Embroidered Tulle & Cotton 'Underbelt' Corselet By Avro

Embroidered Tulle & Cotton 'Underbelt' Corselet By Avro, c. 1950s, England. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice

Date: c. 1950s

Origin: England

Fabric: Embroidered tulle, cotton coutil

Brand: Avro


This 1950s “underbelt” corsetlet from Avro foundations is made out of pink cotton coutil with matching embroidered tulle for the upper half of the cups. The corsetlet is in size 40, and is housed in its original box. It serves as a supportive and shaping undergarment, with 6 garter clasps to hold up hosiery. Another Avro product, this front fastened bra, is part of the Underpinnings collection, with a unique adjustability added by the fan lacing. Boning reinforces the coutil to provide shaping, and the long line of the corsetlet (passing below the wide point of the hips) would prevent any bulges or cutting into the body, creating a smooth silhouette. The back is cut low so as not to be visible under a dress, and the corsetlet appears to be entered by a line of hook & eye closures down the length of the proper left of the garment, slightly more forward than under the arm so it would be easy to put on and remove without help.

The September 1962 issue of Harper’s Bazaar features an advertisement for Vyrene fibers, a synthetic elastic fiber made by Lastex Yarn & Lactron Thread Ltd. The advertisement lists Avro as one the manufacturers using the material. The January 1967 issue lists Avro as the manufacturer for a similar corsetlet, selling for £2, made with “a nimble new power net … with a low round back, cups, and front panel in nylon tricot.” The Victoria & Albert Museum holds a similar corset (more a girdle than a corset, without reaching up to the bust) in a similar pale pink cotton coutil. 

Avro was a part of a larger corset and undergarment company, R. & W. H. Symington’s, which was founded in the 1850s in England. Symington’s was known for its “Liberty” bodice, which used knit fabric reinforced with strapping for support and comfort. “Liberty bodices” were on the market until 1974. 


Many thanks to Katherine Shark for the object description and research.

From the collection of The Underpinnings Museum

Museum number: UM-2017-056


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