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

  1. Beth on said:

    If I wear the corset and my waist shrinksin, will my waist permanently look smaller when I take the corset off?

    • Hi Beth, if you waist train with corsets, eat properly and tone your muscles, yes with a combination of the three your waist can look smaller even after you remove the corset! See this Before and After page for real examples of people who have waist trained, and also see this video which goes into more detail about (semi)permanent waist reduction.

  2. Caroline on said:

    Hi. I’ve recently bought a 25 steel bone under bust corset off ebay. I hadn’t seen your video but dud do some research. It’s got a Cotten lining but a latex outer. Would this be OK for a starter? It’s sort of hour glass shape.

    • Hi Caroline, I really don’t care for the latex pieces as they will eventually stretch out or dry-rot over time, they’re often not supported with enough (or high quality) bones so they can create some lumps and cut in at places, and they’re not sized as precisely as corsets in that it takes into account your ribcage, natural waist and hip bone measurements. If it works for you then power to you, but I don’t condone the use of latex cinchers.

      • Caroline on said:

        Hi. It isn’t fully latex. Only the fashion layer. The rest is cotton. It has 25 steel bone’s. One either side of the fasteners. I don’t sweat in it. And wear it comfortably for over 9 hours a day.

  3. Hi, After had 2 kids my tummy hangs a little bit. So what waist training would be good for me?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hello Anu, sorry for my late response – if you have a low hanging tummy, I would not recommend a cincher but rather a longline corset, something like these so they extend down and cover your tummy. The fabric wrapping around the hips helps to pull your tummy in and up for better control.

  4. Hi im interested In slimming corset

  5. Savannah on said:

    Hi Lucy, what is the difference between a cincher and a waspie? I’m looking for my first corset and I’m on the shorter side (5′ 3″) with a 30″ waist. I’m really interested in the mesh waspie from Orchard Corset but now I’m wondering if I should get a cincher or an underbust instead?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Savannah, a corset cincher and a waspie are usually synonymous, although in some rare situations depending on the company, a waspie might be shorter in length compared to a corset cincher. That is not standardized in the industry though. And I’ve only ever heard of the rubber things being called a cincher (or trainer) but not confused with waspie.

  6. Hello Lucy. Seeing that you have so much insight and that you reply to your fans instantly has encouraged me to present my queries to you. I’m going to buy my first corset, was going to order one from premadonna waist gang society but it seems like they’re just cashing off of the kardashians. If I send you my measurements here, will you be able to tell me what kind of corset will be best for me? I was hoping for one which is less bulky but the hooks one is going to go large soon as compared to the lace ones which you can keep tightening, yes? I don’t intend on buying any more later… So what do you suggest? A smaller hook corset or a lace one. I’m looking for intense and permanent results. Also, where can I send my measurements? In the comment section or in an email separately? And can I order from your website or something or do I have to search for them online elsewhere?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hello Anmol, if you want a dramatic change to your silhouette, the strongest cinch possible, and permanent or semipermanent results (if you gain weight or never wear your corset again, you will slowly lose your corseting results over months or years), then a real corset is the only way to go. And unfortunately, all corsets are bulkier than the rubber cinchers. You need that structure to get the proper strength; the latex cinchers will only stretch out over time. You’re welcome to submit your measurements through the contact form on this page and I can tell you which corset will fit you best. Please refer to this comment as well, as I size many people and sometimes don’t remember every conversation.

  7. Hi, thank you for the videos and explanations but am still a bit confused cos I have seen different ones here and people call them different names so don’t know which one to go for. Just gave birth 7weeks ago so will like to lose the post pregnancy tommy which one should I go for,( what’s the name, or material of which is made off) and can I see a picture of someone wearing it incase the name u tell me is different from what people call it here and how do I wear it. Thankyou

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Zeal, the type of corset you need will depend on your current measurements. Just like not everyone can wear the same pair of jeans, not everyone will be able to comfortably wear the same corset and have it fit and flatter them. You’re welcome to send me your measurements on this page and I can help you figure out what specific type of corset will work best for you. 🙂

  8. Hi… I’ve been reading your website for a long time. . But. this is the first time I comment … my question:while I see instagram I find many personal trainers recommend wearing latex cinchers.. but no one recommend corsets.. I always wonder why???
    Please excuse my English. .. it’s not my first language ^_^

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Farah, many people who use and sell those waist trainers have never tried a corset before, or they have the misconception that corsets are the same that they were in the Victorian era and came with the same risks. Corsets today are made with different bones and often constructed with a different shape to suit a modern wearer and no longer have many of the same risk factors involved. Corsets and rubber trainers function by completely different mechanisms but not everyone does proper research beforehand.

  9. 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?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      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.

  10. Christine on said:

    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?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      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.

  11. Diana on said:

    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

  12. Kira on said:

    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 🙂

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      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. 🙂

  13. Ayanna on said:

    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 ?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      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.

  14. Isabela on said:

    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

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      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.

  15. Oriana on said:

    Hello! I’m very interested in begining waist training with a corset and so I’ve been doing a lot of research. The only issue I’m having is that I don’t trust buying online. It worries me that I’ll end up getting a product I do not like. I live in the Northeastern Ohio area and I’m having a hard time finding an actual storefront that I can go to and see the materials used and the quality personally. Do you have any reccomendations on chains/shops that may be in the area?

