My corset reviews are organized in chronological order because that seems to make the most sense – my reviews aren’t all equal; they’ve evolved over time and they’re easier to understand if you watch the oldest ones first.
But when people are looking for a corset within their budget, I understand that my reviews can be difficult to sift through. So I’m saving you time by organizing all the corset brands I’ve tried in order of the average price range of their underbust corsets, and then alphabetical order within that range. (You should expect overbust corsets to cost more than underbusts.)
Please note that the order of these do not represent my preferences in any way – if you need help deciding, there is always my consultation service.
I’ve now turned this into a permanent page on my site, due to the requests of several people, so you can now find the page here. ^___^
I just want to put it out there that I really appreciate each and every one of you. <3 The friends that I’ve made online these past couple years have been more supportive than many of my “proximal” friends at times, and I often feel like the luckiest girl in the world. It’s kind of funny how there can be a flux in mentality among people who’ve never met or talked to one another – but this week I’ve received several messages essentially saying “You’re famous!”
In late February I visited Orchard Corset headquarters in Wenatchee, Washington, USA. Jeff (the Owner) and Cheri (the Marketing Director) were able to sit down with me and answer a few questions I had about their business and where they see themselves in the corset industry.
We discussed several matters within the corset community, such as the definition of “corset” being probably a little too loose, how Orchard sets itself apart from other OTR companies by their customer service, blog and website, their careful process in choosing both models and corsets to reflect what their clientele want, and their goals for the future.
Thanks very much to Jeff, Leanna, Cheri and all those at Orchard Corset for making this trip happen, and for shining a little light on how an OTR company works from their perspective.
Watch the interview below!
Questions and timeline: 0:40 How many years has Orchard Corset/ Crepe Suzette been in business? 0:50 In the years you’ve been in business, how has the popularity of corsets changed (if any)? 1:45 How do you see the corset industry, and where do you place yourself within that industry? 4:20 We understand that Orchard Corset is known for its excellent customer service – in what other ways do you serve your clientele? 7:25 What are your goals for the business in the next couple years?
When I bought my very first corset, I thought I was pretty much set. Some accessories like liners are obvious, but there are certain accessories that have made my lacing MUCH easier. This is a list of objects that I never knew I needed until I had them.
1. Mount mirror
Before I had access to one of these, I managed tying up my corset by looking behind my shoulder in the bathroom mirror, or just going by feel. It works pretty well, but every so often I might end up with one bunny ear longer than the other (a pet peeve of mine) or worse, if the gap in the back of my corset were accidentally twisted or not parallel because I could only see behind me on an angle! And what if your neck isn’t that flexible enough to look behind you?
This flexible mount mirror is designed so you can see the back of your hairdo, but it also makes your life MUCH easier when you need to tighten your corset, as you can see exactly what you’re doing with no neck strain, and you can use both hands to work with the laces.
2. Spare laces. Lots of them.
Alright, laces aren’t exactly “non-obvious”, but many people think you only buy new laces when you want to switch up the color, or when you don’t like the ones that came with the corset. Don’t wait until you need new laces. I have snapped them before. It’s not impossible. It’s also not fun, especially on the day of a special event.
And corsets aren’t exactly the type of garment where you can simply tie the two broken ends together and be on your way, because it’s difficult to tighten a corset with a giant knot in the laces (not to mention these laces have an incredible amount of tension on them and if you don’t tie the knot properly, it can loosen on itself at a very inopportune time!). I highly suggest having a pair of backup laces to avoid Murphy’s Law.
If you don’t live near a fabric/ notions store like FabricLand or JoAnn’s, try a place online that sells laces. I like the polyester flat braided laces from Timeless Trends (I can also get you an extra pair of laces when ordering a longline or Gemini corset through me); or the double-face satin laces through Strait-Laced Dame on Etsy.
