Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Beyonce and other stars in current pop culture have repeatedly brought the corset "out from under" and into the spotlight over the past couple of years. Whether a leather bodice for a sensual sight on stage, a beaded one for the Red Carpet or lacy and also casual for lunch with good friends, the image goes back to one of the very first powerful females to don a corset, Queen Elizabeth I of England. Being just a simple clothing item, corsets and waist cinchers have stirred numerous opinions regarding their function and the function they play in the women's closet. In the past, as a necessary style staple, corsets were in some cases considered to be the epitome of conservative male oppression of females with their restricting binding. In present times, designers are less likely to recognize corsets as an invention of male supremacy and instead look at them as a classic fascination that shapes the female body and also today's wearers can certainly be viewed as self-confident and feminine. Still, others who couldn’t care less about a corset’s cultural implications or their ability to shape a body consider them to be ideal under-garments supporting the back in a comfortable way—a very practical fashion in this sense. Of course, no fashion would be worth its weight without a little controversy and on this point, corsets have delivered.
Corsets and waist cinchers have basically evolved into the modern bra. Described today as gorgeous, ultra-glamorous, and sexy, corsets are available in a variety of materials, styles and colors. They’re often boned as were early patterns. Others are made from sturdy materials like latex. Today corsets and waist cinchers they range in size from X-Small to 3X and above. Corsets are worn as outerwear, with jeans in casual settings and glamorized for evening wear. They are often used as lingerie, and unlike their predecessors, they're designed to be comfortable and easy to get in and out of quickly. There are certain styles that are created specifically for working out that provide a thermal effect in addition to firm compression.
Recently, confirming the fascination with these garments, celebrities have custom designed embellished leather corsets and those made from other unusual and creative materials that have been auctioned for upwards of $1000 and beyond, to benefit charity. Not only are corsets sexy fashion, but they have become a very profitable endeavor!
On the lingerie front, leather corsets or those made from classic lace or latex are popular today and available in a variety of styles and sizes as well. Just like their outerwear counterparts, a variety of styles are designed to accentuate the curves of the female physique and they are consciously created to flatter the wearer. Many lingerie corsets now have details like lace, detachable garters and bra. Other options include front zippers, lace up backs, hook and eye front closure, and adjustable shoulder straps. Sometimes lycra is added for more comfort and many patterns are lined in silk or satin.
It’s unlikely that the “powerful women of eras past” would have considered one of these garments as a staple in their wardrobe. But as for the women of today, current day corsets, from the simplest to the most elaborate, are one way of exuding powerful feminine expression on the outside and underneath.