Tag Archive: Puimond

What News Australia’s Tightlacing Article Failed to Mention

Miranda Rights, waist training advocate and journalism major, lost 10 inches off her waist over several years through a plant-based diet, exercise and waist training. She was told by Barcroft Media in late 2015 that her story and results were not "extreme" enough for media. Click through the picture to read her full response to Barcroft.

Miranda Rights, waist training advocate and journalism major, lost between 12-14 inches off her waist over several years through a combination of exercise, a plant-based diet, and waist training. She was told by Barcroft Media in late 2015 that her story and results were not “extreme” enough for media. Click through the picture to read her full response to Barcroft.

Ah, media. Through the years we’ve seen over and over (and over and over) that our words can’t be trusted to be conveyed clearly, fully or accurately in the news. For half a decade I’ve avoided speaking with reporters for fear of them putting a negative spin to my words and reflecting badly on corset wearers at large. What often ended up happening is that after I declined to be interviewed, these reporters sometimes found another innocent starry-eyed corseter who ended up saying something on the extreme side, and that one unfortunate sound bite was misconstrued and given a negative tone.

This is why this year I decided to start speaking up and answering questions about waist training, tightlacing and corset wear – because I’ve been in this industry long enough to know a bit about corsets, I choose my words wisely, and I always keep a record of what I say and write.

A few days ago Emma Reynolds, writer for News. Com. Au, contacted me wanting to know more about the difference between waist training and tightlacing (which was still confused in their final piece). Of course, at the time I was contacted, I was never given any hint that the article would have a negative spin, or that my answers would be spliced and creatively paraphrased, or that the photos of some of my friends would be used without consent to be treated as side show attractions.

Since I didn’t sign any NDA, I presume that it’s fair to post the questions presented to me by Reynolds, and my unabridged responses to the Australian news source, which were deliberately made extremely detailed, with an emphasis on listening to one’s body, being monitored by a doctor, and the community being body positive as a whole.

Also, before we get started: CORSETS ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR WEIGHT LOSS.

 


 

How did you get into tightlacing?

This is a long and winding story, but my initial goal was not to tightlace. I simply enjoyed making corsets for cosplay and re-enactment purposes, and later for back support when I was working up to 16 hours at a time. When I discovered that I was very comfortable wearing a corset for several hours at a time/ several days a week, I became interested in waist training and learned about the process through Ann Grogan of Romantasy. I think of it as a form of sport or slow, long-term body modification that can be varied, changed or reversed as one desires. Many people train in order to achieve a certain waist circumference or silhouette when not wearing the corset. However, my end goal was simply being able to close a size 20″ corset, I had no expectations for how I wanted my bare waist to look.

 

Why is it different/better than waist training?

Waist training is wearing a genuine corset for long durations (months or years) with some kind of end goal in mind, like closing a specific size corset or reducing the size of your natural waist. It’s worth noting that within the corset community, the use of latex or neoprene fajas is not waist training in the traditional sense.

Tightlacing is simply wearing a corset that is notably smaller than your natural waist. For some people, a tightlacing corset is at least 4 inches smaller than your natural waist regardless of your starting size – while for other people, they only consider it tightlacing if you reduce at least 20% off your natural waist (which would be 6 inches reduction if you have a size 30″ natural waist, 8 inches if you have a size 40″ waist, and so on). Yet others will say “if the corset feels snug to the point that it’s challenging but not painful, whether that’s with 1 inch reduction or 10 inches, that is tightlacing to the individual.” To this effect, an actress or model that never wears corsets except on set may be considered tightlacing. But what all of them have in common is that with tightlacing you don’t have to set a goal, and you don’t necessarily wear your corset for long durations.

Put more simply, waist training is a goal-oriented process, while tightlacing is simply an action. You can theoretically waist train without tightlacing (if you are wearing your corset at gentle reductions, but consistently enough to see results), and you can tightlace without waist training (wearing your corset with a dramatic reduction, but only on an occasional basis so your natural waist expands back to normal within a few minutes of removing your corset). Some people enjoy tightlacing on a regular basis with no initial goal in mind, but over time they will notice that their waist will be inadvertently trained smaller.

