Realistically speaking, no human being is perfectly symmetrical. We all have some variance in our frame or how we distribute our tissues, and more often than not, one side of our bodies is stronger (and has more muscle tone) than the other side. This all has an effect on how we are able to cinch down and which corset silhouette fits our bodies best. However, our bodies can be incredibly accommodating and most of us can get away with symmetric corsets.
However, those who have scoliosis or other congenital skeletal conditions, and those who have suffered injuries (for instance, a broken bone from childhood that results in an uneven pelvis or protruding rib) may have such asymmetry that wearing an OTR corset may lean, twist or slant on the body. More worryingly, a symmetric corset can be painful to the wearer, or may cause other issues from not fitting correctly.
The right kind of asymmetric corset can work with the client’s body to make it look more symmetric, and will feel more comfortable. A well-fitted asymmetric corset may relieve back pain from scoliosis or previous injury, or possibly even partially correct asymmetry over time. As always, I recommend you talk to your doctor if you plan to use a corset for any reason, including medical / support purposes. Here are the few corsetieres I know who have created corsets for asymmetric clients in the past:
Melanie Talkington is the genius and skill behind Lace Embrace Atelier in BC, Canada. She works alongside medical physicians to create beautiful fusions between therapeutic braces and aesthetic corsets – like this asymmetric peach brocade underbust for Kitty, designed to support and conceal her scoliosis, as well as preventing ptosis of her liver (due to Kitty’s connective tissue disorder) and a hidden tearaway panel that gives access to her ostomy bag. You can read more about Kitty on her blog, as well as read my interview with Kitty here.
The Boudoir Key is a corsetiere in Ukraine specializing in historical reproduction. Her Instagram page is full of incredibly informative posts on how subtle patterning differences can completely change the fit and silhouette. She has scoliosis and she has a system of mockup fittings to perfectly fit the corset to her body, and she also discusses the visual and comfort differences (as well as historical accuracy) of padding out areas vs making an asymmetric pattern. See her Etsy shop here.
Katharina Mior of Bone & Busk Couture (previously Totally Waisted! Corsets) is experienced in creating asymmetric corsets for clients with scoliosis or other structural variances. She takes separate measurements for each quadrant of the client, and requires an in-person mockup fitting to ensure everything fits properly and feels comfortable. She then artfully uses strategically-placed external boning channels to hide the asymmetry and create a beautifully smooth corset. In my book Solaced, she shares one such commission and walks us through her process.
Electra Designs also has much experience creating asymmetric corsets, and she expertly hides the asymmetry in the corset shown above via artistic placement of the decorative black piping. Alexis also uses unique lacing bones in the back of all her corsets, which ensure that the 2-part eyelets never rip out. The lacing bones are not fusion-coated so they flex and hug the natural lumbar curve and don’t force an unnatural or unhealthy posture, and the steels don’t dig into the tailbone or top of the bum, as well as they flex over sensitive parts of the back (where the spine may veer under the steels in some areas). Lastly, this corset has shoulder straps for correcting hunched shoulders.
This sleek black sweetheart overbust was made by Lowana of Vanyanis for her model, friend. and client Erika. Erika has visible asymmetry due to scoliosis, but this black satin coutil overbust was carefully drafted to accommodate the unique curves on each side of the body, to ensure that the center front and the back laces lay perfectly vertical without twisting or torquing. The final result is a comfortable piece for Erika which also looks balanced and symmetric.
Morua Designs has made asymmetric corsets in the past, like this beautiful bridal ensemble. The bride had one breast larger than the other, but through clever pattern drafting the asymmetry was expertly concealed, made even more impressive that the use of a very symmetric lace motif in the front did not draw attention to any asymmetry in the body. Gerry also travels from the US to the UK, so if you have asymmetry issues, it would be best to contact her for the possibility of an in-person fitting. Overbust corsets start at £425.
Valkyrie Corsets of Sussex England has recently created this special asymmetric underbust to accommodate KathTea Katastrophy and the curves her scoliosis creates. This particular piece is a lovely soft nude, edged with black eyelash lace which helps to visually keep the hips balanced. Her regular underbust corsets start at just £180 or about $280 USD.
Delicate Facade Corsetry is also said to make asymmetric corsets; one client mentions that the owner of DFC herself has scoliosis and she has over 13 years experience in drafting corsets.
~ Honorable Mentions ~
Sparklewren has also experimented with asymmetric corsets, such as this custom underbust made for petite alternative model KathTea Katastrophy. In addition to each half having different measurements, the deliberate diagonal embellishment draws the eye away from physical asymmetry. KathTea is very public about their scoliosis and subsequent physical asymmetry. You can read more about their adventures in tightlacing with scoliosis here. Sparklewren is unfortunately no longer taking commissions, but sporadically releases new small collections which you can view on Instagram here.
Jill Hoverman, the youngest member of Romantasy’s corsetiere team, has created this lovely (and reportedly very comfortable) asymmetric overbust for a recent Romantasy client with a 45-degree spinal curve. Note how the busk curves on this client with the sample corset on the left, but the corset sits straight with her custom on the right. Jill’s Edwardian overbust corsets start at $500 in the Custom Elegant Line. In June 2020, Ann Grogan (the owner of Foundations Revealed) retired after 30 years in the corset industry, and Romantasy met a graceful conclusion.
Although I haven’t personally seen a photo of this particular corset, Harman Hay (the owner of Foundations Revealed) has also created an asymmetric corset for a client in the past; she describes that she started with a symmetric toile and adjusted each side separately during the fitting. Some lines were curved off the body where they would normally be straight when worn, and the final piece was said to be beautiful and perfectly fitted. Cathy Hay no longer takes personal commissions as she is focused on personal projects and growing Foundations Revealed.
*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 practitioner. If you have scoliosis or other health concerns that cause your asymmetry, please talk to your doctor, orthopedic technician or chiropractor before using a corset to correct your posture (or for any other reason). Affiliate links help keep these galleries online and free to use by everyone.