Note that this post is a copy of the same one under the “Research Corset Brands –> Guided Galleries” menu. It is part of a collection of articles to help corset enthusiasts shop more wisely.
Cupped overbust corsets are often confused with bustiers or Merry Widows, but in the words of Julia Bremble, “a corset with cups is as corsetty as any other corset if it does a corsetty job.” I personally adore my cupped overbusts because they give a more natural silhouette under clothing compared to conventional overbusts (which may flatten the bust or lift the bust too high). Wearing a well-made cupped overbust under clothing looks like you’re wearing a bra, combined with a cinched waist. They work very well under strapless dresses, and in particular vintage shelf-bust dresses.
Those who are particularly heavy-busted may find that a cupped overbust takes considerable pressure off the neck, shoulders and upper back by supporting the bust properly from below and eliminating the need for shoulder straps. If you don’t like the cupped corset aesthetic, I have another gallery featuring corsetieres that make conventional overbusts (without cups) designed specifically to fit top-heavy women.
*Corsetieres, if you have made cupped overbust corsets and you have a photo to submit to the gallery, please feel free to email me here. Safe-for-work photos are preferred. Thank you!
*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 corsets.
Note that this post is a copy of the same one under the “Research Corset Brands –> Guided Galleries” menu. It is part of a collection of articles to help corset enthusiasts shop more wisely.
The first time I saw a mesh corset, it triggered a long-term obsession. What a wonderful idea! Conventional corsets can be hot and sweaty during summertime or in warmer climates. The oldest tulle corset I’ve seen is estimated to be from 1875 (featured left) and throughout the 1890’s it seems that linen mesh became more popular for corsetry, so the idea is not new! Fast forward to today; there has been a huge resurgence of summer corsetry, and they’re as strong as ever with the creation of new fibers and creative engineering. Mesh and net corsets are made with all different types of materials: cross-stitch canvas, linen mesh, Aida cloth, nylon mesh, polyester tulle, horsehair, and lace itself. In this article I’ll highlight some corsetieres and brands that offer modern mesh corsets.
*Please note that MANY corsetieres now create summer mesh corsets, and if I were to add them all, this post would be maddeningly long. Corsetieres, if your mesh corset does not appear in this list and you have one to submit, please send me an email here.
Daily-Wear Summer Corsets
Brazil-based Madame Sher has a collection of simple and beautiful mesh corsets in her Tight Comfort section, ranging from $220 – $300 for a custom-fit design. They’re made with cotton mesh and cotton twill in various neutral shades. See my review of the Madame Sher black mesh cincher here.
Ferrer Corsets is also a Brazilian corset maker – and it seems that tropical Brazil is taking the summer corset industry by storm as they understand the need to feel cool while training in any climate. Ferrer offers a variety of mesh and net corsets in his tight-lacing section, including the corset above which costs only R$ 385 with an included busk and modesty panel.
Delicate Facade Corsetry has made this summer corset made with “heavy duty, industrial grade, tightlacing quality mesh”, for a special client who requires a surgery support corset 24/7 after a horrendous accident. DF Corsetry has prettied up this breezy piece with highly decorative latticework. You can learn more about Delicate Facade, and read more about Sasha’s story here.
Contour Corsets makes arguably the strongest modern mesh corsets in the world. Fran incorporates space-age materials into her corsets, and the photo above features my personal primary waist training corset, capable of withstanding 23/7 use and cinching my waist over 25%. The synthetic mesh and the construction of the corset are both so strong that the addition of a waist tape would be superfluous. My review of the summer Contour Corset can be found here.
Sophisticated Tulle Corsets:
Contessa Gothique Design makes semi-mesh corsets with alternating panels of poly netting and cotton coutil – the one shown above is the one I own. The net is soft like tulle, but the double-layer makes for a strong piece. Embellished with lace appliqué and Swarovski crystals, this pretty piece holds up very well to tightlacing and accentuates any summer outfit while still keeping me cool – but if you prefer, the corset can be made more plain as well. See my review of this Contessa Gothique corset here.
V-couture makes a single-layer tulle overbust called “Nyx”, heavily decorated with beautiful corded lace, beads and sequins. Although it has no waist tape, V-couture ensures that Nyx is capable of giving up to 4 inches reduction.
