Using Measurements to Predict the Fit of OTR Corsets Online

Way back on January 7th, I posted Part 1 of this 3 part mini series on fitting OTR corsets, wherein I discussed the different ways that some corset companies use to describe the curviness or the proportions of the corsets they sell. To summarize this first part, there are 3 main ways: the use of size charts; recommending that clients’ natural measurements be within a certain range; or discussing the rib-spring and hip-spring of these corsets. If this does not make sense to you, I recommend going back and refreshing yourself on these points.

This is important because corsets don’t have ease the way that other clothes do – for the most, part they’re not supposed to stretch. In fact, corsets can be said to have what’s called “negative ease” (instead of your body manipulating the clothing around you, the clothing instead manipulates your body).

My favorite way for corsetiers and businesses to display their information is through the use of a size chart, because I can see everything at a glance. But why is it so important to know the precise underbust, waist and hip measurements of a corset before you buy it? Why not just go strictly by the waist size? By making the most of the size charts you may be able to fairly accurately predict whether a corset is going to fit you or not, before you ever buy it or try it on. Let’s look at some case studies. If you’d rather watch the video instead of reading through these case studies, I won’t blame you:

Let’s take a look at my natural measurements:

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 8.07.14 PM

I take my measurements to the closest cm (or in this specific case, the closest half-inch). Bodies are squishy though, so there is an acceptable range for the corsets I wear – especially if the corset is designed to have a small gap in the back instead of being worn completely closed (many corset makers draft their pieces to have a 2″ gap in the back, so I accommodate for this in my regular range). For the upper range, this is the maximum measurement I can wear before the corset starts to look visibly baggy on me (despite wearing jeans, poofy clothing underneath etc. that fill out the space).

Now let’s go hypothetical corset-shopping!

Case Study A:


The waist of Corset A is 22″. As an experienced corset wearer, I already know that I can wear a size 22” corset – it’s a 6” reduction, which is fine for me. A corset is supposed to compress the waist, but not the ribs and hips.

But the underbust measurement of Corset A is far too small for me! On a good day, I can perhaps tighten the top edge of a corset to 28” but it’s not comfortable for me. This corset has an underbust of 26”. No matter how much I try, it’s not likely that the top edge of the corset will ever close on me, and I can’t expect it to stretch out because corsets aren’t supposed to stretch. It will likely cause muffin top/ flesh spillover, and if I pull it too tight then it may hinder my breathing. This is NOT supposed to happen with a well-fitting corset, so this corset is not right for me.

The hips are a little small as well, but as it’s only 1 inch smaller than my natural hips, I will be able to wear it with a small gap in the back and it would still look fine. If I could go up one size in Corset A, then the circumference measurements would be (underbust 28″, waist 24″, hips 34″) and would fit my body much better, albeit not perfectly.

But it’s also important to look at the length as well! Corset A is 2 inches longer than my own torso. I would probably be able to wear it fine when I’m standing up, but if I sit down, then the top of the corset may push up on my bust uncomfortably, or the bottom of the corset will dig into my lap – it’s probably best to just pass on this corset altogether.

Case Study B:


This corset would fit reasonably well in the underbust and waist. If I try to close it all the way, it may create a tiny bit of muffin top, but it won’t be that uncomfortable on me. However the hips of the corset (being 30”) is too small for my own iliac measurement of 33”. Knowing my own body, trying to wear this corset closed will likely result in my hips feeling very pinched and they may begin to hurt or go numb.

I can tell from looking at the length of this corset (7″ tall) that it’s more of a cincher. It’s 4” shorter than my own torso. I don’t have a protruding tummy so wearing a short corset is not a huge issue for me, but if you have any lower-tummy pooch or a pendulous abdomen, then you may want to bypass this corset and try a longer one that you know will hold in your tummy better. I explain why you may want a longline corset for low tummies in this video.

