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Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger

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Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger

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Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger


I can't remember when I first heard about the Swiss Waist, Fashionable Reader.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
From my personal collection
Popular in the 1860s this was a boned belt, with at least one peak (either up or down). It usually laced like a corset, only up the front, sometimes is was exactly corset-like with a busk up the front and laces up the back. The Swiss Waist was worn in addition to the foundation corset. It is, so far as I can determine historically, the only corset-like garment that was worn on the outside of a dress.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
Daguerreotype from my personal collection
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 1860s  The Victoria & Albert Museum Swiss Waist; my own version from Dark Garden

Here is a retrospective on the idea of the Swiss Waist. They aren't necessarily exactly this article of clothing, but they all suggest the peaks that I associate with this garment.


Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1829  Kerry Taylor Auctions
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1872 Godeys Sept 1872 Dicky
Described as: "Overwaist of blue silk, trimmed with black lace; it is to be worn over a black silk dress, and is very dressy and pretty."

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
Tea Gown  1875-1880  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
[stage costume] Leonora of Mantua (1873), Valentine Cameron Prinsep via British Paintings tumblr

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1880 Striped Princess Bodice

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1889 Evening Dress The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 1890-1895  The Goldstein Museum of Design; Liberty & Co. dress, 1893-94  From the Victoria & Albert Museum

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1895 Golf Ensemble   The Kyoto Costume Institute

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 1896-1899; 1900 Ball Gown  Driscoll both The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1900 Dress  Jean-Philippe Worth,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1900s Gustave Beer, Antique Dress

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1901 Ball Gown  Jeanne Paquin,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 1900s  theoryphotoart tumblr; on our merry way tumblr vintage-impressions- Portrait, ca. 1906

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1906-1908 Evening Dress  Jean-Philippe Worth, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1940s Dress I. Magnin, Kerry Taylor Auctions

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
v-isfor-vintage tumblr 1950s style sass

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1950s  Timeless Vixen Vintage blue

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1950s  Timeless Vixen Vintage

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1950s Carrier airconditioning advertisement. via theniftyfifties tumblr
And now for the modern age...

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 2013 Aigner Fall 2013 collection via nymag.com; 2013 Ralph LaurenSpring-2103

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
2013 Nidhi Sunil in Jimmy Choo Over The Knee Boots. Vogue India, 10.2013 via Booted Up

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
2013 Willow cutout waist belt at theOutnet.com

(A quick note, I had a whole piece prepped for today on wide belts and why they do and don't work on us curvy ladies, but blogspot ate it. I was particularly proud of it, but one keystroke and it's gone, no recovery. Note to self, do not use keyboard shortcuts in blogger! Argh. Anyway, I am hugely overworked theses days and have neither the time nor inclination to rewrite it. So we skip wide belts entirely, sorry....)

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.
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3 Comments on Retro Rack: Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger

  • dmbeucler
    on April 15, 2014 | 11:15 dmbeuclersaid :
    "The blue dress up there isn't actually a swiss waist, (1893 V&A museum picture). If you check the close up all the shaping for that one is done with smocking. It's on my "bucket list" of sewing projects... whenever I develop free time. The work is extraordinary, and it looks like it's an imitation of the late 18th century chemise dresses, although updated since it looks like it's a raglan style sleeve. Er... I kinda nerd out on this stuff. "
  • Gail Carriger
    on April 15, 2014 | 11:21 Gail Carrigersaid :
    "As I say in the blog post "Here is a retrospective on the idea of the Swiss Waist. They aren't necessarily exactly this article of clothing, but they all suggest the peaks that I associate with this garment.""
  • Gram
    on April 15, 2014 | 13:03 Gramsaid :
    "I had one of those "cinch belts" in the 50's...I didn't need to cinch then, my waist was about 20"..."
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger

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