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OOTD/ Dressing with your Corset – Belted fashions

Fashion is kind of interesting. When I pair my corsets with modern clothing (especially wearing my corset overtop of modern clothes), many people think it looks out of place, and that my waist looks unusual or too dramatic. However, when I wear my corset under New Look style dresses, people think my outfit is amazing – my small waist doesn’t look out of place at all.

I have asked some people why they thought women of the 50’s are a different shape that they are today, a few of them told me that they simply thought the silhouette was due to an illusion in the dress, or that women simply were  naturally shaped differently back then.

While people did have a different standard of living 60 years ago, I assure you that this is not enough time for the human body to evolve with a completely different body shape.

In any sense, if you would like to accentuate your corseted silhouette without showing off the corset itself, and you don’t have access to vintage outfits (or simply don’t like them), consider accessorizing your sweaters, tunics and dresses with belts and sashes.

In the video below, I show how a simple toddler’s belt can dramatically change the shape of one of my old sweaters, and also show what kind of belted and sashed dresses I look for when I’m going 2nd-hand shopping.

If you like making your own clothing, consider some dresses with built-in sashes, such as Simplicity 9891 (which is actually a Halloween costume, but you get the idea. It can be easily modified to make an acceptable ‘everyday’ dress).

Enjoy!

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Electra Designs Playboy Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Electra Designs Overbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is about 16 inches long, from peak of bust to lap is 15 inches. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for an dramatic hourglass shape. Hips are cut very high with adjustable hip ties. Plunge sweetheart neckline which supports but doesn’t oversquish.
Material Fashion layer is a heavy salmon-pink satin; strength layer is cotton coutil. No floating liner as it’s a sample piece.
Construction 8 panel pattern. Lock-stitching between panels, stitched 4 times between panels (extremely sturdy). Sandwiched bones, one on each seam and one in the middle of the panel. No garter tabs, but they can be added if you commission a piece.
Binding Matching pink satin, machine stitched outside and hand-finished inside (very neat and clean).
Waist tape 1″ wide waist tape exposed on the inside (because there is no liner. If a floating lining is ordered then the waist tape would be invisible). Secured down in multiple boning channels.
Modesty panel Boned modesty panel suspended on the laces; hourglass shape is very comfortable.
Busk Standard width busk (1/2″ wide on each side) about 13.5″ long (6 pins), two lowest pins closer together.
Boning 24 steel bones not including busk. Flats on either side of the busk and by the eyelets (the eyelets are set into lacing bones), and the rest (on the sides of the body) are 1/4″ spiral steel.
Grommets 28 grommets total, size #00 two-part eyelets with small flange; set equidistantly (they have to be because they’re set into a lacing bone); high quality – no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets. Washer on the back is larger than flange for extra support.
Laces Matching pink double-face satin ribbon on the back and also in the front (at bust) and at the hip ties. They glide smoothly through the eyelets, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up. Zero spring.
Price The short-hip, sweetheart plunge overbust starts at $469 for standard size and $569 for custom fit. This does not include add-ons like adjustable hip ties, hand-finished binding, or modesty panel. You can see the options on her website here.

Final Thoughts:

This was my second couture corset purchase back around April of 2011 (preceded only by Puimond’s white iridescent overbust). This corset, despite being made for Elegy Ellem (who has a very different overall body composition to my own), fit my measurements surprisingly well. Where I lack in the bust area, I make up for with a broader back.

The adjustable hip ties are wonderful in taking pressure off my left iliac (my main problem when it comes to ordering corsets) and the flexible lacing bones follow the natural curve of my spine, allowing me to hold a neutral posture in this corset – I find that when wearing this corset out to a special event, I’m less tired at the end of the day compared to some of my other overbust corsets which cause a slight change in my posture.

The construction is remarkably strong and the stitchwork is immaculate, even on the inside without a liner. I can’t help but be impressed with each feature of the corset, because it seems that not one decision in construction was made without somehow keeping the wearer in mind. Only Alexis’ busy schedule prevents me from immediately ordering a second piece. She is currently busy creating a multimedia corset making instructional course, which you can learn more about on this page.

To see other styles from Electra Designs, do visit the official website here.

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“Corset Hacks!” 5 Non-Obvious Corset Tools I Can’t Do Without

When I bought my very first corset, I thought I was pretty much set. Some accessories like liners are obvious, but there are certain accessories that have made my lacing MUCH easier. This is a list of objects that I never knew I needed until I had them.


