Fashion accessories are items apart from the garment itself, which complement the whole outfit. Using them can add detail to an outfit when the garment's style is plain, or when the fabric from which the garment is has no interesting visual effects. Many accessories also have another more practical use beyond that of style. Some examples of fashion accessories are bags, jewelry, shoes, eyewear, scarves, parasols, headwears, gloves, legwear, belts, mobile phones, just to name a few. Accessories in some cultures or beliefs are considered inappropriate and so jewelry is not worn at all. In other beliefs beaded jewelry, leather strings and many small detailed belts, scarves and shoes, represent what they believe. In Christianity the cross is worn as a pendant around the neck representing Christ’s Crucifixion. Purity rings are also worn by some Christians in the USA to represent sexual purity. The main focus of this project is to determine the negative effects of some of these fashion accessories. The accessories that will be the main focus are corsets and shoes.
No other garment in Western history has assumed such political, social, and sexual significance. What is it about the corset? A mere undergarment, designed to enhance the female figure, has become an icon of all that fascinates about the ambiguous sexual codes of the Victorian era. Was wearing corsets primarily about sexual empowerment or restrictive chastisement? Could the corset explain common female maladies of the Victorian era, from fainting fits to miscarriage? How great was the suffering, for how small a waist?
HISTORY OF THE CORSET
The exact origins of the corset are lost in antiquity, but the ancient Greeks certainly wore a style of corset. Undergarments which pulled in and accentuated the waist were worn by the wealthy in France in the 1300s and 1400s, and their popularity spread to other countries. The wearing of corsets became widespread in the 1500s and 1600s, as many Renaissance portraits will show. However these corsets, examples of which survive, were particularly rigid and uncomfortable, and made from materials such as iron or wood, as well as whalebone, which became the main agent for providing the constricting tightness in later centuries. The fashion started in Spain, and during a period in which Spain fell under the rule of another country, a Spanish queen was said to have promised her people that she would not loosen her corsets until Spain was free. It sounds risible now, but given the corsets of those days, it was a promise to inspire respect.
French fashion was more to the fore towards the end of the 17th century, and corsets became more elaborate, and an essential part of the 'look' of voluminous richly fabriced skirts, lots of petticoats, and a slender waist held in by a corset which also pushed up the breasts to give an enticing, strapless décolletage to any woman attending a social occasion. Corsets were worn by the boys and girls of wealthy families, and for outdoor activities such as horseback riding. In the 1700s corsets were long and stiff, strengthened with cane and whalebone, and worn by children of both sexes from as young as 7 or 8 years. Extreme tight lacing became popular toward the end of the 18th century, and the satirical English poet Alexander Pope mentions corsets in his masterpiece, 'The Rape of the Lock': The exact origins of the corset are lost in antiquity, but the ancient Greeks certainly wore a style of corset. Undergarments which pulled in and accentuated the waist were worn by the wealthy in France in the 1300s and 1400s, and their popularity spread to other countries. However, the French Revolution was accompanied by a diminution in the popularity of tight lacing in France at least, as it was seen as a symbol of decadent aristocracy, and hence as literally life-threatening for the wearer. Napoleon even described the corset as 'the murderer of the human race'. The change spread...