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How to Attach Garter Straps (Suspenders) to Your Corset

I recently received an email from a client who had purchased a corset and garter straps (suspenders) from my shop. They had assumed that when they’re purchased together, they would come attached, but in reality the garter straps are detachable and interchangeable (which means you can use them in many of your corsets!) but it does mean that there is “some assembly required.”

Most brands of corsets come with garter tabs, which are small loops at the bottom edge of the corset – they’re usually sewn upwards so that when they’re not in use, they are out of the way and not visible from the outside. They are also pressed very flat so as not to irritate your skin in any way.

When you do want to attach your garter straps to the corset, you take the “hook” side (it looks just like the hooks that come with interchangeable bra straps) and slide it through the garter loops.

Make sure that you’re not attaching your garter strap inside out! There’s an inside and an outside. The outside has the metal slider which allows you to adjust the length of the strap. You will also see that the “button” part of the garter clip faces outwards, for ease of use and to prevent your skin from touching the metal wire loop.

Check out the video below to see how to attach your garter straps to your corset. It’s much easier to do this before you put on the corset as opposed to when you’re wearing the corset.

You can also adjust the length of the garter strap (if it’s your first time attaching your stockings and you’re not sure how taut you need the straps to be, it might be easier to lengthen the garter straps as far as they will go when you attach to your stockings, and then tighten to your preferred amount once everything is attached.

To adjust the length of your garter straps:

  • Flip up the metal slider to unlock it – this helps it glide easier.
  • To lengthen the strap, grab the upper portion (with the single layer of elastic) while pulling down gently on the slider, allowing the lower portion (the double-layer loop of elastic) to glide freely. This makes a smaller loop, lengthening the strap.
  • To shorten the strap, pull up on the metal slider with one hand and you may also need to pull gently on the loop of elastic below the slider as well, if there is tension on the strap from your corset being attached to your stockings. The aim is to make that loop bigger, which shortens the strap.
  • Once you’re happy with the length, remember to flip down the metal slider – this makes the “teeth” of the slider bite into the elastic, keeping it in place!

My corset has 6 garter loops, but I only have 4 garter straps!

This can happen if you ordered your corset from a different shop as your garters, or if you lost a couple of garter straps – but not to worry! You can still use your straps.

There are 3 garter tabs on each side of your corset – I would recommend attaching your straps to the first one (closest to the front busk) and the last one (closest to the back laces), leaving the side seam without a strap.

Or – if you have a bigger bum, or if your garters just don’t like to stay attached at the back of your stockings when you sit down or stoop, you can attach your straps to loop 1 (by the busk) and 2 (on the side seam) and leave the back unsupported. This does mean that your stockings might sag a little at the back, but if your skirt / slacks are long enough, this won’t be visually noticeable.

My corset has only 4 garter loops, but I have 6 garter straps!

Keep those extra two garter straps for backup in case you lose a couple. ;)

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Corset seasoning sessions 11, 12 and 13 – final observations

Over the weekend, I finished up seasoning this corset with seasoning sessions 11, 12 and 13, totaling 30 hours of wearing this corset at a 2-inch reduction for about 2-3 hours at a time. The entire seasoning period was about 2 weeks. This article aims to recap the changes that I feel while wearing the corset, and changes to the corset itself as time has passed.

How the corset feels on me after two weeks of seasoning:

  • I’m able to lace the corset about 0.5 – 1 inch smaller than I had on the first day, while still keeping within the 2″ guidelines (from 26″ corseted from a 27.5″ natural waist on the first day, to 25″ corseted with a 27″ natural waist on the last day of seasoning)
  • The ribs don’t feel as restrictive; they cup smoothly around my ribcage
  • The waist hooks under my ribcage and doesn’t ride up on me, and the corset no longer feels “wobbly”
  • Some wrinkles around the hips have smoothed over
  • There are no hot spots or area of uncomfortable pressure. There is no irritation or poking from any corners or bone tips. The corset has conformed to the curve of my spine.
  • I’m relaxed and have a comfortable posture in the corset; my muscles aren’t fighting the corset and I feel that I would be able to accommodate a larger reduction.

At this point, now that the corset is properly seasoned, I will begin to gradually increase the hours each day as comfortable, and then start to close the corset more in the back, until I’m able to wear it closed for the official corset review.

