S-bend corsets, straight-front corsets or “health” corsets were invented in the early 1900’s during the Edwardian era and popularized by the Gibson Girls. At the time, the S-bend was thought to be healthier for the wearer as it placed less direct pressure on the front of the abdomen. It also promoted a “proud” posture where the pelvis tilted forward and the bum was pushed back while the shoulders and bust were thrust forward, and may have affected gait in such a way that caused a lady to swing her hips in a lovely manner (read: swagger). However, this corset style was later found to exacerbate lumbar lordosis (swayback) and thought to be worse for the spine, compared to a Victorian corset which maintains a more neutral posture.
Today, longline and straight-fronted corsets are quite popular, but are typically modernized to be merely ‘Edwardian-inspired’ and don’t cause/ support swayback the way that traditional S-bends had. I don’t condone regular use/ training in a traditional S-bend or Edwardian corset, but many women with natural lordosis and/or shelf-bums have expressed to me that they feel that traditional S-bend corsets would better suit their figures, and they’re beautiful for special occasions – so here is a non-exhaustive list of corsetieres who offer these Edwardian beauties.
La Belle Fairy is a corsetiere in BC, Canada, who specializes in traditional Victorian and Edwardian corsetry. She uses modern hardware in her corsets (including an extra wide German-steel busk to ensure the straight front), but she adapts vintage patterns to your measurements for a beautiful fit. Her Edwardian corsets start at $425.
Atelier Sylphe Corsets is a name that every corset enthusiast should know. The owner, Joelle, is an antique corset collector in Lyon France, and she carefully studies and traces the pattern of each piece in her collection. Her patterns are tested by creating stunning replicas (like the one above), and she sells both the antique patterns (if you’d like to make your own corset) and often her sample/ replica corsets on Etsy. Send her a PM if you’re interested in commissioning a corset in your size.
Period Corsets is aptly named, as the business takes traditional patterns to make modern corsets in their studio in WA, USA. Their 1905 “Mae” corset nicely shows what the S-curve looked like on a human being without the bust pads or theatrical exaggerated posing by the Gibson models.
Skeletons in the Closet is the business name of a skilled corsetiere in the Netherlands. Sanni creates several different styles of Edwardian corsets (there was more than one corset during that era, after all!). You can find both made-to-measure pieces and heavily discounted samples in her Etsy store.
Morua Designs creates breathtaking combinations of traditional and contemporary corsetry, such as the S-curve demibust shown above, modelled on an Edwardian mannequin to show proper form. Created with a true S-curve pattern, Gerry then embellished this particular piece with tulle, lace and crystals for a soft and ethereal finish. Her Edwardian S-curve corsets start at £475, or about $775.
Bizarre Design is the business owned by renowned corset maker Jeroen van der Klis, who has created works for Cathie Jung in the past. His business is also located in the Netherlands, and although Jeroen is better known for his unique engineering of extreme reduction corsets, he also occasionally makes sweet Edwardian pieces such as the one above. His custom overbust corsets start at €456, or about $615.
Corsets & More is a one-woman business ran by Doris Müller in Germany. She is proficient in both historical and contemporary corsetry and ensembles, and has a fantastic gallery of longline and S-line corsets. Her underbust S-line pieces start at €345 or about $485.
C&S Constructions has also made S-bend corsets in the past. Although it’s not what the business is usually known for, Stuart can certainly accommodate special requests for many types of historical corsetry.
Riwaa Nerona of the Czech Republic offers this beautiful corset called “Art Nouveau”. Made from an 18 panel pattern, this historical recreation demibust has a straight front, large hip gores and creates a dramatic curve in the lumbar area like a true S-curve. This style is 9500 CZK, or about $470 USD.
Lace Embrace Atelier creates both historical reproductions and modern interpretations of Edwardian S-bend corsets. Lace Embrace was ‘born’ in 1997 and the owner Melanie Talkington has dressed the likes of Cathie Jung, Dita Von Teese and the cast of Sucker Punch. Most of the galleries have unfortunately been removed due to image theft, but you are still able to commission a custom S-bend corset through their custom form (distinct from their modernized RTW Edwardian underbust).
Lovesick Corsets also accommodates commissions for historical reproduction corsets, like the 1907 S-bend corset seen above. They can be made to your measurements, keeping faithful to the pattern and posture while recreating them in any fashion fabric you desire.
*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company on this list. This is for informational purposes only.
Note that this is a duplicate of the permanent page in my Guided Galleries – please refer to the other article to ensure that the article is up-to-date with the latest selections and prices.
Let’s face it: while many people can get away with standard-sized corsets, it’s really not a realistic case of one-size-fits-all. What if you’re very tall, very short-waisted, or very pear-shaped? What if you 100% know that no OTR will fit you correctly, but you’re still looking for an inexpensive gateway corset that will fit you properly? Here are a few makers that offer custom-fit corsets for $200 or less. Also see my other article, “cinchers under $200” to see some other brands not mentioned here.
*Caveat emptor: These corsets are made-to-measure, but this does not necessarily imply that they’re all suitable for waist training/ daily wear. Also this list is especially subject to change; it’s the nature of business that as demand rises for a product, prices increase as well.
MystiC City Corsets is a brand sold almost exclusively through Ebay for several years, but just this year has been making big waves. They offer several ready-to-wear styles and fabrics from cotton coutil to leather and PVC, but if you PM the owner, Sylwia, she can accept made-to-measure requests on a case-by-case basis. Due to the high demand of her corsets, it may take several months to receive a custom-fit piece, but her clients mention that the product is well worth the wait and the price.
Heavenly Corsets has two different lines of corsets: standard-spec (for occasional use and special events) and waist-training (for 23/7 tightlacing and intense wear). Elle’s made-to-measure standard-spec underbust corsets are suited for 4″ reductions and available in hourglass or wasp-waist silhouettes, which range between $145 – $190.
Meschantes Corsetry‘s underbust corsets range from $160 – $195 starting price, and are made-to-measure in your choice of one of hundreds of different fabrics/colours. Be aware that their Etsy store is more for their standard-sized corsets though, so be sure that you go for “made-to-measure” and not the listings that just say “in your size”.
SnowBlack Corsets from Poland makes beautiful made-to-measure underbust corsets for only $190. Shown here in black with painstakingly tidy red contrast stitching, the corded, gored hips are especially good for controlling hip-wrinkles and offers a dramatic, wide hip spring. Marta can also make this in other colour combinations if you prefer.
Jupiter Moon 3 has been in business since 2001, and it’s not hyperbole to estimate that she has made well over 1000 corsets. She continues to make fun corsets at incredibly competitive prices; her made-to-measure underbust corsets start from just $180 and she offers a huge selection of style upgrades.
*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company in these guided galleries. This is for informational purposes only; please email any of the above makers to learn more about their made-to-measure corsets.
Waist cinchers are short corsets, usually cut high over the hip and in some cases stop a couple inches below the underbust line. I usually measure cinchers by the height of the side seam – if it’s 8″ or less on the side, it may fall into the “cincher” range, and most cinchers are 6-7″ high (although I have seen cinchers or ‘waspies’ as short as 4″ on the side!).
Those with shorter waists (or who are short of stature) may wear a cincher and have it fit like a full-length corset, so petite women can save money on waist training by purchasing a made-to-measure cincher, so it fits her body perfectly. A cincher can also accentuate outfits as a wide belt on those with longer waists. There is one caveat though; many companies don’t make cinchers in larger sizes as they don’t provide any support for soft and low-hanging tummies. The following corsetieres and businesses deliver curves in a teeny package.