Case Study C:

Example corset C

I can immediately tell from the measurements that this is a super curvy corset! I know this because by the numbers, the ribcage is 8″ larger than the waist, and the hips are 12″ larger than the waist. The waist and the length measurements are fine for me, but both the underbust and the hips will be too large (larger than my wearable range). I would likely be able to close this corset right away from the first wear, and will still have room to spare in the ribs and hips – they’ll be gaping away from my body. In this situation, I don’t necessarily have to go with a different style, but I might want to try going a size down:

Corset C_size_smaller

Here is Corset C except a size 22″ instead of size 24″, and it looks like we hit the jackpot! Here is a standard sized corset that fits my natural measurements reasonably well in all four areas. If, however, I have no desire to go down a size and make my waist smaller, then I will need to find a different corset that is less curvy, and my search will continue.

When you’re shopping for an OTR corset, read everything you can on the website. Look for a size chart or fitting notes; and if you don’t see it, then email and ASK customer service if they have the proportions of the corset you’re looking to buy! Be sure to check out my Corset Dimensions Directory, where I have measured almost all of the standard sized corsets I’ve tried and logged their measurements so you can do this same fitting practice: use your own natural measurements, and compare them to the corset’s measurements. Try to find a brand and size that fits your ribs and hips within one inch!

I hope these case studies showed you how important it is to know the underbust, waist, and hip circumference measurements, as well as the length of the corset. In part 3 of this mini series, I will show you my own method of fairly precisely measuring my corsets – you can use this method to  corsets that you own as well, and we can share sizing information with one another in the Lace-Base.

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8 comments on “Using Measurements to Predict the Fit of OTR Corsets Online

  1. Wow! Thank you for this guide! I’ve been looking into buying my first corset to test the waters, and I’ve been confused about how to coordinate the under bust & upper hip measures with the waist reduction. My natural measurements are UB 36 waist 37 upper hip 44, so I keep finding corsets with too big UB & too small hips. This gives me a much better idea of what squish range might be possible/comfortable. Perhaps another 1 inch down for me on the hip area, but a 39 hip is definitely not going to work. Good to know!!!! 🙂

  2. Helen on said:

    I am looking to reduce my waist to create a more feminine figure, my measurements are chest 35″‘ natural waist 31″, hip (iliac crest) 34″ and hip widest 36″ torso is 11″. I would like to train down 3″ ideally and would like to know which product would be best to achieve this.

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Helen, since your ribcage and your high hip are nearly the same size, and your torso is long, you might be able to fit the longline hourglass corsets found on this page. The size 28 would probably come close to lacing closed in the back, while the size 26″ would leave a gap in the back in case your measurements fluctuate or you plan to combine waist training with weight loss.

  3. mneave on said:

    Hey Lucy I purchased my first corset with info from your site and very happy with it but it was not intended for waist training so now that I am interested in one for waist training I’m really struggling to find something that fits my body type. I checked out your corset dimensions directory and still uncertain so was wondering if you could guide me a bit.

    My current measurements are underbust 30 waist 25 high hip 30 lower hip 35 torso length 9.5 My issue with current 22″ underbust from timeless trends is that the corset would probably close at the waist but pinching at the hips won’t allow my to go tighter and upper ribcage feels too tight.

    I think my issue is that even though I have a 10″ difference between waist and hips my build is athletic not curvy but abs are not hard and defined so waist is very cinchable. I’ve cinched it down to 23″ easily in a shapewear corset because the flexiboning in those accommodated my ribs and hips more. So I guess my question is what brands are good for curvy waist athletic body types with wider ribs/lat muscles? Was considering the Restyle wide hips or the Isabella Josephine but just so confused at this point about fit.

    Thanks in advance for your advice and tips and great videos too.

  4. Elena on said:

    Dear Lucy,

    Thank you very much for such a helpful guide! I’ve been considering ordering a OTR corset by What Katie did. I live in a rather warm country so it will be better to get something made of breathable materials. I watched all your youtube reviews on the brand’s corsets, and noticed that you have tried raw silk, sheer and satin. Which fabric did you find the most comfortable and ventilating against skin? I will really appreciate it if you have time to answer my question! 🙂

    Warmest regards,


    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Elena, the sheer (cabaret) fabric was nice for summertime, but I was gentle with it and didn’t want to pull it too tightly, just in case. So if you’re looking for something you can wear on a daily basis, I’d probably go with silk (the satin is polyester based; at least the silk will be all-natural).

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