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.
Rather than an hourglass silhouette, some people prefer their corsets to give them a more conical, tapered ribcage like what was so popular around the 1950’s New Look era. A human’s floating ribs (the 11th and 12th ribs) often have flexible joints, and they’re designed to swing in and out like a hinge with each breath you take. It is also possible for some individuals to train their ribs to be pushed inward, so they have a slightly tapered ribcage with or without the corset on. There are arguably over 100 different makers who can cater to the conical ribcage to give that 50’s “wasp waist” look, but I will just show some of my personal favourites, and some particularly impressive corsets that I’ve found to give this shape.
As mentioned before, different ‘schools’ of corsetry have different definitions for silhouettes. I was first introduced to this style as the “wasp waist” silhouette, as rib shaping is often more demanding to wear compared to more rounded hourglass silhouettes. Others may call this the conical silhouette, or the ice-cream cone silhouette – so when purchasing a corset, do clarify what kind of silhouette you’re looking for.
I’m pleased to announce that a new Guided Gallery is now up! Gentlemen wear corsets too, but sometimes it can be difficult to find a corset that both cinches the waist and maintains a stereotypically masculine silhouette. In the new gallery, Corsets for Men, you’ll find nearly 40 makers who cater to this specifically.
Note that this is a duplicate of the permanent page in my Guided Galleries – please refer to the other article to ensure that the article is up-to-date with the latest selections and prices.
Let’s face it: while many people can get away with standard-sized corsets, it’s really not a realistic case of one-size-fits-all. What if you’re very tall, very short-waisted, or very pear-shaped? What if you 100% know that no OTR will fit you correctly, but you’re still looking for an inexpensive gateway corset that will fit you properly? Here are a few makers that offer custom-fit corsets for $200 or less. Also see my other article, “cinchers under $200” to see some other brands not mentioned here.
*Caveat emptor: These corsets are made-to-measure, but this does not necessarily imply that they’re all suitable for waist training/ daily wear. Also this list is especially subject to change; it’s the nature of business that as demand rises for a product, prices increase as well.
MystiC City Corsets is a brand sold almost exclusively through Ebay for several years, but just this year has been making big waves. They offer several ready-to-wear styles and fabrics from cotton coutil to leather and PVC, but if you PM the owner, Sylwia, she can accept made-to-measure requests on a case-by-case basis. Due to the high demand of her corsets, it may take several months to receive a custom-fit piece, but her clients mention that the product is well worth the wait and the price.
Heavenly Corsets has two different lines of corsets: standard-spec (for occasional use and special events) and waist-training (for 23/7 tightlacing and intense wear). Elle’s made-to-measure standard-spec underbust corsets are suited for 4″ reductions and available in hourglass or wasp-waist silhouettes, which range between $145 – $190.
Meschantes Corsetry‘s underbust corsets range from $160 – $195 starting price, and are made-to-measure in your choice of one of hundreds of different fabrics/colours. Be aware that their Etsy store is more for their standard-sized corsets though, so be sure that you go for “made-to-measure” and not the listings that just say “in your size”.
SnowBlack Corsets from Poland makes beautiful made-to-measure underbust corsets for only $190. Shown here in black with painstakingly tidy red contrast stitching, the corded, gored hips are especially good for controlling hip-wrinkles and offers a dramatic, wide hip spring. Marta can also make this in other colour combinations if you prefer.
Jupiter Moon 3 has been in business since 2001, and it’s not hyperbole to estimate that she has made well over 1000 corsets. She continues to make fun corsets at incredibly competitive prices; her made-to-measure underbust corsets start from just $180 and she offers a huge selection of style upgrades.
*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; please email any of the above makers to learn more about their made-to-measure corsets.
Waist cinchers are short corsets, usually cut high over the hip and in some cases stop a couple inches below the underbust line. I usually measure cinchers by the height of the side seam – if it’s 8″ or less on the side, it may fall into the “cincher” range, and most cinchers are 6-7″ high (although I have seen cinchers or ‘waspies’ as short as 4″ on the side!).
