I know what some of you are thinking: “You spend hundreds of dollars for a high-end training corset, and countless hours of effort and discipline whittling down your waist, and you want to hide it?”
Hiding or concealing your corset isn’t about shame. Sometimes it’s necessary to conceal the corset during work or school hours (especially if one’s waist is obviously unnatural, such as a wasp-waist or pipe-stem). The same way that employees and employers alike cover their tattoos with make up or take out their gauge earrings (plugs), so corsets may be a form of body modification that’s frowned upon in the workplace. Even outside of corporate life, some people wear corsets for personal reasons but don’t feel it necessary to make it anyone else’s business.
That being said, there are several ways to fairly easily hide your corset under clothing. One of these ways involves empire-waist shirts and dresses.
Empire-waist tops are “cinched” in at the underbust level, and fall freely below that point (very much the popular silhouette during the Regency period). As such, the waist of your shirt will fall at, or just above, the point where your underbust corset will start. Since corsets tend to not constrict your upper ribcage, the high waistline of your shirt in this area will look natural, and then the surplus of fabric beneath that point will easily conceal the sharp inward curve created by your corset.
In the video below, I show a couple of different examples of empire waist shirts. They may have an elasticated bottom (in order to create a “bubble” effect) or they may be free and loose on the bottom, like an A-line skirt that starts just under the bust area. Both of these work well to hide corsets.
Generally speaking, heavier fabrics are better at hiding your corset than more lightweight fabrics. While lighter fabrics can still conceal a corset, any breeze or draft that pushes your shirt aside will show your silhouette beneath. (This can be used to your advantage sometimes!) The lighter the fabric is, the looser the cut of the shirt must be in order to conceal the corseted figure.
Even if this style of shirt or dress isn’t “in season”, there are two places that you’re likely to find them. The first is 2nd-hand stores, also known as fripperies, consignment shops, “vintage boutiques”, Goodwill/ Salvation Army/ Value Village etc. The second place where you will always find empire waists in fashion is a maternity clothing store, as most of their clothing is designed to conceal (or have enough folds of fabric to accommodate) a growing belly. In fact, most clothing which is designed to hide so-called “problem areas” (protruding bellies, apple-shapes etc) are also quite good at concealing other “odd” shaped torsos, such as a corseted figure.
In the next few weeks I’ll be making more of these “Dressing with your corset” videos and posts, to show you the different ways that you can either accentuate or hide a corseted figure.
To see my outfits in detail, watch this video: