The Corset

Melissa Doft M.D.

As admired on the most exciting runways of Milan, the corset has made a comeback during fall’s fashion week. Reinterpreted in a new way, the corset is no longer constraining lingerie used to tighten your waist and accentuate voluptuous curves but instead a statement piece worn on the outside of your clothes. The designers have deconstructed a laced up garment to great a modern shape, defining the new-age of femininity.

The conception of the corset dates back to the 15 th century in Italy when Catherine de Medici first popularized the garment. It was then altered during the Victorian era in France to create an hourglass silhouette, symbolizing their ideal female figure. The corset continued in popularity until World War I when the metal from the garment was used for military efforts. The US War Industries Board secured 28,000 tons of metal from corsets, which was enough to build two battleships. But have we really abandoned the corset or have we just replaced it with diet, strength training and of course plastic surgery?

When patients arrive to the office for a facelift or tummy tuck consultation, I love describing the internal portion of the operation as the creation of a surgical corset. All successful operations in plastic surgery start by establishing a strong foundation upon which the outside skin is tailored to fit your body. As we age, the muscles in our necks or platysma muscles sag, loosen, and spread apart. In the mirror, this is seen as neck bands. During a facelift, the platysma muscles are laced together centrally and then tightened behind your ears to remove excess skin, transform an obtuse angle between your neck and jawline into a right angle, and to remove any extra sagging. Similarly, during pregnancy the rectus muscles spread apart to create room for the uterus to expand and your baby to grow. When the muscles do not return to their original position, the result is a rectus diastasis. During a tummy tuck, the rectus muscles are brought together in the midline to flatten your abdomen and cinch your waist.

So you may argue that nothing ever really goes out of style!

If you are interested in undergoing a facelift or tummy tuck, please call our New York City office at 212.600.4109 for a consultation.