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This area contains an 1868 edition of the British book, The Corset and the Crinoline. It is considered one of the favorite books for historic fashions. This book has ten chapters. Today we have all but two chapters online in their entirety. Please check back for the final chapters.

To VIEW the book chapters and fashion illustration enlargements, you must have a Library Card from the Costume Gallery. IF you do not have a card, please click HERE. You may view the Table of Contents below at no charge.

  CHAPTER 1: Contents: Text and Illustrations | Illustrations Only

  • The origin of the Corset
  • The Indian hunting belt
  • Reduction of the figure by the ancient inhabitants of Polenqui
  • Use of the Corset by natives of the Eastern Archipelago
  • Improvements in construction brought about by the advance of civilization
  • Slenderness of waist esteemed a great beauty in the East
  • Earth-eating in Java
  • Figure princess in Ceylon
  • The beauties of Circassia, their slender waists and Corsets
  • Elegant princesses of Crim Tartary
  • Hindoo belles
  • Hindoo ideas of beauty
  • Elegance of figure highly esteemed by the Persians
  • Letter from a Chinese gentleman (Woo-tan-zhin) on slender waists
  • Researches amongst the antiquities of Egypt
  • Fashions of Egyptian ladies
  • The Corset in use among the Israelitish
  • The elegance of their costume, bridal dress, etc.
  • Scriptural references

  CHAPTER 2: Contents: Text and Illustrations | Illustrations Only

  • Homer the first ethnic writer who speaks of an article of dress allied to the Corset
  • The cestus or girdle of Venus
  • Terentius, the Roman dramatist, and his remarks on the practice of tight-lacing
  • The use of the strophium by the ladies of Rome, and the mitra of the Grecian belles
  • The peplus as worn by the ancients
  • Toilet of a Roman lady of Fashion
  • Roman baths
  • Fashionable promenades of Ancient Rome
  • Boundless luxury and extragance
  • Cleopatra and her jewels
  • The taper waists and tight-lacing of the ancient Roman ladies
  • Conquest of the Roman Empire

  CHAPTER 3: Contents: Text and Illustrations | Illustrations Only

  • The ladies of France
  • Their fashions during the reign of King Pepin
  • Revival of the taste for small waists
  • Introduction of "cottes hardies"
  • Monkish satire on the Corset in England in the year 1043
  • The small waists of the thirteenth century
  • The ancient poem of Launfal
  • The Lady Triamore, daughter of the King of the Fairies
  • Curious entry in the household register of Eleanor, Countess of Leicester, date 1265
  • Corsets worn by gentlemen at that period
  • The kirtle as worn in England
  • The penance of Jane Shore
  • Dress of Blanche, daughter of Edward III
  • Dunbar's Thistle and Rose
  • Admiration for small waists in Scotland in the olden time
  • Chaucer's writings
  • Small waists admired in his day
  • The surcoat worn by worn by Marie d'Anjou of France
  • Italian supremacy in matters of dress
  • The Medici, Este, and Visconti
  • Costume of an Italian duchess described
  • Freaks of fashion in France and Germany
  • Long trains
  • Laws to restrain the length of skirts
  • Snake-toed shoes give place to high-heeled slippers

  CHAPTER 4: Contents: Text and Illustrations | Illustrations Only

  • The bonnet a' canon and sugarloaf headdress
  • Headdress of the women of Normandy at the present day (1868)
  • Odd dress of King Louis XI
  • Return of Charles VIII from Naples
  • A golden time for tailors and milliners
  • General change of fashion
  • Costumes of the time of Francis I of France and Maximilian of Germany
  • General use of pins in France and England
  • Masks worn in France
  • Establishment of the empire of Fashion in France
  • The puffed or bouffant sleeves of the reign of Henry II
  • The Bernaise dress
  • Costume of the unfortunate Marie Stuart
  • Rich dresses and long slender waists of the period
  • The tight-lacing of Henry III of France
  • The Emperor Joseph of Austria, his edict forbidding the use of stays, and how ladies regarded it
  • Queen Catherine de Medici and Queen Elizabeth I of England
  • The severe form of Corsets worn in France and England
  • The corps
  • Steel Corset covers of the period
  • Royal standard of fashionable slenderness
  • The lawn ruffs of Queen Bess
  • The art of starching ruffs
  • Voluminous nether-garments worn by the gentlemen of the period
  • Fashions of the ladies of Venice
  • Philip Stubs on the ruff
  • Queen Elizabeth I's collection of false hair
  • Stubs furious at the fashions of ladies
  • King James and his fondness for dress and fashion
  • Restrictions and sumptuary laws regarding dress
  • Side-arms of the period

