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What it’s like to wear Victorian corsets and underwear today

Sarah A. Chrisman readily admits she’d far rather live in Victorian times — specifically 1889 — than the modern era. When her similarly historically-focused husband gave her a corset for her 29th birthday four years ago, she was dismayed, but soon got over her doubts and has since gone on to wear corsets 24/7 and make all her own clothes. Her memoir, "Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself," is a paean to both the joys of corset wearing and a feisty defense of a bygone era. Making a concession to modern times, she chatted with Salon via Skype about being publicly groped by Baby Boomers, the physical benefits of corset wearing, advice on buying your first corset and why Victorian women’s underwear is superior.

How long have you had a fascination with Victorian clothing and life?

It goes back as long as I can remember, to be perfectly honest. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated with the Victorian era. When I was a child the books I chose to read were ones that took place in the Victorian era or were written then.

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