Hello everyone! First I want to say: I am NOT historian, but I have read a lot about stays, jumps, and corsets, and here is my understanding of them.
Now, if you have read any of my sewing posts or pictures of my massively reoccurring sewing attempts, you might wonder what these strange things are called:
These are stays.
(Or “Pair of bodies” but I like stays better 😂)
BUT WHAT DO THEY DO?!
They are undergarments from the 18th century that gave the wearer a cone shaped appearance. They were worn all day, everyday, except for at night. They were worn for almost 300 years, from the 1600s and into the very early 1800s, although the stays were “shortened” during the regency era, aka Pride and Prejudice era.) Can you tell who is wearing stays and who is not?
(This is not meant to insult anybody if you are the proud owner of any of these costumes! I really love them all!)
I don’t know if you can quite see it, but there is a bit of a difference the way they wear it, although both costumes are historically accurate (in my mind) and beautiful!
Jumps were a lot softer than stays, meaning they were not boned heavily. They were less popular in the beginning of the 18th century than they were at the end of the century, a time when doctors started saying that jumps were, “Healthier.”
There’s not much to say about them.. except that I do not know why people couldn’t have just worn those instead of stays! However, there is no real evidence with either stays or corsets that shows they effected the human body. Most people, from infancy, grew up in them.
Corset restrictingcy (is that a word?) is a heavily argued topic. (Meaning corsets were used for making your waist smaller, therefore creating spine malfunctions and bending ribs and etc. But all I have to say is that there is no real evidence that this ever happened (At least about the bending ribs and spine malfunction). In fact, it was very uncommon to actually tight-lace your waist. The only real point to them was to give the body a shape… but not to restrict the waist, necessarily.
If you want to go deeper into this subject, check out Bernadette Banner’s video:
(I loved this video, by the way! ❤️)
For even FURTHER research, check out this book Corsets and Crinolines by William Barry Lord. (It might be Lord William Barry, I dunno)
Anyways, corsets have been around since the beginning of the 1800s, or at least the corsets we imagine. There have actually been things called corsets, but they weren’t necessarily boned:
This is from the regency period.
But the earliest CORSET corsets that first pop up into your head (Like gone with the wind kinda thang) were developed around the middle of the 19th century.): But there were actually some softer versos, like this one from 1830:
Corsets were worn well into the 1920s, according to google, which sounds legit. The great depression hit in the thirty which meant women may have not been able to even afford corsets. (Or they might have just been done with wearing them, who knows?)
I hope you enjoyed this post! Someday I will write about children’s corsets and stays history.
But for now,