125 Years of Ladies' Home Journal: Health

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illustration of woman with small waist
Emily Wight

What a Waist

At the turn of the 20th century American women squeezed themselves into corsets in pursuit of the ideal 20-inch waist. (Today the average woman's waist size is 37.) Tight lacing was blamed for hair loss, red noses, flaccid skin, and "stomach, lung, liver, or arterial troubles."


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