Tag Archive: ootd

OOTD with Corset: Edwardian-Inspired High-Waisted Skirt

This past spring I went shopping at Value Village (and my mom found a few cute things at Ross during her last visit to the US) and I was able to throw together a cute work-appropriate outfit that allows you to show off your cinched waist without exposing your corset.

The best part is the outfit cost a total of $25 CAD (less than $19 USD), including the shoes (which were new, but still donated to Value Village).

Edwardian high waisted skirt and ruffled blouse, circa 1916.

Edwardian high waisted skirt and ruffled blouse, circa 1916.

The ruffled, key-hole neckline blouse ($12) will look familiar to many of you, because it’s HeartSoul brand which Ross always stocks. I love this blouse and have it in half a dozen colors! If the neckline is not appropriate for your workplace, you can switch it out with a shirt with a higher neckline.

The charcoal grey high waisted pencil skirt ($4 during VV’s 50% sale) extended from underbust to just below the knee, and has a kick-pleat in the back. If it were a little longer and fuller, it would be very reminiscent of the skirts that were so popular in the Edwardian period (c. 1916). A few corsetieres today even make corset dresses or corset skirts, where the corset is built into the garment itself.

But for my outfit today, the skirt itself is slightly elastic and fits nicely with or without a corset underneath. If I wanted to wear a corset with a more dramatic waist reduction, I could probably use a cinch clip in the back to make the skirt fit more closely over the corset, and then hide the clip in the back with my hair or a blazer.

The great thing about the high waisted skirt is that it’s high enough to completely cover my corset (the CS-411 mesh in this case) and I can use my blouse as my corset liner. This allows me to skip having an additional layer of clothing under my shirt – which was particularly fantastic the day I recorded this video, because we had an unusual heat wave that week!

Dat Booty. (American Duchess Edwardian Manhattan Boots)

I paired my outfit with a pair of black faux suede shoes with a genuine 4-inch stiletto heel ($9 during VV’s 50% sale), which brought my whole outfit to $25 CAD (not including the corset). Of course, if I wanted to go full Edwardian, I’d probably invest in some practical booties, probably from American Duchess.

Some critics say that this was a popular look in the 1980s, to which I respond that history repeats itself – the 80s took inspiration from the 1910s and the 1950s, so we’re just about due for the next cycle!

What do you think of the high-waisted look? Leave a comment below!

OOTD: Cinch Clips to Accentuate your Corseted Figure

If you don’t want to permanently tailor your clothing to contour over your corseted waist, but you still want to show off your hourglass figure, what can you do?

Wearing my Contour Corset under my sweater tunic and toddler belt.

Wearing my Contour Corset under my sweater tunic and toddler belt.

In a previous video I discussed belted fashions (that belt was originally made for a toddler, by the way – waist size 20 inches up to 25 inches), but if you are concerned that a belt would cause too much friction and damage a delicate fashion fabric of your corset, you can try cinch clips as an alternative (also called dress clips or jacket clips). Check Etsy, they come in a myriad of colors, and you can get them ruched or flat, with silver clips or gold.

My friend Zessinna crochets adorable roses and bows to conceal cinch clips – check out her Etsy shop here if you have the time!

The cinch clips can be hidden by a cardigan or jacket (or in my case, my long hair!) if you don’t like the look of it. Alternatively, with a little bit of fiddling to make the creases look tidy, you can theoretically cinch your shirt from the underside so the clip doesn’t show! But you can try a more decorative cinch clip like the one below from Amazon if you want to show it off.

Watch the video above to see how the cinch clips transform my look in several different outfits!

H/T to Gabrielle for her great cinch clip solution!

amazon-filigree-cinch-clip

Cardigan Clip: Silver Antiqued Swirls with Crystals. Photo courtesy of Amazon affiliate.

 

OOTD: Combining Dark-Side Panel Dress with Corsetry

I’m usually one to eschew the color-blocking in favor of some good old-fashioned monochrome, but I had never denied that some sneaky dark side-panel ensembles helped create a slimming figure. (I still remember back in 1999 when Victoria Beckham wore a slimming outfit onstage to camouflage her baby-bump.) More recently, the fashion piqued my interest when I saw Kate Winslet wearing this Stella McCartney dress – and I was curious as to how this style would work with a corset underneath.

Kate Winslet for Stella McCartney. Photo: Getty

Sourcing out a budget-version of the dress that was willing to ship to Canada, I decided to grab one in my “natural” size instead of my cinched size, in case I wanted to wear this dress sans-corset. When I received the dress, I realized that it was a stretchy cotton knit and I could have taken a size down. In the video you can see me play around with the dress, wearing it as intended, with a belt, and also quickly taken in at the waist to fit closer to my corset.