I’m going to go over what is normal and what is not normal in a hypothetical corset after a proper 2-week seasoning period. The points in bold are what I experienced during this seasoning session:

  What’s normal What’s not normal
Bones by the grommets A bit of distortion of the fabric due to tension

Bones may become slightly more flexible along its proper axis, to hug the lumbar area more, and not dig into the tailbone

Back bones permanently bent, kinked, warped or twisted in their boning channels.

Bones popping out or wearing away the fabric of the channels.

Fabric around the grommets Some wrinkling of the fabric around the grommet panel may be normal Grommets pulling away, or the fabric around the grommets are starting to fray, or grommets feel wiggly or loose
Fabric around the waistline of the corset Tension in the thread around the waistline

Some fabric pulling or distorting around the waistline, and seams looking a bit wobbly when off the body

A bit of horizontal wrinkling, especially in the side-back, or over the front hip, particularly in an OTR/ standard-sized corset
*Note that a well-made corset may actually have some wrinkles smooth out over time

Broken threads or gaps where there are no stitching

Ripped stitches or fabric, no matter how small

Lining layer Some usual wrinkling of the lining and minor tension on the threads of the lining (although the lining shouldn’t take any tension if it is not the strength fabric) Broken stitching or gaps in the lining

 

If you have any other points to add regarding what is normal or not normal when you season your corsets, I would love to know! Leave me a comment either under this post, or on Youtube.

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10th Corset Seasoning session – possible causes of headache/tension while corseted

I’ve been wearing the corset a total of 24 hours (of a minimum seasoning time of about 30 hours). I’m now quite comfortable in this corset, and the corset is wrapping around my body very nicely – I’m noticing negligible change from today’s seasoning session compared to the previous couple of sessions. Another person had written me about their corset giving them a migraine, which I’d like to address:

Why might one get a headache, neck ache or tense back while wearing a corset?

While I’d like to remind everyone that I’m not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one on the internet, there are several possible reasons I can personally think of that might cause tension, soreness or headaches while corseted.

  • it may be due to holding a posture that you’re not accustomed to, and subsequently getting sore/tense and knotted back muscles. It’s also important not to tie your corset too tight or too long such that you experience pain or discomfort, as people in discomfort have a tendency to round their shoulders and tense their muscles – you want to be comfortable, relaxed, and sitting with your shoulders down and your chest open. (If it’s too late and you do have some muscle tension, I offer some stretching ideas in the video, like lying with a pile of pillows or a squishy large ball between your wingbones to open up the chest –  and I also suggest bumming a massage off one of your good friends to loosen the knots)
  • it may be caused by dehydration (drink more water while you’re corseted, even if you feel you don’t need it – I personally notice that symptoms of dehydration come on much quicker while I’m corseted).
  • it could be caused by hypertension – although not all headaches are caused by high blood pressure, and not everyone with high bp may experience headaches, there is a positive correlation between headaches and elevated bp, so do make sure your blood pressure is in a healthy range and talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have before starting to wear corsets. I talk more about this in my article about Corsets and Blood Pressure here.
I should also add (AGAIN) that pain while corseted IS NOT NORMAL. Whether it’s in your abdomen, in your hip, in your neck, head or big toe, you should NOT feel pain in a well-fitted, properly worn corset. Please practice some common sense when you’re corseted and don’t force yourself down more than you’re ready for any reason. Got it? Good.

Changes in the visible wear to the corset after the 10th seasoning session is negligible, although I was able to get in touch with the maker about getting some matching silk to cut down and change the binding, to fix the fraying area. Some of the crystals have started to become slightly loose (my fault) which I show in the video.

 

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9th Corset Seasoning session – the difference between normal corset ‘tenderness’ and inappropriate pain

After this corseting session, I estimate that I’ve worn the corset a total of 22 hours (for a minimum of 30 hours of seasoning). In reality, I squeezed in two break-in sessions on the same day (the  8th session in the morning and the 9th session at night). Because I wore this corset a total of about 5 hours that one particular day (two 2.5-hour sessions), I do feel a few differences in how my body is responding to the corset:

  • This corset is curvier than the corset I was wearing in the mid-afternoon so there’s more of a “stretching feeling” in my obliques compared how I felt in my less curvy corset. I compare the stretch in my obliques to that stretching feeling that one would experience after working out and stretching their hamstrings. It may feel warm, not quite stinging but perhaps tingling on the sides of your torso, but you don’t want it to feel like it’s “burning” or “ripping”.
  • I also feel some pressure and tenderness in the back and wrapping around the sides of my ribcage, which feels as if the corset is gently guiding my 12th rib forward. I compare the feeling of my ribs shifting to wearing a mouth retainer – it’s a little sore or achy if pressure is put on it directly, but I know that this tenderness will subside after a few hours or a day. When I take off my corset, I gently stretch my torso by bending it from side to side to alleviate this feeling of pressure.

