Women suffered a great deal for fashion. Women had to endure crinolines, protuding bustles and heavily boned corsets which restricted movement and activities that women could take part in. Technological changes in the late 19th and early 20th century led to new designs in underwear which made life easier for many women. Attitudes towards health, comfort and participation in sporting activities meant that women were becoming more aware of their bodies and how restrictive wear could be harmful to their bodies. 1837 was the year that Victoria came to the throne. The dress of the late 1830s and 1840s was characterised by drooping shoulders, long pointed angles and low pinched in waist. Low waisted dresses needed long heavily boned corsets to give them shape ( V & A, 2015:4).
Corsets of the 1840s were cut from separate pieces which were stitched together to give an expression of roundness to the bust and shaping over the hips. A broad busk which was a flat length of wood or steel was put up the centre front of the corset to give it a smooth line to the bodice of the dress ( V & A, 2015:4).