So, what did girls (4-16) really wear in the 1700s?

If you have read my recent posts about corsets, stays, and jumps, you might have had a question nagging in the back of your mind: Did children wear corsets/stays too?

The answer is YES!

They wore both stays and corsets from a very young age. Keep reading to find out more!

Stays

From infancy, girls wore stays. They might have looked something like this:57da3a29720d485b95620edcdf44f973

It didn’t hurt them, and it was not laced tight. It was only to give them posture.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Babies don’t NEED to worry about posture. However, posture for women was incredibly important back in the 1700s and therefore stays were worn from infancy, so children would grow up to have natural posture.

I still don’t quite see the logic in this, but whatever.

Stays might have looked a little different the more girls grew, however. Looking back on real girls’ stays, you can see the differences. Here is a couple pictures of what I am pretty sure are girls’ stays in age/size order.

Stays | American | The Met
toddler, maybe?
-2
size 4-5
Lady's Repository Museum & Diamond K Folk Art_ c1785-95 Child's Soft Boned Bodice
Size 7-8
-3
These look about size 12

Aren’t these beautiful?!

(I got all my images off of Pinterest, which were probably off of museum archives.)

These stays all look like they were boned with whalebone and made with linen, except for the 3rd one, which looks like silk.  (Notice the small bustle 😉)

 

I hope you all enjoyed this post! If you would to further investigate this topic, check out some museum’s online archives!

 

The Met

NYPL Digital Collections

 

 

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