The extreme hourglass silhouette can be effectively described as the “belted pillow” look, with a very rounded (cupped) rib shape, and often a striking hip spring as well. I should note that different schools of corsetry have different interpretations of silhouettes; for instance Romantasy calls this style the “wasp” while I had initially been taught that the wasp waist featured a more conical rib shape.
The extreme hourglass silhouette is less popular than it used to be, but I still personally find it to be very comfortable. The waist nips in very suddenly and dramatically, creating a firm band of pressure only at the waistline, while the ribcage remains relatively rounded and free to expand with each breath. I can achieve quite extreme reductions using this silhouette, even if the conical is aesthetically my favorite. If this is your desired silhouette, the following makers and purveyors will be able to assist you – and some even offer the extremely rare pipestem silhouette, where the nipped-in waistline exceeds an inch or more!
Corset makers: If you have made any extreme hourglass or pipestem corsets and you would like to be added to the gallery, you’re welcome to email me with your pictures here. Safe for Work photos are preferred! Thank you!
OTR / RTW Cupped Rib Corsets:
The round rib Gemini is one of the only off-the-rack options for those who prefer a cupped rib and dramatic silhouette. Offering an 8-inch spring in the underbust, 6-inch spring in the lower (floating ribs), and accommodating up to a 16-inch hip spring, and now in two lengths (original – shown above – and longline) I’m proud to be able to offer this piece starting at $124 in my shop, so you can test if the round rib silhouette is right for you, even if you’re on a budget.
The Artemis corset is my (Lucy’s) newest baby. After the Gemini corset was released, it became clear that there needed to be a compromise between the hourglass corsets and the Gemini corsets — something that would be curvier than the standard hourglass styles, accommodate a more dramatically cupped rib and nipped in waistline, have a high supportive back, but also not require the dramatic hip shelf that the Gemini demands. The answer to this is the Artemis, which was designed by Lucy and produced by True Corset.
Mystic City has the largest number of patterns (different combinations of rib springs and hip springs) of any other OTR brand. Sylwia’s “Masculine” line of corsets, including her MCC90, MCC95, MCC100, and (above) MCC130, all feature a considerably cupped rib.
Custom Cupped Rib Corsets:
Bethan, skilled corsetiere and owner of Orchid Corsetry, offers the Sloth training underbust which gently cups the ribcage and then dramatically dips inward at the waist. This corset is strong enough to be used in 23/7 waist training, and can be purchased on its own or in a waist training kit.
Marianne, the proprietor of Pop Antique, has many years experience as both a corsetiere and a professional model. After learning that her own ribcage is very unmovable and that conical ribcages bruise her, she drafted all her own corsets to cup the ribs, which has become a bit of a trademark. By default, all Pop Antique designs feature a distinctive rounded ribcage and abruptly nipped waist.
This incredibly curvy corset was made by Katharina, sole proprietor of Bone & Busk Couture (previously Totally Waisted! Corsets) in Toronto, Canada. The rib shape accommodates a very full ribcage with somewhat inflexible ribs, and the 1-inch pipestem is a good place to start for novices who are looking to train in subsequently longer stems over time.
The Bad Button Bespoke Corsets makes hardy waist training corsets as well as couture designer pieces; Alisha the corsetiere will create the corset with as much or as little rib contouring as you need or desire. The above example shows a very rounded ribcage and dramatically nipped in waistline.
One of my favorites in this list, this overbust was THE corset that Autumn Adamme (Dark Garden, San Francisco/New Orleans) made during her months-long study with the one and only Mr. Pearl in France. Using his unique patterning and meticulous fitting techniques, the duo created this strikingly curvaceous and flawlessly fitted overbust with a baby pipestem waist.
Unartig Boutique (Germany) has created one of the longest pipestem waists gracing this page, with an incredible 4-inch (10cm) long stem which is designed to not only compress the waistline but the lowest floating ribs as well. This is typically only possible for a person who has been training for a very long time, has a longer torso to begin with, and has genetically flexible ribs.
