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An Intimate AffairWomen, Lingerie, and Sexuality$
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Jill Fields

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520223691

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520223691.001.0001

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Corsets and Girdles

Corsets and Girdles

(p.47) 2 Corsets and Girdles
An Intimate Affair

Jill Fields

University of California Press

This chapter considers the question of who decides how and when fashion changes. It analyzes the decline of the nineteenth century corset and its eventual replacement by the twentieth century girdle. It studies this transition and looks at corset industry trade journals, which reveal that corset industrialists firmly defended women's need to wear corsets. They were even shown to attack women who thought otherwise and instruct saleswomen and retailers in marketing techniques and innovative sales strategies. These aggressive efforts to keep women in using corsets imply that women were trying to decide the course of fashion changes for themselves. The chapter determines that the history of this transition from corsets to girdles has shown fashion changes as negotiated interactions among saleswomen, designers, retailers, manufacturers, dress reformers, and a wide range of consumers.

Keywords:   corset, girdle, industry trade journals, transition, corset industrialists, fashion changes

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