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Book Review: Victorian Secrets- What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself

Orchard Corset’s First Book Review

An Intriguing and Informative Novel by Sarah A. Chrisman

Victorian-Secrets-coverHello OC Blog Readers! I thought I would try something new today…a book review! I won’t profess to be a literary expert, but I am an avid reader and have an opinion-what more do I need? The publisher had contacted me a few months back to ask if I would be interested in a copy of “Victorian Secrets“, and of course I replied with an enthusiastic YES!  An opportunity to read about a native Washingtonian (Sarah and her husband currently reside in Port Townsend, WA) and learn more about the history and nature of corsets and corseting-how could I refuse?

First let me say that as a reader I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author, Sarah, is warm and witty in her biographical account of her corset evolution.  An excerpt from Chapter 16…

Over the summer, my everyday clothes had largely been light cotton dresses, which had been easy enough o fit to my new figure, although they had never been designed with corsets in mind. Once the weather had turned decidedly chill, however, these light dresses were simply unfeasible. I had grown rather vain about my figure, but I couldn’t see how it would do my beauty any good to catch pneumonia over it.

The book is really a series of anecdotes expertly woven to capture Sarah’s decision to not only corset, but adopt a traditional Victorian style of dress. Her and her husband, Gabriel, have collected authentic vintage clothing and other items for many years. For her 29th birthday Gabriel presented her with a corset. At the time, that was the one garment Sarah was vehemently against. The majority of the pages cover her foray into corseting-from occasional to full time. She shares the good, the bad and the ignorant she encounters along the way.  A conversation from Chapter 27…

“Cinco de Mayo!”

I raised an eyebrow at this. “Pardon?”

“It’s a Mexican holiday, I thought…” His voice trailed off.

I pointedly looked myself over: ankle-length wool skirt, three petticoats, cashmere-lined leather gloves…I’d have died of heat prostration anywhere in Mexico that wasn’t at least a mile above sea level.

I learned a great deal, not just about corsets, anatomy and Victorian women as a whole, but about modern society and how our relationships have changed over the course of the time. Her words have given me much to think about (which I always applaud). This is a great read for really anyone-not just women interested in corseting or waist training. Pick up a copy and let us know what you think.

 

I have been with Orchard Corset since June of 2012 and what a journey it has been! I've gone from complete newbie to Marketing Director to Chief Operations Officer and I've learned more about corsets, corseting, shapewear, social media and myself than I would have ever thought possible. I have really enjoyed the journey and we at Orchard Corset are dedicated to providing a wealth of information for new and seasoned corseters alike.

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