Or rather, it was about obtaining status in marriage. In order to garner the attention of a gentleman, one must be lovely and fair. Therefore, a lady’s toilette held many a hushed secret to “natural” beauty.
Though some treatments proved fruitless (and even toxic), Victorian ladies found a myriad of recipes with nourishing properties such as. . .
Maidservants secured Empress Sisi (Elisabeth of Austria) into her corset. Often the hour stretched long before they’d constricted the royal’s waist to a mere 16 inches. Once cinched, she’d then take to her private gym, one of the first. She practiced her disciplines there on the balance beam and mats. Thus, her day continued.
Sisi’s health fixation expanded to mastering activities such as fencing and horsemanship. During intermissions when her body could not permit such extreme regiments, she abided in walks, sometimes all day and in spite of weather.
An icon in part to her her station and illustrious beauty, the empress postured a fever of exercise amongst Victorians—especially court ladies. Be it any wonder when imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?