Sometimes I have a corset with a busk that is just at that length that the top edge of it digs into my solar plexus. Sticking a sponge under the busk or a bone can help take the edge off steels digging into your skin. Or sometimes I feel a sore spot coming on, so I’ll pad slightly around the sore area (but directly not on top of it, so that the corset is “pushed away” from the injured area). Or sometimes (rarely) I’ll have a corset that’s wider than usual in the hips for me, and I don’t want that loose area to wrinkle and collapse on itself, or (less rarely) I will need some way of evening out the girls in an overbust corset. Do like a cross-dresser and pad out those curves! The sponges are also cheap enough that you won’t feel bad about cutting them to size.
You know that you can cinch down more, but the laces are cutting into your hands too much! For all the help that the doorknob may be in getting that extra half-inch of reduction, if you can’t hold that cinch while you’re tying it off, it might be for naught. Maybe it’s just because I spend so much time around corsets, but my hands can get pretty sore when lacing down.
But one day I saw an old pair of fingerless leather driving gloves lying around and was amazed at how much they helped to prevent sore and chafed hands. (They’re also a cute fashion accessory!)
You can still feel what you’re doing so you can properly pluck the X’s in back, but when you pull on the bunny ears, they don’t cut into your palms. These would be great for those who work in a boutique that sells corsets, if you lace up customers all day and haven’t yet developed those callouses.
5. Cocktail / wine glass charms
For those who are new at lacing up or might have spacial awareness difficulties, and you might not be able to grab onto the “X” in the laces but tend to only pull one side, these charms will keep the “X”s tidy and give you a tactile guide to tell your hands which laces to pull at the same time. Get the charms that hook or clip on, so you don’t have to unthread and rethread the entire corset, and use charms that are big enough to allow the laces to glide freely through them (so the “hole” should be about the same size as your grommets, or bigger if you like. If you don’t like these dangly charms, you can also use large beads that easily clip onto yarn or hair.
These charms or beads can also be pretty when showing off your corset, although they might make “stealthing” a little more difficult as they can add little bumps along the back under thin tops.
(Bonus) A wire-free bra
I admit it: with my long torso, the vast majority of my underbust corsets don’t come up to my bra so I don’t often have a problem with my corset making my underwire dig into my ribs. But on those corsets that DO cause this – OUCH! If you wear corsets underneath your clothing, try wearing your bra overtop of your corset – this way, the corset won’t make the wires dig into your skin. (It will also prevent that “double lift” that the bra and the corset provide together, so you don’t end up with a chin rest.)
Not everyone. Otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten so many requests to do these videos in the first place.
One viewer made a very good point that in an office setting where open-toed shoes are frowned upon and denim skirts (even ankle length) have the employee sent home, corsets would definitely not be appropriate attire. If you would like to wear your corset at your desk, you will have to hide it under your shirt.
But even more than that, some people still consider the corset to be strictly an undergarment, and would feel weird about showing it off. Even today, I constantly get comments on my videos from people saying, “Aren’t you supposed to wear that thing underneath your shirt instead of overtop?”
I find this question irritating only because it’s so common. But if some people believe that the corset is designed to be worn under clothing, they shouldn’t be berated for it.
Some wear corsets to relieve back pain, or to help with their posture. Some use the corset to boost their confidence and control their appetite. Some wear corsets because they enjoy the deep pressure, but the figure-altering aspect is secondary. This is why I made a point of making those videos first, before resuming my “dressing with corsets” videos; to help people understand that there are corseters who wear them for reasons apart from the visual aspect; who are not ashamed by their practice, but they simply don’t want / feel the need to broadcast their corset. Despite a common interest in corseting, different people still have different tastes in dress.
What’s my excuse?
One fan on Facebook asked me why I specifically would want to hide my corset, when I’m a public figure in corseting, and it’s so well known among my friends and family?
