Posted on 8 Comments

Wearing Corsets with a Stoma – Interview with Kitty

Kitty is a writer based in Canada, who runs the site Girly-Girl’s Ileostomy Blog – a no-nonsense explanation of life with an Ileostomy, as told by a foul-mouthed individual with no shame

Last year I received several questions from viewers wondering if it’s safe to wear a corset if one has an ileostomy. Having no personal experience, I asked around. One helpful follower then introduced me to Kitty’s blog, and to my surprise I also found that there were a few different corsetieres who specialize in making corsets for ileostomates.

I love Kitty’s candor, and found it fascinating that she is not only able to wear corsets with her ostomy, but also that her corset is used for stabilizing her hepaptosis (floating liver) and scoliosis. Her posts on corsetry can be found here and here. I asked if she would be willing to share a bit more of her personal experience on my blog, and she graciously agreed.

(Please note that this is in context of an ileostomy only, and may not work the exact same way for other types of stomas. If you have a stoma and would like to wear a corset, please speak with your doctor!)


 

When did you take an interest in corsets? Was it merely aesthetic, or was there something else to it as well?

Kitty: I first became interested in corsets as a young girl. They resembled my TLSO backbrace I wore for ten years to stop my spine from curving any more with scoliosis, except they were beautiful–a celebration of the female shape instead of the hard plastic ugly shape I had been fitted for at the Children’s Hospital.

Are your doctors okay with you wearing a corset? Did any of them have objections due to negative myths?

Kitty: One of the doctors I had in British Columbia actually signed papers saying I needed a corset for my back, but stupid me, I never got around to fighting that out with the insurance company.

You had experience with back bracing when you were younger – many of my viewers/ readers have scoliosis, and some have said that they worry that wearing a corset might trigger unpleasant memories of being braced. In your experience, how does a corset differ from the back brace (comfort-wise, aesthetically or otherwise)?

Kitty: Ah, silly me,  I already answered about the back-brace. It was a very unpleasant time being braced and physically and emotionally bullied by both teachers and my peers, but it really has no bearing on me now. I have gotten the perspective of years behind me, and to take that thick plastic foot-ball players’ uniform compared to my delicate corset–well, there really is no comparison.

How did you go about finding a corsetiere who was comfortable making the proper accommodations for your medical needs (e.g. asymmetric construction for scoliosis, access to your ileostomy, ensuring that your organs were properly positioned with the right silhouette and reduction)?

Kitty: I was fortunate enough to live near the same corsetiere as Dita Von Teese goes to–it is called Lace Embrace in Vancouver, British Columbia, and I found it quite by accident while searching for such on the internet.

How is your corset made differently to standard corsets? Are you able to access and change your ostomy bag easily? Does the corset prevent your bag from filling properly and create discomfort or bloating?

Kitty in her custom peach underbust Corset from Lace Embrace Atelier, which offers back support, lifts the stomach and liver, and features a concealed flap to access her bag.
Kitty in her custom peach underbust Corset from Lace Embrace Atelier, which offers back support, lifts the stomach and liver, and features a concealed flap to access her bag.

Kitty: My corset has a side panel that flows smoothly over my ileostomy bag, that I can simply unhook whenever I need to dump my bag. The bones were also removed from that section, though you couldn’t tell if you looked at it, which was the point.

I have suffered no ill-effects of my corset, I have even slept in my corset. I just have my normal bag on, and fit the corset over it easily, tie it up, and I am ready to go.

You mentioned in your blog that you have issues with your ligaments, and the corset helps keep your liver from dropping. How does that condition affect your daily quality of life (is it painful or nauseating), and how does the corset help?

Kitty: With the corset, it lifts up both my stomach and liver which otherwise float a bit inside of my abdominal cavity.

One of the concerns I’ve heard regarding stomas is the risk of hernias. Was the extra pressure from a corset a concern for you in this situation – or do you think that the specific application of pressure on your abdomen by the corset would help to prevent such a hernia from occurring?

Kitty: Because I tie it correctly, my organs are not being pushed down to the bottom of the corset, but lifted, and I have never felt like my stomach was bulging or that I might be getting a hernia. The corset lifts pressure from that area and transfers it up to my rib-cage.

