In the 50’s, Tiny waist was everything. It could be achieved by wearing corselettes or ‘Waspies’, as they came to be called, because of the dainty tiny waist that they were rumoured to give.
Of all the aspects of Dior’s New look silhouette, the waist was the hardest to achieve. So it became the most coveted. The new synthetic corsets and undergarments made the new structured silhouette achievable.
The contemporary fashion magazines of the day covered how to achieve the almost exaggerated femininity that had come to replace the dreary utilitarian wardrobe of the war years.
50’s was a setback in feminism and woman’s rights movements. It saw the return of the corset/girdle, exaggerated silhouettes and the magazines that illustrated the key function of women in the society were to attend social gathering sand entertain guests, chiefly to promote their husband’s careers.
Reed, Paula. (2012) Fifty Fashion Looks: that changed in the 1950s Design Museum. London: Conran Octopus
Thomas, P. (2015) 1950s Underwear Girdles, Bras and Corselettes – Fashion Glamour History, Fashion-era.com. Available at: http://www.fashion-era.com/1950s/1950s_5_corselettes_girdles.htm (Accessed: 2 December 2015).