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.

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24 comments on “Why would I hide my corsets??

  1. I got a reprieve! Apparently I found out my corset wearing was upsetting some of the men. Lol After some adjustments (changing to a sports bra) to calm the girls down and wearing a jacket or sweater I am again allowed to wear my corsets. I have found that most people think they are part of the suit/dress that Im wearing. I have received many complements from ladies at church and the office.

  2. Barbara on said:

    I have just started wearing corsets 2 weeks ago. I was so excited I even wore mine at work. over my clothing. My first one is so nice I wanted to show it off but also honestly my tops are not loose or long enough to hide them, it didn’t make sense to cover them up. Its un under-bust anyway. I was just told that I no longer am allowed to wear my corsets at work because the someone commented they didn’t like me wearing my underwear on top of my clothing! First of all I don’t consider my corset as my “underwear” I consider it as a vest and back support and comfort and many other things and I’m Greatful for the this time that I have gotten to wear it I have lost 3lbs. Now I have to start all over again and figure a way to be allowed to wear my corsets at work over my cloths like I planned.

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Barbara, sorry for my late response. It’s awful that your workplace would reject your corset as against the dress code, but unfortunately it seems to be a common occurrence. :\ I tend to just wear my corsets underneath as I can’t be bothered to cause a fuss, but have been able to wear my Roberto Cavalli corset-back waistcoat without too much distraction (although it does walk the line!).

  3. At work I wear my corset under my clothes. On the weekend…over.

  4. Gerlinde on said:

    For most of the time I wear dresses, and it would ruin the silhouette of the dress to put a long line (my personal preferred corset) over a dress. Also, I think it’s nice to have a few secrets, but that’s just me. Everyone should just do what makes them happy 🙂

  5. Kimberly on said:

    Well said, Lucy! In our modern culture we truely have a problem with knowing what is appropriate or not. I work in a church office, so wearing a corset as outer-wear certainly wouldn’t be proper attire in that setting, no matter “how right for me” it might seem!

    I can only speak for myself, but for me the biggest reason for wearing my corset under my clothes is how corsets are perceived by the general public. Let’s face it, when most people think of corsets they think of “fetish” and bondage. I personally am not into that and do not want the people in my community to think that I am. I am also a quiet person, so the extra attention wouldn’t be welcome!

    Bottom line is that it should be up to the individual as to how they wear their corset, since wearing corsets is a very personal matter to begin with, and we shouldn’t be looking down our noses just because someone else doesn’t wear their corset like we think they should.

    • So, from whom do you buy your corsets? I assume black satin and roses is not on the menu…

    • I feel the same Kimberly. One has to keep their job, and IMO it’s a matter of choice. Also, while due to Lucy’s educating people on corsetery, the “fetish” “Dominant arts” aspect is what some still think. Probably that since the 60’s/70’s when girdles and such went out due to the Women’s Movement, fetish and dominant arts is where one saw it.

      But thanks to wonderful Women like Lucy these are now a personal choice that we can do. And without the sexist baggage of the 50’s/60’s.

      Also, if I don’t want it to be anybody’s business that’s my choice. I mean I might be wearing cotton or silk panties right now. They might be in black, white, beige, pink, blue or animal print. But that’s my business isn’t it?

  6. Corsets are really comfortable with clothes. I used to wear to work every day with my office dresses. But some here also mentioned like it not comfortable but I don’t know why is that.

  7. Janina on said:

    Lucy, I had no idea you got so much fashion fascism from people. I might not have held my temper if I were in your place. But you turned it into an opportunity to educate people, right on!

    The folks who wonder why you ever hide your corset – do they run around asking every woman who hides her natural waist under loose tops why she does so?

  8. Jillian on said:

    I completely agree with you, Lucy. It is up to the wearer whether or not the corset is inter or outer wear. I love corsets for what they do to assist the silhouette I want to achieve and how enpowering it feels. Sometimes I would want to show it off, sometimes I want the mystery. But all in all, the corset is doing what I meant it to do.

  9. Everything you say makes so much Sense!!!
    I guess that whenever I’m starting wearing corsets,I will be too shy to show it at first.
    I’m learning so much from you and I’m forever very Grateful!

  10. Vanessa on said:

    Unfortunately, I usually have quick retorts to comments I find annoying. While eating dinner at a restaurant, I had a friend telling me how horrible corseting PROBABLY is for me. I asked her if she had done any research on the matter and she said No. Then I asked her ” How are those 2 margaritas, cheeseburger and fries good for you?” She never made a comment about my corsets again, other than how cute they were and how she wanted me to make her one. 🙂

    • Go Vanessa! : )

    • Funny Vanessa how “had a friend telling me how horrible corseting PROBABLY is”. and more importatntly how she had never esearched anything and probably never wore one. I wonder how many of those who call us “tightwaisters” etc have ever worn one.

  11. Thank you so much for this Lucy! There needs to be more articles like this informing those that want to know, and perhaps it will help others that don’t understand to learn a little more themselves. Like my husband…although he thinks even having it under my clothes at work was inappropriate. Guess I should toss my bra and underwear out too, since it is hardly any different!

  12. Katherine Gietzen 1709 Lawnel Muskegon MI 49441 on said:

    I needed a corset to make my Victorian clothes fit properly. NO proper Victorian lady allowed her corset or her hoop skirt to be seen. I have had a very difficult time finding a corset which was big enough (I weigh 230 pounds and have a 45″ waist) and which will not show under a white blouse or light colored dress.

  13. FL4fun on said:

    I love your point about not showing your corset because you do not always have time to provide an explanation to the curious! Although it is surprising to me, strangers ARE actually rude enough to approach in a public place and ask wildly inappropriate questions. Yesterday, while wearing my concealed corset at the grocery store, a complete stranger asked me my waist size. Perhaps if people were more generally polite it would not be as neccessary to hide.

  14. I know that when I wear a corset in public (as in, not while in costume), the fact that it is such a dramatically different shape than what is considered the norm makes me want to draw as little attention to my body as I can. It is weirdly self-conscious, but the female body is so heavily judged on its proportions that I think it’s totally ok to want to minimize any thing that falls out of that norm. Especially when we’re talking about creating a silhouette that is fetishized (in both the academic, and pop-cultural senses).

  15. Nicely put! I was so excited to start corseting I never thought I’d feel uncomfortable wearing my corset outside my clothes, but when it comes down to it most of the time it isn’t appropriate in my life. However, when the situation is right I will proudly show off my waist. I love your videos that give clothing options either way! On another subject I’d love tips on how to tell if a dry cleaner really knows how to treat a corset. I live in a fairly small town and am nervous about that!

  16. Some people don’t have enuf things to worry about

  17. Well stated Lucy!!!
    I also am in a small town and showing my corset is not appropriate work attire. But my posture and confidence levels have changed dramatically since I started in Nov. Thank you so much for everything you do! : )

  18. beez1717 on said:

    Awesome Article! These are exactly my thoughts!!!

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