In my case, it's not just an issue of going out and buying new outfits.
I have an "event" today for which i need to dress in American Civil War era clothing (advertising the Chatillon-DeMenil House's annual event, "A Death in the Family: Death and Mourning in the 19th Century"). It's ALWAYS a good idea to start getting dressed well in advance for something like this, if you don't often wear the ensemble; i put on my drawers, i put on my chemise, i put on my best corset ... and it's too big! I put on the OLD corset i made a number of years ago ... and it's ALMOST too big. DAMN.
Doesn't matter if a lot of things are a little large, but a corset HAS to fit. It, with help from the chemise, holds everything in place*. The ideal mid-nineteenth-century silhouette is completely different from the modern one, and only period-correct underclothes can make that happen -- that's why good living-historians dress authentically down to the skin. Wanna know why the 1993 production of "Tombstone" LOOKS so much better than all the ones that came before? They realized that just decorating the surface is inadequate.
Well, the good news is, there are two dresses i haven't worn in a long time which will again see the light of day. Bad news ... i'm going to have to make a number of other things, INCLUDING new corsets.
* the corset pushes the girls up while the chemise keeps them from escaping out the top. corsetry 101: in the back where the laces are, there's supposed to be a gap from two to four inches -- the two halves fasten together in the front, but should not meet in the back. when you hear about the 18-inch waist of a young lady ... that's a stretch of the truth. her corset has a waist-size of 18 inches, but her measurement is closer to 22.