I wouldn’t say that tightlacing is better than waist training. Not everyone can tightlace as easily as others; it tends to be easier for those who have a higher body fat percentage, and according to some, it can be easier for women who have already given birth. It can be a little more challenging for athletes with more muscle tone than average. Of course, I would recommend that one be in good health before they wear a corset, whether it’s for tightlacing, waist training, or otherwise – and that they never lace to the point of pain.

 

How much does your waist size change and does it last?

This photo of me has been stolen and spun out of context by hundreds of people. Contour Corset is engineered to be an illusion. It's actually slightly larger in the waist than my Puimond corset shown below, but the silhouette and hip spring makes it look more extreme than really is. Even though this corset is more comfortable than some of my larger corsets, once I waist trained to reach this goal, I found I preferred a gentler silhouette.

My Contour Corset (21 inches) is my most “extreme” looking corset. It’s specifically engineered to be an illusion. In reality it’s slightly larger in the waist than my Puimond corset shown below, but the silhouette makes it look smaller than it really is. My waist is thicker in profile. Even though this corset is one of the most comfortable I own, once I waist trained to reach this goal, I found I preferred a gentler silhouette and less reduction.

When tightlacing, I am able to reduce my natural waist by 6-7 inches in a corset – but be aware that I have been wearing corsets off and on for many years. When I started, I was only able to reduce my waist by 2-3 inches. When I take off the corset, my waist expands back to normal within the hour.

When I was waist training several years ago, in the interest of staying comfortable in my corset for longer durations, I wore my corset on average 4-5 inches smaller than my natural waist, around 5 days a week, and up to 8-12 hours a day. The body responds best with consistency, so over several months even with this (relatively) lighter reduction, my natural waist went from 29 inches to around 26.5 inches out of the corset (even if I hadn’t worn my corset in days), and I was comfortably wearing my corset at 22″ while waist training. If I then chose to tightlace, I was able to wear my corset at 20″ for shorter durations (a couple of hours at a time) once my body was warmed up. Once I achieved this goal, I realized that it was more extreme in silhouette than I preferred, which is why I chose to back off and now I wear my corset closer to 22-24 inches, which I feel is more proportional to the rest of my frame while still lending a retro silhouette.

 

What do you like about it?

When the corset is laced snug I can use it as a form of deep pressure therapy – essentially, it’s like wearing a big bear hug that you can keep on all day and even conceal under clothing, if desired. At the time I started wearing corsets regularly, I was working in a STEM field and living away from home, working long and odd hours in a lab, with not much free time to socialize. I initially started wearing my homemade corset for posture support during those long hours, but I also noticed that it helped me feel more calm and relaxed. I was less anxious before and during presentations because I felt protected and held by a suit of armor. This calm, quiet confidence began to spill over into other areas of my life, and I became more sure about myself and carried myself more proudly even when I wasn’t wearing the corset. At that point, it wasn’t even about the appearance anymore.

 

What is the community like as a whole?

The international corset community is extremely varied, and that’s part of why I like it. We come from all walks of life and have many different interests – with some people, the *only* thing I have in common with them is a mutual interest in corsets. Some people love history and the Victorian era, while some people take more to the 1950s New Look style and pin-up era. Some people wear corsets simply because they’re beautiful and luxurious, some people wear them for medical or therapeutic purposes, and some people wear them as a challenging sport. Some are as blasé about putting on their corset in the morning as they are about putting on their socks, while some are excited about corsetry and consider it a fetish.

There are many online forums and Facebook groups to choose from, whether you’re a beginner or veteran, whether you want to tightlace, waist train, or just wear them for fun, whether you want to buy and sell corset from collectors, or even if you want to learn to sew your own corsets. In the forums I frequent, the community emphasizes body positivity. While we support individuals for the waist training goals they have already chosen for themselves, it is extremely frowned upon to push someone else into wearing a corset if they’re not interested – it’s equally offensive to try and push another person to lace past their comfort level, or shame them for their natural body type.