As it turns out, a fitted, contoured dress over a corset makes for pretty insane eye-trickery (especially when I wear my hair down and you can’t quite distinguish my dark hair from the dark side panels of the dress. Suffice it to say, this dress is staying in my wardrobe – and I may even reconsider my stance on color-blocking, and source out more fun “dark-side” shirts and dresses for my wardrobe. I will be making another video in the near future about how to avoid the pesky “corset crotch point” underneath fitted dresses, though!

What do you think about the “dark side” dress? Would you wear it with your corset?

OOTD/ Dressing with your Corset – Belted fashions

Fashion is kind of interesting. When I pair my corsets with modern clothing (especially wearing my corset overtop of modern clothes), many people think it looks out of place, and that my waist looks unusual or too dramatic. However, when I wear my corset under New Look style dresses, people think my outfit is amazing – my small waist doesn’t look out of place at all.

I have asked some people why they thought women of the 50’s are a different shape that they are today, a few of them told me that they simply thought the silhouette was due to an illusion in the dress, or that women simply were  naturally shaped differently back then.

While people did have a different standard of living 60 years ago, I assure you that this is not enough time for the human body to evolve with a completely different body shape.

In any sense, if you would like to accentuate your corseted silhouette without showing off the corset itself, and you don’t have access to vintage outfits (or simply don’t like them), consider accessorizing your sweaters, tunics and dresses with belts and sashes.

In the video below, I show how a simple toddler’s belt can dramatically change the shape of one of my old sweaters, and also show what kind of belted and sashed dresses I look for when I’m going 2nd-hand shopping.

If you like making your own clothing, consider some dresses with built-in sashes, such as Simplicity 9891 (which is actually a Halloween costume, but you get the idea. It can be easily modified to make an acceptable ‘everyday’ dress).

Enjoy!

Whirling Turban Wing Bust, Sarong Skirt Dress!

This is a very special OOTD episode, where I feature a lovely vintage reproduction dress made by Whirling Turban. I was introduced to Whirling Turban’s products via Ashley of “Lisa Freemont Street”, fellow vlogger on Youtube and blogger. (Ashley is also a full-time mom and an integral part of the Whirling Turban team, in addition to a few other jobs – and manages to look fabulous doing it all! She’s a modern Superwoman.)

If you would rather watch and listen than read, feel free to watch the video below (lots of eyecandy!).

Many people know me for my detailed corset reviews, but it wasn’t until I got my vintage dresses last year that I really started paying attention to the quality of the rest of my wardrobe. When a garment (corset or otherwise) is made with care, attention, time and skill, it really shows. And it may cost a tad more (for instance, the standard size wingbust dress on WT starts at $235), but I consider this a very fair investment considering it makes me feel like a million bucks.

This dress is adjustable in several ways – its flexible wing bust allows the wearer to flip the ‘wings’ up into cheeky points to conceal the contrast fabric, or to curve the wings down for a softer look and to expose more of the contrast. The dress also comes with a halter strap which matches the contrast, a halter strap which matches the main fabric of the dress (whichever color you like, since there are 9 colors of sharkskin to choose from), and these straps can be interchanged/ adjusted in length using two pairs of small buttons on the inside of the bust.

You can also wear it strapless, and the lightly boned bodice will keep the dress from falling down on you. The light boning and the shirring both keep the bodice wonderfully smooth instead of shifting or bunching. However, this bodice is not designed to nip you in at the waist, so WT recommends wearing a corset underneath to give you a period-accurate silhouette. In my video ab0ve, you can see me model the dress first with my What Katie Did Morticia underbust, and then with my Versatile Corsets Mimosa overbust, so you can see the difference that your foundation wear makes in silhouette.

The sarong skirt is attached to the bodice, and flares out dramatically from the waistline to accentuate full, feminine hips. There are several neat pleats in the front which would nicely conceal any lower tummy pudge; and otherwise add to the very 50’s-accurate profile. I chose my skirt to end about one inch lower than the fullest part of my calf, which gives a slight leg-lengthening illusion. The sarong is a kind of wiggle skirt, and hugs my legs in a flattering yet non-restrictive manner, as the slit between the two overlapping panels of fabric in the front accommodate any extra room you may need to climb a steep set of stairs, or to quickly sidestep your manic puppy. (Both happen frequently, in my case.) A lovely casual tie on the side of the hip, like an understated bow, finishes off the look and provides very minor adjustment in the hips.

