The new HBO period drama series The Gilded Age, that’s captured the hearts of viewers, will be wrapping up its first season just as Shonda Rhimes’ Netflix smash hit, Bridgerton, returns on March 25. Even though they’re set in different eras, each series brings its own societal drama and love interests to screens, but it’s the fashions, specifically the corsets, that bid both together. In two recent interviews, each show’s leading lady had a lot to say about their super restricting corsetry.
Joining the Bridgerton cast for its second chapter, Simone Ashley told Glamour UK how painful the experience was getting tied into her tightly-laced corset every day. Set amid the Regency era of 1811 to 1820, the costumes’ corsetry worn under its signature empire-waist gowns played a pivotal role in accurately displaying the time period.
The breakout star told the publication that she ate a hearty meal to keep energized, and got sick after squeezing into her corset. “I realized when you wear the corset, you just don’t eat. It changes your body,” Ashley said. “I had a smaller waist very momentarily. Then the minute you stop wearing it, you’re just back to how your body is. I had a lot of pain with the corset, too, I think I tore my shoulder at one point!”
Expressing a similar sentiment, The Gilded Age star Louisa Jacobson told Josh Smith of her disdain for the garment on the Reign with Josh Smith podcast this week. Starring as lead character Marian, the period drama takes place during the 1870s where super-cinched waists are, yep you guess it, still in style.
“Every day when I took it off, I was so grateful and I will never take for granted being a female-identifying person in 2022, who does have the freedom to put on a pair of pants that are kind of loose and call it a day,” Jacobson said. “The things women had to do — the corset was crazy.”
During the chat, Jacobson admitted that she may have internalized unrealistic beauty standards more than she originally knew during her time in the role. “You’ve seen Cinderella, you’ve seen any Disney movie. Have you seen Frozen? Their waists are like the size of my finger,” she said. “All the main princess characters just have these tiny little waists and you grow up seeing that. I walked on set and I was like, in my fittings too, I was like, ‘Just tighten it. I wanna look snatched.’ ”
Eventually after experiencing rib pain from the garment, struggling to sleep on her side, the costume designers loosened her corset and let out the seams of her gowns, helping Jacobson get through her incredibly long work hours a bit more comfortably.