‘The men who wear corsets are just ordinary people, Officers, aye and Privates too’: Fragments of biography of a gentleman’s corset in mid-twentieth century Britain

Sprecher, Danielle 2021. ‘The men who wear corsets are just ordinary people, Officers, aye and Privates too’: Fragments of biography of a gentleman’s corset in mid-twentieth century Britain. Sartorial Society Season 4. Out of Sight: Concealed Dress, Dress that Conceals. Online 30 Sep - 09 Dec 2021

Title‘The men who wear corsets are just ordinary people, Officers, aye and Privates too’: Fragments of biography of a gentleman’s corset in mid-twentieth century Britain
AuthorsSprecher, Danielle
TypeWorkshop item
Abstract

The corset is a concealed garment that is closely associated with femininity due to its significant place in women’s underwear and fashions for hundreds of years. Consideration of male corset wearing has focused on extreme men’s fashions of the early 1800s, a period noted for the requirement of stays and corsets to create the desired small waist. This work in progress will explore the frequently mentioned, but largely unanalysed and hidden, relationship between men’s corsets and the military through the biography of a man’s corset from the mid-twentieth century. This rare and remarkable survival and its associated letters and ephemera, held by the Westminster Menswear Archive, are used as a case study to address the lack of research into this form of men’s underwear and its consumption. It contextualises the corset within the broader context of the masculinities of military uniform alongside the indeterminacy of sexuality and haptic and sensual pleasure afforded by wearing such garments.

KeywordsCorset
Body-shaping
Menswear
Fashion
Military
Year2021
ConferenceSartorial Society Season 4. Out of Sight: Concealed Dress, Dress that Conceals
FunderPasold Research Fund

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