Of course every person is different in how they feel in a corset, because every body is a different shape and size, each person’s nervous system is wired slightly differently, etc. But hopefully by my sharing these experiences, it will better help you to understand where your ‘limit’ is – the difference between a sensation and real discomfort or pain, and use this knowledge to loosen or take off your corset when you feel that’s no longer benefiting you.

This is also why I get irritated when people say “no pain, no gain” or that “corseting must always hurt the wearer” because it tells me that this person has corseted down tighter than their body was ready for, or worn the corset longer than was proper for their experience level, or had been wearing a corset that was simply the wrong shape or poor quality. Corseting doesn’t have to be a painful experience, and for many people it’s just the opposite; it can alleviate chronic pain whether physical or emotional.

Like I mentioned in my “Corsets, Nerves and Pain” video, if you are the type of person who is extremely sensitive to pressure, there is nobody forcing you to lace down further than what feels comfortable for you. Anyone who chastises you for not being able to lace down as much or as quickly as they can, they’re a fool who simply does not understand how each human body is built differently and has different limits. If you really want to try corseting but even 1 inch waist reduction feels unbearably tight for you, then you can wear your corset with zero reduction, until you just get used to maintaining an erect posture in the corset – after this point, you might want to lace down just 1/4″ (about 5-6mm) until you get used to that. There is nothing wrong with slow and steady.

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8th seasoning session – commonalities between breaking in corsets and shoes

Today I’m up to around 19 hours of wear, and the mend is still holding up well. Although I’m a bit more delicate today than I have been in the past (before the tear happened), I’m reasonably more comfortable than I was yesterday. As I begin to trust this corset more again as time goes on, I will probably learn to totally relax in this corset again.

Recently someone asked whether it’s okay to start wearing your corset all day immediately after the seasoning process (i.e. immediately after the 30 hours of seasoning are done, can I shut the corset immediately and wear it all day)?

Even though I can wear a well-seasoned corset up to about 16 hours a day, I try not to do that with freshly seasoned corsets. After seasoning, I’ll gradually increase the hours of the corset so that I’m wearing it at least 10-12 hours, and then I will start to lace it down tighter from there. There are a couple reasons that I do this:

  • So I don’t put too much pressure on the corset all at once and give it undue strain.
  • So I can test how my body reacts to the corset – I want to make sure that I won’t develop sores on my body, and don’t put more pressure on my body than it is ready for.

It’s a similar situation to breaking in a new pair of nice high heels. How my feet react to these heels when I’m just wearing it around the house on carpet and sitting down most of the time, isn’t necessarily reflective of how my feet will feel if I’m dancing on a hardwood floor for six hours. In that same vein, seasoning your corset at a light reduction, and wearing your corset completely closed during an all-day event may feel very different.

For the same reason that I bring a pair of comfy flats in my purse (if I need to change out of my heels), I will often bring a change of clothing or a spare corset to a special event. It’s always good to be prepared and have alternative fashion options when you need to listen to your body and either loosen your corset or take it off completely.

In the video, I also discuss what’s normal wear and tear when you choose a fashion fabric that is relatively delicate like dupioni silk. Although silk is supposed to be one of the strongest natural fibers in the world, it can still show wear! Especially in an iridescent silk like this one, which is violet-shot-green (when it becomes damaged, it loses its iridescence). If you’d like to see the wear to the corset, it’s available for viewing here:

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7th Corset Seasoning session – mend is holding up

I’ve been breaking the corset in for about 17 hours (of a minimum of 30 hours). Over the weekend I took a break from the corset and came back with a refreshed point of view so I could repair it when I wasn’t so frustrated.

Today I’m resuming the seasoning process (after a 3 day hiatus). During today’s break-in session, I felt that I was acting a lot more dainty compared to previous days, and just sat still as opposed to being active in my corset (which, ironically, I had mentioned isn’t the best thing to do during the seasoning process just a few days ago). I also feel that because I’m so anxious about the mend holding up and I’m acting so stiff and careful in this corset, my body is not properly relaxing in the corset and I can feel that my muscles are ‘fighting’ the corset, which is not good. This contributes to some discomfort in the corset.

