Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tight Lacing or the Cobbler's Wife in the Fashion


The HOITY head & TOIGHTY waist

As now there all the ton

Ma'am Nell the Cobbler's wife in taste

By none will be outdone.

But Ah! When set aloft her cap

Her boddice while she's bracing

Jobl'on comes in and & with his strap

Gives her a good tight lacing.


This satire, dated 1777, is pointing out the folly of not only tight lacing but also dressing above one' s station in life. The setting is a humble workroom, filled with the cobbler's tools of his trade. His fashion frenzied wife is dressed in stylish stays, a silk quilted petticoat and an extremely high hair style topped with a frilly beribboned cap. Unlike the "Tight Lacing or Fashion Before Ease" print, the cobbler's wife does not have a footman or lady's maid to assist in lacing her stays and so employs one of her husbands tools as a weight to the stay laces to draw them tightly. The husband enters the scene with his strap in hand and will beat good sense into her.


Courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library Digital Collection





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