Orchard Corset has taken the OTR corset industry by storm due to their curviness and affordability. Their CS-301 waspie (mini-corset) has a front length of 8″ and a size length of 7″ and is offered in sizes 16″ up to 46″ (they recommend natural waists up to 54″). Be sure to use the code CORSETLUCY to save 10% off any purchase for an even better deal.
Isabella Corsetry offers incredibly curvy ready-to-wear cinchers made in the USA. She offers novelty prints, like the Octopus Classic Cincher above, or more conventional designs like floral and pinstripe in sizes up to 36″ (for waists up to 41″). Isabella holds constant sales where you can sometimes catch cinchers for as low as $95.
Aranea Black is a one-woman corset company in Croatia whose creations are underrated. She offers this curvy made-to-measure waspie/ cincher for only $150 on Etsy, made with closed front and your choice of coutil, spot broche or floral broche.
SnowBlack Corsets is another underrated corsetiere, although Marta’s designs have been featured many times in Polish alt fashion magazines. She offers custom-fit cinchers with a maximum side length of 18cm (7″), finished in raw silk for only $170.
Morgana Femme Couture makes a beautiful and simple made-to-order silk dupion cincher for £95 (about $150). It’s only 6″ on the side seam and is offered in 19 different colours of silk. The only caveat is that they’re only offered in sizes 18-24 (they recommend up to 28″ waist).
Meschantes Corsetry offers two shorter-style corsets, both made-to-measure: the Mischief corset (shown above) or the Etoile corset which is more pointed. These corsets start at $160, but if you check their Etsy shop, they often have ready-to-wear Etoile cinchers for as low as $99.
Sugarkitty Corsetsoffers the tiniest waist cincher I’ve ever seen. The front and back of the corset are around 7″ high, and the side seams are incredibly short (likely 4-5 inches). It’s still made curvy to nip in the waist and is offered in standard sizes up to 32″ (natural waists up to 36″). Please note that Sugarkitty is only offering custom corsets up till the end of 2013.
Heavenly Corsets‘ newest addition is the Bébé corset, which is less than 7″ high. For £120 (about $190) it is made-to-measure, and Elle guarantees that it will hold up to even 23/7 tightlacing/ waist training. Elle recommends a maximum natural waist of 32″ for this corset.
If you can stretch your budget a bit more…
Pop Antique‘s Bombshell waspie is so close to $200 that it may as well be up in the other section! Marianne’s super curvy and fun waspie for $205 is standard-sized but will fit most figures like it was made-to-measure. It’s sure to liven any outfit, and can be upgraded with a front closure for $50.
Madame Sher offers this breezy mesh cincher for a cool $220. This custom-fit cincher is perfect for summer days and hot climates, and with a side seam of a bit over 8″, it should fit most body types. As Madame Sher’s corsets are made-to-measure, the range of sizes is unknown.
Where would we be without WKD? I wouldn’t feel right not mentioning What Katie Did‘s Baby corset, even though it’s a little over the $200 budget. At only 7″ high and boasting at least 10″ hip spring, this is the curviest of OTR cinchers (it’s patterned from their famous Morticia underbust!). It’s made up to size 34″ (may fit natural waists up to ~40″).
*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company on this list. This is for informational purposes only.
While ribbon cinchers are not the best choice for waist training, they are lightweight, fun, and when constructed correctly they can give considerable waist reduction! Some historical sources mention that ribbon cinchers can be used during sleep or while horse riding. Today they can still be used for the same purposes, or worn over clothing as a great statement piece.
Pop Antique makes some of the curviest ribbon cinchers I’ve ever seen. The corsetiere, Marianne, includes a waist tape on the underside which is almost never seen in other ribbon cinchers; it helps to strengthen the corset where it takes the most tension – at the waistline. These corsets are made from double-faced satin ribbon, which is strong, non-stretch and come in a bevy of colours.
Orchid Corsetry also makes strong custom-measured ribbon corsets from double-faced satin ribbon, and can be patterned to give gentle curves (above) or to give almost a wasp-waist effect. Bethan can make these cinchers curved (above) or pointed, multi-tone or single-colour, simple or embellished with crystals or other details as you see here.
Silvia Aphard Couture is an Italian corsetiere who primarily sells through Etsy. Her gorgeous ribbon corsets are also made with wide double-faced satin ribbon and coutil. Silvia’s corsets are made-to-measure and available in several colours.
Sin and Satin from NYC makes some of the most unique and gorgeous ribbon cinchers in standard sizes 18″ – 36″. They’re different in that they have no vertical side panel, which means uninterrupted contouring from front to back. They can be styled to your liking using petersham or satin ribbon (or even adding eyelash lace, seen above right) and they’re cut for devastating curves, boasting 11″ hip spring and 8″ room for the ribs.
Kiran-Lee is another underestimated corsetiere on Etsy, based in London, England. Her ribbon-style corsets are fun and different, like this patchwork design made from recycled fabrics and old saris. Each of Kiran-Lee’s designs are one-of-a-kind.
Axfords Corsets offers an affordable standard-sized ribbon corset (style C210) in white, black or two-tone (seen here). It’s made from Petersham ribbon (also quite strong) with satin vertical panels, and a flap to hide the busk loops.
Vollers Corsets also has a standard sized ribbon cincher called the “Storm” (style number V50) which is available in various shades of petersham ribbon. They also offer leather ribbon (shown above) which is interesting! This corset can also be upgraded made-t0-measure for a fee.
Versatile Corsets also makes interesting ribbon cinchers in standard sizes or made-to-measure. They specialize in funky PVC ribbon, with almost any satin or brocade you like for the vertical (boned) panels. If you prefer a little less rigidity with the same look, Versatile can also make these cinchers with elastic strapping.
Madame Sher has many gorgeous ribbon-style cinchers to choose from. Most of the styles are not genuine ribbon but rather made from horizontal strips of satin, denim, leather or mesh (shown above, on yours truly). Since they can be made from nearly any material, there is incredible room for creativity here. My review of Madame Sher’s mesh cincher can be found here.
Ms. Martha’s Corset Shoppe offers this “Geometric” ribbon-style cincher in leather and in silk, with several two-tone selections: black/brown, black/red or black/white. These cinchers are standard sized for natural waists 18″ up to 52″. My review of the Geometric cincher is here.
I tried my own hand at a few ribbon corsets and found them rather fun to make! Although I don’t take commissions for ribbon corsets, I’ve shared some tips and tricks on how these were created. Click the photos below to see my case studies on how I constructed them.
*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company in these guided galleries. This is for informational purposes only.
Many of my readers wish to start with an affordable OTR corset, but they may feel moral or economical obligations to purchase from the US or UK, as working conditions are generally better regulated here than in developing countries. For conscientious corset shoppers, the following list features some well-known corset manufacturers or businesses that have at one point or another stated that their corsets are produced locally and are highly likely to employ corsetieres under fair working conditions.
UK Corset Businesses:
Axfords Corsets is one of the UK’s oldest corset companies, having been in business since 1880. Their standard-sized corsets are made by a team of corsetieres in their facility in Brighton England, but they still have a competitive edge on the industry due to their reasonable prices. Axfords also sells some men’s corsets that still maintain a masculine physique.
Vollers: The Corset Company has been around since 1899 and also employs corsetieres in Portsmouth, England. Their corsets are usually standard-sized but they do offer a made-to-measure service for a markup. As of July 2013, they have also established a lifetime guarantee on all of their corsets.
Morgana Femme Couture is a relatively recent corset manufacturer, but they have made a huge impact on the corset industry with their affordable prices for custom couture pieces. All of their corsets are made in their UK atelier, including their ready-to-wear, standard-sized pieces available from their Etsy shop.