Those with shorter waists (or who are short of stature) may wear a cincher and have it fit like a full-length corset, so petite women can save money on waist training by purchasing a made-to-measure cincher, so it fits her body perfectly. A cincher can also accentuate outfits as a wide belt on those with longer waists. There is one caveat though; many companies don’t make cinchers in larger sizes as they don’t provide any support for soft and low-hanging tummies. The following corsetieres and businesses deliver curves in a teeny package.
SnowBlack Corsets is another underrated corsetiere, although Marta’s designs have been featured many times in Polish alt fashion magazines. She offers custom-fit cinchers with a maximum side length of 18cm (7″), finished in raw silk for only $170.
Orchard Corset has taken the OTR corset industry by storm due to their curviness and affordability. Their CS-301 waspie (mini-corset) has a front length of 8″ and a size length of 7″ and is offered in sizes 16″ up to 46″ (they recommend natural waists up to 54″). Be sure to use the code CORSETLUCY to save 10% off any purchase for an even better deal.
Isabella Corsetry offers incredibly curvy ready-to-wear cinchers made in the USA. She offers novelty prints, like the Octopus Classic Cincher above, or more conventional designs like floral and pinstripe in sizes up to 36″ (for waists up to 41″). Isabella holds constant sales where you can sometimes catch cinchers for as low as $95.
Aranea Black is a one-woman corset company in Croatia whose creations are underrated. She offers this curvy made-to-measure waspie/ cincher for only $150 on Etsy, made with closed front and your choice of coutil, spot broche or floral broche.
Morgana Femme Couture makes a beautiful and simple made-to-order silk dupion cincher for £95 (about $150). It’s only 6″ on the side seam and is offered in 19 different colours of silk. The only caveat is that they’re only offered in sizes 18-24 (they recommend up to 28″ waist).
Meschantes Corsetry offers two shorter-style corsets, both made-to-measure: the Mischief corset (shown above) or the Etoile corset which is more pointed. These corsets start at $160, but if you check their Etsy shop, they often have ready-to-wear Etoile cinchers for as low as $99.
Sugarkitty Corsetsoffers the tiniest waist cincher I’ve ever seen. The front and back of the corset are around 7″ high, and the side seams are incredibly short (likely 4-5 inches). It’s still made curvy to nip in the waist and is offered in standard sizes up to 32″ (natural waists up to 36″). Please note that Sugarkitty is only offering custom corsets up till the end of 2013.
Heavenly Corsets‘ newest addition is the Bébé corset, which is less than 7″ high. For £120 (about $190) it is made-to-measure, and Elle guarantees that it will hold up to even 23/7 tightlacing/ waist training. Elle recommends a maximum natural waist of 32″ for this corset.
If you can stretch your budget a bit more…
Pop Antique‘s Bombshell waspie is so close to $200 that it may as well be up in the other section! Marianne’s super curvy and fun waspie for $205 is standard-sized but will fit most figures like it was made-to-measure. It’s sure to liven any outfit, and can be upgraded with a front closure for $50.
Madame Sher offers this breezy mesh cincher for a cool $220. This custom-fit cincher is perfect for summer days and hot climates, and with a side seam of a bit over 8″, it should fit most body types. As Madame Sher’s corsets are made-to-measure, the range of sizes is unknown.
Where would we be without WKD? I wouldn’t feel right not mentioning What Katie Did‘s Baby corset, even though it’s a little over the $200 budget. At only 7″ high and boasting at least 10″ hip spring, this is the curviest of OTR cinchers (it’s patterned from their famous Morticia underbust!). It’s made up to size 34″ (may fit natural waists up to ~40″).
*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.
