The customers she inherited from Gardner’s were drawn from the highest to the lowest social standings and from about 15 countries worldwide. They included:-
women - single or married
Married coupes or
partners, who both wore corsets
- Individual men
-single and married
- Customers Inherited
from Overett and Madame Marie Stafford of Sunbury.
There were public school educated men and women and women who had been
first corseted at the insistence of nuns at convent schools in the late
Several individuals and not a few couples were introduced to Gardner’s
and Iris after forming acquaintanceships with Will and Ethel Granger. Many
travelled as much as 200 miles to visit her, first at Gardner’s and then at
home. Those from overseas would include a visit en route elsewhere or on
visits to the UK.
In one case, a husband and wife and their secretary became customers. The
couple had tight-laced since the 30's and they had encouraged their secretary to
train her figure too, when all three were customers of Overett. This salon, with no criticism of Iris,
produced corsets whose fit they
would extol even 24 years after his death.
A large-framed woman, the secretary reduced from 28 to 19 inches between
1955 and 1960 and remained as a customer of Iris from 1962 until 1999 shortly
before her death. She favoured the same style of corset as Iris wore, the Godet
L267 with, in 1965, an amazing 26 inch hip-spring with, and to please a foible of her
husband's, as many as seven pairs of suspenders. Iris also made the couple a
number of mannequin styles over the years to wear at corset soirées or as Iris
called them parties. Her husband had worn corsets since his teens but
the onset of arthritis forced him to stop in his 70's.
Since she had few personal customers who enjoyed the hip control of the
Godet style, Iris always enjoyed appointments with this customer, and would
discuss the advantages and the trials being tightly laced whilst driving long
distances or in warm weather.
From the Midlands hailed the smallest waisted customer on Iris’s books
who had initially dealt with Yanovsky or Jean Appleby’s salon in Edgware
Road, London. She moved to Iris in about 1965. A school nurse, she had corseted
since the age of eleven in the late 1940's as required by her convent school, very much like Isobel’s experience with her Scottish boarding school about a
decade later, and emulated her mother when she began tight-lacing as a
student nurse in the mid-1950's. Before pregnancy, she had reached 18 inches and
recounted how her husband brought corsets to her while on the maternity ward,
so much had she missed being corseted. From about 1965 she practised 24 hour a
day tight-lacing and maintained a 17 inch waist, but that was her limit. As
“No, Mrs._ has never ordered anything smaller than 17 inches. He wanted
her to once, but she would not have it.”
She very much liked Mrs _ and wrote:-
“I think Mrs. _ looks very nice as she is, I don't think she should go
any smaller. She came in here once and I should think she was pulled too tight
and had a job to breathe, I think it is mad. I hope she doesn't get like Mrs.
Granger, I think she looked horrible"
10 June 1985
Her husband who had always admired her waist was also encouraged to
corset and became a customer of Iris in the mid-1970s and remained a customer
until Iris died.
Interestingly, Mrs _ shared Iris’s preference for very long stocking
heels and for special occasions wore tan stockings with such heels in the
older square, or cuban shape and not the point heels she usually wore because
they were readily available. It turned out that as a young woman in the 1950's
they had been her favourite style and her husband liked the style very much
too. They said they liked the look of having the stocking heels ending not far
from the 1950s hem line, which began at mid-calf. She had preserved several
pairs of them from the 1950's and kept them for over 30 years for wear on
A modest woman, she had been surprised in the early 1980's to realise
what an impression her amazing waist made on the male sex, and would amusedly
relate that she was sure that the aura she brought to a discussion enabled her
to win her point where, given the tendency for the man to prevail, she was sure
she would have been the loser.
Another tight-lacing couple hailed from Norway and the man worked for
the UN in New York. In the early 1980's the wife was suddenly afflicted with a
form of eczema which was traced to the metal in her corset steels. Iris tried
every means of isolating the metal in special pockets, but to no avail, and
the disappointed woman now in her 50's was forced to abandon the tight-lacing
regime she had begun in her teens in the early post war era and she had
enjoyed in partnership with her husband who continued as a customer of Iris.
She wrote of another couple:-
"I've made a few corsets lately and they all seem satisfied. Had a chap come Tuesday for his, he was more than pleased and may fetch his girl friend" July 21 1983
Another man began corseting because his wife did, only for her to stop:-
man whose wife's photos were taken for Mr. Gardner's catalogue phoned the other day. I asked him if he wrote to you but he said
not yet. I don’t think his wife is keen on it (tight lacing) by what he said."
