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
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.
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.