excuse me madam!
i used to collect history of costume/dress books - and i wasn't too fussy - all grist to the mill, so i made an effort ot be impartial taste-wise. Some stuff was fairly dubious and some academic...i still have most of it but i don't collect it any more.
Yesterday, in a conversation with drawingwithfilm, i remembered a cartoon i'd seen in one of these books - either Daumier or Rowlandson i think - of a skinny haggard woman before she'd applied all her extras - the wig, bustle, corset, false bosom etc.......and i searched for it today but i can't find it. But i did find this gem - from a later era, 1936 - showing what was fashionable/nay essential! in underwear at the time. She has nothign to hold in - so i assume that ws more for protection! Nothing changes though does it? Even then they used skinny models to advertise underwear designed to squeeze you into the fashionable shape - models that needed no re-shaping anyway.
from 'Whalebone to See-through, a History of Body Packaging' by Michael Colmer heavens - still available
and the other one peeking from behind it is a much less tittilating study! called 'Corsets and Crinolines' by Norah Waugh, adn it's got some interesting examples from art as well as fascinating patterns for corsets etc. still around
good heavens. that's a lot of money for Davenport's Book of Costume -2 vols. time to flog stuff on ebay.