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  • Julie

    Women’s stays from 1770-1790, England. Silk damask, lined with linen, reinforced with whalebone, hand-sewn. Victoria and Albert Museum

  • Kelsey Alderman

    Women’s underwear served two purposes in the 18th century. The first function, carried out by the shift or smock, was to protect the clothing from the body, in an age when daily bathing was not customary. Made of very fine linen, the shift was the first garment put on when dressing. Over the shift went the linen stays, heavily reinforced with strips of whalebone. Their purpose was to mould the torso to the fashionable shape and provide a rigid form on which the gown could be arranged and fastened. The hoops were also made of linen and stiffened with whalebone or cane. They shaped the petticoat of the gown to the appropriate silhouette. At various times during the 18th century, this profile varied from round, to square and flat, to fan-shaped.

  • Emma Kleckner

    I realized I never pin 18th century corsets, since that's not my thing, but here's a really pretty one. Women’s stays from 1770-1790, England. V Museum

  • The Tungsten Butterfly

    Silk Damask Stays, 1770-90 from The VandA. I love the shape of 18th century stays.

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Stays (corset) and panniers (hoops), English, 1770-1790. V Museum.

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