Date: c. 1900s
Origin: Great Britain
Fabric: Cotton sateen, elastic
Brand: The Foster Hose Supporter Co.
This is a hose supporter, made from cotton sateen, elastic, and metal clasps. These were a separate accessory, worn over the corset or shirtwaist and used to keep stockings or hose up, similar to suspenders or garter belts today. The four sets of elastic with clasps are centered at the front, not evenly distributed around the body. The elastic at the waist is adjustable, pulled through a slider with two metal prongs that would set the width. There is a sateen pad at the front, and on the interior of the pad is a printed tag with the Foster name, made in England, and a drawing of the correct way to wear the hose supporter. It is similar to this set, except that these would have been pinned onto a corset, and are not a completely separate object.
An article in Vogue, September 24, 1903, mentions the Foster hose supporter specifically (among other brand name hose supporters), and describes it as a “skirt supporter, shirt waist adjuster and hose supporter … combined in the one article.” The illustrated product resembles this one closely. A variety of advertisements for Foster products show similar products and boast of the “figure correcting” abilities of their hose supports, due to the large pad at the front that “holds back the abdomen.” An advertisement in Vogue, May 21, 1903, specifies that the Foster hose supporters should be worn over a shirtwaist, so that they can hold the fabric down in the back, and prevent unsightly fabric gathers beneath a skirt. Many of the advertisements for Foster products tout that these hose supporters can be worn with swimming outfits, summer clothing, or a negligée.
Many thanks to Katherine Shark for the object description and research.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska