I am a 50-year-old male and I became addicted to girdles, corselettes and
corsets after encountering them in my home, and in homes of my aunts, as a
little boy in Ireland. By age 11, I was wearing some of our live-in housemaid’s
rigid and boned long-leg panty-girdles and found it most pleasurable. Our maid,
Mary, wasn't too pleased and occasionally reprimanded me - but still did not
tell Mummy. Due to my addictive persistence, she astonishingly chose to accept
it as long as I limited my girdle dressing to only one or two garments from her
corsetry wardrobe. This I realised after she kind of teasingly warned me not to
soil her ‘Roll-ons’. This is the word she used to describe her girdles. On
another occasion when she was displeased with me, she shouted "And take off my
roll-on” in front of a male worker. I was brash and brazen enough to tough it
out and made no reply.
Remember this was all about 1967/68 and at this time in Ireland it was
practically mandatory for teenage girls to be well girdled. One day when I was
this age (11), Mary’s friend, also called Mary, and who occasionally also worked
for us in our business, said to me that I needed to be wearing a Girdle. (I was
a bit chubby). I wanted to continue on this line of conversation and see if I
could get her to buy me one - with my money - but someone else came into the
conversation. I found at the time this statement to be extremely erotic and I
still recall it in that manner to this very day. I replay it over and over in my
mind at least once every day. I think her statement was born out of the fact
that one night I saw this girl (who was about 14 at the time) come out of our
bathroom and pass me by in the corridor in a gorgeous diamond laced LLpanty-girdle,
pantyhose and bra. She just smiled at me and I was all agog and trembling. I
still have very fond memories of this vivid girdle incident. Soon after this she
said again that I needed to be wearing a girdle because I was too fat. I
couldn't believe my ears and asked her what do you mean, and she reiterated in
all seriousness that I needed to wear a girdle. Then we were interrupted. I have
always wondered if this was really because I saw this Mary in her fine expensive
gloriously decorated panty-girdle.
I remember another special girdle episode from this time. One of our
waitresses took a very bad tumble in the kitchen and her skirt and work smock
rolled up her body. I had a full-on view of her lovely long-leg panty-girdle as
far up as her tummy. This girl would have been about 18 and she wasn't badly
I also presume that her friend, our in-house maid, told her that I frequently
borrowed from her corsetry drawer. (This in-house maid, who was 16/17, had an
amazing and vast collection of heavy style, mostly back boned panty-girdles and
they were a much better better fit than my Mummy’s ones. Mummy had girdles, but
as a large lady she mostly went for very firm corselettes. Besides they were way
too big for me.
My Granny and two maternal aunts were definitely traditional corset wearers
and I could easily gauge this from getting those lovely hugs. I do not know if
they were encased in Spirellas or Spencers or just off-the-shelf type corsets
like Symingtons, Twilfit or Liberty. Another aunt on my Dad's side was
definitely a Spencer wearer as I heard her daughter ask her a couple of times
“Mummy, are you wearing your Spencer?” When I was even younger I remember this
aunt declaring (in my company) to other ladies and in front of my Daddy that the
corsets of the 1930s were definitely the worst. They were like wearing armour-plating
(or something very like that). This aunt did not give out hugs as she generally
did not like children and she was very haughty, poised, polished, snobbish,
domineering and cold. She wasn't a very big woman, but she had a very bad back
and this and her rigid Spencers, always gave her the appearance of been
extremely stiff, slow-moving and totally ramrod-straight.
By this stage I was extremely interested in corsetry and was wearing girdles
when I could, however, I soon craved the greater restriction and complexity of
traditional laced corsets.
I remember passing the corset display windows in the local high street and
trying to get a glimpse of those wonderful control garments, without attracting
undue notice. I remember my heart beating like it would burst and
hyperventilating. Simultaneously, I was all a tremble and blushing profusely.
