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Woman's Stays

Mid- 18th century
Artist/maker unknown, American or English
People in the 1700s thought bodies looked best when chests were held out and shoulders held back and down. To get this look, children from the age of about eighteen months wore stiff, shaped undergarments called corsets or stays. Putting children in stays was not seen as cruel, but as helping them learn proper posture. Boys usually wore stays only in early childhood, but girls continued to wear them as grown-ups.

Object Details

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