This entry is a summary of the review video “Heavenly Corsets “Wasp-Waist” Training Underbust Review”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:
Note: the following are the differences between the “standard” wasp-waist corset and the “training” wasp-waist corset:
Always made in coutil, with an inner layer of twill, and a cotton lining layer
Either a layer of outer fabric (unless coutil) with an inner layer of twill and cotton lining layer OR if you chose coutil, a single layer of coutil and a cotton lining layer
double boning throughout
6 fewer bones than the trainer
wide solid steel busk
standard steel busk
And here is my review:
Dramatic curves, “wasp-waisted”. This is a longline corset coming over my hips. The center front is 12” high. Measurements (both circumference and vertical) were taken to fit my body; quite comfortable with no pinching. One issue with the bones in the back bowing outwards and twisting so creates a gap at the waistline.
3 main layers. The outer fashion fabric is red satin coutil, twill interlining and lightweight cotton lining inside.
6-panel pattern. It looks as though the coutil panels were lock-stitched (stitched twice) at the seams, the allowances were pressed open and zigzag stitched again. (Some people may not find this aesthetic but if it makes for a strong corset then I don’t mind.) Bones are sandwiched between the satin coutil and the twill, and the cotton lining is primarily floating.
The binding at top and bottom are made out of commercial red satin bias tape machine stitched on both sides; it’s folded under and stitched in the front and then topstitched to catch the back.
1” wide twill tape between the lining and the twill interlining. Stitched down horizontally across all the panels of the lining (so is not invisible but still cannot be felt).
Unboned modesty panel, 4.5 inches wide made from satin coul on the outside and lightweight cotton on the underside. No placket beneath the busk. (I would have preferred a slightly wider panel.)
A heavy duty busk, 1” wide on each side, with 5 pins, it’s quite stiff and it’s 11” long.
22 steel bones in this corset not including the center front, ALL flat bones. The seams between the panels are double-boned (except the seam closest to the busk) with 3/8 inch wide flats (slightly wider than ¼”), but on the outer edge of the grommets in the back those bones are ½” wide flats.
There are 20 2-part size #00 eyelets (10 on each side). They have a medium flange around and are spaced out 1¼ inches apart. I would prefer for them to be spaced closer together and there be more of them, but functionally they’re sound; no pulling away or fraying of the fabric. On the underside there are no splits.
¼” wide flat braided cotton laces, NOT nylon. They’re easy to pull and they grip well, not much wear so far. Cotton laces are sometimes prone to snapping so should be replaced more often, however I’ve had this corset for about 9 months and haven’t had to change the laces yet.
Currently £160 ($250) for the 23/7 waist training wasp-waist corset, or £120 ($185) for the non-training wasp-waist corset.
I received a mixed reaction from this review. A few previous customers of Elle came forward and told me that they didn’t like certain aspects about this style of corset, such as a wobbly stitch line here or there, or the fact that she uses all spring steel bones. I put all this into perspective. Back in 2012, I hadn’t found a more affordable 23/7 training piece, and the materials used (including English coutil) are quite high quality. From what I can see, the primary stitch lines (the straight ones, holding the panels together) are straight and even, and although the zig-zag stitching (which is technically the 3rd stitch on each panel) does veer a bit and is not aesthetically pleasring, it still serves its purpose – to further reinforce the panels together. At that point in the construction process, it has no effect on the overall shape or measurement of the corset.
This did not come as a surprise to me, because I asked Elle a thousand questions before I ordered (and she was quite patient with me every time). The purpose of this corset (for me) wasn’t meant to be pretty or be shown off on a regular basis, it was meant to be strong.
Edit December 2014:
It’s been about 4 years since I ordered this corset, and nearly 3 years since the review – truthfully, I had forgotten about this corset review until recent events brought it back to my attention. How did my corset hold up? The seams remained strong and none of the bones wore through their channels, but the very flexible bones in the back by the grommets became annoying, so I ended up switching them out for stronger (but more narrow) 5.5mm steels from Vena Cava. I also added more grommets between the pre-existing ones in the back of the corset for better control (the size #00 self-piercing grommets that fit the C-Step 2 machine are a decent match), and changed the lacing style. This was the only issue I experienced with my corset. However, other clients of Elle have had different experiences than myself, and I encourage you to read some of the comments below so you can gain a balanced view before deciding.