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

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.


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  1. Isabela

    Hey iam also interested in getting the hour glass shape so kind confused which one to go for the corset trainer or latex waist trainer but my budget is pointing on latex waist trainer but hey I want better results wouldn’t mind also going for corset trainer so from your point of view which one would you recommend me to go for, I don’t have big belly just wanna shape it well. Thanks

    1. bishonenrancher

      Hi Isabela, I generally recommend investing in a steel-boned genuine corset. Even though the latex trainers are less expensive, they simply don’t perform the same way that the corsets do. You get what you pay for, and if you find a good quality corset it’s going to last you longer over time, potentially give better results, and pay for itself over time. You don’t want to get something cheap and then find that you have to replace it soon afterwards because that may become more expensive in the long run.

  2. Ayanna

    I have a 33 waist I haven’t been working but I want to purchase a 22 waist cincher because I don’t have the money to continue to purchase a waist trainer every 2-3 months if I purchase a 22 waist cincher will it be effective and give me a 26″ waist? What’s the lowest waist cincher should I purchase ?

    1. bishonenrancher

      Hi Ayanna, I strongly suggest against purchasing a corset 11 inches smaller than your natural waist. A gap that is too large in the back of your corset is not going to pull you in effectively and it can result in the bones twisting and damage to your corset, not to mention discomfort for yourself. At the absolute maximum, I would suggest a size 26″ corset for you but not any smaller than that. Normally I would suggest a size 28″ depending on the brand and what your other measurements are.

  3. Kira

    I’ve seen just about every video you’ve made on waist training and I’m so happy you’ve taken the time to explain things like this to the public. I have a short torso myself; only 8 in. I’ve looked all over trying to find more examples of petite women with similar torsos who waist train with not much luck. Everyone seems to have a long gorgeous torso that looks amazing in normal underbusts. Could you by any chance point somewhere that I can find anymore tips on training for short torsos or women who have?

    Thank you again for educating the community :)

    1. bishonenrancher

      HI Kira, sorry for my very late response! The thing to be careful about training with a shorter torso is being careful that your ribs and hipbones are “separated” and not overlapping. The corset needs to sit in your skeletal waist; in the squishy bit under your ribs and over your hips. If you are so short-waisted that your ribs and hips overlap, it will make corseting very difficult. I don’t know anyone with a super short torso who is very active online, but RandomCorset (Andrea) has a shorter torso than myself so she may be able to answer your questions in better detail. :)

  4. Diana

    Hi!! I really love your site and your videos! I have a question, im tall, im 1.76m (I think it’s like 5ft 9 inches) and actually im skinny and I’ve always been skinny but I have no waist and I would like to reduce about 2″ or 3″ and its really annoying that in every waist trainer advertisement they just seem to offer them to people who want to lose weight and im not sure if I should buy a waist cincher or a corset so it would be awesome if you can reply or give me just an advice about what should I do :) thank you so much

    1. bishonenrancher

      Hi Diana, some people advertise corsets as being weight loss devices but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. I have a video critiquing the “Corset Diet” here. I also always recommend a corset over a rubberized waist cincher, and I explain why in this video. If you want me to recommend a corset for you (just for shaping and not necessarily for weight loss) then let me know your measurements on this page, and I’ll see what might be a good fit. :)

  5. Christine

    Hi, I’m on a diet right now and have lost about 15 lbs so far. I have a long way to go, my current waist is 40. What size corset should I purchase?

    1. bishonenrancher

      Hi Christine, congratulations on your weight loss so far! If you’re actively losing weight (more than 2 lbs per week) it might be better to wait a little bit before buying a corset because you might size out of it in a couple of weeks or months! But you can let me know your measurements and I could see what would be in the realm of fitting your body right now.

  6. Emily

    Hi Lucy! I’m interested in starting waist training, however, due to a fine-motor-skills disability, I cannot tie a knot. I’ve been looking at clinchers and I agree that the results don’t seem to give you as much for your money as a good, steel-boned corset would, but I can’t wear anything that ties, especially not something that ties in the back. Whenever I work with my hands, even for buttons, I have to be able to have the object in front of me, not behind me.

    Unfortunately, I live alone and wouldn’t be able to recruit help to lace me up daily.

    Are there any products you would recommend for waist training that will provide me with more than a 2 inch difference, but do not involve any tying?

    1. bishonenrancher

      Hi Emily, have you possibly looked into Fan-Laced corsets? They adjust by the use of pull straps and buckles instead of tying a knot or bow. It does look a bit like a medical brace, but some people can style them in quite pretty ways! Maybe contact a few of the corsetieres featured in the Fan-Lace Corset gallery (clicking through the photos will redirect you to their site) and see if it will work for you.

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