The more I look at the dress, the more details pop out at me. Not one aspect of this dress was constructed without some sort of consideration for the wearer. The material is 100% cotton, which drapes beautifully and is a dream to wear, as it doesn’t cause sweating, itching, static cling, etc. The wings on the bustline are meticulously pressed and sewn into crisp edges; the shirring is symmetric on both sides of the bodice; the clothestag is concealed and prevented from poking into my back; the matching colored zipper is cleanly inserted and doesn’t catch; and even the interfacing is sew-in instead of fusible. One of the most important features is the pinked edges, which provide a non-bulky way to prevent fraying and unraveling of seams.

If this post sounds like I’m waxing poetic about the work of Whirling Turban… it’s because I might be! Looking at the craftsmanship of this dress, I’m tempted to get rid of many of my worn-too-quickly $15 eco t-shirts and start to take more pride in the way I dress on a regular basis.

If you would like to see Whirling Turban’s selections, feel free to visit their site here.

Using Corsets for a 1950’s “New Look” Accurate Silhouette

Earlier today I posted an “OOTD” video, showing that the right undergarments can make all the difference when trying to dress in a period-accurate manner.

If I could show you the difference of the fit of these dresses with and without a corset, I would – alas, I couldn’t get either of them zipped up without a corset. The little black wiggle dress has a 24″ waist, the blue dress has just under a 25″ waist. I have a natural 27″ waist – close, but no cigar.

After reading Sarah Chrisman’s bookWaisted Curves…” and remembering what she said about the subtle lessons we can learn from studying and wearing vintage clothing, I decided to pay more attention to my own posture and behavior while wearing these dresses.

The Little Black (Wiggle) Dress (LBWD?)

This is a sophisticated little number. By modern standards, it’s very conservative (covers much more skin than most cocktail dresses available today) but there’s something alluring about it. The dramatic dip in the waist is unexpected to most people today, and the bodice of the dress will not be having any self-deprecating pose from me. The width of the back panels are more narrow than that of the front panels, forcing my shoulders down and back, making me look confident and proud even in situations where I’m feeling painfully shy.
The only feature I find less-than-absolutely-perfect about this dress is the little lower-belly pouch that sticks out from the skirt, making my profile look a little dumpier than I actually am. Whether this is just a result from the the skirt’s darts and pleats, or if this was designed in due to the shape of many women during this time, I’m not entirely sure – but I am told that this is normal of wiggle dresses of the period.

The Blue-Grey Shelf-Bust Twirly (Swing) Dress

I have no words for how much I love this dress. The teensy pleating over the bust area; the way the silhouette is created by elongated hourglass-shaped panels (much like the panels in a corset) dipping in at the waist and swooping back out again in the skirt; the sweet little bow detail on the shoulder; the heavenly silky blue fabric with pink lining which go perfectly with my new lemon-meringue-colored petticoat – wearing this dress makes me want to play hooky from work and just twirl in this all day.
Whereas the LBWD makes me feel mature and sophisticated like a siren or femme-fatale, this soft blue dress makes me feel distinctly youthful, sweet and girly. I feel like a flower; something to be nurtured and cherished.

The psychological effect of clothing is incredible. When I hung up the femme-fatale dress and the delicate-flower dress and donned my comfy, frumpy, fleece pajamas this evening, I felt a little silly – how could I let my clothing affect me so much? Is there any merit to that age-old saying “The clothes makes the man” (or woman)? It makes me wonder if wearing a corset has shaped my behavior over the past couple of years, and if so, how (and how much) has it changed me?
Whatever the case may be, it’s definitely fun!

Outfits with a Corset: Hiding your Corset with Empire Waists

I know what some of you are thinking: “You spend hundreds of dollars for a high-end training corset, and countless hours of effort and discipline whittling down your waist, and you want to hide it?”

Hiding or concealing your corset isn’t about shame. Sometimes it’s necessary to conceal the corset during work or school hours (especially if one’s waist is obviously unnatural, such as a wasp-waist or pipe-stem). The same way that employees and employers alike cover their tattoos with make up or take out their gauge earrings (plugs), so corsets may be a form of body modification that’s frowned upon in the workplace. Even outside of corporate life, some people wear corsets for personal reasons but don’t feel it necessary to make it anyone else’s business.

That being said, there are several ways to fairly easily hide your corset under clothing. One of these ways involves empire-waist shirts and dresses.

Empire-waist tops are “cinched” in at the underbust level, and fall freely below that point (very much the popular silhouette during the Regency period). As such, the waist of your shirt will fall at, or just above, the point where your underbust corset will start. Since corsets tend to not constrict your upper ribcage, the high waistline of your shirt in this area will look natural, and then the surplus of fabric beneath that point will easily conceal the sharp inward curve created by your corset.