Jan 8, 1985
6.3 LADY CUSTOMERS
6.3.1 CATHY JUNG
After the first LGM Bal she attended, Iris did make a corset for Cathy Jung and made some more later.
“Yes, Cathy Jung and her husband came to see me, he seemed quite
pleased with the corset, it fitted her, I think to a T. They ordered another
on the phone last week but I shan't do it till I come back (from holiday). I
should not say anything to X as he might think I'm taking his customers. Mr. B
of Germany sent me a note to see if I was still making Mr. Gardner's styles
so I wrote back and said I was. Then I phoned X for a piece of the beige
material for Cathy Jung's but did not tell him who it was for. He asked me if I
wanted to do a high top with fluted hips for Mr. B but he was waiting for
material to come, but I said I was going away so I suppose he (X) will do them
6.3.2 ETHEL GRANGER
Whilst at Gardner’s, Iris dealt with Will and Ethel Granger, but like
most corsetičres who the couple patronised, the relationship didn't last, largely on account of Will's overbearing personality.
"As for Mrs. Granger, she died last year sometime so I heard. I've
heard of all the makers you mention, but think some of them don't do it now, but
I made Mrs. Granger a few corsets when she could not get them done anywhere
Granger died last year. I think it was in the paper; somebody told me it
was the evening one. They seemed very nice people but I only met them once.
I made for her was about 12" deep, no suspenders, but she had them made in
other places as well."
6.3.3 THE PRIVATE LADY FROM AYLESBURY
One of Iris's most private, but loyal customers, was a woman from Aylesbury, Bucks who had entrusted her corseting to Iris, first at Gardner’s and then privately until Iris died. She had tight-laced in the early years of marriage and only returned to it in the 1970's when she divorced and resumed work as a nurse. At first she wore corsets for support at work, but decided to recreate her youthful waist which she achieved, no doubt under Iris's counsel. She wore the L267 Godet, finally maintaining a waist of 18 inches with a hip-spring of 23 inches.
6.4 GENTLEMEN CUSTOMERS
New gentleman customers, whose first contact with a corsetičre was Mrs.
Norris, often approached such a contact nervously, because they had
the perception they had that their desire to corset was in some way unseemly.
Indeed, some would relate of firm rebuffs when they had attempted to make
contact elsewhere. However, those whose first contact was Iris Norris were almost
universally surprised by the way she gave a friendly response to every question
along with a suggestion that they should visit Gardner's salon whenever they
wished. Anyone who spoke over the telephone felt instantly at ease and would
not have hesitated however shy, to take up her suggestion.
A woman clad in only her corsets, suspenders and stockings has been the
butt of vulgar humour from the time of the music hall until Benny Hill. Small
wonder therefore that the idea that a man may disrobe and be seen wearing the
same, was and is the fear that filled the potential customer of a corset maker with
However, it is certain that every customer who had for the first time pressed the fitting room bell to summon Iris Norris and then wait as the sense of shame and blushing took over, was immediately disarmed as the door opened and she stood there with her tape measure. The combination of the gentle tone of her voice and the calm matter of fact words, served to re-assure the customer that he was being accepted for what he was and not being judged. Simon's corsetičre, Mary, had a similar approach to Iris:-
said that she had always enjoyed being corseted and felt that anyone who had
similar feelings should be actively encouraged."
Iris Norris had the best relationships, whilst working
on her own, with gentlemen who wore stockings and suspenders with
their corsets as she did. One can only speculate that there was a mutual
recognition that, despite the fundamental difference of gender, they shared
something important to their daily lives in common.
While they were a distinct minority, they were in no way worthy of
censure of such requirements. She understood that the world was made up of all
kinds of people and few were bad. How had this come about? How did her
non-judgmental attitude form?
In the case of Iris it is clear that unlike firms and individual corsetičres
who dealt exclusively with women, Gardner's where she always worked, had always
made corsets for men. Her first boss Arthur Gardner wore them himself. She had
machined men's corsets. In time she met such customers, generally
established customers of the firm.
When she assumed more duties in the 1970's and new gentlemen approached
the firm in response to advertisements her salon
manner was well established.
