Women's History Month Day 30
The photo of this unidentified young woman has a modern twist. All we know about her is what the photo supplies. This c. mid-1860s carte de visite photo was taken in Lyons, NY at C.H. Ravell Photographer (Lyons itself had a population of approx 3,200 in 1860). She is wearing a simply styled pretty silk dress which is immaculately tailored. Next to her sits her paletot (coat) and hat. She appears to be comfortably middle class which fits with the descriptions of Lyons, NY I have found.
Now here’s where the conversation takes a turn and you gentlemen may become uncomfortable with the conversation or think its odd…but that's okay. Remember, this is our month not yours so you just may need to go on your merry way…
Although we know nothing else about her, she has played an important role for several of us well-endowed ladies who sport 19th c. period clothing every now and again. Again, she is wearing wonderfully tailored clothes and has a lovely shape. She, of course, would have known nothing other than a corset as a foundation garment, but all of us who have known modern foundation garments may initially find a corset well a bit over-whelming as is drastically changes our shape. The first time a well-endowed contemporary woman wears a 19th c. corset, she may be very self-conscious as our assets are - shall we say - greatly enhanced. It takes a little “getting used to” and after awhile is it normal and even enjoyable…but it is initially a bit odd especially if you are used to “minimizers”. In the meantime, this woman helps remind us that 19th c. clothing can fit attractively well on a curvy figure and women have always come in different shapes and sizes.
As a side note: for those readers who have never worn a corset, they are important foundation garments to 19th c. clothing. They were never to be tight-laced in the 19th, 20th nor 21st centuries. They are to fit snugly but not tightly - in fact corsets which are too loose are equally uncomfortable.