How to Buy a Corset

When you’re shopping for a corset, how do you know what is a quality corset and what you should not waste your money on, especially if you’re buying online.

I’ve got some hints and tips to share with you. We’re going to be talking about how to buy a corset and what to look for when you’re buying one.


How to Buy a Corset

One of the biggest problems that I find people have is that the corsets are just not curvy enough. I don’t know what is going on with corsets nowadays, but off the rack corsets seem to be straight up and down. People seem to look like a sausage stuffed into a tube that’s too small.

Corset that goes straight up and down is not going to give you any kind of shape and it’s not going to really be a corset at all. Corsets are shapewear and they should give you a very dramatic curve. Corsets should be making your hips look fuller, while your bust should be nicely lifted. And most importantly, they should be bringing your waist in.

This is what custom & bespoke corsets do, they bring your waist in, shrink it. They also make your waist round instead of oval, so even if you don’t lose any inches, you’ll have the optical illusion of having a smaller waist. That’s a really cool thing.

Corset without curves is not going to do anything for you. It’s just gonna make you look like a sausage in its casing that’s too small. We really want to avoid corsets that are not curvy enough for our bodies.

It doesn’t matter what the website says, it doesn’t matter what they’ve done on the mannequin, because if the corset itself isn’t curvy, it will do nothing to give you curves. It’s not going to work at all.

The things that we want to do when we are looking at the curviness of a corset is we want to look at both the hips spring and the rib spring.

What hip and rib springs are? It is simply the difference between the measurement around your ribs and the measurement around your waist. That’s the number to look for. And also the hips.

When I’m buying bespoke corsets, usually I have no problem with the rib spring. I have a small rib cage so it’s not an issue. But I have big hips and this is where I run into an issue. With a properly corseted waist, I need at least a 20 inch hip spring. That is insane, it’s a huge difference.

But I can bring my waist down quite small. My body has a lot of natural squish and I have been wearing corsets long enough in my life that I compress very easily. But my hips are what gets in the way, so I need a massive difference, I need a big hip spring.

You need to understand that in order to get some really nice shape, the corset itself needs to have shape.

You do need to look at both the hip spring and the rib spring and that will tell you how curvy the corset is going to be. You want to take your measurements and then, for beginners, take 4 inches off your natural waist measurement and that’s going to be what you’re looking for. If your natural waist is 30 inches, then you’re gonna be looking for a 26 inch corset.

So you want a 26 inch waist and then you need whatever your natural rib measurement is and what your natural hip measurement is.

If the corset does not match those three points, don’t buy it. There’s no point because otherwise it’s just not gonna look good on you. It’s gonna be straight up and down.

When we’re looking at the corset websites, it should have the waist measurement, it should have the rib measurement and the hip measurement at the bare minimum. Some of them may have more measurements than that. That’s fantastic but those three are the bare minimum.

I don’t care if it says it will reduce your waist 4 to 6 inches. If it doesn’t have those three measurements that you can compare to your own body, don’t believe them.

Buying in The Store

buying a corset

If you are buying a corset in the store, there’s a couple of things that you specifically want to look for.

We want to look at the construction of the corset. Look at it and make sure that it is put together properly. There should be no spandex whatsoever in the corset.

One of the things that I like to do and you have to be a little subtle about it, you can grab a hold of the corset at the front panel and the lacing panel and just give it a little tug and make sure that there’s no stretch to it. If there is a stretch to it, don’t buy it. Corsets should not stretch, they are not gonna do their job.

We want to make sure that each panel is stitched multiple times as well as down at the bottom. They should be stitching it at least twice. Sometimes we can see that and sometimes we can’t.

We want to check and see that it has a waist tape, either something that is exposed or something that’s hidden within the layers of the corset.

We also want to make sure that the bones are a decent quality. If you can bend it in half, it’s not a good corset. Just try to avoid those, don’t buy them.

