Freedom of Defining Beauty - Corset The long reign of Queen Victoria from June 1837 to January 1901 is known as Victoria era. This period in British history is significant because it gave rise to important rise in social and cultural ideals in the European society. It was natural for fashions and lifestyles to change several times in this long period. Many different forms of lifestyles and cultures came to be included into the British society because of the evolving technology and Britain’s rule over the colonies across the world. Stitching at home and clothes made following individual dictates and needs were in fashion in the beginning of this period. With the advent of the factory-made clothes, Victorian dresses began to be mass-produced and fashion became intertwined with the large-scale production of garments in the industry. With the development of the sewing machines and stitching technology in the factories and lock-stitching gaining ground, trimming became much easier than earlier it had been and it became a fashion statement. Similarly, production of laces on a mass-scale and at low cost was made possible by the lace-making machines. Bright synthetic colours could now produce a new repertoire of shades which were not earlier possible by the organic and natural dyes. Thus, many features of the Victorian dresses were directly related to the technological and industrial development in Britain in the 19 th century and its rule over the colonies. The Victorian dresses for women changed during this period, transforming from bell-shaped gowns to the gowns that looked flatter in front and flowing at the back, to less flowing styles. Corsets were important costumes in Victorian dresses for women in the 19th century. These were used primarily to make the waist look slimmer. These essentially had a tight frame with whale bone linings to keep the waist constricted, since an hour-glass figure was the ideal of feminine beauty at this time. Corsets were tied in front with draw strings. They could be short, over-bust, under-bust or long going down to the hips. The steampunk costume inspired by the Victorian corset uses corsets made of cloth that follow the line of Victorian corsets, without serving the primary purpose of slimming the waist. The steampunk corset has a loose fitting as compared to the Victorian corset, though it looks like the original corset in shape. To enhance the Victorian look, it has drawstrings in front. Steampunk costume in this sense draws from the Victorian dresses of feminine beauty, but redefines this ideal to express the notion that women need not be constricted by a code of dress to look attractive according to social norms. Rather, they can redefine their own ideal of beauty without following the norm of beauty laid down by the society.