Kim Kardashian, Ashley Graham, Nicki Minaj; just a few of the pioneers behind the resurgence of corset belts in fashion. But these strappy accessories are coming back with a new twist.
Walking into any Urban Outfitters, you can find a variety of different corset belts that emulate the waist-cinching features of a full-sized corset. But how did the trend get to such a streamlined status?
Historically, corsets were introduced into European fashion in order to shape a woman’s torso into a societally desired silhouette in leading up to the 1800’s, according to University of Virginia. However, they were briefly abandoned in order to express political freedom until they were brought back even more exaggerated.
This hyper exaggerated shape began to have physical and medical retributions on those who wore them. As corsets moved forward in fashion they became more directed towards theatrics and high fashion while also becoming less restricting as fashion trends encouraged looser fitting clothing.
With body positivity on the rise in the past 20 years, new figure furor has allowed body image to gain a different perspective. More recently, “waist training” started influencing women to accentuate their curvy figures as American body standards started to change; this trend was picked up by America’s royal family, the Kardashian’s.
Having such a profound influence on popular culture through the use of social media marketing the trend was quickly spread across the nation. High fashion designers began to reintroduce waist-altering pieces into their collections in order to achieve the dramatic artfulness of embracing “natural” body curves.
As corset belts begin to squeeze themselves into this movement, they are being redefined as simply a fashion statement.
Janelle Bullock, who has already graced the Valley fashion section, sees this resurgence as just another way to express herself through the art of fashion.
“I don’t really see any negative connotations with it because I feel like it’s a fashion statement,” says Bullock. “As far as society goes, I can see both perspectives: I can see people shitting on it because of body image…but I feel like those who are wearing it really enjoy the style and what it looks like.”
Essentially, corset belts aren’t meant for extreme body augmentation nowadays. It is now aimed at becoming an accessory as simple as an ornate necklace or bold heel.
“It’s just a time for embracing femininity,” says Alexa Frey, a sophomore at Fashion Institute of Technology. “They accentuate curves [and] you can get whatever one is right for you.”
Now that it is a common trend, corsets and corset belts come in a variety of styles that are now intended to be worn overtop of your clothes – intentional for making a statement.
So next time you need that good ol’ nifty statement piece for a night out on the town, try to tap into your medieval ancestors and get cinched.