Here are my favorite ladies in corsets. (And, before you get your lacings in a knot, costume nerds, I’m using corset in the loosest sense of the word and am including anything that requires boning. IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.) Some usual suspects are missing from this list and before you yell at me for forgetting Kiera Knightley, let me just say that I think Ms. Knightley’s spare frame looks better in later, slinkier fashions.
So, enough nattering, here are the ladies. In no particular order.
Hayley Atwell—The Duchess: Honestly, with Atwell traipsing about, it’s not wonder poor Kiera was neglected by her husband.
Kate Winslet—Quills: Kate has a lot of fine corseted looks under her belt, including her luscious look in Titanic, but Quills is my favorite. I couldn’t tell you why.
Nicole Kidman—Moulin Rouge: This was Kidman at the height of her beauty and allure. Before she ruined her face and turned into a pale blonde imitation of herself. She completely sold me on the “Sparkling Diamond” persona. A personal favorite.
Romola Garai—“Daniel Deronda”: Garai is another often-corseted beauty. While she was great in the BBC’s “The Hour,” she will always be a literary miniseries girl to me.
Natalie Dormer—“The Tudors”: Fans of “Game Of Thrones” know her as Margaery Tyrell, but before that Natalie Dormer was Anne Boleyn.
Olivia Hussey—Romeo And Juliet: This is the first time I remember being acutely aware of the miraculous power of the corset.
Julia Sawalha—“Pride and Prejudice”: Oh Lydia, what a dreadful, awful, adorable character you are.
Keeley Hawes—“Tipping The Velvet”: This, my dears, is why Keeley Hawes is the real Mrs. Darcy. (She’s married to Matthew Macfadyen.)
Kate Beckinsale—Much Ado About Nothing: Before she tanned herself into oblivion and got caps on her teeth, Kate Beckinsale was the most adorable English crumpet that ever lived. She was never more delicious than here as the milksoppy Hero.
Monica Bellucci—The Brothers Grimm: Okay, this is a blatant cheat. There is clear underboob and, thus, likely no trace of corsetry in the costume. Nonetheless between this and Brotherhood Of The Wolf, Bellucci is a costume drama sexpot.
Jennifer Ehle—“Pride and Prejudice”: No one, and I mean no one, beats Jennifer Ehle. The woman fills out a Regency gown better than anyone before or since.
Gemma Arterton—Byzantium: Neil Jordan’s movie came and went, but Arteron’s corset will always live on.
Much love and gentle squeezes to those not pictured (because no quality pictures exist). Including Catherine McCormack (Dangerous Beauty), Justine Waddell and Helena Bonham Carter.
See Also: Our Favorite Cravat-Wearing Brits