Were there any drawbacks you found to wearing a corset?

Kitty: The only drawback is you will need someone to help you tie it up until you get a hang of it yourself! I still have yet to do it alone!

Were there any other unexpected benefits that you discovered from wearing the corset – either physically or emotionally?

Kitty: Of course the benefit is a sexy silhouette, you always have grand posture, and you feel pretty darn good doing so :)

What advice can you give to others who have an ostomy and are looking into corsets (either for fashion or for therapeutic purposes)?

Kitty: For ileostomates: dont be afraid to try on or wear corsets. if you buy one already made, have the seller make a snap-panel over your bag area so you can let that bugger breathe and do what it does best. Eat as you normally would, but more grazing during the day and avoiding dumping one big meal all at once into your stomach.
I chose a corset in a pale peach so it would go under all of my clothing, but that is a personal choice–it’s up to you!
<3 Kitty

Huge thanks to Kitty for sharing her experience with us! If you’d like to read more about Kitty’s custom corset from Lace Embrace, here’s her post on her fitting appointment, and here’s her post on her finished corset.

 

Posted on 5 Comments

Where to buy Overbust Corsets – Full Bust Edition

Note that this post is a copy of the same one under the “Research Corset Brands –> Guided Galleries” menu. It is part of a collection of articles to help corset enthusiasts shop more wisely.

Most off-the-rack corsets cater only to relatively small-busted corseters, and it can be difficult to find a standard corset that fits D+ cups.* If your bust size is over about an F cup then it is almost impossible to find a standard sized corset to lift, support and cover your bust appropriately. The ideal overbust corset (in my opinion) should fully encompass the breast tissue and prevent you from spilling over or popping out of the corset. It should also give your bust a moderate lift, but not flatten the breasts like pancakes and not push up the breasts so high that it creates a chin rest.

It’s almost guaranteed that you will need to find a custom overbust to cover and flatter your bust, and not every corsetiere is experienced in fitting overbusts for top-heavy women. A well-fitted overbust can be quite healthy for women with large or heavy breasts, as it takes considerable pressure off the neck, shoulders and upper back by supporting the bust from below, as opposed to having shoulder straps from bras cutting into the flesh. Some medical professionals have recommended overbust corsets as part of treatment/ prevention of thoracic outlet syndrome and torn scalene muscles from heavy breasts.

While it’s the best situation to have a corsetiere give you an in-person mockup fitting (or several) to ensure the best outcome possible, not everyone has a corsetiere living closeby. (To check if you have any corsetieres in your vicinity, see my Corsetiere Map.) The next best thing is to find a corsetiere online who is experienced at fitting large busts. The following is a non-exhaustive list of corsetieres that I’ve found to give beautiful bust shaping for larger cup sizes in conventional (non-cupped) overbusts. If you’re interested in cupped overbusts, I have a separate gallery here.

What Katie Did Storm overbust, £180

There is only one OTR corset I have tested that’s suitable for larger cup sizes: What Katie Did keeps the Storm overbust in stock in black satin. Drafted specifically for cup sizes D-F, it is the only OTR conventional corset I’ve personally tried that didn’t flatten my bust and made me feel safe against any “boobling out”. In addition to the Storm overbust, WKD can also make their Laurie and Sophia corsets to suit larger cup sizes, with a 4-week turnaround.

Eikhell Edwardian overbust "1901", €420 for made-to-measure
Eikhell Edwardian overbust “1901”, €420 for made-to-measure

Eikhell wrote the manual on supporting large busts – literally! Isabelle, the corsetiere behind Eikhell, has written a two-part instructional article on Foundations Revealed, showing other corsetieres how to fit and support heavy busts with overbust corsets. The first article is available to read for free – the 1901 overbust however, is €420 (about $570) for a custom fit.

jupiter_moon_3_overbust
Jupiter Moon 3 custom overbust (modelled by Beth), starts at $200

Jupiter Moon 3 is incredibly talented at making corsets for all shapes and sizes, and she does not shy away from ample-busted clientele. Jennifer has said that the overbust corset shown above in 2011 was the most custom overbust she has ever made, and she’s won the respect of top-heavy women everywhere. Her bare-bones made-to-measure overbust corsets start at $200 and she offers a huge number of upgrades and further customization in styles.