  CHAPTER 5: Contents: Text and Illustrations | Illustrations Only

  • Strange freaks of Louise de Lorraine
  • One of her adventures
  • Her dress at a royal fete
  • Marie de Medici
  • The distended dresses of her time
  • Hair-power
  • Costume a la enfant
  • Escapade of the young Louis
  • Low dresses of the period
  • The court of Louis XIV of France
  • High heels, slender waists, and fancy costumes
  • The Siamese dress
  • Charles I of England
  • Patches introduced
  • Elaborate costumes of the general prevalence of the practice of tight-lacing
  • The ladies of Augsburg described by Hoechstetterus

  CHAPTER 6: Contents: Text and Illustrations | Illustrations Only

  • Fashion during the reign of Louis XV.
  • Costumes ŕ la Watteau
  • An army of barbers
  • The fashions of England during the reign of Queen Anne
  • The diminutive waist and enormous hoop of her day
  • The farthingale: letters in the Guardian protesting against its use
  • Fashion in 1713
  • Low dresses, tight stays, and short skirts
  • Correspondence touching the fashions of that period from the Guardian
  • Accomplishments of a lady’s-maid
  • Writings of Gay and Ben Jonson—Their remarks on the bodice and stays

  CHAPTER 7: Contents: Text and Illustrations | Illustrations Only

  • General use of the word "stays" after 1600 in England
  • Costume of the court of Louis XVI
  • Dress in 1776
  • The formidable stays and severe constriction then had recourse to
  • The stays drawn by Hogarth
  • Dress during the French revolutionary period
  • Short waists and long trains
  • Writings of Buchan
  • Jumpers and "Garibaldis"
  • Return to the old practice of tight-lacing
  • Training of figures: backboards and stocks
  • Medical evidence in favour of stays
  • Fashion in the reign of George III
  • Stays worn habitually by gentlemen
  • General use of Corsets for Boys on the Continent
  • The officers of General Adolphus
  • The use of the Corset for youths: a letter from a gentleman on the subject of evidence regarding the wearing of Corsets by gentlemen of the present day
  • Remarks on the changes of fashion
  • The term "Crinoline" not new
  • Crinoline among the South Sea Islanders
  • Remarks of Madame La Sante on Crinoline and slender waists
  • Abstinence from food as an assistance to the Corset
  • Anecdote from the Traditions of Edinburgh
  • The custom of wearing corsets during sleep, its growing prevalence in schools and private families: letters relating to—
  • The belles of the United States and their "illusion waists"
  • Medical evidence in favour of moderately tight lacing
  • Letters from ladies who have been subjected to tight-lacing

  CHAPTER 8: Contents: Text | No Illustrations

  CHAPTER 9: Contents: Text and Illustrations | Illustrations Only

  • The elegance of dress mainly dependent on the Corset
  • Fashion and dress of 1865
  • The short-waisted dresses and trains of 1867
  • Tight Corsets needed for short waists
  • Letter on the figure
  • Description of a peculiar form of Corset worn by some ladies of fashion in France
  • Proportions of the figure and size of the waist considered
  • The point at which the waist should be formed
  • Remarks of the older writers on stays
  • Corsets and high-heeled shoes denounced
  • Alarming diseases said to be produced by wearing high-heeled shoes
  • Mortality amongst the female sex not on the increase
  • Extraordinary statistics of the Corset trade
  • The Corset of the present day contrasted with that of the olden time

  CHAPTER 10: Contents: Text and Illustrations | Illustrations Only

Website Bibliographical Information:

W.B.L. (listed author), The Corset and the Crinoline: A Book of Modes and Costumes, London: Ward, Lock, and Tyler, 1868.

Looking for more places to research???

  LIBRARY: A Year in Fashion: 1868

  LIBRARY: 1860-1879s Fashion History

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Disclaimer: This article is being presented as an educational resource of fashions during this era. The Costume Gallery, or its owner, Penny E. Dunlap Ladnier, does NOT sell or make sewing patterns. This publication's text is in its original format. Spelling or grammar may not appear to be correct, but were standard for the original publication date.

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