The agonizing part as a boy was that I could never enter these sanctuaries. The
exception was when Mummy brought me into the big department stores, but I was
always left on the boys’ and men's couches that seemed to be set at the
perimeter of the corset departments. There were various strategies and methods
of course to obscure male surveillance. However, sometimes the numerous styles
of corsetry on the mannequins could be discerned from this distance, but not in
great detail. It was impossible to hear the earnest and protracted conversations
that occurred between the clients and the exquisitely groomed sales ladies and
professionally trained corsetieres (who were still fairly prevalent at that
time). At this age of about 11, the most fascinating thing to watch was a Mum
bringing in a young adolescent daughter or daughters. Already from personal home
experience and TV/Print media I was something of an expert on brands, makes,
styles and control levels. It used to drive me into a frenzy speculating what
kind of girdles these young teen ladies were to be fitted into. I was so green
with envy and rankling with frustration.
Then there was the mail order catalogues like Oxendales (I think) that fueled
more ferment and when discarded made their way into my scrap books. Sadly, these
were all discovered or captured by our live-in maid, Mary, or else Mum and I
never saw them again (I was never sure). Regardless, neither of them said
anything to me about my ladies’ corsetry scrapbooks, and I figured better than
to ask. More excitement and unrelenting torment and stimulation arrived in the
form of the daily newspapers and ladies’ magazines. In contrast, the porn
pictures that occasionally passed around the boys school yard at my boarding
school, held zero appeal for me.
These images and my home encounters so much fired my imagination (I so deeply
envied girls and ladies that they had sole access to such intricately beautiful
intimate and comforting garments.) It is such a glorious experience to feel
one’s corset or boned girdle hugging and providing a protective layer and a
confidence booster ( at least I think so.)
Encounters Well anyway, one occasion I well recall is when my austere,
fastidious aunty came in visiting. She had a teenage daughter, Joanne, who was
about nine years older than me. I would reckon this was about 1966/7. They were
coming from shopping in town and aunty declared that Joanne had purchased new
foundation garments. It so happened that Mummy had a visitor with her in the
sitting room. This lady, a Mrs. Bennet, was another type of prim and proper
local school mistress and would have been aged about 40 at the time. Well, by
some means it was established that Joanne was wearing one of her new girdles. I
don’t know if they were Spencers, they might well have been, as this was my
Aunts preferred choice. Well lo and behold and completely oblivious to my
presence, Mrs. Bennet summoned Joanne to check out her new foundation garment. I
was and still am incredulous about what happened next. With Joanne standing
abreast of her, Mrs. Bennet reached under her pleated knee-length skirt and felt
the legs bands and back panels of the girdle and then announced her supreme
approval and satisfaction with the chosen garment. I was absolutely agog.
Joanne’s expression was one of pride and timid embarrassment. I was fascinated
and intrigued that a young teenage girl could be the recipient of such a
personalized inspection. While I’m on the subject there were other close
encounter girdle moments that I found most erotic and tantalizing. One day,
about 1969, I emerged from the bathroom, and Mummy was helping Mary to load
clothes into the dryer. This was the time that tights were really taking over
and I heard Mummy ask our maid if she wore her tights over or under her
panty-girdle. As you might expect she replied that she wore them under. On
another occasion, when our-live in maid Mary was getting ready to go out on a
date, I heard the other Mary ask her if she was wearing her new panty-girdle.
The answer was affirmative. This is the same Mary who in all seriousness
suggested that I needed to be in a girdle.
Then a day (circa 1967) arrived when I am consumed with an overwhelming
desire to check out what Mary, our resident domestic maidservant, wore as undies.
I very guiltily crept surreptitiously upstairs to Mary’s bedroom. I rounded the
corridors and entered her bedroom and my heart felt like it was about to
implode. It was all boom-bang –a – bang – boom. I was full of trepidation and
simultaneously tried to keep an ear out for footsteps on the corridor. I was
also probably blushing to the roots. Our home was an old period style house and
expansive with adjoining restaurants and other businesses in a small busy scenic
tourist area. Correspondingly, the furniture and dressers were antique and
massive. I commenced pulling out the wide and deep chest of drawers on the
dresser – starting from the top. On the very bottom drawer I struck gold. I was
bent over pulling out the bottom drawer and I fell over when its contents were
revealed. Eureka!!!! I was much more than I could hopefully imagined. Mary, a
big boned religiously-minded country girl, had a veritable arsenal of formidable
very high quality expensive girdles. Mary was obviously a committed girdle
There must have been in excess of 20 girdles in her drawer. They were size 30
waists – a size that fitted me perfectly. I would have thought then and even
more so now, that Mary was wearing a size too small as she was more to my mind a
32-inch waist and she had very pronounced hips. The girdles felt very weighty to
my probing hands. They were made up as follows: most were very high-waisted
versions with long legs. Many had the smooth and sleek satin backs. Almost all
of these had two to four bones in the back – two long and two short ones and
most often smaller bones in front and maybe on the sides. More than half of her
high-waisted long-leg panty-girdles’s were of the side hook and zip variety.
