We think all the hoopla surrounding our breasts (you thought it was nylon and underwire —it’s actually hoopla!) is a modern thing. You know—To implant or not to implant, to show cleavage or be discreet, to lift ‘em up or let ‘em fly, etc. Well, even without the help of plastic surgeons, the women of the 17th century doted on boobage just as much as we do.
Lili Loofbourow, writing in the The Hairpin, was trying to figure out the right way to wear a corset at a Ren-Faire and in so doing ended up with a wonderful story about 17th century titty tips. Like this one, from the [ital |Ladies’ Dictionary] circa 1694, for making sure your breasts are in check: “Breasts that hang loose, and are of an extraordinary largeness, lose their charms, and have their Beauty buried in the grave of uncomeliness, whilst those that are small, plump and round, like two ivory globes, or little worlds of beauty, whereon Love has founded his Empire…”
Jesus Christ! If even one fashion magazine were written like that today, I would look better. Show me size zero, $1k dresses—who cares? Threaten me with a grave of uncomeliness and I’ll get right on it. We also get a recipe for a breast-reducing plaster, the dumbness of moon-tanning, the feminist psychology behind the androgynous Elizabethan look and how men suffered from cage-like clothing, too. It’s well worth reading; call it, maybe, “What not to Waire.”