1. Mount mirror

Before I had access to one of these, I managed tying up my corset by looking behind my shoulder in the bathroom mirror, or just going by feel. It works pretty well, but every so often I might end up with one bunny ear longer than the other (a pet peeve of mine) or worse, if the gap in the back of my corset were accidentally twisted or not parallel because I could only see behind me on an angle! And what if your neck isn’t that flexible enough to look behind you?

This flexible mount mirror is designed so you can see the back of your hairdo, but it also makes your life MUCH easier when you need to tighten your corset, as you can see exactly what you’re doing with no neck strain, and you can use both hands to work with the laces.


 2. Spare laces. Lots of them.

Alright, laces aren’t exactly “non-obvious”, but many people think you only buy new laces when you want to switch up the color, or when you don’t like the ones that came with the corset. Don’t wait until you need new laces. I have snapped them before. It’s not impossible. It’s also not fun, especially on the day of a special event.

And corsets aren’t exactly the type of garment where you can simply tie the two broken ends together and be on your way, because it’s difficult to tighten a corset with a giant knot in the laces (not to mention these laces have an incredible amount of tension on them and if you don’t tie the knot properly, it can loosen on itself at a very inopportune time!). I highly suggest having a pair of backup laces to avoid Murphy’s Law.

If you don’t live near a fabric/ notions store like FabricLand or JoAnn’s, try a place online that sells laces. I like the polyester flat braided laces from Timeless Trends (I can also get you an extra pair of laces when ordering a longline or Gemini corset through me); or the double-face satin laces through Strait-Laced Dame on Etsy.


3. Sponges or memory foam

Whether natural sea sponges or thick makeup sponges, these have come in so handy that I can’t even.

Sometimes I have a corset with a busk that is just at that length that the top edge of it digs into my solar plexus. Sticking a sponge under the busk or a bone can help take the edge off steels digging into your skin. Or sometimes I feel a sore spot coming on, so I’ll pad slightly around the sore area (but directly not on top of it, so that the corset is “pushed away” from the injured area). Or sometimes (rarely) I’ll have a corset that’s wider than usual in the hips for me, and I don’t want that loose area to wrinkle and collapse on itself, or (less rarely) I will need some way of evening out the girls in an overbust corset. Do like a cross-dresser and pad out those curves! The sponges are also cheap enough that you won’t feel bad about cutting them to size.


 4. Fingerless leather gloves (or equivalent vegan options)

You know that you can cinch down more, but the laces are cutting into your hands too much! For all the help that the doorknob may be in getting that extra half-inch of reduction, if you can’t hold that cinch while you’re tying it off, it might be for naught. Maybe it’s just because I spend so much time around corsets, but my hands can get pretty sore when lacing down.

But one day I saw an old pair of fingerless leather driving gloves lying around and was amazed at how much they helped to prevent sore and  chafed hands. (They’re also a cute fashion accessory!)

You can still feel what you’re doing so you can properly pluck the X’s in back, but when you pull on the bunny ears, they don’t cut into your palms. These would be great for those who work in a boutique that sells corsets, if you lace up customers all day and haven’t yet developed those callouses.


5. Cocktail / wine glass charms

For those who are new at lacing up or might have spacial awareness difficulties, and you might not be able to grab onto the “X” in the laces but tend to only pull one side, these charms will keep the “X”s tidy and give you a tactile guide to tell your hands which laces to pull at the same time. Get the charms that hook or clip on, so you don’t have to unthread and rethread the entire corset, and use charms that are big enough to allow the laces to glide freely through them (so the “hole” should be about the same size as your grommets, or bigger if you like. If you don’t like these dangly charms, you can also use large beads that easily clip onto yarn or hair.

The color and type is really up to you, but if you’re going by tactile lacing up (if you haven’t picked up one of those mirrors yet), then try to find a set of charms that are different shapes and sizes so you can tell them apart just by feel.

These charms or beads can also be pretty when showing off your corset, although they might make “stealthing” a little more difficult as they can add little bumps along the back under thin tops.


(Bonus) A wire-free bra

I admit it: with my long torso, the vast majority of my underbust corsets don’t come up to my bra so I don’t often have a problem with my corset making my underwire dig into my ribs. But on those corsets that DO cause this – OUCH! If you wear corsets underneath your clothing, try wearing your bra overtop of your corset – this way, the corset won’t make the wires dig into your skin. (It will also prevent that “double lift” that the bra and the corset provide together, so you don’t end up with a chin rest.)

