This article will be very much a beginner’s corsetry article.
I want to address a couple of questions first timers to corsetry may have.
So let’s get right into it.
First of all I would like to clarify what a corset is because since this whole trend of waist training started there seems to be a bit of confusion what corsetry world considered to be a corset and what the general media seems to consider a corset.
Most of celebrity waist trainers tend to use these elasticated waist training corsets that are made out of latex and are supposed to make you sweat and you’re supposed to do exercise in them.
This is not the thing I’m talking about when I’m talking about corsets.
I’m talking about a piece of garment with lacing at the back with two loops at the waistline so you can cinch it in. Generally it will have a clasp at the front and the boning that’s inside is made of metal.
You can get these also with a plastic boning, but that’s not the ones you want for reshaping your natural shape.
That leads me right into why on earth would you want to wear these.
Personally I like the way a corseted figure looks. Also it might make some other clothes fit better.
If you wear it as an undergarment as it was originally intended in the 19th century, you can give yourself a silhouette to fit a certain type of dress. It will also look nice with 1950s style clothing.
There are also other advantages of wearing one of these corsets. I personally like the feeling of the gentle restriction in my waist. I would describe it to be sort of like a very tight hug all around your body.
Now I would like to say in order for you to experience that feeling, you need a well fitting corset.
Unfortunately I see a lot of people with corsets that don’t fit them very well and that may also lead onto the fact that they don’t like corsets because they’ve never had one that properly suits their body. That’s why I always recommend custom made corsets.
That leads me into the next question – are corsets dangerous?
I don’t think corsetry has to be dangerous as long as you practice it responsibly. Do make sure that you’re grown out. This is not something for teenagers. I would not recommend someone who is still growing to be wearing corsets.
Also if you have any back problems or any sort of injuries, please check with your doctor first.
Just be sensible about it and don’t force your body to do something it doesn’t want to do.
Also if your corset is hurting you in any way, by all means loosen it. Don’t put yourself through that.
If it does hurt, that can have several reasons. If your laces are too tight, then obvious solution is to loosen it a bit.
If you have a corset that doesn’t fit you properly that might also cause pain.
It may also be due to the corset itself and then you have to look into where does it hurt. It may have a little pressure point in the lower back and it may not be curved enough to your spine.
So listen to your body. That’s the most important thing. If your body is telling you this hurts, than something is wrong and you will have to find out what is causing that.
In general, if you take it slow, build-up very slowly, it doesn’t have to be dangerous. Your organs will move a little bit when you lace, especially if you lace tightly, but they will shift back after you take off your corset.
A lot of people seem to be under impression that corsets can make you thinner or make you lose weight through them. This is not entirely true and not entirely false.
Let me put it this way.
It can make you definitely appear skinnier or at least curvier and over time, if you build it up very slowly, you will be able to close smaller and smaller corsets. Over time you might be able to size down in your corsets. Do take your time, this is the most important thing, avoid rushes, listen to your body.
This effect that you get from being able to cinch down smaller and smaller will only last as long as you keep regularly wearing corsets. It’s only semi-permanent. If you just decide one day “I’m not wearing corsets anymore,” your body will eventually return to its normal shape, its original shape.
In the days that corsets were worn from an early age, you did get some changes in, for example, the floating ribs. That might actually grow in the shape of the corset because girls did start corseting quite young, even when they were still growing.
This is why I say please don’t do this because it will or it could permanently change the shape of your rib cage.
You can change those floating ribs to move inwards over time if you do it very slowly, but you have to be careful and take your time with it.
Also on the topic can it make you skinnier, you will notice that when you wear corset that you will not eat as much as you normally would. So you could use it to reduce your portion sizes because you will feel quite uncomfortable and you can actually feel your stomach expanding and pressing against a corset when you eat a lot.
So in that way if you can reduce portion size and maybe combine it with exercise, out of the corset, then maybe you could lose weight by corseting.
The next thing I wanted to talk about is how do you pick out a corset that is right for you.
Of course the best option is to get a corset made for you, made to your size and made to your specific needs.
There’s lots of good corset makers out there. One of the best can be found here.
I can understand that not everyone has the money to get an expensive corset. You may want to try it out first with a cheaper corset. I started that way and a lot of people have started this way.
You could go for a ready-made one. The problem with that is that it will not be necessarily the same as all your measurements.
You can measure around your rib cage, you can measure around your waist, you can measure at your hips, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the length measurements are also appropriate for you.
If you are picking a corset, do not only look at the waist size. Usually what is recommended is to measure your waist and then tract four inches off of that and that is your corset’s waist size.
Next to the waist measurement, I would also recommend you look at the circumference of your ribcage and your hips.
Often corset makers lists all these measurements on their websites and have these little size guides. Check if they’re remotely similar to your own because if you have quite a lot of hip, then chances are not all of the rack corsets will fit you.
I had quite a bit of trouble finding ones that fit me at first.
When lacing yourself, what you want to do is try and keep laces as parallel as possible. If there’s no way you can keep them straight, there is a possibility that your corset is not the right shape for you.
For example, if it tends to go in a V-shape, then it could mean that the ribcage is too small for you but hips are too big.
If it tends to go in a tent shape, then it could mean that the hips are not big enough for you. That means that you need a corset with bigger hip area.
If your corset tends to make an O shape, this is really bad for your corset because the bones tend to warp a little bit in their channels. It could be that your waist size is a little bit too small for you and you cannot actually properly close it. Then you could just let out the top and a bottom and try and keep them parallel.
If it’s more of an X shape, you probably need something that is both bigger in the in the hips and in the chest but the waist is something you can actually close.