Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Girdle, 1942
    American
    Silk, elastic
    Gift of Prime Fastener Company, 1943 (C.I.43.28.1a)

    This early 1940s girdle shows the transition away from more corsetlike garments over the course of the 1930s. While the stitching on it is decorative, reflecting a clean, streamlined style, it also would have been advertised as functional. Advertising for the 1930s girdle often promoted a specific pattern of stitched reinforcements as the key to successful and comfortable control. This girdle is also made with elastic, as were the majority of 1930s girdles and corsets for purposes of greater comfort, ease of movement, and a smoother line under the dress. More than anything, elastic made the sinuous line of the 1930s possible with its flexibility. The use of the fabric also allowed the boning used in corsets and girdles to be reduced considerably. The other major innovation illustrated in this girdle is the inset lacing, called a "fade out" lacing by the manufacturer. The submersion of the closure furthers the clean 1930s silhouette. By 1935, zippers were also used to the same end because they did not "make those ugly hook bumps that always show under tight dresses."

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  • Girdle, 1942
    American
    Silk, elastic
    Gift of Prime Fastener Company, 1943 (C.I.43.28.1a)

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