I do like to wear my corsets out in evenings and at special events, but when I’m working (I do have a job outside of corsetry), I don’t consider corsets to be appropriate work attire. Also, although it’s well known in my personal circle that I wear corsets, the corset community is pretty much nil in the little town where I live. When I’m running errands and need to get a lot done, I simply don’t have the time to be stopped and asked about my corseting – for this same reason, although I have long hair and I show it off when I want to, there are also days that I can’t be bothered to be gawked at or confronted so I put it up in a bun.
I guess it all comes down to the fact that although my personal tastes are alternative, and although I’m not ashamed of the way I dress or look, I don’t consider it anyone else’s business. I wear corsets (and also keep my hair long) for my happiness, but don’t necessarily need others’ attention in order to feel validated.
I’m sure that many people can relate to this in a different vein – it’s kind of like having a tattoo or body piercing that nobody knows about but you, or even wearing matching underwear on a good day; this little secret can make you happy and put a bounce in your step without the need to show it off at all times. As long as it makes you happy, that’s all that matters.
But if I don’t need validation, why do I show off corsets all the time in my videos?
My Youtube/ Facebook/ website feel sort of like my ‘domain’ where I feel okay about making my corsets visible. As my public pages and channel are clearly a place where people seek out more information about corsetry, it would be confusing if I didn’t show off my corsets in that respect, actually. It’s not only so that I can promote the fantastic creations of various corsetieres and show the incredible diversity in cut, silhouette, fabric, color etc. But imagine how weird it would be to have a cooking channel, but there’s no food in sight. Imagine a documentary about mountain lions, but there were no mountain lions shown. If I didn’t show corsets in a corset-related channel, it might be considered just as unusual.
I don’t know how to put this any other way, and the fact that people from within the corset community are pointing fingers for something as petty as wearing your corset over or under your shirt is a bit ridiculous. If you want to show off your corsets, show them off. You’ve worked hard for your waist. But if you want to hide your corset under clothing, go ahead and hide it. I don’t consider you vainglorious or an exhibitionist to make your corseting public, and I don’t consider you ashamed or apologetic to keep it secret. And neither should anyone else. What you do with your body (and how you portray it) is your business alone.
An absolutely wonderful post by The Pragmatic Costumer, proving that people came in all shapes and sizes even in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Highly recommended further reading as a supplement to my previous article on tips for full-figured corseters!
The last two weeks have been full of family, friends, fun, laughter, and a lot of eating/drinking. Christmas, New Years, and my birthday have all paid a toll on my waistline – especially because my bronchitis prevented me from corseting much of the time over the holiday season.
But probably more than the food I ate (which aren’t all that bad, as I tend to stick to lighter and easily digestible options), the carbonated drinks I had including colas, sparkling water, and champagne were probably my worst choice when I was corseted, both from an immediate standpoint and in the long term. Here’s why:
The bubbles! Why, bubbles, why??
The most obvious reason is that a corset reduces the volume in your stomach and intestines and encourages
these mostly-hollow organs to flatten down. When you inject gas into your digestive system with fizzy drinks, it increases the volume – and when more space in your body is taken up by the bubbles, there’s less space for everything else. Simple physics. This means you can immediately feel bloated, uncomfortable, or even in pain if you try to chug a can of club soda while corseted.
Possible solution? If you must have a carbonated drink, have a smaller glass and sip it slowly. Let the drink bubble on your tongue and fizz out completely. By the time you swallow it, it should be flat. Or, preferably just go for water.
The sugar content
Alright, we all know that the 35- 43 grams of sugar in various flavors of soft drinks aren’t good for you.Too many processed sugary beverages will make a person gain weight. But this has both immediate and long-term effects on your body. Too many to count really, but directly related to wearing corsets – even before the sugar is converted to fat, it’s contributing to bloating. Due to their hydroxyl groups, glucose and fructose molecules are hydrophilic, pulling water molecules around themselves. Translation: the more sugar that is in your body, the more water it may cause you to retain, which may result in your corsets fitting a bit more snugly than they had before.
