All About Corsets

by Liz Colville

“Also known as baleen, whalebone is not a bone at all, but the keratinous material found around the upper jaws of baleen whales, used to filter plankton and krill. It is robust but flexible, and can be cut into very narrow strips along the grain. Whalebones were inserted into the lining of outer garments, creating whalebone bodices or “bodies” that molded the torso into a rigid and conical V-shape.” — Ewww, ooooh, thank god we don’t have to do this anymore, although sometimes we do, hi Spanx, and other such exclamations, thanks to Slate’s “short history of corsetry, from whalebone to lycra.” There is also a slideshow featuring a kind of horrific picture of a metal corset. Metal! Metal. Plus other ones that look like they could be chic if they were not instead evil.

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