Entre-Nous introduced embroidered tulle corsets in early 2014, such as this astonishingly gorgeous white piece with delicate pastel floral embroidery.
What happens when you forgo the lace appliqué and just use the uncut lace itself as the panels in a corset? You get a breathtaking sheer effect, as seen in the piece above made by Wyte Phantom.
Totally Waisted! Corsets also featured some limited edition sheer cinchers this year, priced to sell. The strong mesh panels with full Chantilly lace overlay combine with super-strong spot broche to make an enchanting statement piece that can be worn over any outfit, or next to the skin.
Coloured Mesh Corsets:
JL Corsets offers some fun-yet-tough sports mesh corset in any combination of colours – you can order a corset in just one shade, but why not have ALL the colours?!
Do Balakobako Corsets from Brazil makes some of the most beautiful coloured mesh pieces starting from only R$ 250, and her prolific work is very quickly gaining admirers on Facebook! See her photo album of summer corsets here.
Sheer/ Organza Corsetry:
Clessidra Couture is the designer label of Julia Bremble, owner of Sew Curvy Corset Making supplies. Corsetieres around the world trust her for the highest quality corsetry materials, so before selling any new type of fabric, she really puts it to the test! Above is an example made from the (highly coveted) strong yet sleek net fabric sold in limited amounts at Sew Curvy – the first batch was so popular, it sold out in less than an hour!
Angela Stringer Corsetry has a continual theme on floral prints. In the above corset, she combines the sophistication of sheer panels with floral femininity to create a unique piece that’s both playful and smoldering. This is available in both overbust and underbust versions.
The Bad Button Bespoke Corsets, based out of Kentucky, USA, has been hard at work through early 2014 creating her “Birds of Paradise” couture line. One such piece from her collection is the “Snowy Owl” shown above, made of alternating silk covered coutil and sheer crinoline.
SnowBlack Corsets offers this lovely corset/girdle, made with a single layer of nylon bobbinet, and finished in black raw silk shell and coutil lining. While this corset has a waist tape and sturdy two part grommets, SnowBlack says that it is meant to serve as more of a slimming, supportive girdle and doesn’t recommend a reduction of more than 4″ in this. However, it would be the perfect tool to smooth your figure under a retro dress! This corset also features four garter clips, and two additional hidden garter tabs for additional hold of stockings if desired.
The Dark Garden Risqué corset is aptly named. Made from nylon mesh and silk, the Risqué is available as both a cincher and as a sweetheart overbust (above). The website provides fantastic ideas for wear, mentioning that sheer corsetry serves as a great foundation under formal gowns, or can be worn to show off tattoos.
Marianne is a well-known corsetiere for Dark Garden, but she also owns her own corsetry line and is a respected designer in her own right:Pop Antique‘s corsets are fun and contemporary, and the Flirt overbust is as coquettish as it gets with its peekaboo panels and little panniers (or “hip fins” as I like to call them).
Sparklewren also offers some sheer corsetry, from cinchers to full cupped overbust corsets. Natural sheer mesh sees layers upon layers of French lace appliqué in true Sparklewren fashion to create an ethereal one-of-a-kind design.
Although this corset is no longer available for purchase, I wouldn’t feel right without mentioning Velda Lauder’s sheer underbust, as she designed this years ago before any of the other corsetieres in this section had discovered corset-suitable sheer fabric. Ms Lauder forged a path all her own, and will be fondly remembered for her beautiful designs.
Bizarre Design proves that horsehair can shape the torso with extreme efficacy given the correct engineering. This sheer overbust with halter straps is capable of giving extreme reductions even without a waist tape.
Atelier Sylphe has created a beautiful sheer pointed overbust from poly horsehair and twill, also giving an impressive silhouette without a waist tape.
Anachronism in Action‘s sheer overbust features horsehair that had been dyed a diaphanous ice-blue hue. The beautiful lattice corset also features hundreds of Swarovski crystals over the bust.
OTR/ RTW Corsets:
What Katie Did offers a few mesh styles in the Demi-Couture section of their website. The Cabaret Sophia, Cabaret Laurie and Cabaret Morticia corsets feature panels of a double layer of organza in either soft peach or sultry black, and maintain as curvy a silhouette as ever. See my review of the Cabaret two-tone Laurie here.