These seemed to have been her older girdles due to signs of use and wear on
them. For some reason, she must have changed or gained a preference for
high-waisted long-leg panty-girdle’s without zips, as many of this variety
smelled of newness and showed less signs of wear. All of them came with garter
tabs, but the suspenders had been removed and there was no sign of suspender
buttons anywhere. All her panty-girdle’s were rigid firm control styles. A
couple of her girdles even had delicate leaf and floral embroidery on the lace
tummy panels. Mary by this time was firmly committed to wearing tights under her
panty-girdle’s. There were no light panties anywhere in sight. At this time, it
should also be known – almost by mandate - that all ladies and girls in Ireland
still wore skirts and dresses – never trousers.
All of Mary’s corsetry to more or less degrees – was deliciously and
luxuriously decorated with lace panels on the front and legs. Only about three
of her panty-girdle’s were of the boy-leg waisted types. These were the girdles
that I promptly commandeered from Mary as I discovered them the most comfortable
for me at that time. With the benefit of hindsight this was probable a good
choice as a starter girdle for a young boy. Mary quickly realized that I had
developed a penchant for her girdles but curiously didn’t seem to mind – as long
as I only used a couple of her waisted ones – which suited me at the time. On
occasion she used to flirt with me about wearing her girdle – other times she
would pat my backside to see if I was girdled and on a couple of occasions when
she was vexed with me she tried to embarrass me about my girdle habit in front
of other staff members. In such few instances, I feigned complete innocence and
ignorance and didn’t answer.
This allowance on Mary’s part, lends me to believe that her preference was
very definitely for high-waisted long-leg panty-girdle’s. Finally, there was one
open style Aertex type back boned regular girdle, that I would deem to be more a
girdle-ette, because it was only about 10-inches in depth and showed little sign
of wear. It was hook-sided and a type of garment that would appeal or was more
favoured by retired old Grannies. It was of an ugly woven white cloth type
material and seemed out-of-place as opposed to the exquisiteness and finery of
Mary’s lovely panty girdles. I have always wondered how she came across that one
as it was definitely not in her style or age group.
Her girdles were all carefully chosen high-end types and brands. They
consisted of Ballet International, a good quality Irish bra and girdle
manufacturer that has sadly gone out of business. Ballet girdles are now
virtually impossible to find. I suspect this is because when Irish ladies
invested in a new girdle – they then wore them until they needed to be replaced.
Other makes I found in Mary’s girdle drawer included: Fantasie – Exquisite Form
and Warners. There may have been others but these are ones that I have a clear
recollection of. There were no Corselets. In other drawers I found a nice
collection of full and half-slips and of course bras. The bras were big size 38
and very delicately laced but I had little interest in them. I would have been
more intrigued – even back then – if she had any full-length longline boned bras
– but there wasn’t any.
Mary routinely washed, laundered and ironed my girdles and left them in the
hot press for me to pick-up. The stipulation and understanding was that I wasn’t
to touch her high-waisted long-leg panty-girdles. Subsequently, Mary never
bought waisted styles anymore – I presume she found them inadequate and knew
that I would share them anyway. Also, she never went for zip styles anymore –
just the pull-ons. I mentioned previously that the zipped high-waisted long-leg
panty-girdle’s seemed to be the basis of her first girdle experiences. Of
course, I did experiment with them, but always while wearing underpants, in case
of boyish evidence or indeed accidents. I found the heavier and higher girdles
even more exciting and stimulating and I wanted them. I think it is very
significant that all Mary’s corsetry was white in colour. Not a black (God
forbid for such a pious innocent country girl) or coloured one to be seen.
However, Mary had me know that her heavy armour was out-of-bounds. But I had to
have them, so by age 16, I was going out buying my own high-waisted long-leg
panty-girdle’s – but that is another story.
