Waisted Efforts

17 September 2016 to 2 September 2017

Rear view of a sack back gown, c.1777. Photograph by John Chase

A visual feast, this exhibition charts the changing styles of the waistline in fashion from the 1750s to the 1950s. Cultural, social, and aesthetic attitudes towards waistlines are explored through men’s and women’s clothing, both outerwear and underwear. Beautiful examples of fashionable garments which both freed and constricted the waist are on show, as well as pieces of original foundation-wear essential for achieving the correct silhouette.

Highlights include a stunning ‘sack-back’ gown from the 1770s, a man’s suit from the 1780s, examples of women’s high-waisted Regency clothing, an exquisite girl’s dress from 1850, an 1880s day gown, a flapper dress from the 1920s and lovely examples of 1950s ‘New Look’ styles. The foundation wear includes corsets from a variety of eras, an Edwardian man’s corset, a 1920s bust bodice (designed to flatten the chest) and a ‘Waspie’ corset from the 1950s.

The majority of the pieces are selected from the Olive Matthews Collection.


Coming Soon:

Fashion and Freedom : Women's Emancipation and Dress (1840s - 1980s)

Opening Thursday 14 September 2017