When we mention the term 'corset,' history enthusiasts often envision women donning tightly-laced garments, perhaps recalling iconic portrayals in historical dramas such as 'Bridgerton' and 'Enola Holmes.' However, delving deeper into the past reveals a surprising fact: men, too, once embraced corsets. Curious about the reasons behind men adopting what was traditionally considered women's attire? Grab your overcoat, a velvet collar, and your boots as we embark on a journey into the often-overlooked history of men and corsets.
A quick internet search in today's context would reveal that many men still wear corsets. However, the majority of them use corsets either as costumes or as waist trainers.
Exploring the historical roots of corsets reveals an infamous snug-fitting undergarment, primarily worn by women to achieve a coveted hourglass figure. Corsets have been so closely associated with women that the idea of a man wearing one might seem quite surprising. Yet men have had a role in the history of corsets from the very beginning.
Centuries ago, it was common for men to wear corsets as a staple garment, cinching their waists to achieve a desirable physique. For many men of that era, a narrow waist was of utmost importance.
As we move into the late 1700s and early 1800s, corsets became a customary garment for men who sought to attain an attractive silhouette. Men were noted to wear corsets primarily for aesthetic reasons, although their purposes extended beyond mere appearance.
Let's delve deeper into the fascinating but forgotten history of men and their relationship with corsets.
Men serving in the army
Men frequently wore corsets in the military, especially since they were a part of their uniform. For these soldiers, maintaining an upright posture was a source of pride and vanity, and corsets played a crucial role in achieving this. Moreover, some officers relied on corsets to provide support for their backs in case of injuries. Remarkably, corsets were even donned during rigorous physical activities, such as exercises and hunting expeditions.
Men who wanted to lose that belly fat
Corsets can be seen as a precursor to the modern waist trainers popularized by celebrities today. Men who aimed to shed pounds turned to corsets because they exerted pressure on the stomach, leading to a quicker feeling of fullness and preventing overeating. Wearing corsets also had the effect of slowing down the digestion process, reducing hunger pangs.
However, it's crucial to note that relying solely on corsets for weight loss is a temporary solution. Once you cease using them, the effects typically revert to their previous state. To achieve lasting results, it's essential to complement the use of corsets with a trusted routine that includes a healthy lifestyle consisting of a proper diet and regular exercise.
Men with medical conditions
Men wore corsets primarily for fashion and aesthetic reasons, but they also had a useful function in the medical field. Men afflicted with medical conditions, such as spine deformities resulting from injuries or illnesses like tuberculosis, turned to corsets to offer essential support to their backs.
Men who wanted an improved posture
Corsets served as a lifeline for those seeking relief from persistent back pain. They proved instrumental in aiding men in enhancing their posture, particularly in the mid, and lower-back regions, thereby establishing a robust foundation for maintaining a proper stance.
Whether you're aiming to enhance your posture while sitting for extended periods or while accomplishing everyday tasks, wearing a corset designed for back support is a viable option. The paramount consideration is to locate a well-fitted corset tailored to your specific needs, as this is essential for achieving the desired results.
Corsets have occupied a place in men's fashion for generations, although they have often taken a backseat due to changing trends and evolving fashion statements.
In recent times, male celebrities have rekindled interest in corsets as a form of clothing. At the MET Gala in 2022, for example, Gossip Girl actor Evan Mock donned a buttermilk blazer featuring corseted details, a neck frill, and a white shirt. What better way for a man to pay homage to the Gilded Glamour theme?
There has been some concern about the health implications of wearing corsets, as they can potentially harm organs and restrict breathing. However, when worn in a way that avoids excessive tightness and with proper fitting, corsets can be a transformative element in the realm of fashion.
As RuPaul famously states, "We're born naked; the rest is all drag. To all the gentlemen who appreciate corsets, whether cinched or not, embrace them and exude confidence in your unique style!