Since its release on Netflix, the series The Bridgerton Chronicle is the subject of many comments, more or less laudatory. As the story unfolds during the period of the English regency, at the beginning of the XIXecentury, certain historical inaccuracies have been pointed out by specialists. Among them, an erroneous representation of the use of corsets at that time.
From the first images of the series, audiences witness a scene in which servants tighten Prudence Featherington’s corset to the point of hurting her, under the horrified eyes of her sister. According to fashion historian Hilary Davidson, the way the corset is depicted in this first episode of The Bridgerton Chronicle is anachronistic.
The first corsets appear in the XVIe century, while women’s fashion becomes more geometric. The corset, stiffened with ribs and sometimes wood, helps shape women’s bodies and give them the shape of an inverted cone. However, women did not always tighten their corsets enough to achieve this body shape. Sometimes they preferred to stuff their clothes or use a hoop to mold a larger shape below their waist, making it appear thinner.
Comfortable and diverse corsets
This fashion persisted more or less until the era of the Regency in the early 1800s. At that time, Hilary Davidson explained that a multitude of different clothes appeared in women’s wardrobes. Women could wear very comfortable corsets, for example when staying at home. Those who worked also wore corsets, but that had nothing to do with the element of torture with which the garment is associated in our minds today.
Hilary Davidson ensures that corsets worn during the Regency could be comfortable, not just for the time but even by our current standards. Of course, some women would sometimes tighten their corset very tightly, to give the illusion of a thinner waist. Nevertheless, the expert raises an inconsistency in the series. Why would women tighten their corsets until they hurt, when their dresses fall under the chest, without highlighting the waist? According to the historian, the corsets of the time were used less to refine the size of women and more to lift their breasts, as well as to separate their breasts in “Two rounded globes”.
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