Daphne and Simon from Bridgerton

The Return Of The Corset

For the last couple of years there has been no doubt that vintage style has become increasingly popular with 90s and 2000s trends making an appearance on the runway once again. More people than ever are deciding to shop sustainably, buying and selling second-hand clothing and taking inspiration from previous decades. What is more unexpected however, is the recent popularity of corsets and other garments inspired by historical clothing.

Many sellers on second-hand sites such as Depop and vintage Instagram boutiques have focused their attention on vintage bustiers, corsets, dresses and jewellery. A personal favourite is Sororité Vintage, an online French boutique run by sisters with an emphasis on sustainability. This small business specialises in sourcing and reworking vintage designer lingerie and clothing from brands such as Dior, Dolce and Gabbana and La Perla which have been sported by the likes of Normani, Madison Beer and Kendall Jenner to name a few. This trend has become so mainstream that even fast fashion sites such as Pretty Little thing have released dozens of corset inspired tops and renaissance print dresses, although such things could completely defeat the object of vintage style and shopping sustainably. High fashion brands have also begun to capitalise on this movement. The 2021 pre fall Chanel show had its models adorned in pearls and chain belts reminiscent of some of their iconic vintage runway looks from the nineties and before. Dolce and Gabbana also took inspiration from their nineties runway looks as well as historical fashion trends for their Fall 2020 collection, which included corset body con dresses and delicate floral stockings that were paired with modern comfort and loungewear such as oversized cardigans.

So where did this stem from and why would anyone want to go back to clothing as restrictive as corsets? For many people, it is about embracing female sexuality and femininity. Nowadays, corsets tend to be worn over clothes such as a shirt or dress or even just by themselves instead of hidden under clothing, making them more of a fashion statement than a restrictive device of the patriarchy. Not to mention that many of the delicate garments available on these vintage sites are absolutely stunning, with intricate lace detail and fairy-tale silhouettes. It is the uniqueness and careful construction of the clothes that you pay for amidst a world of mass production and fast fashion. Feeling like Marie Antoinette all whilst supporting small business and helping the environment, what's not to love?