an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Vintage Friday: Stout and Reducing Corsets

Posted by Rosepixie on November 20, 2009

These are two pages of catalog ads for “stout” and “reducing” corsets from 1934.

(click on the images for full size)

These pages first caught my eye because they have such great pictures of how the corsets were layered.  I then noticed the tiny ad in the upper right hand corner of the page of “stout” corsets offering a free dieting book with any corset, which I thought was interesting.  I also found the idea of reducing corsets kind of interesting.  How was the corset exactly supposed to help you lose weight?  I mean, what about the design made it specifically a “reducing” corset?  Or was nothing special about it and they just marketed it that way and sent guidelines for weight loss along with it that are actually totally separate from the corset itself?

Either way, it’s an interesting vintage ad!  I particularly love the picture in the corner of the woman watching a couple dance that says “do you sit while others dance?”  Obviously a corset and some weight loss will solve all such dancing problems.  Of course, weight-loss ads of today are just as bad (if not worse).


2 Responses to “Vintage Friday: Stout and Reducing Corsets”

  1. Eva said

    They sell “reducing” bras today. The idea isn’t so much that you lose weight in the bra, it is that the bra gives you a more svelte shape. My guess would be that’s what the original meaning of “reducing” was for the corsets, since that more boyish shape was in from the 20’s. I bet some ad-writer got their hands on it and wrote all that junk about “melting fat away” as an additional pitch, because of course the new fancy elastic and rubber clothing can do anything, right?

    There’s a lot of silly advertising junk like this in the late Victorian about magnetism and electricity as well. Whatever the new tech is, it’s a miracle cure for everything!

    • Rosepixie said

      This corset actually does promise to be a weight loss aid – it claims to help you lose seven pounds in thirty days. That’s why I was curious about it. Otherwise all corsets could be described as “reducing”, since the point is to give you a slimmer, more shaped torso (the shape just changed over time). It was specifically the weight loss promise, about which there aren’t really any details, that I wondered. And that’s distinctly different from a “reducing” bra.

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