US Corset Businesses:
Romantasy Exquisite Corsetry has been in business since 1990, and the president, Ann Grogan, is one of the world’s most respected modern corset mentors and educators. Romantasy offers both in-stock corsets and custom corsets, standard-sized or made to measure, and every corset is quality-checked and wrapped by Ann herself. The Romantasy corsetiere team proudly featured notables such as Michael Garrod (True Grace Corsets) and Ruth Johnson (BR Creations), and Romantasy continues to employ talented corsetieres in the US today.
Versatile Corsets had its beginnings in “Versatile Fashions by Ms Antoinette” in the 1990’s. After the company had switched hands to Cameo Designs some years ago, their quality has only improved and have dressed performers like Mosh, Ru Paul and Dita Von Teese. Versatile’s corsetieres have always been based in California, USA, and have over 20 years corset-making experience. They offer both standard-sized and made-to-measure corsets, and carry a small stock of ready-to-wear pieces.
Meschantes Corsetry was established in 2000, and makes their corsets in their North Carolina studio in the USA. The business offers custom-fit corsets in 21 different styles and literally hundreds of fabrics, and they also offer deals on their RTW corsets in their Etsy shop.
Period Corsets employs a team of corset makers based in Seattle to make some of the most gorgeous historically-accurate corsets I’ve ever seen, basing their pieces off genuine vintage patterns. They have made some modern/contemporary corsets for the likes of Madonna, Fergie and the base corsets in Victoria’s Secret fashion show, and they are also regularly employed by opera houses – but they also offer standard-sized and custom-fit corsets from 16th to 20th centuries on their regular site and theirEtsy shop.
As of the last several years, Isabella Corsetry‘s pieces have been hand made in California. Isabella is ‘home’ to the famous Josephine underbust, which is said to be the curviest of OTR corsets (having the largest hip spring I know of) and is also strong enough to stand up to daily wear. The business offers ready-to-wear corsets in a variety of colors and styles, and also accommodates custom/ made-to-measure orders.
Dark Garden Corsetry & Couture was created in 1989 by Autumn Adamme, and like Ms Grogan she also employs a team of talented corsetieres in California, having included respected designers like Anachronism in Action and Pop Antique. Dark Garden offers corsets for men and women alike and accommodate both ready-to-wear and custom-fit pieces, promoted by celebrities like Christina Aguilera and Kelly Osbourne.
*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company on this list. This is for informational purposes only.
This entry is a summary of the review video “Contessa Gothique Semi-Mesh Underbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:
Center front is about 11″ long, from the true underbust to lap (top of the “sweetheart”) is 12″, and the side length is 10″. This is made to my measurements. Hourglass silhouette, just a very slightly rounded ribcage but bordering on wasp. Not quite longline.
2 layers no matter which panel you’re looking at; the coutil panels have black spot broche on the outside, black herringbone coutil on the inside. Mesh panels have a more coarse/ sturdy mesh on the outside, and a more delicate tulle-like mesh on the inside.
6 panel pattern. Seams appear to have been top-stitched with the two mesh layers sandwiched within the 2 coutil layers. Boned on the seams and also in the middle of the panels.
Bias binding in strong spot broche, machine stitched on outside and hand-finished neatly on the inside.
A 1″ wide black waist tape – exposed on the inside of the mesh, but sandwiched between the layers of coutil.
Floating modesty panel made from spot broche and steel bones, contoured so it matches the panel shapes in the center back. Also has 1″ wide modesty placket under the busk.
Standard flexible busk with 5 pins (equidistantly set), about 10 inches long.
22 bones (not including busk or modesty panel), 18 are 1/4″ wide spiral steel; and then 4 flat steels, 1/4″ wide beside the grommets.
22 2-part eyelets total, size #x00 (very teeny!) with small flange; spaced closer together at the waist so there is more control while lacing. Absolutely no wear/fraying/pulling out.
1/4″ flat black cotton shoelace style laces.
At the time I’m writing this, a semi-mesh corset made to your measurements starts at $280.
This is my prettiest summer corset. I love how the cool mesh is not only utilitarian, but the sheerness of the alternating panels also adds some visual interest, and the corset immediately matches any shirt I’m wearing underneath. ;) I wouldn’t have a problem showing this corset over my clothing in the summertime, unlike my other two corsets which I ordered to be more or less designed for under-clothing use. There is quite a bit going on in this corset at one time – spot broche, sheer panels, heavy corded lace appliqué on the hips, Swarovski crystals – but as it’s all black, the embellishment is understated and sophisticated, and it all blends together quite nicely.
I’m quite impressed at how this corset has held up over time; I don’t wear it everyday, but the fine mesh is much more delicate than in my other mesh pieces, yet it shows almost no wear. There is a strong “scaffolding” in the corset created by the strong spot broche surrounding the mesh on all sides (including the binding), added spot broche external boning channels in the center of the panels, and of course the sturdy waist tape. The hardware of the corset (busk and 2-part eyelets) are both black as well, creating a seamless overall look. I appreciate May’s extreme attention to detail. You can learn more about Contessa Gothique corsets onMay’s website, and if you’d like to know more about the construction of this corset, herFoundations Revealed article is here.
This entry is a summary of the review video “Timeless Trends Short Underbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:
Center front is about 8″ long and the shortest part of the corset (close to the side seam, from underbust to lap) is about 6.5″ – so this corset would be able to fit short waisted wearers. Gives an extremely slim silhouette; the ribcage is about 2″ larger than the waist, and the hips are about 3-4″ larger than the waist.
3 layers; the outer nude/sand poly fabric is fused to twill interlining. Lining also in twill.
Seams appear to have been lock-stitched with seams pressed open; the layers of fabric secured to one another by stitching in the ditch, with the boning sandwiched between the two layers of twill.
Bias binding in matching colour and fabric; machine stitched on both inside and outside.
A 1″ wide invisible waist tape – sandwiched between the two layers of twill.
No back lacing protector, no front placket.
Standard flexible busk with 4 pins (equidistantly set), about 7 inches long. Further reinforced by a flat steel on either side of the busk.
26 bones (not including busk), 20 are 1/4″ wide spiral steel; 6 flat steels, 3/8″ wide, beside the busk and grommets.
20 grommets total, size #0 two-part grommets with small/moderate flange; absolutely no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommet.
1/2″ wide, single-face satin ribbon. Holds fine for my purposes; I have only ever once experienced SF satin ribbon snapping (after 1.5 years of use, after I ironed it). The laces you get depend on the style of the corset, so be sure to look at the back of the corset to know whether you’ll be receiving ribbon or shoelace.
Most are $89 USD or £65 in the UK when not on clearance.
This short underbust was a surprise when I first tried it on. I was so used to having at least 6″ space in the ribcage and about 8″ space in the hips compared to the waist, like my standard-length underbust corset from Timeless Trends. However, their short corsets are much slimmer than this, having only a couple of inches flare at the top and bottom. For this reason, I really recommend this corset primarily for those who have quite slim hips to begin with, and/or only carry a lot of their weight around their abdomen. This corset would mostly be marketed to those who would like a corset-belt fashion to accentuate their outfits without having too much waist reduction. It would likely fit best if you ordered a size up from what you usually buy (i.e. about 2-3 inches smaller than your natural waist).
The quality of construction is still the same; in the several years I’ve owned their corsets, I have never once had an issue with a bone poking through, a seam ripping, a grommet coming loose etc. At worst, I had heard of the busk being bent and a pin popping off (which can happen to even the best busks if not handled properly) from one person who achieved nearly 10 inches reduction in the waist in one of their longline corsets. If seams do have a gap, it’s considered a manufacturing flaw that is easily rectified with their exchange policy. I think Timeless Trends’ presence in the corset industry would be much stronger if only their corsets would accommodate more of a curve.
