As a lot of you will be aware, I am a huge fan of corsets. I don’t wear them very often, and I am by no means an expert, but I have learnt a few things over the years – mostly that people think that your lungs are in your waist and corsets cause you to be unable to breathe!
And so I thought that I would pen a little post to give you my hot take on a good steel boning, why I wear them, how I wear them, and why they are worth the price tag.
I am constantly asked how to waist train – and the answer is, I don’t really know! I am too lazy to do wear a corset for 18 hours every day, plus I enjoy the impact of sometimes popping one on. However, there are a few reliable places online that will give you information on waist training, and someone that I will be linking to a couple of times in this post is corset queen herself, Lucy Corsetry. Lucy Corsetry’s waist training guides can be found here, and she is so helpful and knowledgable. One thing that I do know is that plastic boned latex waist trainers are not ok! Corsets are meant to contour to the body, and something with hooks and eyes will not do that. Plus your body bends and moves, and plastic snaps…
Do not be fooled by the ads and photos of waist trainers. They are often altered, or they use people with good genetics. A good steel boning is the only way to go.
How does one even get the damn thing on?! Well that’s why I love YouTube:
Being able to get it on in one fell swoop is still something I struggle with, and practice is key here. Also, you do need to break new corsets in by wearing them little and often, and when you first put a corset on, it is good practise to gradually tighten it over the course of a hour or so. It just helps everything adjust, and things will feel more comfortable in the long run. Likewise, if the corset feels a bit too firm, loosen it off bit by bit.
Can I breathe in corsets? I think this would be my obituary if I couldn’t. Corsets compress the waist not the lungs, and whilst they do give you an ever so slight shortness of breath, it’s not anything that will cause light headedness. As I talked about above, after the first hour or so you will ‘settle into’ the corset and feel a lot more comfortable. For me, the cheaper and worse made the corset, the more I struggle with movement, and sometimes breath. They’re more unyielding, the cinch is in the wrong place and they just aren’t as good. I often compare corsets to shoes, and a cheap or badly made corset is exactly like wearing a slightly too tight, too high shoe. And sadly, many people try the badly made versions and write corsets off, not realising that it doesn’t have to be like that! My girl Rosie Red is the best at creating corsets to suit every shape and size and ability. Corsets that aren’t so short that your belly pops out, but aren’t really long, thus pushing boobs up into funny shapes. Corsets that cinch in at your waist, and accommodate for your hips without squishing them.
Corsets do create an exaggerated and somewhat ‘unnatural’ shape to some. And if you are not a fan of them then don’t wear them, don’t comment on them, and maybe stay away from photos of women wearing high heels, red lipstick and hair extensions as well. I am often accused of trying to wear corsets in a bid to look slimmer – well yes, I want my waist to look slimmer. Just like when I wear false lashes I want to look like I have long lashes, and when I dye my hair it’s because I am not a fan of my natural colour. I love dressing up and trying new looks. I like the appearance of a slimmer waist at times. It’s all a bit of fun.
And what about the back fat and belly squish? What about the visibility of the busk?
Firstly with back fat it has to go somewhere. The more fat you have, the more there is to squish. Sometimes a well placed bra band can disguise it somewhat, as well as loosening the corset off a little at the top. But it is just one of those things!
The same goes for the visibility of it through clothing. Adding shapewear over the top can help disguise it a little, or just any sort of layering really. Cheap and bulky corsets will of course show more. They will also potentially create a less smooth silhouette, as they need to fit a myriad of measurements for that to happen. It can take some practice to really perfect that smooth shape, and the more body fat you have, the harder it can be as things distribute elsewhere. But play about and you will get there!
And the tummy bulge? Let me hand you over to Lucy once again!
I think it’s important to realise that corsets aren’t magic, and they also take some getting used to. I get countless emails from women asking me for last minute corset recommendations before events, or even their weddings. And unless you’re used to corsets and the way your shape will change in an outfit, jumping right in and losing your corset virginity on a special day maybe isn’t wise. They aren’t an instant weight loss tool, and they aren’t instantly easy to wear. So plan ahead, buy them in time, try them on with your outfit and break them in! It’s the shoe analogy again!
I have touched on the fact that well made corsets are the way to go, but let me return there! My lovely pal Rosie Red makes the dreamiest corsets. From every day underbust corsets, to dreamy wedding dress creations, she is immensely talented and creative. She has been making them for years, and she is very knowledgable about all things cinched. However, it can take her several hours to create a bespoke item – from the initial email to the post office visit. That involves corresponding with the customer to ensure she has every detail that she needs, sourcing the fabric, making a out of paper, tracing it onto fabric and cutting it out, stitching, cutting, tipping and adding steel boning, binding, adding eyelets, lacing, finishing, packing and posting…phew! It’s not something you can expect to pay £50 for and buy in bulk! These babies are made for you by hand, and they will last for years if treated well. And I understand the struggle when people contact me saying they haven’t got the budget for an expensive item, but you really do get what you pay for with corsets.
Should you want to go for an off the rack corset, you need to find one that will be perfect for you. It needs to be the right length, it needs to accommodate your shape, and it needs to be the right size. My favourite place for OTR corsets has to be What Katie Did, and their helpful corset buying guide will explain everything a lot better than I ever could. WKD were a brand I saved up for and used a few years into my corset wearing journey. I went from plastic boned pain, to cheap, too short too restrictive ‘high street’ corsets, to WKD. I definitely find them a lot sturdier than Rosie’s corsets – but unfortunately, I mean this in a bad way, as they feel quite bulky. But they are 100% a great option if you just want to try a corset, but you’re not quite ready for bespoke.
Like I said – I don’t waist train, I wear corsets to change things up – and yes, I do like how I look with a slimmer waist. For me, the impact of a full face of make up, gorgeous hair, a great corset, and a stunning outfit or set of lingerie is like no other. And in my 9 years of wearing them, the only damage that’s ever been done has been by a plastic bone snapping in a cheap plastic boned corset. It’s taken some fine tuning and learning experiences, but the waisted life is one that I love! Corsets are for everyone – any size, any gender, any body shape. They can be good for health reasons, for silhouette creating, or just to look pretty! Talk to designers, watch YouTube videos and get laced up – it’s the best!
So there you have it – my corset wearing thoughts along with links and videos and resources. Please feel free to add any thought or comments below.