Before Spanx and Push-Up Bras: 13 Photos of 1940s-Era Corsets Will Take Your Breath Away (Literally)

1940s corset

Low beams, high beams

Many women would likely agree there’s a price to be paid for beauty. Then they wrestle on their first pair of Spanx and decide that if any friends really dislike them because of their back fat, they were never really friends in the first place.

Spank, push-up bras and other spandex-laden materials designed to pull us in and push us out in just the right places are great, unless your ultimate objective is to breathe or bend down. In which case they’re awful.

The thing is, they used to be way worse. Like a-southern-belle-from-another-century-who-needed-a-team-of-big-burly-men-to-sew-her-into-her-corset kind of worse.

Be happy you didn’t live in the 1940s and weren’t made to feel like you needed to wear one of these bras or corsets:

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  • Mirror, mirror on the wall 1 of 13
    Mirror, mirror on the wall
    This angle really isn't the fairest one of all.
  • My fat is right here, you say? 2 of 13
    My fat is right here, you say?
    Thanks for pointing that out, because apparently she's the only woman on the planet who isn't acutely aware of the exact location of each of her flaws.
  • Pregnant or a few pounds overweight? 3 of 13
    Pregnant or a few pounds overweight?
    What's the difference? This corset will silence anything that was once living inside you anyway.
  • Conehead 4 of 13
    Conehead
    Low lights, high beams.
  • Before and after 5 of 13
    Before and after
    More oxygen before. No oxygen after. But hey, at least you can't bend over anymore.
  • One up, one down 6 of 13
    One up, one down
    Muuuuuuuch better.
  • A few inches off your waist 7 of 13
    A few inches off your waist
    A few cracked ribs. A crushed lung or two.
    No matter; that's why God gave her a few of each.
  • It’ll cure that bulge 8 of 13
    It'll cure that bulge
    That frown, on the other hand, will need way more than a corset.
  • T&A 9 of 13
    T&A
    Teeth and abs. What did you think it meant?
  • Lose the bulge 10 of 13
    Lose the bulge
    And maybe get a new hairstylist.
  • Back fat begone 11 of 13
    Back fat begone
    If only it were that easy.
  • Spirella Garment 12 of 13
    Spirella Garment
    When you care enough to harness with the very breast.
  • One is right, one is wrong 13 of 13
    One is right, one is wrong
    But neither is optimal if breathing is ultimately the goal.

All photos used with permission from Retronaut.co

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