Fashion magazines are always telling us to “dress for our body type”. They know that different cuts, styles, colours and shapes of clothing can give the illusion of a different silhouette. Today I investigate this phenomenon by experimenting with different necklines while wearing the exact same corset (thus, having the exact same silhouette with each shirt). A certain neckline can make your neck look longer or shorter, make your shoulders look broader or more narrow, make your bust look larger or smaller, and almost create completely different silhouettes, even if the corset itself doesn’t change. Ultimately, I wear what I want – whether it’s flattering or not to conventional fashion – because I like these shirts. If you’re looking to create a certain illusion of silhouette, this comparative guide may help. Feel free to watch the video where I explain in more detail, or refer to the quick guide below the video.
Scoop neckline: accentuates the décolletage but doesn’t show too much cleavage. The scoop neckline makes the shoulders and bust look slightly more broad but may also make the torso look shorter in the process.
Halter neckline: the eye follows the “swell” of the fabric which may emphasizes a slender neck, large bust, small waist and large hips. I’d recommend the halter for those who have a long neck and pronounced clavicle. The halter emphasizes the breadth of the shoulders by leaving them bare.
V-neck or plunge necklines can emphasize cleavage but also make the top look a bit slimmer and the shoulders look more feminine. The “downward arrow” of this neckline echoes the V shape created by the ribs tapering down to the waist, and the V cut of the bottom edge of the corset. The cap sleeves on this shirt also somewhat echo this effect, almost making my torso look longer.
Sweetheart and Queen Anne necklines I consider to be universally flattering and feminine. The sweetheart cut emphasizes the roundness of the bust and draws the eye in and down like an “attention funnel”. The almost diamond-shape of the Queen Anne also draws the eye up to the neck and clavicle region and looks nice on people with both broad and narrow shoulders.
Off-the-shoulder necklines (what I consider to be a portrait neckline) typically show off the neck and clavicle area, and depending on how low it sits off your shoulders, may also draw attention to the décolletage. The wide band on this shirt, combined with the light colour make my shoulders appear very broad and creates contrast with the small waist (emphasized by being in a dark colour).
Boat necklines also go straight across horizontally, except they are typically cut across right at the clavicle line. This particular sweater dress further emphasizes the hourglass shape, as epaulettes on this piece create the illusion of broader shoulders (and can give definition to sloping shoulders), and the horizontal zipper at the widest part of the hip helps with the illusion of a fuller hip. The dress is belted at the waist with the corset underneath, which completes the hourglass effect.
Square necklines are almost like scoop necklines but with more personality. I find that it shows off the décolletage while showing less cleavage than the scoop neckline; the horizontal line cutting across the bust makes the bust look full, while the vertical lines going up to the neck helps prevent a “squat” looking torso. I enjoy playing with geometry in my outfits and feel that the square neckline nicely contrasts the triangular or conical shape formed by the corset.
Let me preface this by saying I’m not a huge fan of turtlenecks in general; I have an issue with things wrapped too tightly around my neck. However, these thin microfibre pieces are generally fine as the neck is typically short and not too tight. I find that the turtleneck looks best on people who have broad shoulder and/or long necks. I find that it tends to minimize my bust (which is not necessarily a bad thing) yet accentuate my shoulders, and gives a nice “plain canvas” for my corset to be the center of attention.
What is your favourite neckline or type of shirt to wear, either over or under your clothing? Let me know in the comments below!
Back in 2010, I made a two-part videomini-series on waist training 101 – the basics that you should know before you start any corset training regimen. The very first thing I mentioned in those videos were setting goals for yourself – what waist size would you like to have, and why? Sometimes a beginner will tell me, “I want to have a 24 inch waist.” Well, do you want that to be your corseted measurement, or your natural measurement? One takes much more work than the other. (I had mentioned in a previous video that if you want a natural 24″ waist, you may have to lace down to 20″ or even less in the corset to be able to maintain that natural waist measurement.)
I also know women who have started out close to a 34″ waist, and want to be able to close an 18″ corset. While that’s certainly aiming for the stars and I don’t want to shoot down your dreams, it will likely take you several years and several corsets to properly train down to that point. Also, have you considered what an 18″ waist would like like on your frame? An 18″ waist may look out of place if you are 5’10” and 180 lbs. But for a petite woman who is 4’11” tall and weighs perhaps 100 lbs, an 18″ waist may not look out of place at all on this woman. Instead of focusing on arbitrary numbers for your waist training goals, perhaps you should consider proportion instead as a way to determine your ultimate corseted goal. Below you’ll see a few examples (or you can just watch the video above to learn the same ratios):
Method A: The waist circumference = 0.7 x (hip circumference)
This equation has been touted by doctors and athletes for years as being the modern accepted “healthy” and “attractive” waist-to-hip proportion. Women with a natural waist below 0.7x(hip circumference) often have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, as it’s often a marker of carrying less visceral fat (the fat that physically chokes the organs in the peritoneal cavity, and is also metabolically more active than subcutaneous fat, releasing hormones that can lead to metabolic abnormalities). If a woman with a 40″ hip circumference were to calculate her goal waist based on this equation, then her goal waist circumference would be 0.7 *(40 inches) = 28 inches.
Method B: The waist circumference = your thigh circumference
Whether this goal is reasonable/ attainable often depends on your body shape. I have seen many pear-shaped women with shapely thighs (likely between 25-30 inches in circumference) because they gain their weight in their hips, thighs and bottom, often leaving the waist naturally small. In this situation, this method may be quite attainable. However if you are naturally an apple shape and you have a tendency to gain around your middle, while having thin legs and thighs (close to 16-20″ in circumference), this may not be the best goal for you.
Method C: The width of your hips = 1.618 x (your waist width)
This is likely the oldest equation. It’s based on phi, (aka the Golden Mean, formed from the Fibonacci sequence) and it is the ratio/ proportion that animals and humans alike are able to innately detect. This proportion is seen everywhere from the crest of waves and the form of a spiral galaxy, to the seeds in a sunflower and the honeycombs of bees. The closer that a person’s proportions adhere to the Golden Mean, the more attractive they appear and the healthier they seem to be overall. When it comes to setting your goals in this manner, you will need a stiff measuring tape, ruler or pair of calipers, and a mirror or someone to take your picture because this proportion is based on the planar measurement (the width of your hips while facing head-on) rather than the circumference. A woman whose hips are 14 inches wide will calculate their waist width as such:
Waist width = (14 inches)/ 1.618 = 8.7 inches.
With corsets, many of them pull the sides of the waist in primarily, bringing the waist in from an “oblong” shape more towards a proper circle. If you imagine that the waist is a perfect circle, then the width of the waist is also the diameter. From this, you can calculate your goal waist circumference if you wish = (8.7 inches)x 3.14 = 27 inches.
In this situation, the waist measurement for methods A and C are actually pretty similar, but on you it may not be – method C would depend on how much of your hip circumference is distributed from side-to-side (i.e. hips or “saddlebags”), vs distributed front to back (in a full low-hanging tummy or a protruding bottom).
If you don’t like to crunch numbers, then you can simply invest in a “Fibonacci Gauge” or Golden Mean calipers, which are made with 3 “prongs” – no matter how wide or narrow you hold the calipers, the width of the larger gap in the prongs will always = (width of the smaller gap in the prongs x 1.618) so you will always be able to measure and mark out the Golden Mean. On any given day, no matter what your weight, you can use these calipers to mark out the width of your hips, and then compare that to the width of your waist using strictly proportion, but without having to focus on numbers. I personally love numbers, which is why I find the study of phi so fascinating, but I understand it’s not everyone’s thing. This Ebay store has the least expensive calipers I have found – I’ve already purchased 3 and given two to my friends. Do support a phi carpenter if you can.