In later years, I have often pondered why Mary tolerated and even bequeathed
some of her girdles to me. One should think that such a pious devoutly catholic
girl would have seen it as a sin. However, this didn’t seem to be the case.
Possibly, she got a thrill out of it. On the other hand, it was hardly her place
as a maid, to complain to my parents that her son was wearing some of her
control garments. The result, no doubt, would have been instant dismissal,
without a reference. After all too, this was practically her home, where she
lived and ate and made a relative good living for someone from her poor
background and little education.
How & Why could a Domestic Maid wear such Exquisite
Even from that early innocent, tender and inquisitive age, I knew well that
Mary’s sophisticated corsetry represented the crème-de-la-crème of girdle ware.
I had already done a lot of research on girdle advertising and maintained a
scrapbook of all types, makes and styles of girdles. I even had a fair idea of
the prices and these were expensive.
Many readers might ask how a domestic servant could afford such elaborate and
formidable corsetry. As our resident housemaid, Mary was held in greater esteem
and regard than the workers who toiled in our restaurant and other service
sector businesses. Her duties commenced at 7:00 am and mostly continued until
7:00 pm. – for six days a week. This work involved meal preparation, cleaning,
dusting, laundry, ironing and preparing my sister and myself for school in the
mornings. Then she would serve my parents their breakfast in bed. Twice a week
she would bathe me and my younger sister. In 1971, Mummy brought my sister to
the big department store to get her her first control garments (Gossard
panty-girdles). This was one of those days that I had to wait on the sofa –
outside the corsetry control zone. It was fascinating to stay on this perch and
ponder (while trying to maintain a bored looking expression) as young ladies
walked in with their mothers. I quickly discovered that Mummy bought my little
sister four girdles that day. I remember two of them were flame red (what a
provocative colour) medium control panty-girdles with a lacy diamond panel.
These two were boy-leg style – complete with accompanying suspenders in the
boxes. The other two were medium control, rather plain white waisted type girdle
briefs (brand unknown). I don’t know if these came in a packaged box but they
did have the four garter loops. Sad to relate, my sister did not stay in panty-girdlesfor
very long. I think she rebelled and cast aside the confines of her girdles about
1974. Thereafter, they fell into my possession and I brought them to boarding
school with me to remind me of girls, in the overpowering all male environment.
The good news is that she has recently returned to them again with great gusto.
The bathing arrangement ceased in my case when I was just short of my 13th
birthday, as I felt embarrassed. In the busy summer season she combined domestic
duties with working as either a cook or a waitress in our restaurant. On such
occasions, she would remove her panty-girdle as it served as too much of an
impediment in a very busy and hot environment. Besides, her bottom was not
visible jiggling due to her work aprons. Similarly, her younger slight-framed
friend, the other Mary, would remove her firm control Ballet boy-leg panty
girdle (no stays)when she came into work. This Mary was only about 5ft 2inches
in height and slim like a Japanese lady – but she was wearing firm controls. Her
other preferred panty-girdle was Silhouette – most likely – The Little X – as
they were all the rage at the time. Then they would both slide back into them
when they finished in the evening, to go out for a dance or a date. I really
think it says something about standards and expectations of the time that this
young lady, who barely had a 24/25 inch waist, wore firm control girdles. I am
also 99 percent sure she never abandoned them even though her waist is quite a
lot bigger now. This is the same girl who one day quite seriously and devoid of
a hint of sarcasm recommended that I needed to be wearing a girdle.When the
girls were working, I would often slip upstairs and see their girdles parked
side-by-side on the bed frame. I also found this as a very poignant symbol of
feminine solidarity – so cute – like girls sharing secrets. In the business,
Mary would gain generous extra income through service tips. Also, she derived
extra income by working as our nanny/babysitter when my parents wanted a night
I would judge that Mary was an affirmed girdle addict. By the standards of
the time and because of her figure and frame she would be judged as needing a
very formidable girdle. I have no doubt that the fearsome dragon ladies who
ruled the roost in the various Corsetry Departments would have anticipated a
very healthy sale whenever she went out to invest in a new control garment.
After all, this would boost their sales commission.