  16. Sarah on said:

    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 on said:

      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.

  17. faith on said:

    Does corsets stretch?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      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.

  18. Victor Vera on said:

    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.

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  20. 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?

  21. 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 on said:

      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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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 on said:

      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.

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  25. 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 on said:

      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!

  26. charity on said:

    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 on said:

      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.

  27. Timah on said:

    Hello, I’d like to know how tall you are ? I’m thinking of getting my first corset, it is the Baby Corset from WKD because I consider myself to be rather short I’m 5ft3 and you’re saing it could be considered a regular undersbust corset for short people, lol well what is short for you ? am I short enoug to get the baby corset ?
    In pictures you seem to be rather tall so I’d like to know just to get an idea of how it could fit me.
    Thanks so much !

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Timah, I’m about 5’5″ but I also have a long waist – from under the breast down to the top of the lap, my torso is about 11 inches. The WKD Baby corset is a little over 7 inches high, so the corset looks quite short on me. 🙂 To measure yourself accurately, I have a measurements page HERE.

  28. I live in a warm climate. How do you hide the “ties” without showing bulk. Am of short stature 5ft 2″. 108-110 lbs. no waistline. Would love some definition. Recommendations please!

  29. What could you recommend for someone allergic to latex like myself? Bad experience, not going there again!

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Loraine, most genuine corsets should not contain any latex. Many people start with a brand like Orchard Corset as they have some all-cotton options. You can see other brands organized by budget here.

  30. Susana on said:

    I have a question! I bought this “Waist Cincher” I was wondering if its going to work on me? You put on like a skirt basically. It fills all my tummy up to my bust.

  31. Eleni on said:

    So I want to start waist training and but a corset but do they actually work because I have read a few articles online that say they don’t do anything so I was wondering if anyone has actually seen results with them?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hello Eleni, thanks for your question. I suppose in order to determine whether corsets “work”, you have to define what you want the corset to do! What are you goals with the corset – weight loss? Back support and pain relief? Skin tightening? A smaller waist with no real change to the rest of your figure? Fat pad migration, or a change in your muscle morphology? All these results vary with the individual person, and the quality of corset you have, and how many hours you wear the corset. If you’d like to learn more about any permanent change to your waist measurement from use of a corset, see my video here.

  32. Danii on said:

    Thank you so much for this review! I was literally just about to buy one of these latex cinches to start out with but im glad i didn’t! I’ve just ordered a standard under bust with larger hips to try it out and see how i feel about waist training. Your review saved me a lot of money and disappointment!

  33. Ms. O on said:

    Hello. Thank you for the information. I want to start waist training. What are some companies in the United States that make quality corset waist cinchers/trainer?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Ms O, you’re welcome to check out the cinchers in this gallery. Of the corset companies featured here, the ones based in the US include Orchard Corset, Isabella Corsetry, SugarKitty Corsets, Pop Antique and Meschantes.

  34. Mauricio on said:

    Hello. Doing some research for a biz I’m looking to start and I have a couple of questions?

    As I was reading on top, one popped out:

    What is an OTR corset?

    The original question is:

    What in your opinion is lacking from corsets made that are mostly made in Asia and/or of lower quality?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Mauricio, here are a couple of links: This one describes OTR corsets in context of other types of corsets.
      Here’s my list of factors that are important to consider when buying an OTR corset.
      In my experience, cheaper corsets made overseas can sometimes have low quality boning (they may be rusty or improperly tipped), they may have loose grommets that pull out easily, and they may use a glue gun or other materials that are inappropriate, in order to make the manufacturing process faster. Some of these corset brands are also often not the best fit for many women in Europe/ North America, so they may be unflattering and/ or painful to wear. I also prefer to support the local economy, to give back to the artists around me instead of a larger corporation. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and I’ve seen quite nice corsets come from Asia, but I mainly see them as a gateway corset, a cheap piece to try it out and see if you like it, before investing in a better quality, custom fit corset.

  35. Hello, I’m wanted to start waist training, did some research, but still not sure which corset I would need. Please help!

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Faye, my consultations are down right now, but you’re welcome to use my research tools. Often the easiest way to find a corset for yourself is by budget, so check out my list of corset brands by price range. Many people start with Mystic City corsets, Orchard Corset or Timeless Trends as a first choice. Although they’re not the 100% best quality, they are fair in price and they have decent return policies if you find you don’t like the fit or feel.

  36. Thank you for clearing that up! You always have such excellent articles. The “waist cincher” label is really poorly used (kind of like confusing a swiss waist for a corset). I agree: rubber “sweaters” are totally uncomfortable and do not give any sort of flattering shape, at least in my experience. Would I recommend a rubber wrapper? Never! You end up feeling slimy after only a few hours. I have, however, had great luck with my Rago “waist cincher.” It’s one of the few non-corset support garments I have found with spiral steal bones that gives an hourglass shape. I am very short-waisted (only 8.5 inches from underbust to hip) and both true, corset waist cinchers and my Rago girdle fit like full underbusts. Both go very nicely under daily clothes!

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