Story: Body shape and dieting

Achieving the ideal figure

Achieving the ideal figure

Until the mid-20th century, foundation garments such as corsets were the most reliable way for women to achieve the ideal figure, as they compressed flab and enhanced desirable curves. This woman models a Berlei girdle for an advertisement of the 1930s. Tellingly, in the background is a statue of the Venus de Milo, then widely believed to have the ideal measurements of 33–26–38 inches (84–66–97 centimetres).

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: C.002272
Photograph by Gordon Burt

Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Caroline Daley, 'Body shape and dieting - The ideal figure', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 May 2020)

Story by Caroline Daley, published 5 Sep 2013