 

What are your limits? Do some people take it too far?

My Puimond corset is actually smaller than my Contour Corset above. Proportion matters, and so does context.

My Puimond corset (20 inches) is actually smaller than my Contour Corset above. No one batted an eye at this. Proportion matters, and so does context.

My personal limit was closing a size 20″ corset. I found it a challenging goal that took 3 years to achieve, and once I reached it, I was over it. Of course there were the few trolls online who egged me to train further and called me all sorts of names when I didn’t – but they aren’t representative of the community. I always listen to my body and I’m always 100% in control of my laces. There are other people who can lace down less than 20″ but some of them are 6 inches shorter and weigh 20kg less than me – so while it may look extreme on my body, for a petite woman with a natural 23 inch waist, she might not consider a size 20″ corset to be tightlacing at all.

It’s not my mission to put everyone in a corset, but for those who are interested in wearing them, whether for waist training or tightlacing (or both), I’ve spent the last 5 years creating hundreds of free educational videos and articles so that people can learn to choose a corset that’s right for their body, and know how to use them properly and safely. I say over and over that pain is not normal. When a tightlacer hasn’t put proper research into their practice, when they aren’t open with their doctor, when they ignore the advice of more experienced lacers and ignore their body’s signals, and they wind up hurting themselves, I know that it could have been prevented and it will end up reflecting badly on the tens of thousands of others who do wear corsets responsibly.

There will always be those who lace down faster than what I would normally condone, or smaller than my personal preference – but beyond offering free educational resources and ensuring that they are listening to their own bodies, that they are not in pain, that they are prioritizing their well-being, and that they have open communication with their doctor and have regular checkups, no one has the right to tell another what to do with their body. Their body, their choice.


 

This was the end of my correspondence with Reynolds, but if you would like to read some balanced perspectives on corsetry, both historical and modern, there are a few articles linked below.

Collector’s Weekly: Everything You Know About Corsets is False

io9: No, Corsets Did Not Destroy the Health of Victorian Women

New York Academy of Medicine: Did Corsets Harm Women’s Health?

Several articles on The Lingerie Addict:
Tightlacing 101: Myths About Waist Training in a Corset
“20 Bones”, Broken Ribs, and Other Myths about Waist Training.
What Makes a Corset Comfortable?

Three corset articles on Kitsch-Slapped:
Part 1, historical medical “evidence“.
Part 2, corsets viewed as “sexy”.
Part 3, suffrage movement.

Yesterday’s Thimble has two articles on corset myths. Part 1. Part 2.

Historical Sewing: Dispelling the Myth of the Itsy Bitsy Teeny Tiny Waist

A Damsel in This Dress: Corsetted Victorians and others – myths and reality

The Pragmatic Costumer: With and Without: How Wearing a Corset Affects You and Your Clothes

A Most Beguiling Accomplishment – A Difficult History: Corsetry and Feminism, Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Appendix.

Where to Buy Corset Dresses

This post is a duplicate of the permanent page Guided Galleries –> Corset Dresses. The guided galleries are part of the corset brand research tools, which are designed to help prospective corset customers shop more wisely. This post may be out of date in the future, please refer to the permanent page linked above to get the most up to date information.

Beyoncé Knowles in a Thierry Mugler gold corset dress

Beyoncé Knowles in a Thierry Mugler gold corset dress

Corset dresses are highly specialized garments, which can be used for foundation under other dresses (such as those that Puimond provides for other designers to “build upon”), for weddings, or for clubbing / other fun events. They can act like combination shapewear, supporting the bustline and allowing the use of strapless dresses overtop (rather than using a strapless bra), cinching in the waist (instead of using a cincher), and smoothing over the hips (in lieu of a girdle).

Searching “corset dresses” on Google tends to yield poor results because many clothing lines simply offer dresses with boned bodices. True corset dresses (a structured garment where the back of the dress laces up the entire length) are sometimes not that easy to find, but they come in several variations which I’ll try to cover in this gallery.

