Well it is that time of year friends. Paris Fashion Week has brought us what’s in for Spring, even if Boston Fashion Week (if it existed) would still consist of as many Northface products as you can fit on your freezing body. My March Vogue is in, with the talented and catchy Rihanna gracing the cover in one of those sparkly mesh Louis Vuitton tops that just look really cold to me right now. And so my mind turns to Coco. Chanel that is. Many credit Coco Chanel for putting the final nails in the coffin of the required corset, giving women a kind of freedom of dress they hadn’t known since togas were all the rage.
My mind also turns to “Coming Out As a Feminist Day,” Monday’s cake and lapel pin celebration of a woman’s right to be loud and proud. It has been a long time since Coco’s little black dress changed the way women looked at themselves in the mirror and a long time since binding one’s body to waspish thinness was not only au courant, but also socially enforced. And here we find ourselves in 2014, celebrating International Women’s Day, and making sure that what the world understands is that feminism is really about having the freedom to make your own choices. And so, in honor of that, although Coco killed the corset, I want to celebrate its return.
I happen to think that corsetry is among some of the most gorgeous pieces of clothing on the planet. If worn from a young age for twelve hours a day corsets can seriously warp your internal organs, there is no disputing that. And anyone who wants to do that now, more power to them. Do your thing, girl. As for me, when some chance event drops the opportunity into my lap, I love to wear corsets. Be it Ren Fairs or Halloween, you can be pretty likely to find me trying to come up with an outfit that gives me an excuse to wear a corset. I think they are beautiful, I love the way I look when I am wearing them, and they make my posture seriously excellent. Making corsets is a serious art form, whether authentic and steel-boned or the more comfy lingerie version. Kiki de Montparnasse, La Perla, and Agent Provocateur have made their names in part for their gorgeous, intricate lingerie corsetry and boutiques like Orchard Corset (my personal favorite) exist to provide you with some more serious corsetry. Or, you can actually make your own, if feeling thrifty. The imaginatively named Corsetmaking Supplies.com will provide you with everything you need to get a jump start on that Halloween, Cosplay, Ren Fair or just a random Saturday night outfit.
So what this all boils down to is that now that women are no longer required to compress their internal organs, they have the freedom to choose. Don’t get me wrong, the pressure to be thin in our society is insanely prevalent and painful. But I want to celebrate the fact that something that was used for centuries to oppress and compress women has been turned into a fashion choice that every woman has the right to make for herself. Whether you want to wear the comfortable looking beaded mesh on Rihanna or my Halloween costume last year- you do you, sister feminists.