This assertion ignores the larger, though still corseted
, waistline fashionable in the latter decades.
Breathing was indeed impaired, so that the corseted
woman drew shallow breaths in the upper diaphragm (though one consequence of this was a pretty fluttering of the bosom).
Nineteenth-century efforts to keep women corseted
drew upon, legitimated and constructed particular notions about femininity, propriety, and the female body.