What was this salon manner? It was at heart simply that of an employee
of the business desiring to satisfy the customers' needs. The dictum was that
'the customer is always right'. With such an attitude, there was no room
for any misguided moral judgment. In any case, where would one draw the line. Was it
alright for a man to wear a corset if medically necessary, and wrong if he
wanted to because largely on a subconscious level he liked the support it
gave. Attempts have been made to define the motivation to corset in
psychological terms and the findings and interpretations are always found
However, given that within the spectrum of behaviour of men where would
be some whose behaviour bordered on that of impropriety, corsetičres
experienced with gentleman customers could quickly sum up what kind of a
person they were dealing with. In this regard, Iris was no exception. She was
a good judge of character and the writer generally agreed with her opinion.
Likewise, she had become a businesswoman and customers, especially repeat
customers, represent income and a livelihood. The key is to develop the ability
to accommodate their behaviour and suppress one's personal feelings unless
circumstances demanded otherwise. A satisfied customer, regardless of character within
reason, represents repeat business and traditionally, customers patronized Gardner’s for their entire adult lives. It would, as we know, take
a sea change in public attitude in the 1940's for the service to decline over a
generation to the point of oblivion by 1990.
customers ranged from the sincere and polite and pleasant, to the arrogant,
presumptuous and pushy. If a customer was at the limit of acceptably, they
would be discouraged. Whilst business is business, serious insensitivity of the
respect of the corsetičre is always unacceptable. She applied the same
standards when she set up to work alone.
There's no doubt that she did have her favourites and those fortunate individuals would echo Simon’s observation of his corsetičre Mary, that:-
"Quite why she took to me so affectionately I shall never know, but I shall always be glad that she did."
Likewise there are persons would say of Iris, as Simon did of his corsetičre:-
will always be thankful to Mary. She was very kind and gentle and responded to
my fascination with corsets in a very positive and encouraging way."
In point of fact, such persons had always been customers of Gardner’s
from Edwardian times. However in those less tolerant times, all had been very
discreet and non-judgmental.
However, the overt behaviour of some such persons in the 1980's meant
that they were quickly shown the proverbial door by Iris. It was not the
special reason they had for seeing her, it was their attitude and behaviour
that she could and would not tolerate.
She did however say that she felt that those guilty of presumption and
arrogance failed to understand that she had neighbours, and that she could not
be the cause of behaviour which, though she might tolerate it as essentially
harmless, others might find it objectionable. Twenty years on, of
course, such has been the change in what is regarded as acceptable behaviour
that today almost anything goes. It may be better that Iris had moved on.
That said, for persons with such needs, who were sincere and polite and
pitched the request properly, after the corset fitting, she would allow them
to remain in the salon and dress in their female apparel. Such was her empathy
that she might even remain with them and assist them and comment or reassure them
that their new corsets were achieving the effect they sought.
Despite that, she did in point of fact say that she had very few
transvestite customers, and
observed that she had found that it was not a corset that they needed but a
girdle bought in a department store that was more easily purchased, and was much
cheaper given the total outlay such a lifestyle had.
Like Simon’s Mary, she also realised that some men, like some women
who have corseted regularly, felt motivated to reduce their waists. There is
no doubt that Iris would agree with Simon’s observation that had Mary lived:-
"I would have been trained to have an even better hip-spring than I had, although I was more than happy with what we had achieved."
Indeed, Simon gives testimony to the fact
that after the initial period of
getting to know one another, the customer-corsetičre relationship, whatever
the gender of the parties involved, becomes a partnership and usually one of
mutual trust and respect.
There was the owner of a stately home (that has been much used as a back drop for
films and television,) a career army officer, he had begun corseting when his
female mentor introduced him to Lawrence Lenton in 1938, moving to Overett
after the war and to Gardner’s in 1962 before continuing with Iris in 1981. He
was a one of a number of ex-army or RAF officers who were initially with
From overseas, there was a customer was a German aerospace engineer much
involved in rocketry, who had been a Gardner’s customer since the early
1960's. From South Africa a man continued to patronise her until his later
and who died in 1989. He had first appreciated a tight 'Sam Brown'
belt arrangement on his uniform when a junior officer in Palestine in 1917 and
his first corsetier was Mr. S Lee of Southsea, near Portsmouth.
With long established customers of both sexes and whom she respected,
she took a concern in their personal lives. Typically she followed the
retirement years of one customer especially when she didn’t hear from him
only to re-emerge as a widower as is evidenced below.
A public school boy, he had been an executive with an major oil company
who had spent years in foreign parts. He and his wife had followed the Lenton,
Stafford, Overett, Gardner path. For the first forty years of their marriage,
both he and his wife had worn corsets appropriate to the climate wherever they
lived. Suffering ill-health late in the 1970's, his wife gave up tight-lacing, but
he continued to wear the military type high-top corset as he had done for many
years with suspenders and fully fashioned stockings under his business suits.
