“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?”

This causes a lot of confusion, because two different markets are both referring to two completely different garments as “waist cinchers”. Within the corsetry community, “waist cinchers” are still genuine corsets – 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, whether 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?

I’m glad you asked! I have a whole gallery dedicated to Cinchers for $200 or Less.

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 an entry-level 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 waist training 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 or 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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. Dev October 20, 2014 at 3:13 am #

    Hi, this was very helpful! But I’m curious about your opinion on what I should try out in order to lose inches and that lower pouch? I work at an often busy restaurant and am usually speed walking around, where I can occasionally build up a sweat.. is it bad to sweat in a corset/wait cincher? Or is it just a matter of not working out in it? I don’t have to bend around too much at my job, but a little flexibility would probably be more suitable. I also have a short torso. Would there be something you would recommend? Thanks!

    • bishonenrancher October 22, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

      Hello Dev, if you insist on working out in shapewear, then the flexible cincher would probably allow better movement and allow you to breathe more freely compared to a real corset. I don’t recommend exercising in a genuine corset, and have written on the reasons why in this post.

  4. Kelly November 20, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    Hi, I wanted to know if you can email me on what kind(s) of Corsets you would recommend as a starter corset. My only focus is to work on my stomach and back fat. I don’t want to lose weight elsewhere.

    Thank you kindly!

    • bishonenrancher November 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

      Hi Kelly, there is no one type of corset that’s right for every body type. The corset I recommend for you will depend on your measurements and your budget. You’re welcome to use my research tools here, or you can check out the measuring guide and send me a message.

  5. Salem December 1, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    Hi Lucy,
    I’d love to do some corset training but I sit at work most the day. So a 2 part question. 1) Are cinchers comfortable enough to use at work when sitting? 2) Can they be used for training?

    • bishonenrancher December 3, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

      Hi Salem, yes short corsets (cinchers and waspies) can be used for sitting down, and they can also be used to train the waist smaller – just be aware that depending on your torso length, the cincher may not pull in your lower ribcage so they can’t be guaranteed to train the ribs into a tapered shape (if that is part of your goals). Also cinchers are not recommended for those who have significant lower tummy pooch because they will not be long enough to pull in and flatten that part of the abdomen.

  6. Kelly December 7, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    Hi Lucy, My waist is about 32-33 inches and bust is between 30-32 inches but I wear a size D cup… I have a gut so should I get a full underbust Corset as a starter ? I only want to focus on losing my stomach/back fat. What do you recommend?

  7. Victor Vera March 6, 2015 at 5:40 am #

    Hello, I am a drag oerformer and I just ordered this underbust corset and was wondering if you believe that it is a genuine corset?


    I would be grateful if you would let me know. I really want to achieve that genuine hourglass figure.

    • bishonenrancher March 7, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

      Hi there, I’ve done a review on this corset actually, you can read it here. :)

  8. faith April 22, 2015 at 1:24 am #

    Does corsets stretch?

    • bishonenrancher April 29, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

      Hi Faith, corsets are not made to be elastic. Over months or years, a corset might expand 0.5 – 1 inch in the waist, but that’s it – it will typically not have much give to it at all, unlike Fajas which can stretch significantly over time.

  9. Sarah May 3, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    I recently purchased an under-bust waist trainer, it’s beautiful! But I don’t think the bones are steal, they don’t feel plastic by any means but they are very fexable, and it cotton and lace, but no ties in the back. I aim to loose 3-4 inches. It fits perfect, and seems to be working. Do I need to invest in a better one or do you think I’ll be able to achieve the same results?

    • bishonenrancher May 15, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

      Hi Sarah, a corset by definition has laces to tie in the back. If your garment is working for you, you’re welcome to keep using it – but I wouldn’t call it a corset.

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. […]

  2. Kelly Lee Dekay | Real Corsets vs. Social Media “Waist Trainers” - January 14, 2015

    […] is the link to the article comparing Waist Cinchers & here’s the […]

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