The Flapper and Her Corset: 1921

Rengo belt corset

THE FLAPPER AND HER CORSET

American Women Will Not Be Tricked Into

Discarding Their Best Beauty Secret.

From the Autumn issue of The Gossard Corsetiere we publish the following paragraphs which will interest corset buyers and saleswomen generally. They contain a fund of information and a wealth of common sense, phrased in The Corsetiere’s inimitable style. That will go far toward neutralizing the superficial half thoughts that are floating so loosely about corset circles just now.

“And if you are careful to get the right corset and take the bit of trouble to put it on the way it should be put on every day—you’ll find Father Time a delightful artist with the most graceful and delicate touch. But if you neglect your figure Father Time can sketch a caricature with a refined cruelty that would be the despair of our best cartoonists. Just see what he has done to the middle-aged lady who left off her corsets to wear the style! And she is the image in the crystal to warn the young flapper of today who pats her already sagging figure and confides that ‘she doesn’t need corsets. Where are her mirrors and her friends?

“But Paris says you should not wear corsets! The Rue de la Paix was ever a faithless jade who makes sport of her blind devotees. She says one thing and does another. Only the other day the L’Illustracion published a list of leading Paris style creators who had put their manikins back into corsets. And why? Well, have you by any chance seen those chic new suits that everybody is wearing in Paris—those little highwaist-line coats flounced about the bottom and fitted like the tango suits of the men? For the first time in years Paris is making suits—the men’s tailors are—and Paris likes it. New York and Chicago haven’t quite decided yet but the same Rue de la Paix whose false lips whisper to the world to discard corsets and run the most certain chance of ruining the possibility of wearing any kind of clothes becomingly—slyly slips into clever stays so she may wear the trim smoothness of the fitted suit.

“But of course it is not enough corset to show—for corsets ought to be the most retiring adjuncts to beauty that you are called upon to buy. Rouge, powder, lip stick—they’re all permitted out in the open in these days when we make French posters of our long-suffering faces. But the woman who looks corseted, whether the fatal defect shows in constriction and bad proportion or in an ugly line so easily seen through that revealing wisp of unfeeling organdy that woman just isn’t smart.

“American women are far too clever to be tricked into discarding their best beauty secret, and they will wear corsets today and tomorrow and for a long, long time to come. But they will be the right kind, and if we may look for any good results from these Parisian conversational hors d’ouvres about discarding corsets, I venture the opinion that it will be found in more clever corset artistry and in a more intelligent selling of this important garment in the corset departments of our stores.”

The opinion of the Gossard Corset Co., on the subject of the necessity of corsets, was substantiated by their chief designer, Ethel Lloyd Minifee, who has just returned from Paris. The Corset and Underwear Review, Volume 18, 1921

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: This was, of course, not just a matter of business for the writers at The Corset and Underwear Review, but a subject of the highest aesthetic importance to Society. Mrs Daffodil is reminded by the following poem of the odious “fat-shaming movement,” so popular among the lithe and genetically-blessed. The verse is a parody of the dialect poem “Little Orphan Annie,” by James Whitcomb Riley, in which the chorus goes “‘an the Gobble-uns ‘ull git you/Ef you/Don’t/Watch/Out!”  “Nemo” corsets and “Rengo Belts” were brands of “reducing corsets.”

The Flapper’s Warning

Eve G. Swift

You’ve observed the little Flapper, with her lines both slim and dapper,

As so daintily along the street she trips.

With no corset on her figure; still it seems to you she’s bigger

Just a bit above her ankles than her hips.

This maid is in her glory—but there’ll be another story

When she finds, alas, that she is going stout!

That her figure unprotected looks untidy and neglected

So the “Nemos” they will get her

If She Don’t Watch Out!

 

She goes about her dancing in a manner quite entrancing.

Now her corset she will naturally park.

When with body quite unhampered, through each Jazz dance she has scampered.

Sh feels as if it’s been a jolly lark.

But this maid, a wee bit naughty, will find out before she’s forty

That she’s fat! Perhaps we’d better call it “stout”

That a Flapper turns a Flopper with no corset there to stop her,

So the “Rengo Belts” will get her

If She Don’t Watch Out!

 

Now you Flappers all take warning or you’ll realize some morning

That un-noticed all your slender lines have fled—

That your form without protection has swelled out in each direction

And you’re in the “Extra Size” class now, instead.

You may think the gowns you’re sporting need no corset’s firm supporting.

You may think you’ll keep your shape, without a doubt—

But some day you’ll find it’s slipping and you’ll notice you are hipping!

So the “Stylish Stouts” will get you

If You Don’t Watch Out!

The Corset and Underwear Review, Volume 18, 1921

rengo belt2

Mrs Daffodil has frequently written on the subject of corsetry; please look at the other posts under that heading.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

 

 

 

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