Rise of Corsets in the Burlesque World

The corset has become an iconic fashion symbol, which has been seen in a number of different communities lately. It has been prominently featured in the world of Burlesque, and for good reason. The burlesque corset is a fashionable way for many women to make a statement with how they dress. As a result, it has been considered by mainstream society to be provocative and alluring at the same time. It is no surprise then that many in the burlesque fashion community enjoy wearing these outfits. The corset has undergone many transformations over the years, but it has recently found a home here in the underworld.


First, you might be wondering how the corset became to acquire such a reputation to begin with in Western society. Over a century ago, the corset actually maintained a place among high society. It was once used strictly as an undergarment, since it allowed women (especially pinup models) the chance to slim down their frame. It provided women with a classic hourglass look that they could maintain under a dress. It wasn’t until decades later that the corset would ever be worn as a top on its own. This wasn’t seen until the 20th century, when a few provocative photo shoots began emphasizing this look.

However, it didn’t take long for this style to take off once people did see these shoots. It was the focal point of many social discussions about whether it was appropriate to wear this type of clothing. Some people naturally became interested in seeing this new look, but it was firmly challenged by moralistic groups in the country. Not surprisingly, the corset became a symbol for many different people wanting to change up societal conventions. The era of the pinup girl brought in models like Bettie Paige, who were able to challenge the status quo opinion about how these outfits should be worn.


The burlesque community has readily adopted the corset, in large part because it was so symbolic for many people. It represented a major step forward for women’s rights activists, who felt that they should be able to wear these kinds of outfits without public scrutiny. It also simply became a symbol for sexual liberation as well, since many readily saw the sensuality that the corset offered many women. The burlesque community continues to laud the importance of the corset, as well as the sheer sense of fashion that it offers. This is why you will see the corset adopted in to many different styles, including both burlesque dance and bondage exhibitions.


Over the past few decades, the burlesque corset itself has undergone quite a few changes as well. Some of these corset models continue to be worn on their own as bustiers. Some fashion designers have even begun to usher in a revival of corsets worn under the clothes, as they were a century ago. You can often see these designs incorporated in to steam punk themed burlesque shows, since they emphasize Victorian era fashion sensibilities. Given the prevalence and popularity of the corset, it seems like it will be a staple of many burlesque communities for years to come.

Posted in Pinup Corsets