This is kind of a postscript to add to my thoughts on tulip skirts, which is clothes that modify behaviour.

(Okay, that came out sounding quite creepy.)

What I mean to say that is that clothes which force you to hold yourself differently, clothes that change your posture, the way you walk, sit, stand, climb stairs, etc etc.

The tulip skirt is a case in point. It is narrow at the hem, hence limiting the length of my strides. I take big strides. I walk very fast. I tend to take stairs two steps at a time. I tend to tuck my leg under the other leg when I sit on my chair in the office. With the skirt, I become conscious that I should not stand wth my legs apart like that; it ruins the silhouette. With the tulip, I am suddenly the dainty young lady my mother always wish she had.

Another example is this navy linen dress of mine, which has a nice square neckline, something I find very elegant and regal-looking, and it was the reason why I was drawn to the dress in the first place (it also has pockets!). But that very neckline is also the reason for behavioural change.

I don't slump all that much for a reasonably tall person, but I do slouch a little from time to time, especially after a long day. But the dress pulls me upright. When I slouch, the square neckline, owing in part to the crisp linen, gapes open, ruining the clean lines and looks like a yawning mouth at my chest. I have to hold my shoulders perfectly erect, and sit up straight.

Even without corsets, there are certain items mimic the corset's ability to hold us to a certain way of physical behaviour. I realise this could only be a revelation for someone like me who doesn't wear heels, because my friends tell me that heels have a similar tranformatory (is that a word?) effect. But I was amused nonetheless as I went through the day in those clothes, suddenly conscious of how I'm holding myself and thrown off by the fact that I can't walk quickly. But it wasn't all that bad, "restrictive" would be the wrong word here. It was just...different.


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