So you can see, there are many ways that you can set waist training goals for yourself, using your own body’s shape and frame as a reference rather than using arbitrary numbers (which may or may not be realistic for you). It’s using what you already have to an advantage so you can know on a mathematical (and also a natural, almost subconscious) level, whether your waist is truly in proper balance and proportion with the rest of your body. You can also watch my video on waist-hip proportions and using the calipers in the video below.
This post is a summary of the Bad Button Teal Underbust Corset Review video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:
This corset was a sample from Etsy, so it was not made to measure – however any corset you commission from The Bad Button will be custom fit to your measurements, so the measurements of my piece is a bit moot. But for the curious: Center front is about 11.5″ high, but on the sides the corset is 9″. The silhouette is an hourglass, the ribcage is about 5″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are also about 10″ bigger than the waist.
Likely 3 main layers (some panels are 4 layers): fashion fabric is medium weight teal/cerulean satin, backed onto a strength layer (The Bad Button always uses coutil for custom commission) and a beautiful decorative fan-themed lining made from lightweight cotton.
11 panels, with an extra wide center front panel (closed front). Sandwiched bones (double boned on the seams) and floating liner. No garter tabs.
Matching teal satin bias strips, hand-finished with an invisible stitch; incredibly tidy.
Waist tape is perhaps 1/2″ or 3/4″ wide extending through all panels of the corset – invisibly secured between the lining and interlining of the corset.
No modesty panel in this sample, but if you requested one in a custom commission it can be accommodated. Closed front, so no placket needed.
No busk (closed front) – instead, there are four 1/4″ wide flat steel bones keeping the center front sturdy. I call these “magic bones” because the stitching for the boning channels are not visible on the outside or inside of this corset – this helps to not distract the eye from the embellishment (Embellishment will be covered in “final thoughts”)
30 total bones (including the four magic bones in front). Double boned on the seams with 1/4″ wide flat steels on the straight seams, and 1/4″ spirals on curved seams and on the sides for greater curve. Flat steels sandwich the grommets in back.
22 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets (in black to match the embellishment) with medium/large flange; set equidistantly – held in very well.
1/2″ wide double-faced satin in black – extremely long.
At the time that I’m writing this, to commission this piece (or something similar) custom made for you would be $475 USD.
This is the second time I have reviewed a Bad Button corset, and I’m even more enamoured with this piece than I was with the previous Bridal piece. The Bad Button Bespoke Corsets is run Alisha in Kentucky, USA, whose meticulousness and creativity is nicely demonstrated in the embellishment on this sample underbust – the base corset I could tell started very smooth and plain, featuring the “magical bones” that keep the center front flat, yet do not show any channel stitching on the outside nor inside. This creates a beautiful canvas for the black corded and beaded lace appliqué which is laid across the top edge, featuring a large decorative beaded motif in the center front, with more small bits of appliqué on the bottom sides to accentuate the curves of the hip. Each bit of lace was hand-stitched in painfully tiny stitches. Additionally, there is some simple V flossing at the bottom of the corset, not only securing the flat steels in the corset but also adding balance to the embellishment overall. The closer I inspect this corset, the more I realize that there is quite a bit happening all at once, but it all blends in seamlessly with one another and they play off one another rather than overwhelming the little corset. The finishing must have taken an incredible amount of time and does not go unappreciated!
Alicia’s smooth, wrinkle-free pattern also shows her attention to fusing the fabrics, reinforcing them and possibly roll-pinning so as not to put too much pressure on the satin shell. Her patterning skills are also excellent in that this corset only gives me a couple of inches reduction, the pattern works to beautifully accentuate the waist and make the hips look fuller, making me look much curvier than even many of my smaller-waisted corsets.
In a previous article, I mentioned that close to half the emails I receive are from people wanting to know what is the “best” corset for waist training or tight lacing – but today I want to touch on the topic of waist training vs tight lacing (or tightlacing or tight lacing) because it’s very important to know that they are not synonymous, and the definitions vary depending on the source.
Some corset companies use the terms interchangeably, which can be confusing or possibly even dangerous because saying that a corset is designed for “waist training”, a client may come along with an entirely different idea of what “waist training” really is, and may end up using the corset in a way that it was not designed for. So when a corset company (especially an OTR company) claims it to be appropriate for waist training, be very careful about how they define the terms waist training vs tight lacing before you decide to invest. Email them and ask them to get more specific, if possible.
I have talked about the book Corset Magic before (written by Ann Grogan, owner of Romantasy – you can find the book here). The book is primarily about waist training, but there is an entire chapter featuring different people’s arguments about what is and what is not considered proper “tight lacing”. After 3 years, I still refer beginners to this manual because it is a wealth of information.
It seems that many people find it difficult to come to a consensus about what “tight lacing” is and what “waist training” is. I’ve talked about this with other lacers, other trainers/trainees, other corseters/corsetees (as different people also define themselves by different terms) to try and come up with a definition that everyone can agree with. So far, this has been rather unsuccessful – but I will explain the definitions of tight lacing and waist training as I have come to understand them:
WHAT IS TIGHTLACING?
Some people say that tight lacing is anything beyond a 4 inch reduction. This may be challenging if you have a natural 24″ waist, but easy if you have a 40″ waist.
Others say that tightlacing is anything more than 20% reduction, which would obviously be different if you are starting from a different size. This would be the equivalent of a person with a 24″ waist lacing down to about 19″, while the person with the 40″ natural waist being able to lace down to 32″.
Still others say that tight lacing is arbitrary and dependent on the individual’s personal squishiness, tolerance to restriction, etc. Therefore two people with the same starting waist may each cinch down to a different point, they may have a different apparent hip spring, etc. but as long as they are laced to the point where it is a ‘challenging’ (but not painful) reduction, each may be considered a tight lacer in their own right.
At the time that I’m writing this, own views of tightlacing hover somewhere between the second and third points. In my own experience, I can differentiate between “lightly laced” (feels like nothing) “moderately laced” (snug), “tight laced” (challenging but not painful) and then “over laced” (which is where you may begin to feel unwell or in pain – in this case, you have pushed yourself too hard and I’d advise not getting to this point for any reason, not even to “test yourself”).
Nevertheless, almost everyone I’ve talked to seem to agree that tightlacing is something that can be done “once in awhile” – for photo shoots, performances, special events etc. In the case of waist training, this is not something that can only be done “once in awhile”.
WHAT IS WAIST TRAINING?
Just like weight training, voice training or marathon training, waist training is something that you work at over time. It involves a certain intention, end goal, consistent work and dedication.
I can’t lace down by 4 inches. Can I still be called a waist trainer?
If you are just starting out with waist training and you cannot tolerate high reductions, then you can still call it waist training if you want. Some people wear their corsets all day, every day at a 2-3 inch reduction, which to most lacers would likely not be classified as “tightlacing”. But I know a few individuals who have actually noticed a difference in themselves while lightly laced if they consistently do this for 6 months or more. If you’re petite with a natural 22″ waist and you can’t lace down that much – or even if you’re larger but you just can’t tolerate a lot of pressure – but you are dedicated and try to wear your corset on a near-daily basis, don’t let anybody tell you “that’s not waist training”. Like I said, definitions vary depending on the source.
If you can tightlace, and you do so every day (even if you only do it because you enjoy it and don’t have particular goals), some might be consider this to be waist training as well. You can be a tightlacer without waist training, and you can waist train without being a tightlacer (to a point). But many people are both at the same time, if they can achieve high reductions for long durations on a daily basis.
Why do people waist train? (What are their goals?)
Some people waist train so that they will be able to tightlace to a certain reduction – so if I want to close my 20″ corsets, I have to train to get there.
