C.1890-1891. Corset waists were an alternate form of the corset for those who did not want to wear the Aesthetic's rational waists but didn't want something as substantial as a normal corset. They were constructed in the same way as a normal corset with the lacing at the back
and a curved busk at the front cut quite curvey and heavily gored. However instead of metal or whale boning, string cording was used. String cording had been used in corsets since the Regency era, but with the invention of the string cording machine at the end of the 1870's, it became easier to do. The "string" was actually hemp rolled into twine and was used until the 1920's when rolled paper replaced it. This corset was actually quite comfortable as the string cording was very flexible and durable and gently curved to support the bust.
Another feature of the corset waist was the high bust. The bust on corset waists could easily accommodate many bust sizes as the bust area isn't boned as in regular corsets but instead constructed out of pleated material that has alot of room in it. The pleats would fit a small breasted woman perfectly and be roomy enough for a large busted lady with the additional support of the shoulder straps to keep her firmly in place (the very early beginnings of the bra). They were available in many sizes from 20" (which would have fit a lady of about a 23" to 26" natural waist) to 34" (about a 38" to 42" waist). This corset measures 24". There were patterns to make your own which sold for 25 cents. They could also be store bought such as the one above made by the CD company. You had the choice between black, white or drab (a grey color) or get one made out of net for the summer. There was also the choice between
the normal busk front or having it fastened with buttons. Which ever choice you chose, it cost 95 cents for one in 1895.
Here are three advertisements from the early 1890's for similar corsetwaists: Corset waist One
, Corset waist Two
, Corset waist Three