If you take a break from seasoning, do you have to start again from the beginning?

 Someone asked if I would have to start the seasoning process all over again – not necessarily! Once you break in a pair of shoes, you typically don’t have to break them in again – if you have a comfy pair of running shoes that you don’t wear for a few months in the winter, it will still pretty much fit your foot in the springtime. It’s more or less the same for corsets as well (they don’t shrink, although you may expand while not wearing the corset, if you’re anything like me).

If you’re interested in seeing the wear to the corset, you’re welcome to see the video (starts at around 3:55 mark):

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6th Corset Seasoning – a tear in the seam

After the 6th seasoning session, I estimate that I’ve been wearing this corset for approximately 14-15 hours, because I wear the corset 2-3 hours each seasoning session – the seasoning process is half over, and I’m feeling more comfortable in this corset. The waist of the corset is hooking underneath my ribs, and so I’m relaxed in the corset and feel as if my ribs are “resting on a shelf”.

I also notice that I’m not struggling with this corset as much to get it on and off. The busk clasps faster and easier, the laces glide through the grommets more smoothly, and lacing up the corset has become very fast and easy. Although this could be attributed to simply me getting used to lacing this particular corset, I think it’s more than that. Remember on the first day, I was laced in only about 1.5 inches and felt that the corset was deceptively tight because it wasn’t wrapping around my body – the corset was still feeling a bit crunchy. Today it feels smoother and hugs around my own curves so nicely that I’m really fighting the urge to lace it tighter, because a reduction of just 1.5 inches feels almost like nothing now. However, I’m still trying to just lace it with about a 2-inch reduction for the duration of this seasoning period.

“Priming” your waist for less resistance

If you’re seasoning a corset that is not your first corset, then one option is for you to “prime” your waist by wearing your previous corset for some time, and then switching over to your seasoned corset. By doing this, then your oblique muscles are already warmed and stretched, and (depending on how much you reduce) your intestines are already flattened and moved so you would be able to accommodate more restriction by your new corset. In this situation, you might even feel that 3-4 inches in your new corset feels quite easy, while if you were trying to break in your corset while your torso was ‘cold’ (say, if you didn’t wear corsets for a few days, or ever, and then put the corset on) then you may feel that just a couple of inches feels like a stretch for you. That said, even if you prime your waist before putting on your new corset to season, I wouldn’t personally cinch down more than about 2.5 inches at the absolute most for someone my size, as a general guideline.

Different people, different sizes, different waist reductions for seasoning.

A person with a bigger starting waist (say, 40″) may find they season their corsets with a reduction of 3-4 inches. A person with a smaller natural waist (say, 24″) may find that they barely get any reduction at all while they’re breaking in their corset. This is all perfectly fine. The 2″ guideline is just what has worked for me over the years while I’ve seasoned over 70 different corsets, but if you aren’t even up to that 2″ reduction yet, this doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. The whole idea of seasoning your corset is that you wear it with less tension that you normally would put on a fully-laced corset, so the fibers ‘stretch’ and align themselves evenly instead of having uneven tension, so the corset forms to your body, and so  you don’t get hot spots or pressure points that cause you discomfort or pain as you and your corset become acquainted.

I don’t say this to try and confuse any of you into thinking that the 2/2/2 rule (2″ reduction, for two hours a day, for two weeks) doesn’t work for everybody. It actually does work very well for a huge number of people, and it’s a really good starting point/ guideline for most people who are starting out, but I would rather you understand the objective behind this, as opposed to blindly following it as a rule. Some people think that rules are just red tape that is laid down to oppress them. Truly understanding the reasoning behind a certain practice is key to lacing responsibly.