Possible solution? If you must have a carbonated drink, choose those with a lower sugar content, or preferably no sugar at all, in the case of sparkling water. Do NOT go for artificially sweetened drinks! Or, preferably, just go for water.
Water retention also doesn’t happen inside your cells, which carefully control their intake of water and nutrients, but rather in the interstitial fluid in your tissues – this can sometimes draw water out of your cells and mess with your hydration level. But even when you choose less sugary options, soft drinks can still cause dehydration in other ways, which brings us to the next point…
When you’re corseted, it’s imperative that you maintain good hydration. This means that the cells in your body are well-hydrated, so all your tissues and organs can work properly. Adequate hydration aids in all processes of the body, not least of all maintaining good digestion and proper blood pressure. More often than not, carbonated drinks are high in sugar – but even when they’re not, other ingredients like caffeine and alcohol can wreak havoc on your hydration.
Caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics. Without giving you the entire pathways (I could ramble for days), these drugs can work in different ways to indirectly suppress the hormone ADH (Vasopressin) and cause your kidneys to work in overdrive, pulling more water out of your blood. If your blood doesn’t have enough water, it may cause your blood pressure to drop, causing you to feel faint (whether you’re wearing a corset or not). You may also experience stomach and intestinal cramping, in addition to a host of other possible symptoms. Is it likely you’ll have this problem if you just have one caffeinated or alcoholic drink, once in a blue moon? Perhaps not. But keep in mind that while you’re corseted, you are more aware of your body and symptoms can sometimes be exacerbated. Be especially careful if you wear your corset out to clubs and concerts. Hot environments and hard dancing, combined with diuretics and corsets, can quickly leave you feeling nauseated and woozy.
Possible solution? If you must drink alcoholic or caffeinated soft beverages while wearing a corset, limit how many and how fast you drink it, and alternate with lots of water. But preferably, go for non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic options like sparkling water. Or just flat water.
Them bones, them rattling bones
This point has been heavily disputed, but it’s still worth mentioning – various types of carbonated drinks, especially colas, have been allegedly linked with loss of bone density. Some studies link the risk of osteopenia to the caffeine in these drinks (caffeine affects vitamin D levels in the body, which are also in balance with calcium levels), other studies link bone loss to the phosphoric acid in cola, as phosphorus and calcium are in a delicate optimal balance. Still other articles credit bone loss to acidification of the body. Whatever the reason, osteoporosis and corsets are not a combination I would ever condone. While healthy human ribs have typically been shown to be strong enough to withstand the compression of a corset, this may not be true for those with loss of bone density.
Online articles listing the health risks of various carbonated drinks are a dime a dozen, so I’m sure that little to none of this information is new to you. Moreover, I know that it’s nigh on impossible to convince anyone to stop drinking carbonated drinks completely – for those who cannot live without their fizzy drinks, the possible solutions are for you. Your own body will tell you whether you can handle carbonation while wearing a corset. But in my mind, the case against soft drinks far outweigh the benefits, and I can safely say that my body feels best (and I see faster progress in my corseting) when I drink only water.
*Please note that this article is strictly my opinion and provided for information purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of a medical physician. Please talk to your doctor if you’d like to start wearing a corset for any reason.*
Forgive me if this post doesn’t contain new information about corseting per se. I don’t really share my personal life on this blog, but thought it appropriate to write something a bit more personal as 2012 comes to a close. After all, I am a human being and don’t take the role of teacher all the time.
2012 was the first full year that I’ve been out of school. It’s also the year that I probably worked the hardest in my life. January 5th 2012 was the day I launched lucycorsetry.com and in less than a year, it has grown to proportions of which I had never dreamed.
This post deals primarily with differentiating a real corset from a cheap bustier – not necessarily all the different levels of quality when it comes to a corset. When you get into differentiating a hand-designed piece from a factory piece, it can sometimes get tricky, especially when there are cases of photo theft. Learning to recognize photo theft and who wholesells to whom, will come with experience and familiarizing yourself with the work of various designers.