Make sure that the busk is a good one and that it’s a heavy-duty one, that you can’t easily bend. Sometimes people will finish corsets with a zipper. That’s totally OK but it does need to be a heavy-duty zipper.

There’s a couple of tricks that cheap corsets will do with the lacing.

Your lacing panel should always be straight up and down. The panels should be parallel, they should always be like that.

Some people, when they are selling corsets that are not very curvy and in order to make them curvier on the mannequin or on a model, they will play around with the lacing. They’ll do the lacing like this: the top tightly laced together and then the bottom wide open. This way it looks like there’s more room in the hips.

If you see this, they’re scamming you!

If they lace it like this then you know that there’s not a lot of room in the hips. If you lace your corset like this, it could damage the corset.

Another trick to make it look curvier overall is they’ll have the top open, the middle really tightly laced together and then the bottom wide open. That’s a good way to break the bones of the corset.

That’s a simple way to trick you into buying something that is going to be straight up and down and not an hourglass shape. If the lacing looks like an hourglass, stay the hell away from it. That is a terrible corset and it’s not curvy.

Buying Online


When we’re buying a corset online there’s also things that we need to look for. Some of them overlap with the buying in the store.

Obviously you can’t pick up a corset and test it for stretch if you’re buying it online. So you want to read everything that they have to say about the corset.

Good things that you’re looking for is the corset being shown on different bodies and different models. We want to see the back of the corset to see how it’s laced to make sure that it is laced straight up and down.

We want to have proper sizing information. So the measurements of the ribs, of the waist, of the hips. All of it. The more they have, the better.

And it should have a proper description, not that flowery language or anything. Just straight up information you need about a corset.

Bad thing that we’re looking for is where the corset is just floating on that white or black background, because they can photoshop it and you don’t want to fall prey to that one.

Another bad thing is if there’s lots of fluff in the description and little actual information. You want to make sure that it actually gives you the information you need to make a proper decision.

If it says up to four to six inches reduction, don’t bother. Because UP TO is the key phrase there. Even if you only get half an inch reduction, that’s still up to four to six inches.

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If it says twelve bones, we don’t know what they’re made out of. It should specify whether it’s steel or plastic and if that includes the busk. Don’t buy anything with plastic boning. Really not worth it. Plastic boning buckles and it’ll jab into your sides and leave a bruise.

We want to make sure that we have a good, strong busk. There is a huge difference between quality busks that you can barely bend and a busk that you can fold in half.

We want to make sure that there are four flat steel bones on the lacing panel.

Then you are looking for spiral steel bones. This is what gives the corset a lot of its shape. And remember, they bend in different ways. That’s why they are important.

The amount of spiral steel bones is going to be important. For the waist measurement of 26 inches, we should expect to see one bone every two inches or so. If it’s less than that, it’s no good. More than that is better.

You really do need to watch, if you’re getting into plus-sized corsets, the number of bones because a lot of times, if it is an off-the-rack company, they will just make the pattern bigger and they won’t add more bones. You’re going to have for a 36 inch corset the same number of bones as for a 20 inch corset and that is not going to work at all.


Then of course you want to look at the fabrics. You need to have a natural fiber strength layer and it should be something that does not stretch.

Generally what is used is cotton twill or other strong cottons. In higher end corsets you will see coutil and that’s really a beautiful fabric and it can meet both the strength layer and the fashion layer.

There’s a bunch of different cotton fabrics that will work for corset making. The important thing is that they are not stretchy in any way. Anything stretchy in corset is going to be bad, because it’s meant to give shape and holds you in. If it stretches, it’s not going to do that.

If it has a hook and eye closure, like the little hooks and eyes on the back of your bra, that is not an acceptable closure for a corset.

If it has sizes small to extra large and no measurements, then just avoid it because that is not going to get you what you want. Corsets should always be measured. If they have small, medium and large and then no explanation about that, don’t buy it. It’s not gonna fit you.

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