This entry is supplementary to the video “Plus-Size Corseters” which you can watch on YouTube here:
Larger people can usually tolerate larger waist reduction
If you have a little more to start with, than chances are you can reduce down more than a smaller person. Think of waist reduction as a percentage: say two people are both able to cinch their waists down by 20%. One has a 24 inch waist while the other has a 38 inch waist. The person with a 24″ waist will be able to cinch down 4.8 inches, down to 19.2″. The other corseter is able to cinch down an incredible 7.6 inches, to a corseted waist of 30.4″. Of course, this depends on your amount of visceral fat vs subcutaneous fat, your muscle tone, etc., but chances are if your waist is above 34 inches, you will be able to start with a corset 5-6 inches smaller than your natural waist rather than the recommended 3-4 inches by most corset retail sites.
Larger corseters, larger busts
If you are large-busted, it may be tempting to order an overbust corset for the extra support, as overbusts take much of the bust-related strain off your lower back. However, I recommend that women start with an underbust corset regardless of size, the main reasons being that underbusts are easier to breathe and move around in, they’re more versatile, and they’re easier to construct and get the proper fit, and thus they almost always cost less than overbusts. For more detail about this, watch my video above.
If you order an underbust corset, you will have to wear it with a separate bra. I recommend you have the top line of your corset end at least 1 inch lower than the underwire of your bra, to prevent chafing. Alternatively, wear bras that do not have underwires, such as sports bras, post-operative compression bras. I have personally had success with the Genie Bra (for a short while); it gives support while not giving an unattractive back roll between the bra band and corset. You can also wear your bra overtop of your corset to prevent that “double lift” so you don’t end up with a chin rest, and this also prevents chafing from the underwire.
Remember the law of displacement
Flesh doesn’t disappear in a corset; it has to move somewhere. For many tightlacers (especially the ones that are a little larger to start with) I recommend ordering a corset with underbust and hip circumferences 1 inch or so larger than your natural measurements, so the compressed flesh has somewhere to go.
In terms of the shape of the corset, I recommend corsets with a high back which gently cups around the flesh of the high back instead of giving “muffin-top”, and I recommend mid-hip or long-line corsets which cup the flesh around the hips to smooth out your silhouette.
The number of panels matter (to a point)
My first custom corset only had 8 panels (4 on each side) but currently I prefer my corsets to have 12 or more panels. More panels help to customize the shape of the corset pattern so it fits every contour of your body just the way you want it. More panels also help to distribute extreme curves more evenly so each smaller panel looks closer to parallel in shape as opposed to fewer, larger panels with extreme deviations in measurements – how more narrow panels help is that they allow a smoother line and fewer wrinkles in the corset when done right – i.e. combined with proper sewing techniques and enough bones, which leads us to the next tip…
The number of bones matter (to a point)
Some corsetieres recommend placing a minimum of one bone every 2 inches around the waist of a corset – this means a corset with a 36 inch waist would have no less than 18 bones in it, while a corset with an 20 inch waist may only have 10 bones. This means that not all corsets should be made the same! When ordering a corset, I would advise requesting double boning from the corsetiere – although this will be more expensive, it will eliminate much of the wrinkling and buckling in the corset fabric, allowing for more support, a smoother line on your body, and therefore a much more comfortable experience. If you’re sewing a corset yourself, I would advise placing at least 1 bone every 2 inches around the waist of the corset. The easiest way to do this is likely to place one bone at each seam and another bone in the center of each panel.
Although it is not always the case, larger people tend to carry a higher risk of hypertension (high blood pressure). Combined with a slightly raised blood pressure contributed by tightlacing, one has to be careful to maintain an acceptable level and minimize their risk for stroke. Please monitor your blood pressure carefully, as one can’t actually feel their blood pressure rising. If you experience light-headedness, swollen extremities (particularly legs and feet) or your heart pounding harder than normal when you lace up your corset, do check your blood pressure with a monitor.
In the next post I will go into more detail about corsets and blood pressure, as well as clearing up the “fainting” rumours surrounding corseted ladies.
Lucy’s Little Life Lesson: You’re beautiful at any size.
*Please note that this article is strictly my opinion and provided for information purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of a medical doctor. Please talk to your doctor if you’d like to start wearing a corset.*