The objective of corsets was to improve on the body type of every woman. Emphasis was on the waist.
By the 1880s the corset had become an elegant and desirable object in a woman’s wardrobe with much attention paid to its design and execution. Corset makers and manufacturers took great pride in promoting excellent fit in ready-to-wear garments.
The 1890s saw a change in woman from the pampered Victorian Lady to a more adventuresome woman, seen doing things only men had done in the past. Women were riding bicycles, driving automobiles and playing active sports.
Fashions began to change to accommodate new activities. To that end women’s foundation garments began evolving as well. The Victorian hourglass bone corset was taking on a new shape with the drop waist and slight hip sway; more about comfort and flexibility.
The 1900s brought Royal Worcester and Bon- Ton Corsets promoting “Princess Hip”.The Style Book for American Beauty Corsets proclaiming “A right fitted corset becomes an unconscious part of a woman” and assuring that “boning materials, corset clamps, hose supporters, trimmings are carefully selected”.
At the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, aNemo Corsets ticket depicts two statuesque women flanking a Nemo sign with a caption “Bones and Steels cannot cut through” The reverse promotes Nemo Court – a beautiful exhibit of Nemo Corset Specialties and a lecture series.
A British company, Hahns Corsets presented a music series of various national anthems with promotion for their corsets on the reverse—”Made in England by British Labour—The Elite Corset of Great Britain”.
In the 1910s corsets became a “serious” business. The Ferris Bros Co in New York had a billhead putting corsets in the fore with an image from a photograph of woman dressed in a corset or waist. It also brought the advent of the Corset Hygienist certified in the Anatomy and Hygiene of Corsetry and in individual and surgical fittings—awarded by the Nemo Hygienic-Fashion Institute.
There were also regional and state specific Corset Clubs comprised of traveling corset salesman as evidenced in the Empire State Corset Club Banquet in Rochester, 1916. In 1917, Warner introduced its Rust Proof corset as seen in the lady’s pocket calendar catalog.