Stays, sometimes called a corset, were an undergarment worn by women from the 17th through the 18th centuries. Stays were the precursors of the Victorian corset and ultimately the brassier. Stays were meant to provide postural support and alter the female figure into a socially desirable form. Stays were stiffened and formed with thin strips of whalebone called baleen, which was sewn into narrow channels in the cloth. Stays were made in a variety of styles, such as strapless, with straps, partially boned, fully boned, or with stomachers. Stays usually laced in the back, but many had both front and back lacings.
Here are 5 amazing facts about stays:
- Until the late 18th century, most stays were made by men.
- Children, including boys, wore stays.
3. Stays were such an important article of clothing, that thieves often stole them from shops and sold them to pawn brokers.
4. Churches provided stays for the poor in their parish .
5. Pregnant women wore stays, although their stays may have had extra lacing to accommodate the changes of pregnancy.