Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tie Me Up
I must confess, one of the things I love about writing steampunk is the opportunity to describe the clothing of that time period. In particular, corsets. Now, don't get me wrong. If I were forced to wear them on a daily basis, I would likely have a drastically different opinion on the matter, but since I don't, the novelty remains.
There's just something innately sensual about a corset. The way the snug fabric hugs a woman's curves, highlighting a small waist, balanced by a fullness of breast and hip. The restriction of one's body within fabric and steel. The lacings pulled taught, resulting in a smooth firmness of fabric and flesh.
And when things start to heat up, I can never resist drawing out the tension in a scene by making my characters go through the slow and methodical unlacing of a corset, passions rising as pearly skin is exposed an inch at a time.
So, what's your favorite period article? A tophat perhaps? A full bustle? Or is it something simple like a monocle or walking stick?
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Coming from Goth culture corsets have always been de rigeur for women the type I mix with. Recently I assisted a friend in putting on her first one, really stylish dark purple with black tendrilled flowers. She had been apprehensive about the discomfort, but actually found it very comfortable. Modern designs allow far more adjustment and if you are not seeking to squeeze your waist in to a far smaller size, it is simply a pleasant form of clothing. It needs a woman with some curves to work, and it seems to be the one item that does not look at all right on stick-thin models. No wonder corsets are proving very much a cross-over item into mainstream wardrobes. Unlike the photograph you show most modern ones include 'modesty strips' to cover the skin that would show between the laces.
The woman in question sells top hats and the demand for these seems to be increasing even from bikers. The thing is, good ones are not cheap and so they tend to sell to middle-aged men rather than young people. The arrival of Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland' particularly with what Johnny Depp is set to be shown wearing is likely to trigger off increased interest in top hats.
For me the best item is a pair of men's knee-length boots that are laced up all the way. They transform a standard black-and-black outfit and make you feel as if you could find the source of the Nile from an airship or storm the Winter Palace.
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