My First Girlfriend
I would say that I was very fortunate, as my first real long-term girlfriend
named Joyce, a nice convent girl, from 1975/76 always wore panty-girdles. These
were worn even under slacks and jeans which were becoming more acceptable and
prevalent for girls. Sometimes, Joyce would wear one of her long-legs which she
knew I especially adored and appreciated. I used to sneak out from the confines
of my boarding school to meet with her, making the whole experience even more
thrilling and adventuresome. Similarly, my best friend Patrick, dated her best
friend Angela. She also wore panty-girdles as I often saw the back of it when
her blouse or sweater rose up her back.
In my experience, I would estimate that in Ireland, 1976 represented a
watershed. Thereafter, girdles seemed to have largely vanished from the
electronic and print media. They all became much less visible in shop window
displays as elegant corsetry fell prone to the rantings and ravings of the
feminist fashion police. They did everything in their power to declare corsets,
girdles, corselettes, bras, slips, petticoats, stockings and high heels as
shackles placed upon women by men. This spelt the demise of the Age of Feminine
Elegance. Sadly, the jeans and let-it-all-hang-out attitude took hold. In
tandem, moral values also went out of the window.
As an aside, I remember when the stunning Joyce and I were dating, I used to
love yanking out the back of her peeping panty girdle and letting it snap back
into place like a catapult, and she would let out exaggerated yelp of pain. She
liked me playing in this way with the back of her Ballet girdles and so did I.
Joyce was another Ballet brand customer. This was hardly surprising, as one of
their girdle factories were in her town.
On a related note, there is another worthwhile memoir from my boarding school
days, around 1976. It centered on an alleged theft investigation and a search
was mounted on a boy’s bedroom locker by the priest in charge of discipline –
the Bull. The Bull was hated and feared by students, as he was the one who
delivered the spankings with a weighed leather strap on the offender’s bottom.
(Over the pants, though) The stolen goods were discovered by the Bull and
prefects, as well as a large hoard of ladies girdles and various other
assortments of female undies. The student, who was in my year, was naturally
immediately expelled. Given, that he was expelledfor stealing, the mind boggles
about where such a reportedly large stash of ladies bras and girdles came from.
Afterwards, I was immensely relived that the search was so well targeted –after
all I didn’t want the Bull to find my stash of panty girdles in my locker.
By that time I had at least six ladies girdles with me at school. These
consisted of four of my sisters as she declined or refused (I don’t know which)
to wear panty girdles after 1974, and they just lay in the hot press untouched.
That means my younger sister only stayed girdled for about three years. So I
took over them to wear, and bring with me to school. I also had the choice of
about three of our housemaid’s waisted style panty girdles and she seemed to
bequeath them to me. The ones Mary practically gave me were Ballet manufacture
and closely resemble the vintage Berlei Gay Slant Panty Girdles that you see for
sale on Ebay. At boarding school, I would slip into my panty-girdle’s after
lights-out under the cover of my blankets. I didn’t dare wear a panty-girdle
during the school day or classes. The girdles were a great comfort and gave me
nice dreams and thoughts about girls.
There was one other great treat at boarding school and that was visiting the
Matron in the Infirmary. She was a very large buxom, heavy-breasted, Rubenesque
lady with a very kind face, who manned the Infirmary. Apart from a couple of
nuns and the kitchen maids, she was the only woman in the whole school. We never
had any lady teachers until my final year in secondary school (1976). Of course,
she wore the standard white nurse’s uniform and stockings. It looked like she
was spray-painted into her uniform and that it constantly looked like it was
going to give at any moment. She reminded me of large ladies in Tom Sharpe’s
novels. Matron was an attractive woman in her early to mid fifties. All the boys
were in awe of her and I really think she knew this and savored the sexual power
she wielded over the students. And even better to my well-honed eye she wore
real traditional corsets.