*Corset makers, if you have made a corset dress and would like your work showcased in this gallery, please email me a photo of your best work and include a 1-sentence description and website or shop URL. Safe-for-work photos are preferred! Thank you!

A bride in Morùa Designs (who works in both the US and UK) shows off the back of her stunning corset wedding dress.

This floor length dress is boned down and laced to the knee, and expertly sculpted in true Bizarre Design fashion (Netherlands). Model: Dena Massque. Photo: Me-Chiel.

This gorgeous plunge corset dress embellished with lace and crystals was designed by Viola Lahger (Sweden). Model: Insanitea Photo: Josephine Jonsson.

Sparklewren (UK) is experienced in making incredibly smooth and ethereal custom corset dresses, here shown with detachable stole. What an enviable hip spring.

This floor-length corset gown by Royal Black (Austria) laces to the knee and is cut for serious curves. Model/styling: Červená Fox, Photo: Julian M Kilsby (ShadowFlux)

Bibian Blue (Spain) always has a selection of corset dresses in her various collections, like this Lys Ensemble with printed angels and handmade flowers, €695. Model: SINderella Rockafella. Photo/styling: Iberian Black Arts

KMKDesigns Located in MN, can make custom corset dresses to order in many styles, this mermaid style corset dress is made from blue silk with hand stitched lace and rhinestones.

KMKDesigns, located in MN, can make custom corset dresses to order in many styles; this mermaid style corset dress is made from blue silk with hand stitched lace and rhinestones.

Puimond (USA) makes awe-inspiring corset dresses, ranging from simple and sleek to highly customized like this ensemble estimated at $10,000.

This stunning corset dress with sheer fluted skirt by Persephone Corsetry (UK) won the Young Designer Award in 2014. Photo: Stuart McClay. MUA: SC Makeup. Model: Michaela Crompton

This stunning corset dress with sheer fluted skirt by Persephone Corsetry (UK) won the Young Designer Award in 2014. Photo: Stuart McClay. MUA: SC Makeup. Model: Michaela Crompton

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The Swallowtail Corset Dress by The Bad Button (USA) features a fully corseted form from shoulders to hips, while freefloating layers of silk gauze create the illusion of a wings when walking. Model: Samantha Jean Moore. Photo: Aesthetic Aperture

This sweet and lovely Lolita underbust corset dress features a full skirt to accommodate a blouse and petticoat underneath. By Skeletons in the Closet Corsetry (Netherlands).

This sweet and lovely Lolita underbust corset dress features a full skirt to accommodate a blouse and petticoat underneath. By Skeletons in the Closet Corsetry (Netherlands).

“The Love Warrior”, designed by Maison Moginot (France) with help from Mr. Pearl, is dripping with jewels. Model: Amanda Lepore

This audio-sensitive fiber optic dress lights up when the music gets loud! Designed by Rachael Reichert in NY, USA.

Contessa Gothique Design recently shared this radiant plunge, full-skirted corset dress – those curious to make their own can also read her 2-part tutorial on Foundations Revealed.

Stunning lattice-embellished corset dress made by Lace Embrace (Canada)

Designer Maya Hansen (Spain) always includes at least one corset dress in her collections. This one is modelled by Porcylin.

Red sweetheart corset dress with black lace appliqué, a custom design by Sweet Carousel Corsetry (Canada).

Scoundrelle’s Keep has four different styles of corset dresses, including overbust or underbust, long skirt or short. Currently shown is the Evangeline corset dress for $500.

While not likely available for purchase, I cannot complete a gallery of corset dresses without this piece by Ziad Ghanem (modelled by Immodesty Blaize, Fall 2010)

While not likely available for purchase, I cannot complete a gallery of corset dresses without this piece co-designed by Ziad Ghanem, made by Ian Frazer Wallace and modelled by Immodesty Blaize (Fall 2010)

This Jessica Rabbit inspired mini corset dress was designed by Orchid Corsetry (UK). Model: Miss Anne Thropy. Photo: Damona Art.

Atelier Sylphe (France) made this lovely zippered and ruffled creative corset dress, modelled by her client (Virginie).

