots will allow the bustier to shine through.
Perhaps our favourite adaptation of the corset trend, the long sleeve corset marries feminine puffed sleeves with an assertive, fitted bodice for an elevated fashion moment.
Corsets have had a place in many avenues of fashion history, from feminine lingerie, to fifty-shades-era fetish play, and, was deeply nestled over centuries of regal fashion narrative.
The fitted undergarments were first popularised in the 16th century, where they were stiffened with whalebone and featured back eyelets and ribbon for waist cinching.
The trend continued throughout the ages, their shape modifying with changing body ideals. One constant, however, was the organ-squishing tightening process of the bodice, which, although painful, allowed for an ‘acceptable public body’ for females of the era.
Thankfully, developments in feminism and physiology mean the corsets of today are purely a fashion statement. Much gentler on the figure, they typically utilise plastic boning for structure, and often feature a zip detail in the back (if you’ve seen Bridgerton’s opening corset lacing scene you’ll appreciate the ease of a zip).
Although corsets have seemingly been affixed to the torsos of women for centuries, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the corset re-emerged in the form we know and love today. Crusaded by punk-aesthetic trailblazer Vivienne Westwood, the 70s welcomed corsets in the form of stand-alone structured fashion tops. This revelation in fashion, in some ways, fought to subvert the repressive imprints of the historical corset, and in 2021, the corset has come full circle. Present-day designers have recently revisited the traditional under bust and cinched style corsets, but this time around they carry a sense of unapologetic femininity.
Routinely favoured by celebrities such as Bella Hadid and Lizzo, the contemporary corset belt is a fashion lovers dream. Experimenting with corset under-busts is one of the most popular ways to incorporate personal flair into an outfit right now, and the styling opportunities are endless.
Layer over printed tees and crisp shirts, or be daring and try mixing colours, prints and textiles. This Dolce Gabbana Cotton Corset Belt features classic hook-eye clasps, and pairs beautifully with a fresh white shirt and skirt co-ord as pictured, or a ribbed knitted dress like this one from Helmut Lang.
It appears the corset arsenal is ever-expanding, and the corset dress is the latest addition giving the basic dress a facelift. If you aren’t a big fan of layering garments, or simply don’t have the time, corset adorned dresses provide expertly compounded outfits, without the fuss.
With current feminine beauty trends decidedly favouring an hourglass figure, designers are making use of gentle boning, delicate front lacing and streamlined stitching to form a subtly feminine silhouette for the corset dress.
Australian designer Dion Lee has used the corset trend to pursue his signature minimalist aesthetic through a series of curve-accentuating corset dresses. Lee’s dresses feature scoop necks, quintessentially highlighting the décolletage, while garter-style straps induce an intimate seduction.
Contrarily, ultra-feminine dressmaker Simone Rocha has taken a softer approach with her corset-influenced designs. The Irishwoman remains loyal to her quirky A-line silhouettes and balloon-cut sleeves, while clever gathering and soft boning cinch the waist of her elegant frocks.
Regardless of the approach, the corset dress is divinely effortless, and we think everyone should own one.
Figure-hugging and detailed, the lace-up corset garter skirt is steadily making its way to the front of our corset wish list. Pioneered by New York label Orseund Iris, the corset skirt has flipped the traditional garter bust on its head, incorporating an assortment of adjustable garter straps, hook-eye closures and corsetry inspired lacing for a modernised vintage style.
Designers like Dolce & Gabbana are revelling in the sensual fashion style, which cites influence from a multitude of niche fashion scenes including rebellious punk-grunge and provocative fetish fashion.
And if the corset garter skirt isn’t your style, a range of slightly more conservative designs are also surfacing. High-waisted skirts with linear panelling channel the classic corset without any of the bells and whistles, while an innovative cut-out bust draws the waist in and flaunts womanly features.
Style your corset skirt with a muted button-up cardigan top, slicked bun and colourful eye makeup for a stand out look sure to turn heads.