One time, I got a very big wood splinter under my thumbnail. As she came
close and sat on a stool beside me to work on it, I could sense her total
firmness and her frame straining under the confines of her boned long line bra
and laced corsets. When she moved to get a better angle I could distinctly hear
her corsets creaking as they readjusted themselves. Her corset stays and bones
were so visibly discernable outside her white starched uniform that I happily
occupied myself counting them. This was sweet music to my ears and caused me to
get very excited, but I endeavored to hide it, but I suppose highly trained
nurses would notice such things. It was often possible to hear them in any
situation if you got close to her as she walked. I never felt a thing and then
she would always give you a hug. This was an unforgettable and timeless
cherished memory. I would love to visit sick-bay and play my silent game of
counting her corset bones. One time, there was a flue epidemic and I was
quarantined with many others in sick bay. This was a lovely time and when she
would tuck me-into bed, I often had the exciting thrill of accidentally touching
her stay bones as well as hearing them. She was very tightly packed. Matron was
a dream lady, so kind, gentle and acted like a surrogate Mummy to all us
boarding boys. Quite apart from my corsets fetish and fascination she was just a
completely loving lady. Matron was truly our Angel of Mercy in this sterile and
sometimes brutally cruel all masculine bastion, full of boys with surging
testosterone. As students, we were all children of traditional wealth and
privilege and I felt it a very nice touch that here among us, was an icon though
quickly dying facet of female wealth, prosperity, rank and privilege – namely a
confident, assertive and unashamedly heavily corseted buxom Angelic woman.
There may be doubters or those born out of desired but un-experienced or un-fullfilled
envy, who might challenge my account, that us young boarding school boys were
comforted and attended by a lady in proper corsets and long-line boned bras and
figure-hugging starched uniform. But, having been consigned to boarding school
in the 1969/70 term period, then our nurse matron could/probably was born about
1915 – maybe even earlier. This is dependent upon my well-trained eye about
ladies ages and detecting valuable clues from routine seemingly innocuous
questions and conversation. For girls growing up in her time there were only
three professions open to them. Those were: nursing, teaching and secretarial.
Almost all girls in Ireland and even the UK, abandoned these professions as soon
as they got married according to societal expectations. After marriage, they
would have to bear children, obey their husbands as the family breadwinner and
forget about a career. I am not saying it is right or wrong (but I have my
preference – the 1950’s order), but that was the laid-down expectations of the
However, this considered analysis would place Matron well within the time
period of girls going-on to wear traditional corsets and sticking with them.
This would be particularly the case of girls from well-off families who paid to
give their daughter a career. The whole package in terms of proper dress and
decorum would have deemed these young ladies adopting corsets – especially
custom made corsets, for the sake of decorum and indeed privilege.
However, I have no doubt that our Matron at that time and throughout my
boarding school experience – wore real traditional corsets. It even seemed to
make her more authoratative and respected. I don’t remember her name as she was
always respectfully (and indeed lovingly) addressed as Matron – and nothing
else. After all, she was the closest we had to having a Mum away from home and
she worked her nursing duties diligently and very much as a loving Mother would.
to be continued ....
My name is Michael. I am 58 and I adore wearing traditional
style (50's style) firm girdles/corsets. I wish to submit to you correspondence
that I have had with various corset companies, beginning with Alstons.
14th September 1987
We acknowledge your letter and have carefully noted your
We do not incorporate laced backs into our corsetry as
being made-to-measure, the corset should fit well, especially if made with our
double zip feature to allow for different occasions.
We believe our surgical rubber corset would prove to be
suitable for you. It is double the thickness of the 104 and thus provides very
strong support and also moulds well with the body shape. The style 504 can be
made to depths of 16", 17", or 18" - as detailed in the leaflet enclosed.
Regarding stiffeners we consider that a lightweight bone
be introduced into the seams would be sufficient. It is not possible in the
manufacturing process to introduce patterning to the surface of the rubber
For ALSTONS CORSETRY
Mr T A (original signed).
Corseterie, Maine, USA
Letter - post 1990 - Lady now
Dear Mr. ------
Thank you for your letter.
I am glad to learn of your
comfort with the Camp girdle. The main reason it is loose in the hip is that it
was designed for the female figure of course.
I would have to see where it
can be nipped in. I am quite sure I can sew on the extra steels in the back. (It
will cost $15 plus labor). We can try to get it done while you are here, but it
depends on how busy we are when you come in.
Regarding the bones on your
other old faithful (Spirella) which you have gone and killed! They can't be
straightened because the twisted metal is shocked. If I have corresponding
steel stays, perhaps it can be done. We'll have to see. You'd better treat your
Camp better. Elastic will be ruined by heat, and the washer won't be helpful
I enjoyed your letter very
much and do appreciate the comparisons to your Mum.
Margaret B. Sweeney
(What a marvellous true Lady.