Do see this video if you would like to see two specific examples of a company that doesn’t market their corsets effectively, and a website that does have effective marketing. I would have liked to include many other corset companies (and even individual designers’ websites) in this video, but Orchard was the only company who had agreed to show their site on video.
Analyzing the photo
The model should preferably be alive
The corset should preferably be modeled on a real person, not just a “floating” corset or on a mannequin that already has a wasp waist. It’s nice to see a back view to be sure the gap in the back is nice and even. When the corset is shown at multiple angles, it will prove that it wasn’t laced in a biased way.
If you can see all angles…
When you look at the corset from all angles, try to count the number of panels – there should be no less than four on each side, but preferably 5 or 6 panels.
The grommets should be reasonably spaced apart – not too far apart; 2 inches between each grommet is too much space to give a decent and controlled cinch in my opinion. Eyelets or grommets should also be sandwiched between two bones (unless use of a lacing bone is mentioned), and in the pictures, the laces should not be crumpling up on itself.
When looking at the boning channels, you should not be able to see the whirls of the spiral steel boning underneath the satin. If you do, this means that the satin may not be reinforced and the bones may wear a hole through the satin eventually.
Panels should be somewhat smooth, not too wrinkly, not asymmetric and not gaping away from the model or mannequin. Sometimes, I will see a more or less reputable company that has a picture of a very wrinkly satin corset, and it looks rather sloppy. In these situations, I’m actually confused as to why that reputable company would make an uncharacteristically wrinkly piece, and/or why they would use such poor photographs. Regardless of the reputation of the seller, if I see a corset that is quite wrinkly and wobbly, it’s a pretty good sign that it’s not laced onto the mannequin tightly, and it may not be designed to be laced tightly – as a result, I wouldn’t purchase it.
Reading the description
Make sure you check the whole page for full description – and read ALL the small print. If it says plastic or acrylic bones, don’t buy it. The description should say all steel bones, or fully steel boned, or will list the number of steel bones. There should be no less than 12 bones, but preferably over 20 if you plan to wear this on a regular basis.
A decent corset will also usually have a waist tape – either see the outline of this in the photos, or look for it mentioned in the description.
The website should mention that the corset has at least 1 layer of sturdy cotton (a strength layer) so it doesn’t stretch. Most companies use twill, but a few do use coutil. Often they don’t specify, but they should at least make mention of a strength layer being included.
If they can trick you with wording, they will.
Make sure they don’t use tricky wording such as “Steel busk and bones” because they want you to read that as “steel busk and steel bones” but in reality it can read as “steel busk, and-also-there-are-bones-but-we’re-not-telling-you-what-kind.”
When buying off-the-rack corsets, then a busk is your safest bet. Zippers may or may not be strong enough, depending on the brand. You generally don’t need to worry about closed-front corsets since no front fastening means no weak areas here – the only caveat is if you don’t have the patience to unlace it completely and slip it over your head when putting it on or taking it off. If a corset laces up in front and back, this is fine as long as both the center front and center back panels look to be the same quality grommets or two-part eyelets, and both sets are sandwiched between a pair of bones.
Other things like a modesty panel and garter tabs and the like – these may or may not be mentioned. It’s up to you whether these are a “requirement” or a “nice-to-have”.
Be wary of freebies
Some companies will offer free sets of garter tabs with every corset – I actually tend to avoid these unless I can see the quality of them. Some sellers will always offer something free like that to sweeten the deal but if you ask me, if they have to entice someone by throwing in freebies ALL the time, it means that the corset is not worth the price they listed it at.
Do you have any other ways of picking the “real” corsets out from the plastic-boned “corset tops” and bustiers, which aren’t so obvious to a beginner? Let me know in the comments below!
2012 has been an exciting year for me (so far!), having accomplished so much toward building my site, my Youtube channel, and my corset collection.