For those who want to try a mesh piece immediately, True Corset keeps an affordable standard-sized white mesh cincher in stock for only £55 (or $83). Due to the nature of the mesh and the lack of waist tape, True Corset recommends that buyers order a size smaller than usual as the corset may stretch over time.
Fairy GothMother also offers a standard-sized mesh cincher for £215, available in black or a relatively rare red mesh. They recommend this for light wear (2-4 inches reduction).
Other corsetieres who have made mesh or sheer corsets:
Your typical run-of-the-mill underbust corset does a good job of correcting lumbar posture (making you stand tall from your lower back), but some individuals still find that they slouch from the shoulders, which regular underbusts don’t directly fix. So, which corsets are best to correct your whole posture and help you sit tall?
Some overbust corsets extend high enough on the body that they can help correct posture in the thoracic vertebrae, but what if you don’t like conventional overbusts, or you just want some variety in your corset collection? The answer possibly lies in a high-backed corset with shoulder straps. There are many corsets that come with straps, but the type of straps matter greatly if you’re looking to correct hunched shoulders.
Avoid halter straps if you have a slouching problem.
If you have a habit of slouching, avoid halter straps on your corsets because if the straps are too short or tied too tightly, the material pulling on the back of your neck will exacerbate a forward-head position and possibly encourage your shoulders to follow, making your posture worse. What would work better is a waistcoat-style corset which has a high supportive back extending up between the shoulder blades, and individual shoulder straps that help pull the shoulders back and open up the chest.
Underbust Waistcoat Corsets
Miss Katie, a UK designer, has created this waistcoat underbust corset for £325 (or about $530). This standard-sized taffeta corset is laced nearly up to the neck, and the shoulder straps look to be made of ribbon and can be tied looser or tighter based on your preference.
Ties that Bynde is a Michigan-based corsetiere who just recently debuted this training corset. Custom-fit and made from spot broche coutil, this corset is strong enough to be worn daily. The shoulders straps attach to the corset using ribbon and grommets, which are slightly adjustable.
Scoundrelle’s Keep of St. Paul, Minnesota specializes in Steampunk style corsets, and their Sabine underbust corset features neat a multi-adjustable shoulder harness. The entire harness attaches to the underbust corset using adjustable belt/buckles, and can be entirely detached from the corset if desired (so you can wear the corset as a simple underbust at times). The four belts in back adjust to the height of your shoulders, while the two straps in front can be tightened to coax the shoulders back, or loosened for your comfort. The laces in back can also be adjusted depending on the breadth of your shoulders. They also make an overbust version called Aubrey and both of these corsets come in your choice of colours.
Totally Waisted! Corsets is a Toronto-based business that creates a variety of couture corsets from traditional Victorian styles to modern corseted wedding gowns. Kate has experience in drafting posture-corrective garments and her corsets are capable of giving impressive waist reductions while looking relatively natural. This gorgeous made-to-measure corset features straps adjustable using ribbon laces, and it includes lace accents, painstakingly tidy contrast stitching and beautiful flossing.
Let’s take a moment to admire the colourful work of Daze of Laur. Laurie’s high-backed underbust corsets feature shoulder straps adjustable with ribbons and can be made with a neutral posture or can be incorporated into a more S-bend style corset. Although she is not currently accepting commissions, do check back periodically as her creations are not to be missed.
Overbust Waistcoat Corsets
The Bad Button Bespoke Corsets has designed a beautiful overbust waistcoat corset that doesn’t have lacing right up to the neck as in the previous mentioned designs, but this corset works by adding structure and support over the upper chest, back, and over the shoulders. The shoulder straps are not really adjustable (and so must be carefully fitted), but for women with heavy busts, the extra support in front can remove strain the shoulders by lifting and supporting the bust from below.
The House of Canney has an awesome selection of waistcoat and vest-like corsets for both men and women. This Duelist’s Corset is made-to-measure and features a unique offset busk, collar that can be worn up or down, and Anthony’s trademark “keyhole” lacing design (which would be amazing for those who like a little ventilation in back!).
