Men wearing corsets is actually nothing new. Several notable men in history have been known to wear corsets and corset-like garments for aesthetic or therapeutic purposes.
In the 19th century, it was not uncommon for cavalry and militia (in England, France and Germany) to wear stays under their uniform or suit. While they were referred to as “belts” in written sources, they were still relatively wide over the torso, laced up in the back like traditional stays, and designed to be worn quite snug around the waist. This served several purposes - to promote proper posture while on horseback (and good posture can be seen as intimidating as well), to help soldiers fit into their uniforms properly even if they developed a bit of a pot belly over time, and to protect their spine if they were ever thrown off their horse.
Another purpose it served was to prevent bruising of the kidneys as the soldiers were galloping along. We can still see a version of this today, as the modern kidney belt which protects horse riders and motorcyclists alike when moving over uneven ground.
Although corsets fell out of mainstream fashion in the early 20th century, some individuals continued to wear corsets despite fashion trends. Some very notable men wore corset-like braces for therapeutic purposes - for instance, former American president John F. Kennedy wore a back brace for his back pain. Artist Andy Warhol suffered nerve damage and chronic back pain after surviving an attempted assassination, and so he wore a corset for the remainder of his life. For many people, a traditional cotton corset was supportive and helped their wearers get through their day, while being less bulky than medical back braces that were sometimes made of hard plastic, wood, leather and/or thick straps of steel.
Another modern version of a corset comes in the form of a weight lifting belt, the purpose of which is to provide a rigid barrier around the lower abdomen, which the lifter pushes against while bearing heavy weights. This is thought to help stabilize the lifter’s abdomen, protecting against lumbar strain or some types of hernias.
Some sources argue that corsetry in general never really died completely (even in the 1920s and ‘30s) but rather, it went “underground” and became a part of subculture until revival in the 1940s and ‘50s in Dior’s “New Look” fashion, again in the 80s as part of the punk and goth subculture. In the last 50 years, tightlacers such as Fakir Musafar and Mr Pearl have let the world know that yes, male interest in corsetry does exist (although there is absolutely no pressure to lace as small as those two notables!)
Timeless Trends acknowledges that some men do like the posture support, the tummy-flattening effect and the fashion of a corset, so TT sells corsets marketed specifically for men. These corsets have less of a curve to them compared to their other standard length corsets, and they are available in black cashmere and pinstripe styles, which coordinate wel; with many black and charcoal suits. Gentlemen, whether you’d like to look dapper or alternative (or both at once!), these corsets have you covered.
What do you think of these styles? Let us know in a comment below!