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21 Victorian and Edwardian Corset Pinups

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Marianne had it right when she said back in 2014, that've for as long as there've been cameras, there've been people making boudoir art.

I love looking at vintage erotic photographs, not just because of my personal fascination with seeing people from the past, but also because it completely obliterates the notion that pornography or erotica or pinup is a modern invention. I think it's easy to forget that people in past eras were sexual beings just as much we today, and while the Victorian Era is often seen as "prudish," historians now know that Victorian ideas on sex and sexuality were not all that dissimilar to our own, especially in regards to mutual pleasure and satisfaction. We also know the Victorian Era had a thriving porn market; in fact, our modern conceptualization of pornography stems from the Victorians.

While these photos were likely intended to titillate when first produced (and I'm sure there are at least a few people out there who find them provocative even now), what I like most is how they show late 19th and early 20th century underpinnings on the body. While I would never assume these photos represent "typical" everyday Victorian underwear, they do offer a different and valuable perspective on the undergarment aesthetics of the era. It's fascinating to me that you can see the beginning of modern day lingerie traditions (such as lace trim on your underwear or a bow at the center of your bosom) on garments that no one wears anymore. The silhouettes may be different, but the language of lingerie is the same.

Do you have a favorite underfashion era? What do you love most about it?

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Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.