Mrs Sweeney would now be in her mid-90's.)
The Pulfront Distributing Agency
30th June 1978
Dear Miss --------
Thank you for your valued enquiry for catalogue and
measurement form etc which we enclose herewith.
We repeat we have no agent in --------, when filling in
your self-measurement form please give fairly tight measurements, taken over a
vest giving special attention to the measurements of height above waist and
depth below waist, which added together will give you the overall measurement of
your corset from top of the back to the bottom edge. This total length is
controlled by the customer’s height, and if long or short-waisted. Some
customers prefer a longer corset to come well down below the hips.
Our stock corset back length of 16 inches is comprised
as follows (3.5"above waist at back with 12.5 " below waist).
You will see our stock measurements on your measurement form in italics.
Please rest assured that we are quite used to fitting the younger
figure. Many of our customers are in their late teens or early twenties. Your
Aunt has the right method and we recommend a waist measurement of between 2 and
4 inches below your natural waist. If you are previously used to just wearing a
soft girdle, it will take you just a couple of days to get used to the extra
firmness and control, but with a dramatically improved figure and overall
support. The writer wishes to confirm that all orders, enquiries etc are
absolutely private and confidential.
Please accept our apologies for this delay owing to the
very large amount of enquiries from our Sunday People advertisement. Should we
hopefully be favoured with your order, it will be treated urgently.
Assuring you of our best attention at all times.
W.T. - C. Manager.
I have had many authentic
communications and personal interactions through the years, ranging from A.
Gardner to my personal corsetiere from Spirella. I will never ever forget the
day I arrived for my final order/fitting (company closing down) and my fitter
burst into tears as I also almost did. I did ask Mrs ___ why she did not phone
me and she responded that she wanted to tell me personally! My corsetiere then
demonstrated a list of about 30 clients whom she also had to disappoint.
In all her career, I was only her second male client “He is like you, he
doesn't have anyone to measure him.” However, she reckoned that she had many
more gentlemen clients, but either their wives took their measurements or they
It is very obvious to a
corsetiere if the measurements are for a man – Ivy
The letter below illustrates the clash of cultures and generation:
Problem Page Magazine - now defunct
My Dear Mary
12 March 1984
Thank you for
your letter. I am pleased that you felt you could write to me.
I must say that
I do think it is reasonable for a girl of sixteen to be home before twelve
o'clock, and it is very uder-standable that your Mother should want too know
where you are going. If your boy friend is as nice as you say, I am sure he
won't "get sick of this."
On the contrary,
I think he will understand that you are being properly looked after, and be
pleased about this. If he has a younger sister of his own, he would probably
expect her parents to know where she was going and to expect her to come home at
a sensible time. When you are a year or two older your Mother may allow you to
stay out later, but for the time being I am sure that you should come home
before midnight, and not complain because your parents like to know where you
are going. I know you are unhappy with your discipline but I think she is being
very sensible, and not all too strict about that.
....... I do feel that it is a pity that it a girl of
only sixteen to be expected to wear controlling the foundation garments and I
think it would be reasonable for you to choose your own clothes at your age.
Mother wore corsets when she was your age, and feels this is best for your
figure, but I must say that I am not in favour of such things for a young
teenager. A good brassiere is important, as there are no muscles in the bosom.
Perhaps you could compromise with a good supporting bra and a light control
girdle, and take great care with your posture, keeping your stomach in, and
making a point of standing and sitting gracefully.
If I can help
you in any other way I hope you will not hesitate too write to me again.
With all good
What is the
source of my addiction?
Was it as a child at boarding
school? Why am I so engrossed to this very day, about functional corsetry???
Was it matron that started me off or even our house maid in the beginning? Why
am I so empassioned with the old days of elegant ladies dressing, corsetry shops
and departments. I so remember those dying days.
I admired the nice, elegant,
modest, conservative, stylish and pretty fashions I saw in catalogues and in
magazines like My Weekly and People's Friend.
I own a vast array of
corsetry, much of which, I never wear. I just wear what I need, through the
week. The others are kept in perfect condition.