Important changes to the corset:

A side seam popped at the waistline – one of the curviest seams, under the highest tension. There are a number of reasons that this could have happened:

  • I had coughed when the seam broke – it could have been my fault, for putting unfair, acute pressure on the waistline of the corset. Perhaps I have particularly strong oblique muscles, as I had ripped one other corset about 3 years ago from a sneeze. My coughs and sneezes tend to be violent. Granted, I’ve also sneezed in other corsets and those have survived…
  •  The stitch length might have been longer along that seam than usual, or perhaps there was a skipped stitch that I had overlooked. I generally don’t care much about skipped stitches from an aesthetic standpoint, as long as the corset itself is strong. If the stitch length was uneven, then that would have been a flaw in the sewing machine.
  • However, I also remember that when I tried on the mockup, it had also torn in a similar seam (just on the other side), no coughing involved but I had laced it up tight on the first go, without easing into the toile. I try not to believe in “foreshadowing” in real life, but maybe it has something to do with that particularly curvy seam.
  • The thread tension on the machine may not have been balanced, so even though the stitch length may have been okay, one of the threads may have been loose which may have allowed spreading and eventual breaking of that seam.
  • The quality of the thread may not have been strong – or if the thread was of highest quality then it’s possible that the thread had a flaw in that one spot: a case of the thread being the wrong flaw, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Whatever the reason, it happened. I moped about it for a weekend, and then I returned and quickly mended the corset by hand (not a pretty job, but it did the trick!). I decided to put that particular video in the “Corset Modifications and Repairs” playlist as it seemed more relevant in that category. If you like, you can watch seasoning video 6 and the quick n’ dirty repair videos below.

 

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4th and 5th Corset Seasoning Sessions

Firstly: why didn’t I record the 4th seasoning session on its own?

I actually did record it, but my memory card malfunctioned and had to be reformatted, so I lost that material. Rather than put on different clothing and “pretend” to have day 4 all over again, I decided to just go ahead and post a “double update” because this seasoning mini-series is intended to be as natural as possible. Hopefully that hasn’t confused everyone!

Is it possible to break in your corset faster, so that it’s fully seasoned in less than two weeks?

Theoretically, yes. If, for instance, you only receive your corset one week before a big event, you may be able to double up on your seasoning sessions. Although different corsets may require different break-in durations (depending on their construction and how “tough” they are), it’s possible to squeeze two different seasoning sessions in one day – you can wear your corset for a couple of hours in the morning before work, and a couple hours again in the evening after work. I tend to do this with my own corsets whenever possible, and I feel okay doing this in my corsets because my body is accustomed to wearing corsets. However, remember that for a first-timer, the seasoning period is just as important for you body as it is for the corset – if you’re not accustomed to wearing corsets more than 1-2 hours a day, then two break-in sessions several days in a row may leave you feeling a bit sore. Just remember to pay attention to your body and ease off the corseting if you feel achy.

This is, of course, if you’re seasoning your corset by the Romantasy method (to which I tend to prescribe).  But if you poke around the web, you may be able to find different methods of breaking in your corset. Some of these methods may be as good as the Romantasy method, while others I disagree with. For instance, a number of years ago I saw one person say that one should pull their corset as tight as possible, for as long as bearable, the very first time they put the corset on. I would never personally do this, nor would I condone that others do this. It can result in injury to yourself or damage to the corset.

How do I feel about brides who don’t break in their corsets before their wedding day?

IMO, that would be a very good way to not enjoy your wedding. You’re going to be wearing a new, stiff garment for an essentially all-day event, and you’ll likely be expected to eat, drink bubbly, dance, and entertain people. If you’re not used to wearing a corset and you try to pull something like this, it’s not impossible to get skin issues and bruising, not to mention rib or hip soreness and/or numbness, or an upset stomach. Every once in awhile I get a comment or message from a woman who says, “I only wore a corset once in my life (for my wedding) and it was the most uncomfortable experience ever!” and I inwardly groan because it only contributes to the myth that all corsets must be painful. In reality, these issues are USER ERROR, and if they had just taken the time to get used to the corset (and have the corset get used to you) before the event, all this could have been avoided.

How do I know when my corset is seasoned enough?

Break-in durations vary from corset to corset, and different people also consider their corsets seasoned after different times.  Orchard Corset had mentioned that after wearing one of their satin underbust corsets 5-7 times (which would be perhaps 10-15 hours) it should feel seasoned. On the other end of the spectrum, Contour Corsets says that their corsets are seasoned after 100 or so hours. I try to wear my corset a minimum of 30 hours before I call it seasoned, even if it feels well-seasoned before this time. Tougher corsets may take longer than this to feel seasoned, though.

