At the beginning of this year, we were all succumbed to the alluring plot and stunning costume design of Netflix’s series Bridgerton. After binge-watching, one unwavering question remained in our minds “are corsets back in style?”. Undoubtedly, the blockbuster series seems to be responsible for the uprising of cottage-core romanticism and regency core style, and the images shared on social media are a testament to the corset trend’s success.
Before we analyze the corset’s modern-day iteration, it is important to acknowledge the history of the trend to understand the reason why it’s constantly returning, or perhaps why it never completely left — it just keeps evolving as fashion does.
History of the corset trend
The corset dates back to the 1500s and was initially designed to transform the female body into naturally unattainable silhouettes. Although some historians call it a symbol of female oppression, others just consider it as an undergarment used to support the weight of heavy fabrics. Corsets never really left the fashion scene and over the years countless designers have reimagined them.
A remarkable comeback was in 1970 when British designer Vivienne Westwood revolutionized them by using them as a staple of her punk aesthetic and women empowerment, adopting them not as underwear but as outerwear. In the past years, her corset tops are one of the most coveted and seek-out vintage pieces for secondhand buyers.
Another undeniable force on the trend is the French couturier Thierry Mugler who is responsible for some of the most iconic corset runway appearances, for instance when model Nadja Auermann stepped out in a golden hard-bodied corset dripped in rhinestones that reinforced the relationship between corsets and women empowerment.
But how are brands adopting the trend of corsets in 2022?
Today, brands like Prada and Balenciaga incorporated the trend in their latest collection in 2021, nevertheless the trend can be more accurately attributed to smaller brands who ushered in the regency core trend and made the corsets go viral on Social Media. British label Charlotte Knowles told Vogue, that with the brand’s “militarized corsetry” they aimed to represent their idea of how “our woman is fighting for her place in the world”.
The 2022 Trend Forecast for Corsets
Looking forward, our fashion experts picked up the corset trend appearing in myriad ways, with strapless versions, long sleeves, or tank sleeves, all being popular versions of the trend. Moreover, lacing is a common detail we are seeing designers incorporate into the garment. Brands are creating corsets in a multitude of fabrics and prints, from classic toile de jouy to fleece to upcycled upholstery as seen by Kristen Mallison. For designers, we suggest aiming towards using satin, as our fashion experts predict the fabric to rise in visibility by +20% this Spring 2022 compared to last Spring.
In regards to styling, it is easy to style it down for a daywear look with wide-leg pants, a trend that is considered a fashion bet by our fashion experts or to convert for a more bold look with a split short skirt, another fashion bet trend. Our fashion experts refer to fashion bet trends as ones with high potential market demand and rising visibility. Lastly, the corset can either be worn on its own or layered on top of other garments, making it a versatile wardrobe staple.
The corset’s most recent comeback relates to a return of both regency core romanticism and the underwear-as-outerwear trend. Additionally, our forecasts indicate trends that are related to the patterns, prints, styling, and shapes of corset garments design, making them even a more complete trend. Despite its controversial history, in its modern iteration, the purpose of the garment evolved to one of power for women.