Delicate Facade Corsetry is an Australia-based business with 13 years experience. In the above photo, you can see an extremely curvy underbust tightlacing corset, which is designed to give an amazing 12-inch reduction from the client’s natural corseted waist.
Puimond Progressive Corset Design believes in maintaining an anatomical shape around the ribcage, and for extreme reductions he is able to easily nip in the waist an extra couple of inches while leaving a beautiful softly rounded ribcage. The effect is not quite as dramatic as others, but you can see the soft convex curves around the ribcage here. He offers several styles of corsets starting at $359, which can be made suitable for daily waist training. My review of this corset can be seen here.
Mr. Pearl seems to be the Grandaddy of the modern extreme waist, having trained himself down to 18″ while keeping his ribcage relatively anatomical. Mr. Pearl collaborated with Dark Garden in 2015, and can be contacted through his official Instagram page.
Mr. Pearl’s only well-known protégé, Gabriel Moginot, has launched his line Maison Moginot and offers the ready-to-wear Fierce corset for €580, with an option to upgrade to made-to-measure. His design puts little stress the ribcage, and offers a pipestem-like silhouette.
Corsets and More from Germany is a hugely under-appreciated gem among corsetieres, who is capable of creating corsets with extreme reductions and fascinating pipestems, like the above piece in acid green dupioni.
Sugarkitty Corsets was able to accommodate silhouettes and styles of all kinds, including this dramatic almost-pipestem rendition of the Abigail II underbust corset (started at $377). Speaking from experience, it is very easy to take large breaths in this corset. Please note that Sugarkitty only accepted corset commissions up till the end of 2013.
Salonkiompelimo HiroNIA is a corset maker from Finland who is capable of creating a magical fit, no matter what your preference in silhouette. Some of their clients can achieve a 17″ waist in this silhouette – here is one of their creations is modeled by burlesque artist LouLou D’Vil, who easily wears this style corset while modeling/ performing.
Neon Duchess (bespoke corsetry by Hannah Light) had created this incredible corset for the Oxford Conference of Corsetry in summer of 2013. This particular overbust is just one layer of a 3-corset ensemble. Each corset could be worn on its own, or mixed and matched, layered on top of one another. Hannah describes this corset has having “shell pink silk dupion with bronzed leather and bronze leaf detail to the bust and hips. The dramatic shape is achieved by cupping the ribs and hip with reduction at the waist only.”
Helen (the owner of KookyC / Creative Corsets) couldn’t have said it any better – along with this photo, she described the extreme hourglass shape as being a more comfortable especially for those with rigid, unmovable ribs (see the note under Pop Antique’s photo as well). “I’ve always liked this look,” she said, “and it achieves such extreme curves with far less reduction.”
Another maker of corsets with anatomically-shaped ribcages is Sparklewren. The corset above is modeled by Immodesty Blaize. I have owned 4 corsets from Sparklewren, and from personal experience I can say that my own overbust very easily and gently cups around my ribs, only compressing the last two or so for a subtle dip in the waist. The continuous steel boning adds to the structure. See my review of this exact corset here!
Romantasy offers a beautifully shaped underbust with a nipped-in waist (this is their definition of the wasp waist) placing most of the reduction at the waist and very little on the ribcage. All of their wasp corsets are made by the talented Sheri Jurnecka.
C&S Constructions is the master of the extreme hourglass and the pipestem corset, keeping a long list of loyal customers over the decades. The photo above is not even the most extreme pipestem they have made for a client. C&S has made nearly all the corsets worn by the legendary Spook, who is said to have had a 14″ waist in diameter with a 2″ pipestem.
*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. Please contact the individual corsetieres for more information about their hourglass and pipestem corsets. Tiddly links are Etsy affiliate links that help keep these galleries free to use by all.