Marvelous Mayhem (USA) makes both full-skirt and fitted custom corset dresses

Vollers Corsets has a few different corset dress styles, but my current favorite is this Veco floor-length custom dress for £950

*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.

Where to buy Extreme Hourglass and Pipestem Corsets

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.

According to the older generation of corset enthusiasts, the modern hourglass has a rounded ribcage and rounded hips.

According to the older generation of corset enthusiasts, the modern hourglass has a rounded ribcage and rounded hips.

The extreme hourglass silhouette can be effectively described as the “belted pillow” look. I should note that different schools of corsetry have different interpretations of silhouettes; for instance Romantasy calls this style the “wasp” while I had initially been taught that the wasp waist featured a more conical torso (a guide for conical corsets will be created later on). The extreme hourglass silhouette is less popular than it used to be, but I still personally find it to be very comfortable. The waist nips in very suddenly and dramatically, while the ribcage remains relatively rounded and free to expand with each breath. I can achieve quite extreme reductions using this silhouette, even if the wasp is aesthetically my favourite. If this is your desired silhouette, the following makers and purveyors will be able to assist you – and some even offer the extremely rare pipestem silhouette!

Corset makers: If you have made any extreme hourglass or pipestem corsets and you would like to be added to the gallery, you’re welcome to email me with your pictures here. Safe for Work photos are preferred! Thank you!

Orchid Corsetry Sloth training underbust

Bethan, skilled corsetiere and owner of Orchid Corsetry, offers the Sloth training underbust which gently cups the ribcage and then dramatically dips inward at the waist. This corset is strong enough to be used in 23/7 waist training, and can be purchased on its own or in a waist training kit.

Pop Antique Vamp overbust corset, starts at $249

Pop Antique Vamp overbust corset, starts at $249 (Model: Victoria Dagger)

Marianne, the proprietor of Pop Antique, has many years experience as both a corsetiere and a professional model. After learning that her own ribcage is very unmovable and that conical ribcages bruise her, she drafted all her own corsets to cup the ribs, which has become a bit of a trademark. By default, all Pop Antique designs feature a distinctive rounded ribcage and abruptly nipped waist.

Myself in a custom Sugarkitty Abigail II underbust, starts at $377

Sugarkitty Corsets is able to accommodate silhouettes and styles of all kinds, including this dramatic almost-pipestem rendition of the Abigail II underbust corset (starts at $377). Speaking from experience, it is very easy to take large breaths in this corset. Please note that Sugarkitty will only be accepting corset commissions up till the end of 2013.

The Bad Button waist training corset with a well rounded, contoured ribcage

The Bad Button Bespoke Corsets makes hardy waist training corsets as well as couture designer pieces; Alisha the corsetiere will create the corset with as much or as little rib contouring as you need or desire. The above example shows a very rounded ribcage and dramatically nipped in waistline.

Salonkiompelimo HiroNIA curvy underbust (model: LouLou D’Vil)

Salonkiompelimo HiroNIA is a corset maker from Finland who is capable of creating a magical fit, no matter what your preference in silhouette. Some of their clients can achieve a 17″ waist in this silhouette  – here is one of their creations is modelled by burlesque artist LouLou D’Vil, who easily wears this style corset while modelling/ performing.

Neon Duchess silk dupioni overbust. Model: Victoria Dagger

Neon Duchess (bespoke corsetry by Hannah Light) had created this incredible corset for the Oxford Conference of Corsetry in summer of 2013. This particular overbust is just one layer of a 3-corset ensemble. Each corset could be worn on its own, or mixed and matched, layered on top of one another. Hannah describes this corset has having “shell pink silk dupion with bronzed leather and bronze leaf detail to the bust and hips. The dramatic shape is achieved by cupping the ribs and hip with reduction at the waist only.”

Delicate Facade Corsetry custom tightlacing underbust, starts at $460

Delicate Facade Corsetry is an Australia-based business with 13 years experience. In the above photo, you can see an extremely curvy underbust tightlacing corset, which is designed to give an amazing 12-inch reduction from the client’s natural corseted waist.

