“Waist Cinchers” VS Corsets: Which Should You Start With?

27 Aug

Elastic latex/rubber waist cincher or faja

Elastic latex/rubber waist cincher or faja

In the past month or so, I’ve received the same question from over a dozen people: “Should I start with a waist cincher before buying a corset?”

Within the corsetry community, a waist cincher is still a genuine corset – but simply shorter than a full underbust corset. Essentially, what I consider a cincher is simply a particularly short underbust corset.

However, within a certain market, it seems that “waist cincher” has become synonymous with latex/rubber elastic fajas that only reduce your waist 1-2 inches, and are designed to not let  your skin breathe, overheat your body and make you sweat to reduce water retention. Below the video break, I’ve made a comparison chart between a genuine corset “waist cincher”, the other elastic “waist cincher”, and a full underbust corset:

Elastic “waist cincher” Corset “waist cincher” Full underbust corset
Length/height is irrelevant to its definition. May be 6-8″ long on the side seam. Doesn’t come right up to underbust, and stops short on the hips. May be 9″ or more on the side seam. Comes right up to underbust, and may be short hip or longline.
Very few bones, often plastic. Wrinkles at the waistline. Fair number of steel bones. Should not wrinkle. Fair number of steel bones. Should not wrinkle.
Stretchy, unbreathable panels made from latex/rubber. 100% cotton strength layer, breathable and not stretchy. 100% cotton strength layer, breathable and not stretchy.
Fastens with hook and eye tape (not as strong) Fastens with a steel busk Fastens with a steel busk
No laces in the back. Ties up with laces. Ties up with laces.
Gives perhaps 2″ waist reduction Can give 6-8″+ waist reduction Can give 6-8″+ waist reduction

The Grey Area

Corset waist cincher (genuine corset, but shorter than an underbust)

Corset waist cincher (genuine corset, but shorter than an underbust)

It’s important to note that calling a corset a “cincher” vs “underbust” depends on the person, where you are the corsetiere or the client. A short corset that is advertised as a “cincher” by a certain brand, may fit like a full underbust corset on a client with a particularly short torso. Corsets that are between 8″ – 10″ on the side seam I often consider to be a grey area, because depending on your height and torso length, it may fit either like a cincher or a full underbust corset.

Who can wear corset cinchers?

I recommend corset cinchers to people who are short of stature or who have a short torso (because full underbust corsets on the market are often too long, which pushes up the breasts unnaturally and/or may dig into the lap when sitting down). Someone of average to longer waist may also enjoy a cincher because it provides more mobility and less rib contouring than a full underbust.

Which companies sell genuine Corset Cinchers?

You can see my reviews on cinchers by Sparklewren, Madame Sher, WKD, Orchard Corset CS-411, Ms Martha’s Geometric cincher, and will soon be reviewing one by Timeless Trends/Black Iris. Other companies that offer cinchers include Beespoke Corsets, Morgana Femme Couture, and Axfords. Please note that the quality is not all equal among these.

Are Latex/ Rubber Cinchers good to start with, to get me used to corsets later?

Truthfully, I think a latex cincher and a genuine corset feel totally different. The few weak bones in the latex cincher don’t support it enough, and if they are plastic then they can warp and poke into me. The fabrics ends up wrinkling and bunching into rolls, making my figure look worse. I also find the non-breathable, sweaty, grippy, itchy fabric almost unbearable. Although a genuine corset is more rigid and can be bulkier with more layers, I find it more breathable, more comfortable and much more effective at giving a dramatic waist reduction. If you’re looking for a starter corset to test out tightlacing, go for a corset cincher that doesn’t come up as high on the ribcage. This will allow the ribcage to expand more freely, will give you more mobility, and may be able to hide under your clothing more easily compared with a full underbust or an overbust corset.

Full underbust corset. Longer than a cincher corset.

Which is more cost-effective, a Latex Cincher or a Corset Cincher?

Many people buy a latex cincher because it seems to be a cheaper/smaller investment (around $40 for some brands, as opposed to $75-$100 for a starter corset). But even a not-so-great OTR corset may still give you useful experience in corseting, and can help you reach a 4″ reduction in your waist, even if it falls apart within a month or two. By contrast, a latex cincher may cost less but also won’t give you as much progress, won’t give you useful experience to see if you want to continue waist training, and will also not last forever, as latex can stretch out and dry-rot over time.

