Recent sales figures, from various sources, suggest an increase in the overall sales of body shaping underwear: specifically, corsets.
Online store, Ebay, has had a reported 185% rise in corset sales over the last three months, with 40% of orders originating from the UK, 34% from the US and 8.6% from Australia.
High street retailer, Marks & Spencer has reported speedy sales of their new corset-inspired ‘Waist Sculpt’ lingerie line, with one item being sold every three minutes.
This can perhaps be explained by the supposed rise in popularity of the burlesque genre and fashionability over the last few years. It is thought that the burlesque boom could have prompted the reincarnation of the corset as a symbol of sexual empowerment, after the rejection of the corset during WWII, which was said to be “almost an extension of the Suffragette movement” by Alison McCann, curator of the 2010 Undercover exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum.
“It seems that vintage styling is no longer reserved to vintage queens and retrophiles, thanks to the burlesque explosion, TV programmes like ‘Mad Men’, films like ‘My Week With Marilyn’,” said Maz Spencer, of London boutique lingerie store What Katie Did. “Women now seem aware that they need correct shapewear in order to achieve that vintage silhouette, and preferably they would rather go for a solution piece which looks desirable – as opposed to unattractive beige spandex pants.”
Regardless of the reason, whether that might be a greater need for controlwear due to increasing waistlines, sexual empowerment or the impression of pop stars such as Madonna, who made headlines with her corset-inspired stage outfit during her Blond Ambition tour in 1990, the figures show that corsets are becoming more popular once again with the general public.