comments

Dresser drawers The magazine, part one

Friends of the Lincoln Library
By: By Jane Tahti For The Lincoln News Messenger
-A +A

It's an old, old dresser, belonging to my great-grandparents. 

Old as it was, it seemed as if it had enough life left in it to allow the wood to grow back together, almost like a live tree will grow around a wound or an obstacle. 

Pulling the old drawers open took effort and coordination: a slight tilt on a lift, followed by a slow, strong, absolute parallel pullback. 

But once the drawers were pulled open, it was almost like opening a treasure chest.

First in hand was the incredible fashion magazine from 1899. There were pages of stylish patterns for Victorian dresses. Beautifully-drawn models wore gowns that still retained such vibrant colors that they looked as they might have been published yesterday.

Apparently, the ideal Victorian woman was kept in shape by the well-advertised ARMOR-SIDE Corset.   

ARMOR-SIDE? 

Really?  

Couldn't they have tried a little pun and called it the AMORE-SIDE Corset? 

At any rate, it was well named because it was guaranteed "not to break down on the sides."

That must have been a great relief. 

One shudders at the idea of a woman's corset breaking down along the sides with all that unrestrained female flesh on the loose!

 With the indestructible ARMOR-SIDE corset cinching in those tiny waists, there was nowhere else for bosoms and hips and fannies to go but up and out or down and out.  

The fashion plates in the magazine feature hour-glass curves of female figure fantasy run amuck.  Hourglass time would have stood still with the narrow center so tiny as to admit only one grain of suppressed sand at a time. 

Female digestion and blood flow must have been contained within independent spheres, above or below the waist.  

Smelling salts must have been kept close at hand, just in case one of these women decided to inhale.

But OMG!  Just look at those teeny tiny tortuous waists, those over-flowing bosoms, those billowing hips, all topped up with piled-high hairdos and hats that defied logic.

Gentlemen, beware!

Once these ladies got dressed up, you didn't mess with them.

Loosen one button and the woman in your arms would explode like a Victorian hand grenade. 

 

At the Twelve Bridges Library

Free story time: 3:30 p.m. every Wednesday for kids.

Free Mother Goose on the Loose: 10:30 or 11:30 a.m. Thursdays for kids.

Events are sponsored by Friends of the Lincoln Library. The Twelve Bridges Library is at 485 Twelve Bridges Drive in Lincoln.

This column is part of a Friends of the Lincoln Library series. To reach the nonprofit Friends, write to Box 1177, Lincoln CA 95648, contact 434-2404 or friendsofthelincolnlibrary.com. Jane Tahti is the Friends of the Lincoln Library secretary.