Although it’s sometimes hard to put this into words, this is a general list of things I look for and feel for:

  • The corset feels as if it’s smoothing around my body and the top/bottom edges are not dramatically flaring away from my body.
  • The corset is more comfortable, warming to my body and becoming softer and less “crispy”.
  • My muscles are not fighting the corset anymore; my body is relaxing and settling into its neutral posture in the corset.
  • My skin doesn’t feel sore or tender, I don’t have any particular areas where the corset is putting considerably more pressure than others (apart from the obvious higher tension at the waistline compared to, say, the hips. What I mean to say is that I don’t feel that one spot on my ribs feels particularly compressed more than another part, or I don’t really feel that the left side of my body is under more restriction than the right side, etc).
  • The corset becomes familiar and welcoming, as opposed to feeling like a restrictive foreign object that I have to fight off. In other words, both the corset and my own muscles become more complacent.

If you would like to see a close-up of how the corset looks on my body (to demonstrate how the seams look wobbly when the corset is off but look straight when the corset is worn), and other changes to the corset after the first 12-ish hours of wear, please see the video (starts at 3:45):

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3rd Day of Corset Seasoning – what to do during corseting?

Today, I’m answering some viewer questions before explaining how I feel after 6-ish hours of breaking in my corset:

Are you supposed to just sit still for two hours and not do anything while you’re breaking in your corset?

No, you don’t have to sit still. You can if you want to, or if you happen to be a pretty sedentary person to begin with. But however active you would like your lifestyle to be when you’re fully corseted, it’s a good idea to start practicing those activities while you’re seasoning your corset, especially if this is your first corset.

When I say “activity” I don’t mean heavy sports, but if you know that you will have to sit down and stand up frequently in your day-to-day life while corseted, then practice doing that while you’re seasoning. If you have to stoop down to pick things off the floor, if you have to do laundry, if you have to perform certain activities for work, then it’s a good idea to get used to those activities while seasoning. Remember that seasoning your corset is not only good for the corset, but it’s a way for you and your corset to become “acquainted” so your movements feel and look more natural while corseted. The corset will also get to “know” your movements, so if it knows that you often lean to one side or stoop and bend in a particular spot, the corset will eventually soften in that spot to accommodate your movements. Whatever I intend to do in my corset when fully laced, I will also do in the corset while seasoning it. The corset will still be receiving some tension as I go through my daily activities, but it will just be less tension compared to when it’s laced fully later on.

However I would advise caution when you’re trying to drive in your corset. When sitting in a car, especially with your corset laced loosely, it may become very easy for the corset to ride up uncomfortably on your ribs and push up your bust (if you have a bust). If you try driving in your corset and you find that you cannot safely and comfortably check your blind spot or perform other important functions, then I would recommend taking off your corset while driving, and then put your corset on again when you get to your destination.

Is there any corset that will last the rest of my life? How long will the very best corset last if I wear it every day?

Some other viewers were slightly surprised when I mentioned that even the best of corsets should be replaced after awhile (if worn on a daily basis, it might have to be replaced every couple of years depending on its construction/quality and how rigorous your regimen is). But the truth of the matter is, you will never find a corset that will last you 50 years if you plan to wear it daily.

A good quality corset may last you perhaps 10,000 hours. If you only wear your corset for a few hours a week (say for weekend cocktail parties) then you may expect your corset to last 20+ years, but if you’re wearing a corset strictly 23/7, then those 10,000 hours may be used up quite quickly; after only about 14 months! Compare this with a cheaper corset that may only last you 1000 hours, or perhaps 6 weeks with rigorous use. What a more expensive corset may provide (in additional to longer wear, but not infinite wear):

  • better fit, allowing the corset to be more comfortable
  • safer training, because the corset is less likely to create pinching or hot spots
  • better quality materials, which often means better support, breathability, and might be more sturdy or more lightweight as you prefer
  • more effective training to POTENTIALLY help you reach your goals faster (please be safe about this, listen to common sense and DON’T rush your body to the point of pain)

Remember also that top quality doesn’t always reflect that a corset is going to last a long time. Some professional ballet dancers may go through their pointe shoes in a week or so (I had mentioned 3 months but perhaps that’s just for casual students).

How I feel in the corset today:

The corset is beginning to gently cup and contour around my ribs today, and somewhat hook underneath my ribcage to prevent it from uncomfortably riding up. Contrary to how it might sound, having a corset hook under the ribs actually makes it MORE comfortable, not less.

