Fashion: Curving the Curple

Even before Robert Herrick cast his eye at his retreating Julia and memorialized "that brave vibration each way free," most of humankind has admired women from both sides. Americans, for reasons that are obscure, have in recent years kept their eyes chiefly in front, and above the waist. The U.S. female bottom, in fact, has been treated like an embarrassment — flattened, cinched in, and obfuscated into the monobuttock, which appears in nature only in the wasp and other unpleasant creatures. U.S. girdle makers long ago discovered that for export overseas they had to provide a different treatment of...

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