As most of you know, I tend to shy away from interviews (especially on national television) as it’s difficult to know if my words might be twisted around or if my passion may be made to look like something from a side show.
But the moment I spoke with Celina Wilde (owner of Radical Redefinition of Having It All), I knew that she would do neither. Her own site revolves around what success and contentment really means to each individual working woman, as opposed to what definition of success has been fed to us.
It was such a pleasure and an honour to speak with Celina, and I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. For anyone curious about following your own passions and dreams, do check out Celina’s site here.
As a bit of an addendum to my last post, this article intends to show that not all OTR corsets are equal, but rather come in a spectrum in quality of materials, construction and price. Also, while some of these myths are partially true, I explain why some of these terms aren’t really “all that bad” as nothing in corsetry is totally black and white. Lastly, I give examples of “exceptions” to each myth. So let’s jump right in:
I might be playing devil’s advocate here. While I will try my best not to say anything inflammatory, this “Kumbaya” article may still cause me to lose favor with some corsetieres. No doubt some are already confused by the fact that I work so hard to purchase from small corset businesses and individual designers, yet still review and promote OTR corsets. (Admittedly, at this point in my corset journey, I don’t purchase OTR corsets for my own benefit, but for my viewers’. I have too many corsets in my personal collection as it is.) But looking at the big picture, both of these industries support one another. Just as The Lingerie Addict had suggested that VS is a gateway to higher-end lingerie, OTR corsets are the gateway to bespoke corsetry.
OTR is an abbreviation of “off-the-rack”, or sometimes called “off-the-peg” or “off-the-shelf”. An OTR corset is a corset that is standard sized and often mass-produced, much like the non-custom-fit clothing that you can find in any fashion or department store. I explain more about different levels of customization for corsets inthis video.
Don’t get me wrong,I have a basic list of requirements of what a decent (real) corset should include, plus a softer list of what the best quality corsets include. There are certain corsets out there that I view as not-corsets, and I have owned both mass-produced OTR corsets and custom corsets from individual makers that have seemed to be total garbage. Neither industry is totally perfect, and just one bad experience in either one can permanently sour a customer’s opinion toward corsets in general.
When prompted, I will always tell others that if they can afford to start with a custom corset, then do so. But that’s not to say that OTR serves no purpose. They were my jumping board into bespoke corsetry. If I hadn’t started my corset journey by purchasing an OTR piece, I would have never considered supporting individual makers.
When I saw OTR websites which showed young models wearing corsets paired with their street clothes, it helped desensitize me to the idea that a corset could be used in as an “outerwear” fashion accessory.
The hassle-free exchange/return policies that came with these standard-sized corsets (which does not exist for custom corsets) gave me the courage to purchase my first corset, since I’m a commitment-phobe when it comes to spending large sums of money.
It was by purchasing several brands of corsets that I came understand that not all corsets are constructed the same, and that there existed a relevant price-quality connection.
If OTR corsets had never existed, I would have never been able to justify commissioning a top-quality, truly fitted, non-returnable bespoke piece. I found it just made more sense to “learn to drive on a cheaper car, before springing for the Ferarri.” And I’m not alone in this mode of thinking.
A surprising perspective from invidivual designers
So OTR companies aren’t totally evil, but I don’t worship them either. I do have my limits. I do not condone some OTR companies directly ripping-off the designs of an individual maker. I become extremely upset when the odd viewer comes to me, having purchased one of these replicas, under the impression that the original designer actually had a ridiculous price markup for the same cheap piece, and proceeds to complain about that designer.
But I was even more shocked to discover that some bespoke corsetieres are not all that upset about this, because the vast majority of the people that were fooled into buying the replica didn’t have that same reaction outlined above. Most of their clients had walked the same walk I did – they purchased an OTR replica, experienced for themselves the price-quality connection, and made the decision in the end to invest in the original piece. These corsetieres explained to me that – while replicas are annoying – OTR companies were to thank for increasing their clientele, not decreasing clientele through competition.