He wore this to work and continued to do so after retirement and after the death of his
He subsequently remarried his wife's friend, apparently on condition he gave up wearing corsets and stockings, and it's unclear whether he felt giving up the corsets had not been worth it and the marriage failed within a few years. Ironically he was cruelly handicapped by a stroke in 1991 and found solace again if he could get into his corsets though he was forced to abandon stockings. Amazingly he had retired to newly gentrified Fulham, within half a mile of his first corsetičre, Lenton.
|Iris regarded him with real affection and mused that he lived in fear of
her giving up for, in addition to getting regular replacements, he would make a
sudden order for up to ten corsets in three styles. When a customer sent her
a Hella Knabe-style culotte (leg) corset for alteration, she carefully
measured the panels used to construct it, and advised our customer who had a
large wardrobe of corsets of many styles, that she could now do him the style
she had previously preferred not to do. He wrote to Iris to say how touched he
was by her kind spirit and initiative that would now allow his long held ambition to lace
At the time of her threat to retire, although older than Iris and with a
large serviceable wardrobe of corsets, he had estimated how many he would need
till his 80's and had commissioned 10 new corsets This is how she wrote of him:
"I made Mr. Mc_ a corset about July but he never mentioned his wife’s
(death)." 13 Aug 1989
Later she was to write more positively, if somewhat wistfully that he had strayed from the path of corseting:-
you know Mr. Mc_ got married at the beginning of the month. I think he has
given up corsets. He said he won't need any more so I guess I've lost myself a
Only weeks later she wrote "Mr. Mc_ never got married again. He wrote for a new corset and said he was going to Canada to think it over (second marriage delay)."
"I heard from that Mr. Mc_ about two weeks ago. He has moved out. I don't think they hit it off and I think it got worse after his stroke. I feel sorry for him since he seems a very nice man but I suppose nobody knows anybody until you live with them. I think it was silly of him to give it (corseting) up, he very likely missed it."
FRIENDS, ACQUAINTANCES AND PARTIES
7.1 CONTACTS WITH OTHER CORSETIČRES
The shortage of components, especially busks, resulted in Iris approaching
firms such as Vollers for items on a co-operative basis. Other firms, for
which she did bulk orders and who had their own sources of purchase in bulk,
would also come to her assistance. Likewise she was approached by Michael Garrod
after he had established True Grace Foundations, and she attempted to teach him
how to sew a fluted-hip corset, but he freely admitted that it proved to be
beyond his not inconsiderable sewing skills. Despite further lessons, he freely admitted that he could not master the fluted-hip and her
generosity was reciprocated when he sent her all her large hip-spring orders.
Over the years, corsetier and corsetičre regularly provided one another busks, flat or spiral steels in hard to find lengths
and bolts of expensive broche
fabric and suspender ends.
Over the years her work took her into a number of activities and events
outside the corset salon. These are discussed below.
7.2 PHOTOGRAPHS FOR “THE CORSET QUESTION”
At the height of her prowess at age 50, in 1971, Iris was prevailed upon by
the owner of Fanny Copčre corsets, to pose for the cover accompanying a
compendium of Victorian letters on tight-lacing.
|It was arranged for Iris to meet at the photo studio. Knowing she was
being photographed on account of her corseted figure, she selected her attire
carefully, taking a satin skirt, and knitted sweaters in black and white. She
wore shoes with 2˝-inch heels, the same height as the mules she customary wore
around the house, while machining or attending to visitors or customers.
Three wonderful photographs of her appeared on the cover and inside
Fanny Copčre’s book 'The
Corset Question' in 1971. Iris Norris's figure when corseted
was a magnificent; bust 38, waist 19 and hips 40, a full inch over the de
rigueur 20 inches hip-spring sought by the determined tight-lacer.
Some years later, her sponsor recalled with some amusement the
considerable effort that both he and the photographer had to make when helping
Iris with her staylaces. Of the session, writing in 1985 he wrote:-
"She started tight-lacing 20/25 years ago (1960 ed), age 40 when
as she said, she had a "belly like an ox" although she wore boned but
not tight-lacing corsets. She now laces in to 20 inches, the only 19 inch
corset she ever wore was for my photos, and it was hard work pulling her in as I did it
myself, as she was not then down to 20 inches regularly. We did once try to get
her below 19 inches, I used to see her almost every week for about 14 years or
so with the business, but we failed. In 1968, she actually used to conceal her
waist and did not make clothes to fit it" 5 Feb 1985.