You really hate rubber cinchers, huh?

They might suit some people. If you want to keep a small waist reduction at night but you’re claustrophobic about sleeping in a genuine corset, then an elastic cincher may be a better option. Likewise, you’re not supposed to exercise in a genuine corset, so perhaps wearing a latex cincher would be better then (only if you insist on wearing one for exercise; I don’t). But if you are genuinely interested in tightlacing/waist training. I would encourage you to save your money and buy a worthwhile authentic corset.




*Now that you know to start with a corset cincher, check out my buying guide for curvy cinchers for under $200.

23 Responses to ““Waist Cinchers” VS Corsets: Which Should You Start With?”

  1. Liz September 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    Thank you for clearing that up! You always have such excellent articles. The “waist cincher” label is really poorly used (kind of like confusing a swiss waist for a corset). I agree: rubber “sweaters” are totally uncomfortable and do not give any sort of flattering shape, at least in my experience. Would I recommend a rubber wrapper? Never! You end up feeling slimy after only a few hours. I have, however, had great luck with my Rago “waist cincher.” It’s one of the few non-corset support garments I have found with spiral steal bones that gives an hourglass shape. I am very short-waisted (only 8.5 inches from underbust to hip) and both true, corset waist cinchers and my Rago girdle fit like full underbusts. Both go very nicely under daily clothes!

  2. Faye January 22, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    Hello, I’m wanted to start waist training, did some research, but still not sure which corset I would need. Please help!

    • bishonenrancher January 22, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Faye, my consultations are down right now, but you’re welcome to use my research tools. Often the easiest way to find a corset for yourself is by budget, so check out my list of corset brands by price range. Many people start with Mystic City corsets, Orchard Corset or Timeless Trends as a first choice. Although they’re not the 100% best quality, they are fair in price and they have decent return policies if you find you don’t like the fit or feel.

  3. Mauricio February 2, 2014 at 2:50 am #

    Hello. Doing some research for a biz I’m looking to start and I have a couple of questions?

    As I was reading on top, one popped out:

    What is an OTR corset?

    The original question is:

    What in your opinion is lacking from corsets made that are mostly made in Asia and/or of lower quality?

    • bishonenrancher February 2, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

      Hi Mauricio, here are a couple of links: This one describes OTR corsets in context of other types of corsets.
      Here’s my list of factors that are important to consider when buying an OTR corset.
      In my experience, cheaper corsets made overseas can sometimes have low quality boning (they may be rusty or improperly tipped), they may have loose grommets that pull out easily, and they may use a glue gun or other materials that are inappropriate, in order to make the manufacturing process faster. Some of these corset brands are also often not the best fit for many women in Europe/ North America, so they may be unflattering and/ or painful to wear. I also prefer to support the local economy, to give back to the artists around me instead of a larger corporation. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and I’ve seen quite nice corsets come from Asia, but I mainly see them as a gateway corset, a cheap piece to try it out and see if you like it, before investing in a better quality, custom fit corset.

  4. Ms. O March 13, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

    Hello. Thank you for the information. I want to start waist training. What are some companies in the United States that make quality corset waist cinchers/trainer?

    • bishonenrancher March 14, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

      Hi Ms O, you’re welcome to check out the cinchers in this gallery. Of the corset companies featured here, the ones based in the US include Orchard Corset, Isabella Corsetry, SugarKitty Corsets, Pop Antique and Meschantes.

  5. Danii April 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    Thank you so much for this review! I was literally just about to buy one of these latex cinches to start out with but im glad i didn’t! I’ve just ordered a standard under bust with larger hips to try it out and see how i feel about waist training. Your review saved me a lot of money and disappointment!

    • bishonenrancher April 8, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

      I’m so glad it helped, Danii! :) Thanks for your comment.

  6. Eleni April 11, 2014 at 3:04 am #

    So I want to start waist training and but a corset but do they actually work because I have read a few articles online that say they don’t do anything so I was wondering if anyone has actually seen results with them?

    • bishonenrancher April 17, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

      Hello Eleni, thanks for your question. I suppose in order to determine whether corsets “work”, you have to define what you want the corset to do! What are you goals with the corset – weight loss? Back support and pain relief? Skin tightening? A smaller waist with no real change to the rest of your figure? Fat pad migration, or a change in your muscle morphology? All these results vary with the individual person, and the quality of corset you have, and how many hours you wear the corset. If you’d like to learn more about any permanent change to your waist measurement from use of a corset, see my video here.

