Many of my readers wish to start with an affordable OTR corset, but they may feel a moral or economical responsibility to support brands from within North America or UK/Europe, as working conditions are generally better regulated in the “G7” countries than in developing countries.
There are a few attractive aspects about OTR corsets: mainly their budget-friendly prices, quick turnaround (instead of waiting months for a custom), and reasonable exchange / return policies — however, many budget OTR brands are not the most forthcoming about the working conditions in their factories (the most common OTR corset manufacturing facilities are located in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand, and China).
For conscientious corset shoppers, the following gallery features some well-known corset manufacturers or businesses that have at one point or another stated that their ready-to-wear (RTW) corsets are usually stocked in standard sizes, are produced locally, and are highly likely to employ corsetieres under fair working conditions.
UK Corset Businesses:
Morgana Femme Couture is a relatively quiet corset brand with an almost non-existent social media presence. They have been around since 2003 and despite their elusiveness, they continue to make a huge impact on the corset industry with their attractive prices for made-to-measure couture options. All of their corsets are made in their UK atelier, including their ready-to-wear, standard-sized pieces available from their Etsy shop.
Vollers: The Corset Company was established in 1899 and employs corsetieres in Portsmouth, England. Their corsets are usually standard-sized but they do offer a made-to-measure service for a surcharge. As of July 2013, they have also established a lifetime guarantee on all of their corsets. See Lucy’s tour of their factory in 2015!
Axfords Corsets (now defunct) was one of the UK’s oldest corset companies, having been in business since 1880. Their standard-sized corsets were made by a team of corsetieres in their facility in Brighton England. They had a competitive edge on the industry due to their affordable prices, and their plain-weave coutil was milled in England exclusively for Axfords. Axfords was also one of the first brands to offer ready-to-wear men’s corsets designed for a fuller ribcage and narrower hips compared to the standard options.
US / Canadian Corset Businesses:
Lace Embrace Atelier, founded in 2007 in B.C. Canada by Melanie Talkington, is one of the most well-known and respected corset brands. Their corsets have dressed countless celebrities from Dolly Parton to Demi Moore, and even Guinness World Record holder Cathie Jung. Lace Embrace corsets have been featured in TV shows like “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and “Once Upon a Time”. While they are more recognized for their incredible bespoke creations, Lace Embrace later introduced their Classic Corsets Collection, a line of ready-to-wear corsets which can be purchased in their storefront or online.
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.
RedThreaded is a historical reproduction company specializing in corsetry and theatrical costume. Founded in 2009 by Cynthia Settje, the brand had humble beginnings on Etsy, and they have since grown to a team of corsetieres and employees in Colorado, dressing celebrities and collaborating with designers like The Blonds. RedThreaded offers a wide array of reproduction corsets, whether you’re looking for in-stock standard sized options or bespoke, and they use your choice of steel boning or synthetic baleen.
The Bad Button is brought to you by Alisha Martin (Madame Button), made in the heart of Kentucky. These in-stock, ready to wear corsets are expertly patterned using Alisha’s extensive formal training in anatomy and physiology, along with her experience in both fitting larger and smaller bodies, to create a comfortable and unique style that fits most figures like a glove. Offered in sumptuous coutils like rosebud and satin coutil, as well as limited runs of more fun and sweet colorways, The Bad Button offers one of the widest size ranges among the brands on this page, from size 20-38, along with attractively-priced upgrade options.
Versatile Corsets had its beginnings in “Versatile Fashions by Ms. Antoinette” in the 1990s. After the company had changed hands to Cameo Designs some years ago, their quality has only improved, adding a coutil lining and uniquely smooth construction method. and they’ve since dressed performers like Detox, Ru Paul and Dita Von Teese. Versatile’s corsetieres have always been based in California, USA, and have over 30 years corset-making experience. They offer both standard-sized and made-to-measure corsets, and carry limited stock of ready-to-wear pieces.
Meschantes Corsetry was established in 2000, and their corsets are made in their North Carolina studio. While they have a near-zero presence on social media, they’ve still managed to make a big impact in the corset community in the early 00s, having had a long history of trading corsets on some of the oldest sales platforms like Ebay and their Etsy shop. While it’s unknown how they are able to keep their prices so competitively low, one source alleges that the brand trains fledgling corsetieres, including fashion design students looking to complete their internship hours for graduation.
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 their Etsy 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.
Romantasy Exquisite Corsetry (Now defunct) had been in business for 30 years (1990-2020), and the president and founder, Ann Grogan, was one of the world’s most respected modern corset mentors and educators. Romantasy offered both in-stock corsets and custom corsets, standard-sized or made to measure. Every corset was quality-checked and wrapped by Ann herself. The Romantasy corsetiere team proudly featured notables such as the late Michael Garrod (True Grace Corsets) and Ruth Johnson (BR Creations), and Romantasy continued to employ talented corsetieres in the US including Sheri Jurnecka and Sue Nice until the site met a graceful conclusion in 2020. Ann is now enjoying her retirement.
*Please note that I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company in my Guided Galleries. This is for informational purposes only. Please contact the corset makers for more information about their locally made, ready-to-wear corsets. Tiddly links are Etsy affiliate links which help keep this site running and the galleries free for everyone.