Dark Garden Corsetry offers some incredibly beautiful custom designs, whether it’s a modified simple underbust to integrate shoulder straps, or whether it’s a waistcoat corset (seen above) for full coverage. They have styles for both men and women, to suit every taste, and can be made to be more posture-corrective or more lenient with posture.
Corsets with Criss-Cross Straps
It’s no secret that Contour Corsets is one of my favourite designers; Fran’s engineering is incredible. In this unique piece, you’re looking at the back of the corset (the laces are underneath the flap, so the back is smooth under clothing) and the wide shoulder straps criss-cross in the back to help pull the shoulders back and correct posture. The straps here are adjustable using grommets and little locks, although other Contour styles utilize simple buckles without locks. Even without shoulder straps, Fran can make a simple underbust corset more or less posture-corrective (using patterning and rigidity of bones/fabric) depending on the client’s preferences.
Electra Designs is another favourite corsetiere who displays considerable ingenuity. Alexis explained that the custom-fit corset seen above was for a client with notable physical asymmetry. Masterful positioning of the piping masks scoliosis very well in a piece like this. She uses special flexible lacing bones that maintains a neutral posture and hugs the curve of the lower spine, while the criss-cross shoulder straps help to correct upper-spinal posture and is adjusted using buckles in the front. The same way that “reverse bunny ear” lacing can give more leverage while lacing down, so corsets with criss-cross straps have the leverage to gently squeeze the scapula together more easily, and straighten thoracic spine posture and open the chest.
*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, and not meant to replace the advice of a medical physician. If you have posture issues or have any health concerns, please talk to your doctor, orthopedic technician or chiropractor before using a corset to correct your posture (or for any other reason).
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.
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.
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!
Thank you for your overwhelmingly positive response to the Corset Designer Doll program launched last week! It warms my heart to be part of something that can be used and enjoyed again and again. I know that Jason and Christine are both very pleased with the feedback as well.
The only issue seems to be one ISP in Australia that doesn’t bring up the updated version of the website. After talking with a few others, this unfortunately seems to be out of our hands until the provider decides to update their records. Most likely those having trouble accessing the designer game won’t see this post either. :\
Onto the meat of the post: while some people are busy bringing their visions to life, some other users may be lacking in inspiration. I’ve put up a gallery of corset styles for you to check out – a few are my own samples, but most of them are made by users like you! Each picture links back to that style on the designer page so you can request that exact style yourself, or use it as a starting point for your own creation.
Feel free to submit your creations by emailing the unique URL of your design (or using the “Request Quote” tool) and you might see your design up on the user gallery. Be sure to include your first name or nickname so you can be given proper credit for your creation!
This is the project I’ve been waiting so long to tell you about (well, one of them). It started around springtime of 2012, when I was talking with another corsetiere about effective communication between maker and client. A bespoke corsetiere is supposed to take the client’s vision and bring it to life – but sometimes, due to language barriers or other circumstances, miscommunication can happen and the end product doesn’t match the client’s vision.
My wish was to create a virtual “paper doll” game (that are so popular today on little princess websites) that applies specifically to corsetry. Length, shape of the edges, colour, fabric, boning channel options and closures would all be adjustable. More importantly, anyone can use this – whether you’re a client or a corsetiere – to help you communicate more effectively.
It took a long time and quite a bit of money to get the project to this point – it was only August of 2012 before I actually found a program developer (J Artis) who would take on this project, and finally in November I found the perfect graphic artist (Christine) to create the doll itself. It’s been a long road, and I’m certain we will be ironing out some wrinkles (and with any luck, adding a couple more features) over time.
There are opportunities for collaboration regarding this project e.g. corsetieres can submit unique fabric swatches from their stock (which will be credited) and sponsor the project which will help keep this app going and help keep it free. The “red tiger stripe” print option is a placeholder that shows you the concept behind a print/brocade fabric underlay.
One note: although the button that says “Request a Quote” is functional, I’m not currently accepting bespoke commissions. If you intend to send this form to another corsetiere for a different commission, I would be 100% happy to forward the form to you for reference, and/or keep your selections and measurements for reference when I resume consultations.