When I first donned this corset, I mostly felt the corset applying pressure to the oblique muscles, but today I feel more pressure or tension on my lumbar area – this is probably the next area of the corset that needs to be softened, so the back panels can properly fit the natural lordosis of my lower spine.

You can see the changes to the corset in my video for the 3rd day (starts at 4:18):

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2nd day of Corset Seasoning

Today I discuss what factors affect how quickly and easily a corset is seasoned. Some corsets might only take a few days to feel comfortable on your body, while others take weeks (or even over a month!) to feel like a 2nd skin. Some of these factors that affect the seasoning time include:

  • What you’re wearing with the corset – thicker sweaters under the corset will obviously create more bulk and keep you from lacing down as much. If you insist on wearing a bulky shirt under your corset, then take your measurement of your natural waist overtop of the sweater (the shirt can sometimes add an inch or more of girth to your waist) and still only cinch down about 2 inches less than that (not 2 inches less than your “bare waist” natural measurement, as that will be more reduction overall and more tension on your corset).
  • The time of day or month might affect how much you can cinch down and how comfortable the corset feels. I can cinch more in the morning but less at night. I can cinch more right after my period, but the week before and during my period corsets are less comfortable than usual. (Note they are never painful, simply less comfortable – the same way blue jeans are less comfortable than yoga pants, but they’re still okay on a general level). Obviously a corset is more comfortable on an empty stomach (or after a light snack) compared to right after a big meal.
  • Some corsets are thicker/more heavy-duty than others, which may mean they take longer to soften, conform to your body and break in compared to lightweight corsets.
  • Corsets of different silhouettes can also be more comfortable or less comfortable/ compatible with your body, and take longer to get used to. Extreme hourglass corsets with a cupped ribcage are easier for me to break in and cinch down in, compared to wasp-waist/conical ribcage style corsets. Also, overbust corsets take longer for me to break in compared to underbust corsets, generally.

If you buy all your corsets from the same maker, you might be able to predict how your body responds and how  your new corset breaks in over time. There is nothing wrong with staying with the same maker – you can build rapport with that maker and develop a good business relationship, and they will know your lacing habits and be aware of issues with your body if they arise over time, so they know how to draft a truly well-fitted corset for you each time you need a new piece. But if you purchase many corsets from different makers like I do, don’t expect all corsets to behave or break in the same way, and also don’t expect the same results from your own body! Above all, patience is key.

See my video for my comments on how the corset is starting to conform to my body and how the structure of the corset is changing slightly as I wear it in more:

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Break in (season) my corset with me!

Back in December 2010, I made a video on seasoning (breaking in) your corset, how this is done, and why seasoning is important. I’ve been seasoning my corsets this way ever since one unfortunate situation early on in my journey wherein I put on a corset for the 2nd time without seasoning it and ended up ripping a seam from one violent sneeze (my sneezes are not ladylike).

Ever since I started seasoning my corsets as per the Romantasy guidelines, I have never had that situation happen again – so I have reason to believe that it works, and there is a purpose behind this.

There are a few reasons that I decided to revisit this topic…

  1. Many people have seen my previous corset seasoning video but still don’t fully understand the process, and don’t know what is normal wear and what isn’t.
  2. Too many people are writing  and complaining to me about problems with their corset quality and/or how they feel uncomfortable, when the only problem is that they’re wearing the corset too tight, too quickly. It’s possible that they haven’t seen my first break-in video or that they have simply ignored the advice.
  3. Ann Grogan (owner of Romantasy) recently released an excellent article on her blog regarding assessing the fit of one’s custom made corset upon first wearing. Read it here!

It’s been a few years since I learned this seasoning technique, and since then I’ve seasoned over 70 corsets – each corset has been slightly different whether in cut, size, silhouette, material, construction methods, etc.
Each corset taught me a little more about the properties of corsets/garments in general, and also helped me learn a little more about how my own body works.

So I’m willing to make a step-by-step guide on the seasoning process – each day I’ll likely report how the corset feels as we become acquainted, as well as document any changes to the appearance of the corset (both on and off my body) – that way I’ll be able to show you what experiences and feelings are normal from a physical standpoint, and what kind of wear to the corset over time is typical (from those that I’ve owned). As I go through each day (or set of days), I will also be able to discuss important related issues or answer any FAQ that pop into my memory. Sound good?

In this introductory video I talk about the reasons behind seasoning, why it’s important for both YOUR HEALTH and your corset, and what sort of things to avoid as you begin the seasoning process: