Under the sign of sensuality: The history of the corset, from antiquity to the present day

The corset, this indispensable of women’s lingerie, has a rich and exciting history. From the Middle Ages to the present day, it has continued to evolve according to times, fashions and mores. But if it may have been in turn an instrument of torture or erotic symbol, the corset remains above all an object of seduction that sublimates the female silhouette. I propose to go back in time to discover the origins and mutations of this iconic piece of the women’s wardrobe. Hang your corset, we’re going to discover this symbol of femininity.

The history of the corset

corset victorien antique

When you think of the corset, you often imagine Victorian ladies, pale and delicate, clamped to the point of forgetting in whale and brocart hugs. But think again, dear fashionistas, the corset has survived much longer than the yellow postcards of the time.

The birth of the corset in the Middle Ages

The ancestor of the corset was born in the Middle Ages under the name of “cotte”. It was a rigid fabric bustier worn by women to maintain and enhance the breast. At that time, a generous silhouette was the symbol of good health and high lineage. The women of the nobility therefore proudly wore this sheathing piece. It was in the Renaissance that the corset really structured. It becomes longer, descending to the hips and lace into the back. Its materials are diversified: satin, silk, velvet or leather. Women of high society love to refine their size.

The reign of Louis XIV and the climax of the corset

During the reign of the Sun King, fashion was slender and slender. The corset becomes a must. It is very tight to obtain a wasp size, enhanced by large baskets. It is the time of crinoline dresses. The metal corset also makes its appearance, the ancestor of the corset of our grandmothers. But this ultra-tight piece is not without danger to women’s health … Fortunately, the mores soften in the 18th century and the corset with it. It’s time in the Empire style and light dresses.

A return to strength in the 19th century

corset jean paul gaultier style
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The 19th century marked the return of the corset to women’s wardrobes. The materials evolve, mixing whales, steel and laces. The hourglass silhouette is more trendy than ever with an extremely marked size. The corset becomes an object of torture for some women ready to do anything for finesse. He is even accused by some doctors of causing disease. Despite the polemics, it remains an indispensable mode. Women proudly wear their corsets, symbols of their social status.

The liberation of the 20th century

At the beginning of the 20th century, women finally tasted a more comfortable and uncomplicated fashion. The flexible jersey corset appears, offering more freedom of movement. In the Roaring Twenties, fluid dresses are worn without a corset. It is the liberation of the female body. Nevertheless, it retains a place in underwear and lingerie. In the 1950s, pin-ups revived it to refine their size and sublime their neckline. A sex appeal assumed.

The corset, podium star

madonna corset jean paul gaultier
Fashion designers continue to reinvent the corset over the decades. In the 1980s, Jean-Paul Gaultier made it the flagship piece of his collections. Madonna wears it as a symbol of feminine emancipation. Today, shops like Univers Corset have devoted themselves to this iconic play, and many stars like Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian wear it for notable appearances. The corset has become a fashionable object in its own right, available in modern materials such as latex. On the podiums, he is the star of the parades, sublimating the silhouette of the models. A wind of sensuality is blowing on the Fashion Weeks.

How to wear the corset in 2024?

So how do we integrate this historic piece into our 2024 wardrobe without looking like a time chart straight out? The key lies in balance and audacity, my dear fashionistas.

We change his perception of the corset

First, forget everything you thought you knew about the corset. In 2024, it wants to be fun, versatile, and yes, comfortable. No more times when one sacrificed one’s breathing for a wasp size. Designers redesigned the corset to marry and celebrate the female body, without constraining it. This can be seen in flexible fabrics, innovative cuts that allow you to move, dance, and live fully.

We dare the mixing of the genres

90's corset jeans

What if we used to mix genres? The corset, traditionally associated with femininity, finds a prominent place in androgyny or casual chic looks. Imagine it on a loose shirt, under an oversize denim jacket, or worn on a fluid dress to mark the waist. The contrast of textures and styles creates an interesting dynamic, reflecting the complexity and richness of contemporary fashion.


Accessories are your best allies for modernizing the corset. A wide belt to further accentuate the waist, bold jewelry to bring a touch of modernity, or sneakers to break the overcladed side. The goal? Reclaiming the corset and doing it, playing with the codes to reflect one’s own personality.

Play with textures and colors

corset victorien antique

Who said the corset must be sober? 2024 is the year of audacity: floral motifs, games of transparency, bright or pastel colors. The corset echoes our mood and creativity. Pair it with unexpected pieces: a cargo pants for an urban look, a pencil skirt for a touch of sophistication, or why not, a pair of jeans shorts for a summer wink.

Some ideas look in corset to be at the forefront of the current trend

corset jean paul gaultier style
  • Dare the burlesque style with a corset underneath an open jacket. Glamour and sensual.
  • For a rock touch, put a leather or vinyl corset on a jeans or leather skirt.
  • The lace corset brings a romantic touch to a small flowery dress for a chic bohemian look.
  • For evenings, twiste your little black dress with a satin corset. Guaranteed Sensuality
  • Below an oversize jacket and a baggy, the corset contrasts with its femininity. A modern silhouette.
  • The corset marries perfectly with a pencil skirt and heels, for a very 50s. Retro and glam.

Fashionista friends, it’s up to you to play. The corset in 2024 is a bit of a friend we’ve all dreamed of having: it supports you, highlights you and never judges your love for cupcakes. So, will you dare to discover it and integrate it into your wardrobe?

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