Meet the New 1690's Stays
We've been seeing more and more buzz about the fashions from the turn of the 18th Century, partially due to the popularity of the 2018 film The Favourite (we loooved it!). The new Patterns of Fashion 5 volume also contains heaps of information about the stays for this period.
The fashions are...weird...to a modern eye, but that's part of what we love about them!
Prior to this period, bodices generally consisted of smooth-covered stitched stays, with sleeves. The structure and the outer layer were built as one. The Mantua gowns of the 1680's changed this, with soft, draped gowns pinned and belted over foundation stays. These gowns could be closed in the front, or worn open in a V to show off a decorative stomacher or ornamental front panel on the stays. Eventually, this style evolved into the iconic Robe a la Francaise of the 18th century.
Our stays are based on a number of resources including Patterns of Fashion 5, Stays & Body Image in 18th Century London, and Corsets & Crinolines. They feature the long lean line and long tabs of this era. The neckline is higher than later 18th century stays, and the back comes up higher as well. The straps are also angled further out over the shoulders.
A center front wooden busk ensures a rigid silhouette. These stays can be easily embellished with fancy front stomacher panels, and the fabrics are also dyeable.
As with all of our 18th century stays, the side seams and straps are alterable.