Where did my
Correspondence with a Spirella Corsetière,
I am pretty certain that this letter was my last order
for Spencer Corsets, from Mrs. O, of Sussex dated
November 7th, 2003. A very dear, precious and lovely
lady!!! She was my corsetiere for a number of years,
especially after Spirella closed down. I think it's
very interesting and conveys how nice a lady Mrs. O
was. I am sure you will agree that Mrs. O was truly
wonderful and and caring. I thought it would be nice
for you too read and share. Thank you kindly.
Dear Mr MD, 7/11/2003
Thank you for all your interesting adverts, it was
very good reading. I will pass them on for interest to
some of my fellow fitters. I am sure they did not
realize how large and well-known Spirella has been in
the past. Now about you re-ordering a new corset I am
enclosing the original set of measures which you sent
me last year, so you can alter any you may require. As
for the under-belt I am strongly against this for you
because they are designed for the female figure, they
would not at all be adequate for you. The spirals are
no problem and casings at the back for your existing
heavy rigid steels together with maximum boning also
at the back. Your corset can be double-lined with self
material, but obviously this would cost more. Yes, I
can reduce the waist, if you are sure. I can supply
the same material as before, but will have to be
white. The price of your corset would be £140 plus
postage or double-lined £155 plus postage.
Do let me know which one you are opting for.
found another more recent letter:
It is with profound
sadness that I just learned of the passing of my
local Spirella Corsetiere. Mrs S.
She must have been about 96 on passing.
The lady worked for Spirella since '57.
I amdevastated - such a
I first phone called in the late 80's and she was
very friendly, courteous,
understanding and receptive.
We arranged a fitting date.
By that time, i already knew the lady and her
She was listed as a Corsetiere in an old phone
book, like many others.
On the first time i visited, she was delightful
in reception, hosting, chatting and making me at
She was pleasingly attired in conservative deep
aqua blouse, knit cardigan, and a tweed skirt and
Correspondence with the corsetière,
I really feel this dear lady deserves
a tribute and mention. She devotedly served the
corseted community (of both genders) from her salon in
in the 1980s. So
ancestors, going back to at least her Grandmother.
Stockland Green, Birmingham,
Many thanks for your letter. I
am so pleased that you are so very pleased with your panty girdle and
My salon is still brisk with
older ladies and gents.
Your training, I am answering this first. Now Michael everything is in
confidence with me.
Now regarding you learning Corsetry I see no reason why you should not.
Well regarding Camp Corsets. We used too stock these as well as our own make
and various other corsetry but they will only train
you to become a fitter. Now I really think I could
teach you even through the post. I can train but I am hopeless on management.
Now one thing, it is not easy but if you are determined stage by stage
you will do it. First thing would be too have a [sewing]
machine, industrial is best,
and learn and know your machine, now this is the main thing. Now think it
over. I see no problem even by post we could get an arrangement for you to
make one bit at a time until you can make perhaps at first a waspie.
I usually charge £5 per hour but that would be one per lesson then you
would practice that until you could manage it and then you would do another
lesson. I should think about one per month until you
put the corset together then that is it, but you
must know your machine once you have mastered one the stay steels will
gradually be mastered.
Strangely enough, many many
years ago my Grandmother always made corsets for the French Governesses
herself and a Gent from Ireland owned a business in Birmingham
making corsets and he made a lot for my Grandmother to sell to her other
You see I have no family and
when I decide to give up and close the parlour there is no one else;
there is only about two of us left in this country to make individuals.
At this stage in your training, I
would have to cut the first one out and you would have it from me in three
stages. Cutting would come at a later stage. Just
give it a thought, there should be no problem at
I was so
pleased to get your letter. I was worried in a way as I know on your way
there is a lot of trouble.
However I have
been held up over the blue but it came Saturday - ohh it is a lovely satin.
My accountant (who wears corsets) says it is the nicest material he has ever
seen. I also have to a primrose colour as well in satin. I am glad I waited
now as it is just what I wanted for you.
I am so
pleased too hear the good news of M & R. Will you give them my very Best
Wishes and for a happy life together. When I see my accountant on Thursday I
will give him your letter to read. He is also a consultant in property
business - he gives very good advise.
Now as soon as
your corset is finished it will be most likely next week as I have too wait
for my eyelets to come.
So for now - I
will tell Ross (accounrant) on Thursday.
PS: Please excuse envelope I have run out
and I want to get this posted ASAP.