In the video below, I show a couple of different examples of empire waist shirts. They may have an elasticated bottom (in order to create a “bubble” effect) or they may be free and loose on the bottom, like an A-line skirt that starts just under the bust area. Both of these work well to hide corsets.

Generally speaking, heavier fabrics are better at hiding your corset than more lightweight fabrics. While lighter fabrics can still conceal a corset, any breeze or draft that pushes your shirt aside will show your silhouette beneath. (This can be used to your advantage sometimes!) The lighter the fabric is, the looser the cut of the shirt must be in order to conceal the corseted figure.

Even if this style of shirt or dress isn’t “in season”, there are two places that you’re likely to find them. The first is 2nd-hand stores, also known as fripperies, consignment shops, “vintage boutiques”, Goodwill/ Salvation Army/ Value Village etc. The second place where you will always find empire waists in fashion is a maternity clothing store, as most of their clothing is designed to conceal (or have enough folds of fabric to accommodate) a growing belly. In fact, most clothing which is designed to hide so-called “problem areas” (protruding bellies, apple-shapes etc) are also quite good at concealing other “odd” shaped torsos, such as a corseted figure.

In the next few weeks I’ll be making more of these “Dressing with your corset” videos and posts, to show you the different ways that you can either accentuate or hide a corseted figure.

To see my outfits in detail, watch this video:

Best wishes,

Lucy

Outfits with a Corset: Victoria’s Secret Ruched “Multi-way” Dress

Let me start by saying that I’m a huge fan of convertible/ infinity dresses. Usually made out of a soft, flattering jersey (I like cotton and bamboo jerseys), they can be worn a multitude of ways. I’ve made 6 of them in the past for myself and purchased another two. I’ve also made several for other people – as birthday gifts for friends and family, for dancers, and even brides! These dresses are great for dressing up or down – they easily go from work to a picnic with kids to a night out dancing, depending on how you wrap it.

In this particular video I’m wearing one of my purchased ones – this is the ruched “Multi-way dress” from Victoria’s Secret (I think in the colour “sassy berry”).

I find that the fitted, ruched skirt serves well to fit over the curves of the corset nicely while still hiding the boning channels and other hardware of the corset. The long straps, which are most conveniently wrapped around the waist several times, also serves to “hide” and soften any harsh waspwaist made by the corset, resulting in a flattering but non-obvious corseted figure. In this video I show how to wear a convertible dress two different ways, although the possibilities are nearly endless – you just have to experiment for yourself and see which styles in this dress hide the corset best.

Also in this video I show how to easily and quickly put on strappy sandals while wearing a corset (either slip-on sandals, one with an elasticated heel or this even works with shoes that have a buckle at the ankle). Bonus: you can even get a quick quad stretch with this method.

To see my outfit in detail, watch this video:

Cheers,

Lucy

Outfits with a Corset: Featuring “Corset Jacket”

A quick post on one of my favourite items in my wardrobe these days: the “Corset Jacket”. It looks like a two-button blazer in the front but has two rows of grommets in the back with ribbon, to tighten the jacket slightly. In my opinion this jacket looks stunning when worn over a corset and tightened to show off the silhouette. I often have problems finding jackets that have broad shoulders, long sleeves and are large in the -ahem- chest area, without leaving me swimming in the waist and hips. A jacket that was adjustable in the waist seemed like a suitable solution. After looking at the sizing for shoulder breadth/ sleeve length of these jackets, I took a chance and ordered a size medium.

I’m not good at officially reviewing leather garments as I don’t own many leather items, but I can say that all the seams are stitched (not just “taped”), the lining in it fits well, it seems symmetric and the quality of the different pieces of leather is good and uniform throughout. Although it’s not advertised as a raincoat, I use it as such and I feel like the coolest person in the world walking around in my leather jacket while everyone else is in plastic ponchos and fluorescent windbreakers.

Also in this outfit I’m wearing:

  • a pink/white cincher (which will be reviewed in the future)
  • “jeggings” (jean leggings) which fit nicely under a corset because it doesn’t have a bulky waistband
  • a fitted white zippered blouse. I personally find that zippered shirts are more comfortable under corsets compared to button-down shirts, because buttons are lumpy against my skin and zips are more uniform.
  • I completed this outfit with simple black flats and a black small purse, and wore this out to sushi with friends. 🙂

To see my outfit in detail, watch this video:

Stay tuned for other outfits in the future! 😀

~Lucy

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