By Ray Schultz
This week’s historical piece addresses a delicate subject: corsets. Or, rather, corsets and content.
In 1929, Charis of St. Paul sent a brochure for its “superior foundation garment.” The fold-out piece featured spot color, and photos of women wearing the patented corset (although it never used that term).
The only response mechanism is a St. Paul address and phone number, so this was obviously a local effort. The garment couldn’t be bought in a store, or ordered by mail—instead, it was delivered in person by a Charis representative.
Here’s how content was done 87 years ago. The cover asks the question, “What has become of the middle-aged woman?” And the copy on the flip page answers the question:
What has become of the Middle-aged” Woman?
The pathetic, “middle-aged” woman of yesterday is the mature, young woman of today. Instead of a drab, monotonous existence, she leads a useful, interesting life.
For the active, smartly dressed, modern woman, whose figure has matured with her years, CHARIS is a superior foundation garment from every point of view.
To begin with , CHARIS is adjustable, so that the wearer as she puts it on, can improve her figure wherever desired. Ungraceful development of waist, hips or thighs can be corrected, the abdomen flattened—creating smart youthful lines from bust to knees. This re-proportioning of the figure is accomplished without any restriction of movement. The garment can be worn continuously with perfect comfort.
CHARIS is light in weight and contains a minimum of boning, yet it provides exactly the physical support most mature women need. An important feature is the Inner Belt, which supports the abdomen in correct position, affording protection against strain and depleted vitality.
CHARIS is a patented garment. The advantages of its adjustable feature cannot be secured elsewhere.
You can examine CHARIS in the private of your home whenever convenient. This superior garment is not sold in stores but will be brought directly to you by a representative of this company. To secure further information, including free demonstration if desired, please communicate with the address on the back of this leaflet.
The following pages contain full-page photos of variations, with descriptions:
Observe how CHARIS controls and reproportions the well developed figure, without restriction of movement. In addition to producing attractive, youthful lines CHARIS permits perfect physical relaxation with comfort in any position. Continued use of CHARIS will usually effect a permanent reduction in bust and hip measurements.
For the women of average figure, the garment illustrated below is a particularly desirable model. It is made with the convenient Midway Opening (midway between center front and underarm). Notice the smooth, youthful contour and this garment creates. This and other models can be had with cool net or rayon top for summer.
The unique adjustability and complete superior of CHARIS make it a desirable garment for every woman—slender or stout. There are odd and even sizes, 32 to 56 bust. Detachable shoulder straps are a great convenience. The garment launders beautifully and gives long services. A wide selection of models and materials is provided.
The rear cover shows a fully dressed woman (presumably Mrs. Charis, if there was one), and asks the question: “Will you let her help YOU, too?”
At the risk of seeming lurid, there was one curious historical detail: The garments featured clips for holding up stockings, which were worn in each of the photos.