Many other people waist train with the intention of making their natural waist smaller even when they’re not wearing the corset.
I would argue that the vast majority of people who contact me about waist training fall into this category, so lot of the time I use this definition of waist training (if only because it’s by popular vote):
Waist training (corset training): achieving moderate to high reductions in a corset for long durations (months or years) with the intention reducing one’s natural, uncorseted waist – whether by indirect means (e.g. weight loss), or by direct means (e.g. altering muscle, ribcage and/or fat-pad morphology).
Is it possible to “accidentally” waist train (reduce your natural waist without intention)?
Yes, it’s possible – I know some people who wear a corset every day for medical purposes (e.g. to relieve back spasms, or to provide bust support) and many have experienced that their natural waist measurement reduces over time. Some of these have been delighted at the “unexpected perk” to wearing corsets, but several others have been annoyed or upset by this development. Continually purchasing smaller and smaller corsets is not something everyone can afford, so sizing down can occasionally be unwanted. This individual may not consider this “waist training” as they used the corset for another reason entirely, but some others might consider it “accidental” waist training.
HOWEVER – other people may consider this a “happy accident” to train their natural waist down. In one sense, this is what happened to me. I used to have corseting goals of making my natural waist smaller – and getting back down to a natural waist somewhere around 24 inches, which was where I was at when I was around 20 – 21 years old (at that time, my waist was achieved with diet/ exercise, not with corsets).These days, I don’t have the same goal of having a natural 24″ waist. The main purpose for my waist training was to be able to close my size 20″ corsets – I was waist training to achieve a tightlacing goal, and as I got closer to that goal, my natural waist dropped from 28-29 inches down to about 26.5 – 27 inches – and it would stay that way for 24 hours or more after taking off my corset. (However, if I stopped maintaining that reduction for weeks, my waist would begin to expand again). Having a naturally smaller waist was a waist training bonus for me, even though it wasn’t my primary goal.
What corset should I look for if I want to Tight Lace?
If someone asks me what kind of corset is appropriate for tightlacing, I presume they mean something that is:
strong enough that it’s not going to rip the first couple times you wear it
gives a noticeable waist reduction and shaping, because it’s not elastic,
has steel bones, not plastic bones that easily warp, and
has a hip spring and rib spring that is wide enough that the corset will effectively cinch in the waist without squishing or pinching everything else.
A tightlacing corset may be either custom fit or standard size.
What corset should I look for if I want to Waist Train?
If someone asks me what corset is appropriate for waist training, I presume that they will be using the corset on a daily or almost daily basis, likely for long hours and eventually at high reductions. If you intend to waist train, GO CUSTOM FIT. Even if you have rather “standard” measurements, a custom fit piece is almost always more comfortable. Many corsetieres will construct specific “waist training” corsets. Some of the differences I’ve observed with “waist training” corsets vs regular or “tight lacing” corsets amongst corsetieres:
waist training corsets may have higher quality and stronger materials like coutil or special corsetry broche (whereas tightlacing corsets may be made only from twill)
waist training corsets may be constructed with stronger seams or they may feature triple or even quadruple stitching (tightlacing corsets may have double stitching but that’s it)
waist training corsets sometimes have more bones, but more importantly the boning may be interspersed in such a way that it helps avoid giving the wearer pressure points. (Please note that just because a corset is double boned on the seams, doesn’t automatically means that it is suitable for waist training.)
waist training corsets usually have a smooth interior to prevent wrinkling or abrasion (tightlacing corsets are sometimes constructed with internal boning channels, which I find least comfortable of all construction methods)
waist training corsets may feature a reinforced busk/ extra wide busk, modesty panel, stronger laces and other upgrades to make your lacing experience more comfortable (tightlacing corsets may or may not include these. Please note that even for waist training corsets, some of these features may need to be purchased or requested)
All this makes a waist training corset not only more comfortable, which means you will be able to lace tighter and longer in comfort, but it also lasts longer without falling apart and overall, it’s more effective at molding your body and will be a more positive experience. You save time, you save money, and you save yourself from discomfort and frustration by choosing a higher quality corset that is made for the job you’re giving it.
THE BIG QUESTION: is it possible to waist train in an OTR, tight lacing corset?
It’s possible. You may see progress, but it might not be as comfortable compared to a waist training corset. Depending on the brand, your corset may break or stretch significantly after a few months because it wasn’t designed to take daily rigorous use.
Like I’ve said in many Youtube videos and blog posts before, an OTR corset is something that you can test the waters with and see if corseting is for you. If you are tight lacing on an occasional basis or wearing it for temporary shaping and fashion, OTR corsets are fine. But after the first OTR corset, if you want to cinch down past the advised 4-6 inches and continue sizing down in corsets, it would be worth your while (and probably your wallet) to get a well-made, properly fit corset that will hold up to the tension you put on it and last you a long time.
If you see an OTR corset company that boasts up to 6-8 inches reduction and says they’re appropriate for waist training, and especially if they make no distinction between tight lacing and waist training, proceed with caution. Educate yourself as much as possible before investing in a corset – your body deserves the best.
How do you define tight lacing vs waist training? What do you think are the features of a good tight lacing corset vs a waist training corset? Let me know in the comments below!
This entry is a summary of the review video “Versatile/ Corset Connection Scarlett Overbust Review (and Comparison!)”. If you want visual close-ups and further details, you can watch the video on YouTube here:
Center front is 14″, the longest part from peak of the bust to lap is just under 16″. Gentle sweetheart neckline, not too long on the hips – good for average to long waists. Definitely modern slim silhouette. The bust is 6″ bigger than the waist (suitable for smaller busts, A – small C cup), and the hips are about 10″ bigger than the waist.
3 main layers – the outer fashion fabric is satin, stabilized/ fused for strength, lined in polyester fabric. Newer versions are lined in herringbone coutil for custom commissions (the blush piece I showed was a display sample so lined in twill)
6-panel pattern (12 panels total). One version has sandwiched boning channels and a floating fashion layer. Depending on your request, either method of construction can be used (this method or the external boning channel method).Same basic pattern. The other version has topstitched panels, external boning channels, no floating fashion layer.
Binding is made from matching strips of fashion layer material. Binding is machine stitched on both sides. There are also 6 garter tabs; in the old stock, tabs point down while in the new stock, tabs point up.
One-inch-wide waist tape running through the corset, either hidden between the layers or exposed on the inside depending on the construction method.
There is a 7.5″ wide modesty panel, attached to one side, covered in matching shell fabric. Also a matching unstiffened front placket.
Busk is 1/2″ wide on each side and 1.5” long, with 6 pins (equidistantly spaced). Reinforced with a flat bone on each side.
24 bones total in this corset. Double boned on the seams, except for the seam that goes over the bust curve) and then there are two flat steel bones, both ¼” wide sandwiching the grommets and a steel supporting the busk on each side. All flat steel bones (no spiral).
There are 36 2-part size #00 grommets (17 on each side), with a medium flange, spaced equidistantly. Rolled very nicely, few or no splits, not fraying or popping out.
The laces are 1/8” wide round nylon cord. I find them to be long enough and quite strong, with no stretch – however they can often be slippery.
Currently the Scarlett overbust costs $378 for the standard size. Custom fit is a $90 markup.
It was an interesting venture to compare the old stock Versatile Corset pieces to the new stock. The old “Antoinette” overbust from Versatile Fashions was renamed the “Scarlett” overbust when the company was sold by Ms. Antoinette over to Corset Connection. And with the changing of hands in the company, there were also a few changes to the way the materials that the corsets were constructed with as well – the current Versatile corsets include fused delicate fashion fabrics for smoothness and strength, a herringbone coutil strength layer (instead of polyester lining), and improved spacing in the grommets.
It’s worth noting that the method of assembly itself hasn’t changed that much. In the video, you can see that the red corset has sandwiched boning channels with an invisible waist tape, while the blush corset has external boning channels and exposed internal waist tape. Both these construction methods are still used today, and depending on the style you order (whether or not you want external boning channels or hidden channels), you may receive your corset constructed either way.
This corset also received 4 stars out of 4 on the Bust Test, as the bust line came up high enough on my chest to hold me in during activity. The bust is designed for smaller cups though, as it pushes everything upward – but it still contains my bust as long as it’s laced loosely enough. However if I were to go back and order this custom-fit, I would certainly request more space in the bust area and perhaps have it “cup” over and above the bust more completely. You can see other styles of the Scarlett corset in Versatile’s photo gallery, on their sale page here.
Today I made a video that was a bit off the cuff, but the idea had been floating in my head for a few months. It was inspired by many people – by SilentSongbyrd‘s floppy corset, by Trollsneedhugs‘ latest video on gratefulness, by HarmanHay‘s post on looking for perfection, and by the number of viewers who have suggested that I have “lost touch” with what it’s like to be a normal lacer due to how many corsets I own.
How did I get to own so many corsets anyway? I never intended to have a large collection of corsets.
When I started this corset journey…
I had a couple of handmade corsets, a couple of OTR corsets, and the one front-lacing Bezerk corset that I thought would carry me all the way to my goal to a corseted waist of 20 inches. There were complications (the shape of that corset and the front-lacing caused pressure points on my ribs), and I stopped wearing that corset and began searching for another corset that would help me achieve my goal.
I bought other corsets in late 2010 and I practiced sewing other corsets, and each time I was “hoping” that this would be the last of it. Each time the corset came in the mail, I told myself, “THIS is going to be the one perfect corset for me – the one that will last me the next 2-5 years, maybe 10 or 20 years if it’s good quality and if I treat it well” – and that would be the end of my search. But each time, I found that it’s not right in the length here, or it makes my hip go numb there, or it causes pressure points, and I would start my search over again. I reviewed these corsets on Youtube to show the pros and cons of each style, so that others could learn from my journey/ my mistakes, and hopefully spare themselves the time, money and frustration that I had spent.
When I started reviewing corsets in my unique way, I didn’t really intend for it to become “my thing”. WKD took a chance on me to review their products, and at that time the Morticia corset was my one BIG DREAM corset – that staple, “little black dress” corset that would be with me always. But foolishly I got the wrong size (size 18″ – what was I thinking?? – which had no hope of closing over my underbust and hips) and once again I found myself disappointed.
But by that point that I was bitten by the corset bug.
That’s when the “collection” began – and I not only collect corsets, but also in a way, I began to invest more in making videos on this channel. With each successive brand I reviewed, I hoped that this would be “the one” for me. I hoped that I wouldn’t have to spend anymore on future corsets. Those that didn’t fit me well, I sold to be able to afford a different corset that I hoped would turn out right. There were corsets that I bought solely for the purpose of reviewing (due to so many requests) – but I never lost that goal in the back of my mind to find that one “perfect” corset that was comfortable, strong, and could be used everyday.
The perfect corset came really close with both my Contour Corset and Puimond Corset earlier this year. But the thing about sizing down in corsets is that the little quirks and bugs of your body come out – sometimes you can’t even predict them with a quick mockup fitting, because it requires extended use of the corset. You simply have to take note of these issues and adjust for that in your next corset. But of course, that requires a “next corset”. The corset journey can be very long and quite expensive, especially if you’re as picky as I am.
So, is it worth it to be that picky?
In my personal opinion, I’d think it is worth it to be picky – because in the case of tightlacing, good comfort also translates to health and safety. I want that custom corset that fits me perfectly. But then, I’ve heard some people argue that “the perfect corset” doesn’t exist, and you will just have to put up with a bugaboo here or there.
Given my success rate thus far, I am tempted to agree with them, but I’m not giving up yet. You don’t make compromises with an inanimate object, or negotiate with a garment and tell it to fit you better. If you don’t like something about it (and if you have the resources) then change it!… right? Or maybe after a long enough time, one has to change one’s goals to be more realistic.
So. I’ve accidentally found myself becoming a “corset hoarder”.
And I certainly have my favourites in my collection (such as my custom Sparklewren overbust which I’m unlikely to ever sell), but not the one staple underbust training corset. I don’t have that corset that is used so often that it gets a little threadbare and feels floppy, or starts to smell a little stale. I haven’t found my one perfect match yet, and I’m actually a little sad about it. But in all this, I’ve realized that this actually is a journey. I feel extremely privileged to be a ‘corset reviewer’. I really like reviewing corsets. I like being a guinea pig, I like informing my viewers and teaching them to be picky. I like helping others save money by making wiser purchases, and advising them so they can be well on their way to finding their perfect corset.
Maybe if I had found my “perfect” corset right off the bat, then I wouldn’t have learned as much – because I wouldn’t have any motivation to. Maybe I would have run out of ideas for videos and have gotten bored with Youtube. Maybe I wouldn’t have honed my corset making skills and have learned appreciated the YEARS of work that goes into the art and the architecture of corsetry. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so involved with the corset community and gotten to know so many awesome people.
I still haven’t found my perfect corset.
…but I’ve unexpectedly found something better. And I don’t know what’s down the road for me. I don’t know if I’ll continue making Youtube videos, or will even be interested in corsetry forever. I don’t know if this will ever somehow turn into a success or fizzle out – but coming up to my 3rd anniversary of making videos on Youtube, I do know that you (dear reader and viewer) have changed my life. So, thank you friends, for sticking with me through this corset journey.
(I’m still on the lookout for that corset though!)
Do you believe that “the perfect corset” even exists? Do you think that what constitutes as “perfect” changes over time, and that this is a journey to be enjoyed, or are you all about the end goals? Have you found YOUR perfect corset yet? Let me know in the comments below!
This post is a summary of the Bad Button Bridal Corset Review video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:
This corset was a sample from Etsy, so it was not made to measure – however any corset you commission from The Bad Button will be custom fit to your measurements, so the measurements of my piece is a bit moot. But for the curious: Center front is about 11″ high, but on the sides the corset is only 9″. The silhouette is an hourglass, the ribcage is about 5″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are also about 10″ bigger than the waist.
Likely 3 main layers: fashion fabric is white bridal satin, backed onto a strength layer (The Bad Button always uses coutil for custom commission) and a sturdy white canvas-style lining.
11 panels, with an extra wide center front panel (closed front). External boning channels laid down over the seams, and floating liner. No garter tabs.
Blue contrasting satin bias strips (matches the boning channels/ embellishment), hand-finished with an invisible stitch; incredibly tidy.
White waist tape (perhaps 1/2″ or 3/4″ wide) extending through all panels of the corset – invisibly secured between the lining and interlining of the corset.
No modesty panel in this sample, but if you requested one in a custom commission it can be accommodated. Closed front, so no placket needed.
No busk (closed front) – instead, there are four 1/4″ wide flat steel bones keeping the center front sturdy. I call these “magic bones” because the stitching for the boning channels are not visible on the outside or inside of this corset!
18 total bones (including the four magic bones in front). Single boned on the seams with 1/4″ wide spirals, in external channels. Flat steels sandwich the grommets in back.
22 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with medium/large flange; set equidistantly – held in very well.
1/2″ wide double-faced satin in matching blue – extremely long.
At the time that I’m writing this, to commission this piece (or something similar) custom made for you would be $425 USD.
The Bad Button is run by a delightful and meticulous woman named Alisha in Kentucky, USA. Her careful attention to detail is nicely demonstrated in the embellishment on this bridal piece – it looks rather simple at first, but the more I studied it, the more care I realize went into this piece. It takes a lot of patience and careful measuring to keep the criss-cross ribbons perfectly symmetric, and over 100 pearls in the front were all carefully hand-stitched – additionally, the entire motif was hand-stitched onto the closed front of the corset, which also features the “magical bones” that keep the center front flat, yet do not show any channel stitching on the outside nor inside. The finishing must have taken an incredible amount of time and does not go unappreciated.
I love how the grommet panel is done; there is another purely decorative “channel” of blue contrasting satin laid down before the grommets were set. The grommets have to be set perfectly aligned in order to make the back look tidy, and Alisha does an extremely good job of this. She mentions that she also uses a 2-part setting process in the grommets (hammer and press) to ensure that they are set very securely.
The ribbon laces in the back are extremely long (at least 10 meters) which are both useful for widening the back of the corset to get in and out of it (since it’s a closed front), and they would also be lovely trailing down the train of a wedding gown. But if you don’t like having such long laces, you can easily cut them shorter and seal the ends with a flame or hotknife.
This article is a summary of the following video “What is the BEST corset brand?” which you are free to watch below, skip to the text below to read the main points.
About half of all the emails/messages/ comments, I receive ask me the same thing:
“What is the BEST corset for waist training that I can start with?” “What’s the cheapest amount I can go and still get a good quality corset?” “What corset gives the BEST shape or fastest results?”
I’m here to tell you that there is no such thing as the BEST corset brand. There are a few dominating OTR corset brands out there in social media including Orchard Corset , Isabella Corsetry , Timeless Trends  and What Katie Did . The numbers beside each brand are the number of corsets I have owned from them over the past few years. I can recognize these brands at a glance, even if they are being resold by other distributors under a different name. But please bear in mind that I said these were the DOMINATING brands. These brands are popular and consistently do well in business, like the McDonalds, Walmart, and Apple of the corset world. But these aren’t the only brands, and they are not suitable for every body type and every purpose.
If you would like to know which of these are the best corset for waist training in terms of strength, curve and customer service, see my table on this page: Can I Waist Train in That Corset?
(But also know that before you buy just any one of them, you should do further research into their length, silhouette and proportions so it fits you properly!)
Many people approach corseting with anover simplistic view. They want fast and clear answers, as if corsetry were a black and white practice. I can understand that prospective corseters are super excited to get started, but too many skip over an important research phase, or they figure they will ‘learn as they go along’. From my observations, those who are too impatient to properly research corsetry before purchasing, also have a higher chance of being impatient in their tightlacing practice – and sooner or later, either the corset or the wearer suffers the consequences:
They may experience pain or injury (muscle cramps, headaches, bruising) from pushing themselves too hard
The corset may break prematurely due to misuse and abuse.
The corseter may fall off the wagon or become disenchanted with corsetry, their money and their efforts wasted, because they went into corseting with unrealistic expectations.
Please remember these words:
Corseting is not for the impatient.
All that said, I know how frustrating it can be to find a corset that does everything you want it to do – fits comfortably, shapes you nicely, strong and doesn’t cost and arm and a leg. It’s taken me many, many years of searching to find a corset that suits my needs, and over time I’m just getting pickier and pickier about what I want in a good training corset. This is why I started doing corset reviews: so others could learn from my past mistakes and make wiser purchases. Since everyone has a different body, it stands to reason that the same corset is not going to fit two different people the same way. For this reason, there cannot be ONE corset that is perfect for everyone. It’s not like the magic travelling pants.
Several years ago, I used to recommend 1-2 brands to everyone regardless of their body type, silhouete preferences etc., because those brands are what worked for me at the time. I now regret that I did, because over time I learned that what works for me may not work for you. So if you are a beginner and you ask someone for corset recommendations, and they immediately direct you to one brand without even looking at your measurements or your use for the corset, practice caution – you don’t know if they’re affiliated with a certain company, or maybe they don’t have much experience with many different brands. Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen various corset companies hire bloggers and vloggers to push and promote their brand. On Fiverr, there are literally thousands of people willing to give fraudulent positive reviews and testimonials. I’m not saying this to scare you or make you believe that you can’t trust any brand, but I would advise that for any brand you’re looking at, get a second, third or fourth opinion if anything you hear doesn’t sit right with you. That applies to anything that I say, too. I have always said to take information with a grain of salt and do your own research.
But if you do value my opinion, then for those of you who remember my consultations last year, I have finally brought back the consultations. I refuse to be ‘bought’ by corset companies; all recommendations in these consults are coming from my heart. I’m much more interested in you being safe and comfortable in a corset that suits you, than running with your money. Why? Because in the long run, more happy and healthy corseters drown out the naysayers and those who believe that all corsets are the same (“painful and dangerous”). With so many different brands, cuts and styles available, clearly they are not all the same and they don’t all do the same thing. More happy corseters means less corset fearmongering.
Bottom line: There is no such thing as the “perfect corset brand” for everybody. But there very well may be a suitable corset for each.
This post is a summary of the “True Corset” Blue Brocade Overbust Review video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:
Front is about 15″ inches long, the longest area (peak of bust to the lap) is 16″, the back is 16″ high. Very shallow/slight sweetheart bustline. I consider this a modern slim silhouette; the bust is 8″ bigger than the waist, and the hips are about 10-11″ bigger than the waist. Recommended for people taller stature or longer waists.
2 main layers: fashion fabric is royal blue brocade, inside has a “bull-denim” style cotton lining (a bit coarser than twill). The internal boning channels are likely petersham ribbon.
6 panel pattern. Top-stitched between the channels, single boned on the seams, with internal boning channels. 6 garter tabs included as well.
Matching blue brocade bias strips, machine stitched on the outside and inside.
1-inch wide black petersham, exposed on the inside of the corset. It does not extend through all panels though; this waist tape starts between panels 1-2, and ends between panels 5-6.
5 inch wide modesty panel at the back, unstiffened, attached to one side, and covered in matching blue brocade. Un-boned modesty placket made from black denim under the busk.
14 inches long with 6 pins (equidistantly spaced). 1/2″ wide on each side (standard width), fairly sturdy.
14 total bones not including busk. On each side there are three 1/4″ spiral steel bones (in internal channels), but no bone on the seam between panels 4-5. Two further 1/4″ wide flats sandwich the grommets on each side.
28 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with small flange; set equidistantly. The brocade is fraying around the grommets unfortunately. However the bull denim underneath are still holding the grommets so I will watch them and see if they need replacing. A few split grommets, but doesn’t catch the back.
1/4″ black flat braided nylon shoe-lace style laces. Virtually unbreakable. Has a bit of spring.
At the time that I’m writing, it is £55 in the UK or $80 in the US.
This overbust is designed for beginners or for those who would like something nice to wear out for a special occasion, as it has an attractive price and an un-intimidating silhouette. I would say that this corset is largely patterned for someone with a small bust/ small ribcage, long torso, and who may be slightly pear shaped as I noticed that this corset had much more room in the hips compared to the bust. I initially went with a size 24″ but I found that it nearly closed at the hips, but at the ribcage and bust I was too large for the corset. However, had I gone one size up to size 26″, although the corset would have been better in the bust and waist, it would have almost certainly been too large in the hips.
As mentioned in the table, the brocade was on the delicate side and began to fray around the grommets. The grommets haven’t pulled out completely, because the sturdy bull denim lining is currently keeping them in place – but I will keep an eye on this corset and see if there are any changes in the future. I have plans to slightly modify this overbust into an underbust in the future, as the brocade is such a beautiful weave but I don’t wear overbusts as often.