Regardless the seamy underbelly of society at the time, what was presented for public consumption was polite and clean and dignified. Yes, it may have been for show, it may have been false, but you could certainly go out in public with children and not worry overly much for their spiritual and emotional innocence. Women were guarded from unpleasant men because it was not accepted behaviour to be 'fresh' with a lady. It was possible to conduct yourself well in public because manners and expectations were taught. How to address a person, or conduct yourself in any situation were not unknown factors, and you would know what to say, what was allowed and so on, eliminating awkwardness and discomfort.
The corset may have been a constriction, but it did provide sound support. So too, while social rules and expectations may have been restrictive, they provided structure for public life. I think we may be lacking a little of that today.