With the arrival of plastics and other materials, William was able to further decorate Ethel’s earrings. Through the jeweller’s he was able to obtain some nice stones, which he also used for this purpose. Her earrings also became larger and larger, and thus managed to further accentuate Ethel’s radiant appearance.
To increase the attractiveness of Ethel’s waist, William made several kinds of belts, in both metal and leather.
In a shop window in Wardour Street, William saw a belt created in nice polished aluminium. He entered the store, and asked for a 16-inch belt. The saleslady however told him that the smallest belt they had, could be reduced to 21 inch, the smallest waist existing. William had to disagree of course, but she wouldn’t believe him. William said that she didn’t know his wife, but that he would take her to the shop some time to prove that such small waists certainly existed.
After the war, William had ordered three corsets with Mr. Overett, which, bit by bit, had reduced Ethel’s waist back to 14 inch.
He then ordered a corset with a 13-inch waist. Upon delivery, however, William could not fail to notice that it wasn’t made with the same skilled craftsmanship that he was used to from Mrs. Kayne. The corset had many bones, and three garters on each leg. It was cut high on the chest, but it was too short on the hips. When laced tight around Ethel’s waist, it turned out that it wasn’t a great success. The boning did not stay flat, but started to bend and pierce into Ethel’s body.
Both the upper and bottom end of the corset was too wide, allowing William to almost push in a pillow there. Ethel almost couldn’t wear it, as it was quite uncomfor-table. Mr Overett was obviously not as skilled as Mme Lorette and Mrs Kayne had been. But now what?
In the London Advertiser William found an advert for a corset maker that stated she could make traditional corsets. William responded to it, and received additional information.
The corset maker’s name was Mrs. Stafford, and she lived in Beckenham, South London. William and Ethel decided on a beautiful black satin, and it was to be finished with lace. Ethel’s measurements were provided, and they asked for a first fitting. William was sure she would be surprised to receive an order for a 14-inch corset.
Mrs Stafford replied she could certainly meet their demands and would very much like to meet William and Ethel for a first fitting.
Mrs. Stafford was of middle age, and a couple of years older than Ethel. She turned out to be a pleasant and cooperative person.
She told William she had been a keen corset wearer herself when she was younger. This meant she had the required experience, which was very important.
When she saw Ethel - it was 1954, and Ethel was 49 years old - Mrs. Stafford was amazed about Ethel’s figure. Ethel and William came to understand that she had heard of them from another corset maker sometime before. She said that Ethel had the smallest waist she had ever seen, and that she thought it wonderful that she kept it that way. When she put the new corset around Ethel’s waist, it could be closed almost fully already. She said she wouldn’t close it entirely though, as it wasn’t completely finished and would be pulled out of shape if she tried. She had never seen such a flexible, supple waist before.
She said that Ethel could wear a corset with a thirteen-inch waist easily enough. Ethel and William then told her that they had already achieved this size before the war. Mrs Stafford knew her business and suggested a few alterations to the corset. When delivered, it was fabulous to see the craftsmanship with which the corset was made. It had an extra set of laces at the waist, just as William had asked for. It wasn’t long before William had the corset around Ethel’s waist, with about 1 ½ inch of room left. Before the week was over, it could be closed entirely. Ethel’s waist looked truly fabulous in this corset. With her dress, she wore a nice belt, and she looked dazzling.
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