1770-1790 ca. Child’s Stays, American. Linen plain weave, baleen, or whalebone, silk braided tape. Dimensions: Center Front Length: 5 3/4 inches (14.6 cm) Waist: 18 inches (45.7 cm). Made in United States of America.
This pair of stays is only eighteen inches around, and might have been worn by a small child of eighteen months to two years old. Putting stays on young girls and boys was not seen as harsh, but rather as insurance that their figures would develop the correct form, with chest out and shoulders down. While boys usually wore stays only in early childhood, they were considered essential for females throughout their lives.
via Philadelphia Museum of Art philamuseum.org Accession Number: 1988-15-1 Credit Line: Purchased with the Bloomfield Moore Fund, 1988