What to Wear, Vol. 1: The Cultured Waist (Her Valiant Fight Against Time), 2005
Vintage bra, salesman sample bra, cotton fabric-iron on digital images, corset strapping, Dimensions Variable, Duration Variable
This is the first of two of these that I have done in this series (see my website for Vol. 2 - Perfect Figure, Graceful Lines... and the Re-birth of Charm).
This series of What to Wear books was inspired by a bra/girdle advertisement. The women in the ad looked so much like paper dolls, I decided to use their bodies and clothes as placards for all the platitudinous text that has been told to women over the decades.
When I read the ad from which "The Cultured Waist" title came from (and I'm still not sure what "culture" was being referred to) but like many woman before me who read that advertisement, I was also somewhat romanced (and sucked in) by the title, so much so, that I named this piece after it.
One of the girdle advertisements I was researching, informed me that "It is perfect because it is flexible. It fits you as if it were part of you..." and "Rids you of unlovely bulges, thus inducing a Happier Mental Outlook."
When I was growing up and strapped into my scoliosis brace 24 hours a day, I couldn't imagine any piece of clothing that could induce a "Happier Mental Outlook." By using advertising text on these dolls – these women's bodies and girdles become a type of billboard of the old advertising verbiage, giving me control over what is told to me and what I can choose to believe or not.
The last doll states, "..gives you a comfortable, satisfying feeling of new life and vigor, and at the same time the streamlined, well-proportioned figure that radiates Womanly Magnetism."
I now know that what ever gives me my "Womanly Magnetism" comes from my own inner strength, and that I no longer need any "support" from outside sources to make me feel that confidence.
Vintage Cotton Bra
Height: 13" (including straps)
Width closed: 14"
Width opened: 28"
Interior Dolls. Handmade with cotton fabric, with digital iron on transfer images. Machine and hand stitched dolls connected with satin ribbon. Girdles connected cotton corset trim ribbon.
Doll Height: 6 1/4"
Doll Width: 2 1/2"
Width of 7 dolls joined together: 22"