Over the course of late June to early August, I participated in the “30 days of corsets” challenge as made by Waisted Lives blog on Tumblr. In this tag, you may post one blog per day on Tumblr and each day you answer a question about yourself and your corseting experience. I decided to move this tag over to Youtube, as making videos feels more comfortable than writing – however I did post regularly on Tumblr during this period as well. As usual, some unexpected “fun” popped up (my computer died in the middle of the 30 days tag) and I was forced to continue the challenge using whatever I had on hand (usually my phone). Posting on average 6 days a week during this time, it was a test of stamina/ perseverance – but it was also a lot of fun, as I had the opportunity to speak from a more subjective viewpoint than I usually do in my videos.
Rather than post one blog entry per video, I’ll link you to the start of that playlist if you’re interested:
Here are the links to the questions (and their answers) below, if you’d rather jump around than watch the whole playlist. :)
To me, it means that however many dollars I spend on an object, it had better last me at least that many days.
Take this in the context of corsets: If I buy a corset for $60, it had better last me two months’ worth of wear. I once had a corset that cost me close to $45, but it only lasted me perhaps 20 or 30 wears before falling apart. I consider this to be a bad investment, no matter how cheap it is. However, a $400 corset that lasts me 600 wears over a two year span is a much wiser investment, because if I follow through with my intention of wearing a corset on a nearly daily basis and I’m on a budget, I don’t want to be continually buying a new corset every couple of months. Even if the price tag hurts now, you will find that it’s more economic in the long run.
It works for more than just corsets, too.
Electronics: My $1000 at-the-time laptop lasted me 5 years before crashing. I spent approximately 55 cents a day owning this computer.
Junk Food/restaurants: If you buy a chocolate bar for $2, break it in half and enjoy each half on a different day. This method has greatly helped me deal with my binge issues. I also rarely go to restaurants. If I dine out once a month, I have no problem spending $30 on a meal.
Other clothes: apart from corsets, I almost never buy “designer” clothing. If I buy a decently nice shirt for $40, I’ll likely wear that shirt once every two weeks, over two years (a total of 52 wears). In the past, I’ve purchased a cheap bra for only $15. I’m not sure if it even lasted me 15 wears, because it was so uncomfortable.
I purchased an elliptical machine off Craigslist for $50. Since gym membership is between $1-2 a day in my area, I told myself that if I could use the elliptical 5-6 times a week for a month, I would consider the machine “paid off”. I’ve had the machine for 2-3 years now and used it well over 50 times.
I purchased a CD for $20 and put the album into my playlist to listen to while I sew. I’ve listened to the playlist almost 80 times over the course of the last year, which means I paid about 25 cents for each playthrough of that album.
My parents purchased a $2000 piano when we moved into this house. I played it nearly every day between the age of 13 and 19, and I still play it occasionally today, so I would estimate that it cost about 75 cents per day that it’s used.
An example of something I don’t buy/ don’t consider “worth it”: I don’t go to the movies or buy DVDs unless they are in the bargain bin for $2. It’s unlikely that I’ll watch any movie more than a couple of times. I tend not to buy books (unless they’re classics/ collectors’ edition) when I can simply go to the library instead.
Examples where this sentiment doesn’t work:
Housing and transportation – an $18,000 car won’t last you 50 years being driven every day, even with the best upkeep. Likewise, you will probably not live 250 years in a $100,000
house (or any house, really).
Good food/meals – at one point I was able to live on $5/ week for food. It was a lot of beans, carrots and apples. However it’s not the most nutritious, and it’s not long before insanity from meal boredom sets in.
Luxuries – I don’t know how else to put this: luxury means that you don’t worry about the cost. That’s why it’s a luxury. There is a certain threshold (with any item, not just corsets) where the hardiness and utility of an object sort of levels off compared with price. The corset that’s worth over $1000 sitting wrapped in acid-free tissue paper in an engraved box in my room isn’t going to be worn 1000 times. Probably not even 100 times. But just owning it and admiring it as a piece of art brings me joy, and I hope that it will stay in the family for 100 years or more.
Is that corset worth it?
I’ve mentioned before that an affordable “starter” corset off a place like Ebay may cost $50, but it may only last you 500 hours or even less, and come with no warranty. If you purchase a corset for $500 but it lasts you 10,000 hours of wear, that’s double the return on your investment, because you spent 10x more, but you gained 20x more use out of it.