She finally measured the agreed 19 inches over the corsets. In
moments she had hooked up the waistband of the matching size of that lovely full
satin skirt, adjusted her top and cinched on the narrow black belt and was ready
to pose. Many photographs were taken, and the best appeared on the cover of the book
with two others inside.
7.3 A CASE FOR THE CORSET DETECTIVE?
Attempts have been made to track down the original negatives and both the photographer and Iris have been asked. Her response was:-
can't really tell you where I got them taken as it's such a long while ago. If
you ask Mr.C_, he will tell you as he was the one who asked me to have it done.
paid out the money as far as I know. It was in London that they were took(sic)".
Sadly, Fanny Copčre’s owner himself was never able recall the name of
the photographer who had retained the copyright. Years later he wrote:-
"I do not have the negatives, and the
photographer is no longer in the London 'phone book. When I am next up, I will
call around his premises and find out if he is still in business."
Likewise with the catalogue photos, a search came to no avail, for he
"I have not yet been able to trace the photographer, who took the
catalogue photos. The models were ordinary commercial models, whose names I have
forgotten. The one on the front (modelling 'Miss Copčre' ed.) has been
modelling outsize dresses for years."
2 July 1985
So somewhere in London those negatives may still exist awaiting
7.4 A DUKE’S TIGHT-LACING DAUGHTER-IN-LAW
As is well known, the first leading practitioners of tight-lacing were late
Victorian and Edwardian royalty and aristocracy in Europe and North America. It
was a mid-20th century member of that class, by marriage, however who deserves
a place in our story. It cannot be proven but it is almost certainly that in her
later years she entrusted her figure to Gardner’s and later to Iris.
It began when Copčre’s owner got into the business because, in about 1967, he met socially with a Duke's daughter in law:-
"My principal interest in tight-lacing arose from my wish (in
1966-7 ed.) to find a suitable article to sell as a mail order business when I
retired. I knew (socially, ed.) a Duke's daughter in law who had a fine figure, even at age 79 (in 1984).
She had tight-laced for 60 years. I thought
there might be other women with the same inclination",
And in a future letter, he explained how it must have been she who had put
him in touch with tight-lacing corset makers:-
"The woman who put me on the tight-lacing trial as a business is
not a relative. I know that socially in London she does not admit to tight-lacing,
although she can only bend from the hips, and her 19 inch waist and 42 inch hips
natural. All I know is that she is a farmer's daughter from Scotland who 'pulled-in as a girl' and kept it up. She was born in 1905. Quite
obviously her late husband, the son of the Duke, married her because of her
waist. His first wife had had a very small waist judging from photos. I know the
size of the woman's waist, from her corset maker" 2
It can only be inferred that, when he met the woman in 1967-8, when she
was in her early 60's, that she was almost certainly a customer of either
Gardner's or Vollers or both. That, on the basis of this information, he then
made contact with both Vollers and Gardner's and eventually met Iris in about
1968. Quite who would have divulged her measurements is unclear, but it would
never have been the always discreet Iris.
Even the most deferential reader will wonder what the importance of the
woman being married into the aristocracy might be to our account. As ever Iris
had the answer in a short unrelated sentence of another letter, asking if she
recalled the photo salon.
"I should do nothing for him, he's a snob!"
8 Jan 1989 .
comment sums up Iris’s character, she liked sincerity. She was not a
7.5 ATTENDANCE AT THE LGM 'BAL DES GRACIEUSES'
In early 1985, Iris was prevailed on by the founder of LGM, Rudi Van
Ginkel of Germany, who had been given her name by another
customer, to tell her customers of the first ball. Discreet as ever she would
not divulge a single address.
However, it was clear that while broadly accepting the idea, one got
a clear sense that if she had known him or his lady partner as established
customers she would have been more receptive to the idea.
She dearly wanted to go, but knew her husband would not like the event
and believed he would refuse. What was she to do? One could only but imagine
Iris's anguish. She was now the doyenne of British corsetičres, working in her
own right yet likely to miss the first event in which the common interest was
the corseted figure. Yet the rules
were clear, men accompanied by a lady and women alone, no single men.
Anyone who knew her would know that she would not go alone. While
confident in the ambience of a corsetičre's salon, she was retiring socially.