This corset has coutil strength layer, a smooth floating liner, waist tape, and carefully dispersed bones.

Myself in a Puimond PY09 Curvy Underbust, $410

Puimond Progressive Corset Design believes in maintaining an anatomical shape around the ribcage, and for extreme reductions he is able to easily nip in the waist an extra couple of inches while leaving a beautiful softly rounded ribcage. The effect is not quite as dramatic as others, but you can see the soft convex curves around the ribcage here. He offers several styles of corsets starting at $330, which can be made suitable for daily waist training. My review of this corset can be seen here.

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KookyC/ Creative Corsets hourglass corset

Helen (the owner of KookyC / Creative Corsets) couldn’t have said it any better – along with this photo, she described the extreme hourglass shape as being a more comfortable especially for those with rigid, unmovable ribs (see the note under Pop Antique’s photo as well). “I’ve always liked this look,” she said, “and it achieves such extreme curves with far less reduction.”

Sparklewren continuously-boned overbust (Model: Immodesty Blaize)

Another maker of corsets with anatomically-shaped ribcages is Sparklewren. The corset above is modelled by Immodesty Blaize. I have owned 4 corsets from Sparklewren, and from personal experience I can say that my own overbust very easily and gently cups around my ribs, only compressing the last two or so for a subtle dip in the waist. The continuous steel boning adds to the structure.

Romantasy wasp waist underbust made by Sheri Jurnecka

Romantasy offers a beautifully shaped underbust with a nipped-in waist (this is their definition of the wasp waist) placing most of the reduction at the waist and very little on the ribcage. All of their wasp corsets are made by the talented Sheri Jurnecka.

Mr. Pearl in one of his own spot broche corsets

Mr. Pearl seems to be the Grandaddy of the modern extreme waist, having trained himself down to 18″ while keeping his ribcage relatively anatomical. Although it’s said that he does take corset commissions, legend has it that Mr. Pearl eschews the internet and communicates by written letter, and only takes in-person fittings.

Gabriel Moginot modelling his own corset

Mr. Pearl’s only well-known protégé, Gabriel Moginot, has launched his line Maison Moginot and offers the ready-to-wear Fierce corset for €580, with an option to upgrade to made-to-measure. His design puts little stress the ribcage, and offers a pipestem-like silhouette.

C&S Constructions pipestem underbust corset

C&S Constructions pipestem underbust corset, modelled by Sabine

C&S Constructions is the master of the extreme hourglass and the pipestem corset, keeping a long list of loyal customers over the decades. The photo above is not even the most extreme pipestem they have made for a client. C&S has made nearly all the corsets worn by the legendary Spook, who is said to have had a 14″ waist in diameter with a 2″ pipestem.

Corsets and More pipestem underbust, starts at €275

Corsets and More from Germany is a hugely under-appreciated gem among corsetieres, who is capable of creating corsets with extreme reductions and fascinating pipestems, like the above piece in acid green dupioni.

My own handmade curvy underbust for B.P.

Finally, although I’m not currently taking commissions, here is an extreme hourglass creation of my own, made in March 2012 for a friend and client across the continent. Drafting for a rounded ribcage was more easy than I originally thought; but getting the roundness in the right panels so as not to create pressure points or gaping in the ribs was an interesting venture. I still use this corset pattern today, as B.P.’s measurements are already close to my own. You can see the sports mesh corset I made from this pattern here.

*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.

Where to Buy Corsets Smaller than 18 inches

Waisted Couture 16" custom overbust (Model: Miss Mosh)

Waisted Couture 16″ custom overbust (Model: Miss Mosh)

A new permanent gallery is now up! It’s easy to find standard-sized corsets that start at an 18-inch waist, but a small portion of the population is small-framed and have a natural waist of less than 22 inches (hard to believe, but they do exist) and they may want a corset that’s smaller than 18 inches. Very dedicated tightlacers may also choose to train past 18 inches and their options are slightly limited. Head over to my new gallery of teeny corsets, where you’ll find several makers who are experienced in creating corsets smaller than 18 inches!