I’m not saying to never buy cheaper corsets, because they have their place too – for instance, if you buy a $100 corset but only wear it for 3 months before losing interest, or only wearing it once in awhile, it’s a lot better to have only spent $100 instead of $500. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy more than one corset either. I’m certainly guilty of owning many corsets – I consider them luxuries. What I am saying is that when it comes to medium-to-large investments, consider the realistic long-term benefits and consequences of your purchase.
Above all else, never expect a $50 corset to perform like a $300 corset. Swindlers and crooks aside, you get what you pay for. After having wasted thousands of dollars on cheap corsets, I’ve never found a loophole in the quality/price relationship. I’ve created an enormous playlist of reviews, available for free, so that you can make an informed purchase and save your money. My loss is your gain. Please use it to your advantage.
Some of you may have already known that back in early June 2013, I and several other corset vloggers (including Phoenix [mmsnafaioopoofeeker], Byrdi [silentsongbyrd], Meghann [LadyTigerLily] and Andrea [RandomCorset]) travelled from across the continent to meet up at Orchard Corset headquarters to have a group interview, participate in a photoshoot, and have the opportunity to form friendships and make history.
Below you’ll find the interview, organized in a playlist of 7 parts for your convenience. If you would like to see the interview in one 40-minute long video, click here to go to Orchard Corset’s upload!
Several articles around the internet have picked up on the old Wikipedia publication “Le Corset” written in 1908 by a doctor named Ludovic O’Followell.
When I first saw these photos, I (like many others) immediately thought that they were tampered with or “doctored” (couldn’t resist the pun!). But actually, there’s a good chance those photos are (somewhat) real. This is why it’s important to read the WHOLE story instead of jumping to conclusions from a set of photos.
This is two examples of the photos in question (I’d post them all, but the computer I’m working on today is ridiculously slow and takes over a minute to properly load a page):
If you know anything about X-rays and about how corsets are made, you will see that this doesn’t quite add up.
Why are the binding and laces as dark as the steel bones? They are usually made just from fabric, and like the rest of the fabric in the corset itself, should not show up on the projection.
Why do the bones show up clearly only on one side of the corset, and not the other? After all, when you see a saggital X-ray of a skull of a subject wearing earrings, you see BOTH earrings on either side of his or her head:
However, today I’ve been reading through that chapter – those photos were originally used as a comparison of how the older Victorian (“curved”) corsets compressed the 9th-12th ribs (and the doctor also admitted that the Victorian corset was also positioned too high on the subject), compared to a straight-fronted (“line”) corset of the same waist reduction and how it hardly affects the position of the ribs at all. The author explains that the curved corset not only restricts more of the ribcage by starting higher on the body, but restricts breathing much more than the Edwardian “line” corsets; and shows that with a well-made corset, the ribcage does not have to be restricted at all.
He notes that the corsets used for the X-rays had in fact been modified; they used suture in the binding to make the edges show up and had dipped (or otherwise treated) the whalebone in one side of the corset (but not the other) so it would show up more clearly (presumably because balein is cartilage, it might not show up at all in X-rays as it may not be dense enough). They had also replaced the normal laces with wire. After the radiographs were taken, the photo was then optimized (probably drawn over) to mark the details more clearly.
The doctor had to admit that the subject, although she corseted for a few hours every day, she was in good health. He mentioned that he wanted to compare this subject with another woman in good health who had *never* worn a corset, but apparently couldn’t find one at the time of this study.
He also notes that since the X-ray is a projection of a 3-dimensional subject, the image becomes distorted and must be compared with X-rays of the subject without the corset as well – otherwise the image of the corseted figure looks much more abnormal than it really is.
There is quite a lot of information in this publication that I would love to touch on in the future (for instance, the argument that the corset caused spinal deformities such as scoliosis merely from the fact that it was observed in more women than men at the time – this had been de-bunked eventually from the fact that scoliosis found in modern young females progresses at a rate 8 times that in young males).
I encourage you to read a bit of “Le Corset” out of mere interest if you’re proficient in French (or happen to have a good translator). As always, take this information with a grain of salt.