1920s Corsets Brassieres Girdles that could be seen on Downton
The final season of Downton Abbey is set in the mid-1920s, an exciting and rapidly changing period for women's fashions. Take a peak under those fabulous dresses to see 1920s corsets, brassieres and girdles.
With the arrival of the 1920s, there were an assortment of foundation garment options available to women, including the corset, corselet, combination, step-in, brassiere, clasp-around, dancelette and girdle. In the 1920s, Gossard, a Chicago based woman’s store, opened their first London office and printed their first sales catalogs for the UK market, featuring corsets and brassieres.
In 1922, in response to the new flapper fad of discarding corsets, The Gossard Corsetiere suggested that “if you are careful to get the right corset and take the bit of trouble to put it on the way it should be put on every day—you'll find Father Time a delightful artist with the most graceful and delicate touch. But if you neglect your figure Father Time can sketch a caricature with a refined cruelty that would be the despair of our best cartoonists.”
The Gossard 1925 fashion line included the following styles of women’s foundation garments:
Combination: Gossard Combinations were designed to give long, smooth, unbroken lines to the figure. They were fitted perfectly and were astonishingly light in weight, perfect for under those flowing flapper dresses. These typically ranged in price from $1.50 to $25.
Gossard’s secret was designing corsets for type – average figure, tall and slender, short and slender, or a short heavy figure. Corsets during the 1920s featured a long silhouette and were constructed to slim the hips and thighs to accommodate the new loose flowing style of dresses. These foundation garments were worn beneath the bust - through the mid-thigh and boasted multiple garters to connect to the stockings.
Step-In: Step-Ins were composed of various materials such as silk, cotton, or all elastic. These garments were extremely pliable and were often boneless. The average price range for these garments started at $3.50 and could reach up to $45 depending on the material.
Gossard artistry introduced the principle of Type Corsetry with models perfected to take care of every sort of figure there was and prevent every sort of figure there ought not to be. Gossard had specialized stores where customers were correctly fitted to a Gossard corset by a trained corsetiere who knew just how to idealize the figure. Gossard Corsets were moderately priced within the reach of every purse. Because they were made of such fine materials, they laundered beautifully and outwore two or even three ordinary corsets.
Complete: A little more expensive than other Gossard foundations, the Gossard Completes ranged in price from $6.50 to $25, depending on the type of materials and elastics that were used. The Complete is an ideal one-piece garment suit for all types of figures.
Complete-Dancelette: A combination garment, which was free from hose supporters, was a boon for summer days. It was designed to fit perfectly to the figure, and stayed comfortably in place. The style depicted in the image was typically sold for $8.50, however similar types were also available for $5.
Girdle: Girdles were designed for all types of figures, and either hooked or clasped around. They ranged in price from $2 to $25 and were also available with a dainty uplifting matching brassiere.
Clasp-Around: The Clasp-Arounds were designed in all types of fabrics, and, as in all Gossard garments, were exquisitely tailored, regardless of the price. Price ranges for these clasp-arounds ranged from $2 to $25.
Front Lacing Corset: Light weight, dainty materials were used in Gossard front lacing corsets which were also lightly, scientifically boned. These corsets ranged in price from $2.75 to $25.
Combination: Combinations were also designed with light boning, and diaphragm reinforcements so that they could be worn charmingly by plump figures. The image depicts this second style of the Gossard Combination, still ranging in similar price.