But many people wear corsets over their clothing – in this situation, wire-free bras are definitely useful. I’m not putting a photo of any specific bra style here because all women are different and have different needs. If you’d like to know which wireless bras I’ve tried with my corsets, you can see my reviews on the Genie Bra, Underworks chest binder, Enell Sports and Enell Lite bras, and the Knixwear Evolution bra.

What are your non-obvious “can’t-live-without” items when it comes to making your corseting easier? Tell me in the comments below!

“Tiddly” links and Amazon links are affiliate links. They do not change the price for you, and your use of these links help support Lucy Corsetry and keep this site going!

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Why would I hide my corsets??

Last week, by request I released another “Dressing with your corset” video in which I showed how to hide your corset under clothes such as bubble shirts and tunic sweaters. I had done a similar video in the past, in which I showed how empire waisted shirts work well in concealing corsets. Both times, in the days following these videos, I got a confused backlash in the community about the reasons that one would want to hide their corsets. After all, don’t people wear corsets for the purpose of showing off their tiny waists?

Not everyone. Otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten so many requests to do these videos in the first place.

One viewer made a very good point that in an office setting where open-toed shoes are frowned upon and denim skirts (even ankle length) have the employee sent home, corsets would definitely not be appropriate attire. If you would like to wear your corset at your desk, you will have to hide it under your shirt.

But even more than that, some people still consider the corset to be strictly an undergarment, and would feel weird about showing it off. Even today, I constantly get comments on my videos from people saying, “Aren’t you supposed to wear that thing underneath your shirt instead of overtop?”
I find this question irritating only because it’s so common. But if some people believe that the corset is designed to be worn under clothing, they shouldn’t be berated for it.

Some wear corsets to relieve back pain, or to help with their posture. Some use the corset to boost their confidence and control their appetite. Some wear corsets because they enjoy the deep pressure, but the figure-altering aspect is secondary. This is why I made a point of making those videos first, before resuming my “dressing with corsets” videos; to help people understand that there are corseters who wear them for reasons apart from the visual aspect; who are not ashamed by their practice, but they simply don’t want / feel the need to broadcast their corset. Despite a common interest in corseting, different people still have different tastes in dress.

What’s my excuse?

One fan on Facebook asked me why I specifically would want to hide my corset, when I’m a public figure in corseting, and it’s so well known among my friends and family?

I do like to wear my corsets out in evenings and at special events, but when I’m working (I do have a job outside of corsetry), I don’t consider corsets to be appropriate work attire. Also, although it’s well known in my personal circle that I wear corsets, the corset community is pretty much nil in the little town where I live. When I’m running errands and need to get a lot done, I simply don’t have the time to be stopped and asked about my corseting – for this same reason, although I have long hair and I show it off when I want to, there are also days that I can’t be bothered to be gawked at or confronted so I put it up in a bun.

I guess it all comes down to the fact that although my personal tastes are alternative, and although I’m not ashamed of the way I dress or look, I don’t consider it anyone else’s business. I wear corsets (and also keep my hair long) for my happiness, but don’t necessarily need others’ attention in order to feel validated.

I’m sure that many people can relate to this in a different vein – it’s kind of like having a tattoo or body piercing that nobody knows about but you, or even wearing matching underwear on a good day; this little secret can make you happy and put a bounce in your step without the need to show it off at all times. As long as it makes you happy, that’s all that matters.

But if I don’t need validation, why do I show off corsets all the time in my videos?

My Youtube/ Facebook/ website feel sort of like my ‘domain’ where I feel okay about making my corsets visible. As my public pages and channel are clearly a place where people seek out more information about corsetry, it would be confusing if I didn’t show off my corsets in that respect, actually. It’s not only so that I can promote the fantastic creations of various corsetieres and show the incredible diversity in cut, silhouette, fabric, color etc. But imagine how weird it would be to have a cooking channel, but there’s no food in sight. Imagine a documentary about mountain lions, but there were no mountain lions shown. If I didn’t show corsets in a corset-related channel, it might be considered just as unusual.

Bottom line.

I don’t know how to put this any other way, and the fact that people from within the corset community are pointing fingers for something as petty as wearing your corset over or under your shirt is a bit ridiculous. If you want to show off your corsets, show them off. You’ve worked hard for your waist. But if you want to hide your corset under clothing, go ahead and hide it. I don’t consider you vainglorious or an exhibitionist to make your corseting public, and I don’t consider you ashamed or apologetic to keep it secret. And neither should anyone else. What you do with your body (and how you portray it) is your business alone.