Whenever I’m in another city I like to take the opportunity to visit an exhibition if I can. This time I decided to visit Les Arts Decoratifs where they had an exhibition about lingerie throughout history. It was really good and had some really good examples of different busks, corsets and bustles.
In addition to the women’s under garments they also showed men’s underwear. It was really interesting to see this aspect as you don’t often see men’s side of historical underwear. They showed how, as different parts of the male body became representative of ‘masculinity’, thus the male underwear and fashion accommodated and adapted to exaggerate the size of that body part! For example; when large calves were deemed to show manliness they padded up their calves under their socks!
It was great because not only did you see the exterior but they also reconstructed some pieces so you could see inside garments and structures.
In addition they also created some moving pieces – This showed, if you were wearing one of the extra wide hooped bustles how it moved up and down; could be packed away for travel, was easier to get in and out of carriages or to assist sitting down!