Not all clientele are the same
Through my consultations, I’ve come across clients with all sorts of opinions. Those who turn their noses up at OTR corsets (for what its worth, I supply consultations for custom corsets as well, not just OTR companies), and other people who have had terrible experiences with custom corsetieres, and had decided to stick only to OTR corsets! There are also people from all walks of life, with different body types, different budgets, and wanting to try corsets for different reasons, whether it’s for one weekend during a convention and then never worn again, or as a daily companion for years. It takes all types in this world, and I assure you that there is no shortage of clients for either industry.
My aim is not to convince the anti-OTR people to start supporting these companies, nor to guilt or pressure the anti-bespoke people to reprioritize their purchases. I don’t mean to call anyone a “corset bigot” or force them to change their mind. My aim is to help clientele and makers within the two industries alike, to see both sides of the situation and try to tolerate one another. Because while either industry can certainly survive without the other, they sometimes do better together.
I received a very refreshing and pleasant message from a subscriber the other day, which included this passage (published with permission):
I just wanted to tell you how much I really love your channel, and how pleasing it is to see someone who makes corsetting something that’s empowering, fun and sort of a hobby. I found that before you, there seemed to be two camps of social stigma: Sexy Corseting for the bedroom and nights out, or Grandma Corseting that’s seen as uncomfortable, demeaning and anti-feminist (not to mention a bit utilitarian and unflattering!). What I mean to say here is, thanks for giving it the air of girls chatting together, rather than guys saying “They’re only doing that to look thinner/sexier!”. I think corsets are fun and beautiful, and so do you!
The part of her letter which made me smile the most was what she said about my channel giving the air of girls chatting together. I had never really thought about it that manner, but in a way that’s exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for – educational and demystifying, but also colloquial and relaxed, instead of the focus being on strictly the fetish community or strictly historical re-enactors/ Grandma’s attic. But let’s expand on this topic a bit…
Plenty of people have written me in the past, asking if there’s anything that can be done on getting rid of “muffin top” or otherwise spilling of one’s flesh out of the ends of the corset, especially if they are a little on the fluffier side. I had already addressed muffin top in a previous video where I featured the Genie Bra (note: I now use the Genie bra as a night bra as it lost elasticity after about two months, but using a sports bra or longline bra with the same shape in the back still helps to minimize my own muffin top).
In this particular video I cover the other side: how to prevent the lower belly pooch from “oozing” out the bottom edge of the corset:
One simple tip that my aunt had come up with with to solve the “apron” or “kangaroo pouch” problem:
Before tightening up your corset, pull down on it and make sure that the waist of the corset is sitting at your skeletal waist (the squishy bit under your ribs, and above your iliac crest) instead of your “apparent” waist (which is the smallest part of your waist – this may appear higher up on the ribs especially on people who carry a bit more weight around the middle). Once your corset is positioned correctly, start tightening your corset a little bit. Stop halfway through and put one hand down into your corset (under the front of your corset, so your hand/arm is between the corset and you). With that hand, pull up on the skin of your abdomen while with your other hand pull down on the bottom edge of your corset. Since your corset is half-tightened, then the mild tension of the corset should keep your belly in place while you finish tightening up.
When I explain this tip to others (often grandmothers and also apple-shaped ladies with pendulous abdomens), it solves the problem 8 times out of 10. This works best with longline corsets (especially those with a spoon busk), although not so well with very short cinchers.
a sturdy pad fastened over the pelvis and were specifically designed to prevent that “belly ooze” from coming out the bottom of the corset. These were manufactured by companies such as Spencer and Spirella from the 1920’s until discontinuation around the 1970’s. It’s (sadly?) comforting to know that reverse muffin top is an issue that not only modern corsetees face!
Please let me know if this tip has helped you – or if you have any other tips on preventing muffin top or “belly ooze”, do let me know in the comments either here or on Youtube!