  7. Susana May 28, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    I have a question! I bought this “Waist Cincher” I was wondering if its going to work on me? You put on like a skirt basically. It fills all my tummy up to my bust.

  8. Loraine July 1, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    What could you recommend for someone allergic to latex like myself? Bad experience, not going there again!

    • bishonenrancher July 4, 2014 at 11:33 am #

      Hi Loraine, most genuine corsets should not contain any latex. Many people start with a brand like Orchard Corset as they have some all-cotton options. You can see other brands organized by budget here.

  9. Terry Mangam July 4, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    I live in a warm climate. How do you hide the “ties” without showing bulk. Am of short stature 5ft 2″. 108-110 lbs. no waistline. Would love some definition. Recommendations please!

    • bishonenrancher July 4, 2014 at 11:47 am #

      Hi Terry, I have a video on hiding corset laces here. If you live in a warm climate, there are companies that make lightweight, breathable mesh corsets; I have a gallery of them here. :)

  10. Timah July 12, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    Hello, I’d like to know how tall you are ? I’m thinking of getting my first corset, it is the Baby Corset from WKD because I consider myself to be rather short I’m 5ft3 and you’re saing it could be considered a regular undersbust corset for short people, lol well what is short for you ? am I short enoug to get the baby corset ?
    In pictures you seem to be rather tall so I’d like to know just to get an idea of how it could fit me.
    Thanks so much !

    • bishonenrancher July 16, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

      Hi Timah, I’m about 5’5″ but I also have a long waist – from under the breast down to the top of the lap, my torso is about 11 inches. The WKD Baby corset is a little over 7 inches high, so the corset looks quite short on me. :) To measure yourself accurately, I have a measurements page HERE.

  11. charity July 21, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

    Hi there,

    Sadly your review is too late for me I just purchased one of those latest cinchers (I read something that said if it has steel boning its good so didn’t look for much more than that). I actually purchased a vest to avoid spillage and am now wondering how someone avoids back fat or spillage under with a short corset? I have a short torso so I am looking for something that will be comfortable enough for me to wear and do what needs to be done. Thanks in advance I’m glad I stumbled onto your site.I am leaning towards the Orchards CS 411

    • bishonenrancher July 23, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      Hi Charity, spillage in the back is often caused by a corset not fitting properly around the ribcage (being too small for your body type), and is exacerbated by a corset being shorter. It also depends on how you distribute your flesh; some people are more prone to back fat than others! You can try to minimize it by wearing a longline bra or binder with your corset. I have a couple of videos discussing bra/corset combinations, and reviews for the Genie Bra, Enell sports bras and the Underworks binder.

  12. Sunny Onikiniki August 27, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    Aloha! I am VERY interested in waist training however my budget is low (mother of 3 with lots of bills) Also I want to be sure I get the RIGHT one for me. I am 4’11 115lbs with a 28 1/2 inch waist and short waisted (under 9 inches from underbusy to hip) I workout a lot and was interested in one that would be best if I wanted to use during a workout (unless you recommend NOT using during workouts) And as you can tell live in Hawai’i here climate is more warm. Please let me know your BEST recommemdation. I would like to spend LESS than $100 and get at least 4 inches off my waist.

    • bishonenrancher September 3, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

      Hello Sunny, the only two mesh corsets I am familiar with that are under $100 are offered by True Corset, and Orchard Corset. The style that will fit you best depends on your natural body shape. I typically ask for no less than 4 measurements when recommending a corset style/ size: ribcage, natural waist, upper hip, and torso length. The explanations are on this page. However, for my BEST recommendation for an effective, strong, cool and lightweight mesh corset, that would go to Contour Corsets. :) But that is closer to $600, not under $100. Best quality comes with a price tag to match!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Corsets and Skin issues | Lucy's Corsetry - September 27, 2014

    […] Please note that this article pertains mostly to genuine steel boned corsets made with a cotton strength layer. If you wear latex cinchers, you could have a different issue such as an allergic reaction to the rubber latex. I’ve given my thoughts on latex cinchers in this article. […]

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