She would have to have an escort and, resourceful as ever she found one.
She took advantage of the fact that for years she had accorded the
husband of a former customer she had met at Gardner’s her always discreet and
platonic friendship. She knew how much he admired her figure and deportment.
When meeting at a pub, he would complain of, how to his eternal regret,
after 50 years of tight-lacing, his wife for 40 years had, on doctor's orders, suddenly and completely given up tight-lacing in about
1980. Iris clearly remained him of how his wife used to look. He admired her
very much and she indulged his aimless telephone calls and visits to a fault.
And so he became her escort for the Bal."
"The party's on Nov 2nd and I'm going with Mr. C."
The matter was cleared with her husband and all seemed to be well. A
very indiscreet individual, one whom who she had discouraged from being a
customer, still knew her phone number and it was everyone's misfortune that when
the culprit phoned to speak to Iris of the Bal. She was out and had spoken to
her husband and to use her words:-
"Somebody phoned when I was out, and to him there would be fun and
games at the 'Do'. You should have heard him when I came in, he's told
me not to go but he's annoyed because I never asked him to go, but did not think
he would want to. The person who phoned has made bad feelings all round" 21 Oct 1985
So, Iris attended the first of four annual Les Gracieuses Modernism’s Bal
des Gracieuses to be held in Great Britain on 2nd Nov 1985. It was held at the
Letchworth Hall Hotel in Letchworth, ironically just a stone's throw from
the old Spirella factory that was about to close. Ever correct and proper, she
paid her own way and that included her own room at the hotel venue.
As it happened the first "Bal" was a reasonable success and
Iris decided to go to the second event held in a hotel in Queensway in Nov 1986,
however it was plagued with administrative problems. As Iris was to write:-
As Iris was to write:-
"I think we all got conned as the chap, who went to the ball last
year dressed as woman, took it over from Ginkel and made all the arrangements so
he said, but it was awful. I would not go again with him organising it. I think
he was on the make. The food he got was not nice. I don't know what happened to
Mr. Ginkel. I could not find out and they made an excuse and said he had problems .
hotel was dirty and the carpets torn.
27 Nov 1986
With the same escort she nevertheless had enjoyed meeting old friends
especially as all had an interest in what she would freely admit was her
favourite subject, making corsets and wearing them.
think everybody looked nice at the ball but then it’s all according to what
shape you like. The woman who wore the long busk was just straight down and
looked most uncomfortable and could not sit down, which I think is awful"
She attended the Bal in 1988 with an escort from Sweden, for whose wife
she made corsets, and with a gentleman corsetier in 1989.
She was conscious of her hearing being more limited in loud places, but
word had it that Iris was always able to seek out old customers and meet others she
rarely saw. At each Bal, she gave them advice, measured them, and even arranged
appointments for new customers. All in all she had a good time and John
never objected again. He saw that his wife was, as ever, the essence of
7.6 HER ADMIRERS
Iris was admired by many men who just wanted to be in the presence of a mature woman with a fine figure shaped by a corset. She would always wear her seamed stockings, often as their wives once had.
With retirement, Iris blossomed as an independent spirit, which caused a
strain on her marriage as her husband, now working part-time, resented the
frequent visits by customers. He had no concern as to whether they were men or
women, but he resented having to retire from the scene upstairs or to go shopping while
Iris attended to customers. It was regrettable that he was one person who did
not appreciate his wife's figure and personality in the last 25 years of her
It would not be an exaggeration to speculate that Iris's ultimate
acceptance as friends of men who tight-laced and wore seamed stockings arose
because she implicitly knew that they approved of the fact that she tight-laced
and liked seams. It was as though she got the approval for her elegance that she felt
was denied her in her marriage.
Despite her being married, some customers became admirers, and she had to turn down many proposals of marriage and suggestions to leave the family home. While flattered, she was never tempted. “I can't imagine what he's thinking of. He doesn't know me, I'd never marry again” though she happily posed for photographs, front and rear, for as many as half a dozen of her customers or admirers, always well cinched by a belt and wearing high heels.
is the way that Iris Norris will always be remembered.
1 Born Islington, N1, London, Dec 25, 1921. Died Bletchley, Bucks, 9th April, 2000
2 Pickens, Mary Brooks: Harmony in Dress: The Charm of Beautiful Clothes; Good Taste in Dress; Dress Foundations, Chapter 2, Corsets and Dress Foundations
published by Women’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, Scranton,