Usually I eschew public interviews because of the way the corset world can be misinterpreted, twisted and made to look “scary” or “icky” by mainstream media. However when Kitty first approached me about doing an interview, we hit it off right away! Kitty is so much cooler than mainstream and she made the process hilarious and painless. I am excited and pleased to show you my first interview. Click anywhere below to go to the interview:
Thanks so much to Kitty for making this happen! While you are there, do check out the rest of Kitty’s site, Bloggery of a Gothcat as she is a fellow corset enthusiast (and also regularly posts adorable cat .gifs which never hurt).
This post is a summary of the video called “Corset Basics: Which way is up?” which you can view on YouTube here:
I fully admit that the very first time I tried on an underbust “corset” (more of a tube with plastic bones and eyelets) in a local goth/alternative fashion store 7 years ago, I first put on the corset upside down. Thankfully the saleslady was very understanding and whispered my error to me so I could fix it before anyone else in the store could notice.
When I received a request to explain the differences between the top and bottom of a corset no less than a dozen times (most of these private messages by slightly embarrassed new corseters), I realized that this type of mistake is done more often than many realize. It was time to make this a public topic.
Here are six different ways to tell the top of your corset from the bottom. Most likely your corset will have 2 or more of these features (if not, you may want to re-examine the quality of your garment).
1: The Busk
One of the easiest ways is to look at the busk. A busk traditionally has the loops on the left and the knobs on the right when you’re looking at it head-on. When you’re putting the corset on yourself and looking down, it will look like the loops are on the right and the knobs are on the left. Same if you’re looking at yourself in the mirror.
If your busk has two clasps closer together, those go at the bottom. This is a feature, not a bug – it helps control any protrusion of the lower belly. If your corset has a spoon busk then the bottom is the wider part.
2: The Laces
Another option is to look at the laces in the back of the corset – many corsets will have loops (bunny ears) at the waist, and the ends of the ribbon will be knotted at the bottom of the corset.
3: The Garter Tabs
But what if your corset arrives in the mail without the laces in? Look inside the corset to see if you can find garter tabs. These are little short, squat loops of ribbon. They are NOT the same as loops for hanging. Hanger loops, which are longer, will appear at the top while garter tabs will be shorter and at the bottom.
4: The Panels
Look at shape of the actual panels in the corset, particularly at the front. They will often taper towards the bottom into a little V shape. This concentrates the bones over the lower belly to hold in that lower pooch.
5: Gores and Gussets
Sometimes a corset won’t have those V-shaped panels but will instead have very straight-cut panels and make use of gores to distribute the fullness. In this case, look at the placement of those gores:
Gores placed on the side or back of a corset were put there to accommodate hips or bum so that end goes toward the bottom.
Gores put on the front of a corset are most often to accommodate the curve of the bust, so that end goes toward the top.
6: The Look/Fit
If all of that fails, then try on the corset and LIGHTLY lace it up both ways, seeing which way fits better. Even if the corset looks identical in both orientations when it’s sitting in front of you, often the hips of a corset are a couple of inches larger than the ribcage and you may feel this difference. If you have a corset that is custom made to your measurements, then the differences in comfort in fit will likely be quite prominent.
Now, some people who have ribcages larger than their hips, like most men or some athletic women, they may find that wearing an off-the-rack corset deliberately upside down is more comfortable and they can get a better cinch. If this is the case for you, then that’s fine – as long as you commit to wearing your corset in that orientation every time you put it on, so it’s seasoned to your body that way. Avoid alternating between wearing your corset in one direction and then in the other direction – doing this repeatedly will cause weird seasoning of your corset and it may end up not fitting well in either orientation.
Now that you are armed with these six tips on finding the correct orientation of a corset, you should never have to worry about committing any unintentional fashion faux-pas in the future.
Lucy’s Little Life Lesson:Intentional faux-pas are half the fun of fashion.