Angela Friedman overbust, $555 for semi-custom

New York designer Angela Friedman makes magic with her beautifully supportive overbusts for the fuller-busted. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then you can see that the many panels running down the front of  her custom-fit corsets work to create a superbly smooth, highly-customized overbust with a round bust shape – no excessive push-up, no flattening of the bust and no tissue spillover.

Bespoke Victorian lattice demibust recreation by L’Atelier de LaFleur (modelled by Mina herself), starts at $500

Certainly not your typical plain overbust: Mina LaFleur made waves with this historical recreation of a traditional Victorian overbust. Historical overbusts are not usually overbusts in the sense that we think of them; they’re actually closer to demibust (half-covering the breast) with a chemise worn underneath to cover the rest of the chest. Mina slightly altered the pattern to curve a little more over the breast and prevent flattening or spillage. As a large-busted corset-wearer herself, she understands the need for a comfortable and flattering overbust. Her bespoke overbusts start at just $500 including toile fitting.

Crikey Aphrodite “Hera” gored overbust corset, starts at £350 (Photo: Louise Cantwell, Model: Francesca Dunn)

What’s not to love about this Hera overbust by Crikey Aphrodite? Alison, the owner of Crikey Aphrodite, has worked as a professional bra-fitter for years – knowledge that she’s expertly incorporated into her characteristic gored overbust corsets made especially for fuller busts, creating a superb lifted and rounded bust area. This overbust starts at £350 which includes a toile fitting.

Totally Waisted! robin's egg overbust from 2011
Totally Waisted! Robin’s egg overbust

This robin’s egg blue overbust from Totally Waisted! Corsetry is an exquisitely shaped piece from early 2011. The curve around the bust combined with the external boning channels and delicate flossing makes for a soft, feminine piece that still effectively shapes and controls curves. Kate is knowledgeable in fitting both fuller busts and smaller busts, and she takes commissions for custom overbusts through Etsy.

Purple patent leather overbust by Atelier Sylphe Corsets
Purple patent leather overbust by Atelier Sylphe Corsets

This avant-garde purple overbust was created by Joëlle at Atelier Sylphe Corsets for Alina, the lead singer of Markize. It’s designed for a fuller cup size and wider hip spring and features a plunge neckline while still keeping the bust fully covered. The majority of the corsets sold through Atelier Sylphe are special one-off samples, but do contact Joëlle directly if you’re interested in a custom commission.

Corsets & More custom overbust corset, starts at €340
Corsets & More custom overbust corset, starts at €340

Whatever your shape, size, corseting experience, age or gender, Doris Müller will create a corset to shape and flatter – large busts are no challenge to her. To be truthful, I can’t believe I’ve gone so long without knowing about Corsets and More, as Doris excels in nearly every style of corset. The overbust featured above combines a modest sweetheart bustline that effectively covers the entire cup, while still accentuating a tiny waist and impressive hipspring – and beautifully mirror-matching the stripes to create perfect chevrons down the center front.

Electra Designs
Electra Designs overbust modelled by Bride Stephanie

More stripes! Electra Designs is also accomplished in making sweetheart overbust corsets that lifts the bust to a natural level, with cups that round over the breast to keep the bust in place while looking both attractive yet tasteful. With a custom corset, the bustline can be raised to show almost no cleavage, or lowered to expose more of the décolletage while still feeling safe and secure in your corset.

Other corsetieres who can accommodate full-busted clients include:

*Please note that D+ cups are generally regarded as “fuller” cup sizes, but whether an individual can fit into a standard overbust corset obviously depends on the band size. I have not personally tried every corset brand in this list, nor do I necessarily endorse every company featured in my Guided Galleries. This is for informational purposes only. Please visit your doctor if you would like to start corseting for any reason, and especially if you are searching for an overbust for medical purposes.

If you enjoyed this article, perhaps you would also like the Guide for Cupped Overbust Corsets.