Where to Buy Plus Size Corsets

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.

Please note: this page is no longer regularly updated, please see the permanent page for a more comprehensive gallery and list of corsetieres!

Victorian women had well-fitting plus size corsets too. To see more examples, click the photo to see the Pragmatic Costumer’s article.

Most well-known OTR corset companies carry corset sizes for natural waists up to and around 40″. However, what if your waist size is over 40 inches around? What if it’s over 50 inches? 60 inches? Full-figured people deserve beautiful corsets too, and in this article I’m going to share with you some of the companies that cater to larger clients. All of the following businesses offer corsets larger than 40″. There are many many more corsetieres than these that offer larger-sized corsets as custom commissions, and I recommend that if you have your heart set on a specific corset maker (even one not mentioned here), message or email them personally and see if they can accommodate your requests.

Please note that some of these companies charge a markup for larger sizes while others don’t. If you would like to learn more about any of the following corset companies and their pricing policy, please contact them directly.

Corsetieres, if you cater to larger clientele and would like to share an example of your work, submit photos by email to be added to the gallery. Safe-for-work photos are preferred!

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Ms Martha’s Best Black & White overbust ($250) and CorsetVest ($285) both in leather

Ms. Martha’s Corset Shoppe has a selection of silk and leather standard-sized corsets for natural waist sizes 18″ to 52″. She never charges more for larger sizes, and some of her silk cinchers are as low as $100 in her close-out section. She particularly caters to full-figured and hard-to-fit customers, and she regularly uses plus-size models to demonstrate the gorgeous silhouette they give on all sizes. See her Wicked Kitten photoshoot for examples of how more of her corsets fit on fuller figures.

Hips & Curves Arabelle Luxe Steel Bond Corset, $160

Hips & Curves is a popular plus-size lingerie site that carries corsets in sizes 28″ up to 44″ (recommended natural waists from 30″ to 49″). Their “Luxe Steel-Boned Corsets” section offers standard-sized underbusts and overbusts starting from $130. They also have a great 60-day refund policy on all their garments.

Tess Munster modelling the Orchard Corset CS-426 underbust, starts at $79

Orchard Corset offers steel boned underbust corsets up to size 46″, which would fit up to a recommended natural waist of 56″.  Since fuller-figured corseters often require more length, I’d personally suggest their CS-426 underbust (shown above, modelled by Tess Munster), preferably in cotton if it’s for daily wear. While they do charge more for sizes 32-46″, it’s only $1 more for each successive size so the largest option is still only $87, by far the least expensive option in this list. (And if you use my discount code CORSETLUCY, you’ll save 10% on your purchase.)

Meschantes standard sized training underbust, $185 for sizes 40″-44″

Meschantes Corsetry offers ready-to-wear, standard sized training underbust corsets up to size 44″ corseted waist (suitable for up to 50″ natural uncorseted waists, size chart here). Sadly I couldn’t find any photos of these plus sized corsets, though. Meschantes also accepts commissions for custom fit corset styles, with a 25% markup for natural uncorseted waists between 40″-50″. Those with waists above 50″ are encouraged to email for further inquiry.

Lusty Can-Can underbust, $369

Stormy Leather of San Francisco (note: very NSFW) has 12 different corset styles for waist sizes up to 52″ if you look in their Women’s Plus Sizes section. These are offered in 40 shades of leather and 12 shades silk, and you can even choose 2-tone or complementary colours if you wish. The Can-Can underbust seen above is available in both silk and leather, and in smaller sizes (natural waists 22 – 32) or larger sizes (called Lusty sizes, natural waists 32-52).

Dark Garden Valentine overbust, $440. Photo: Joel Aron, model: Nicole Simone

Dark Garden Corsetry also offers standard-sized and custom-fit corsets for full-figured corseters. Their standard Valentine overbust is cut particularly for curvy clientele, and DG is also comfortable making corset sizes well over 40″ for those that upgrade to custom fit. Anyone who finds themselves in the San Francisco area is invited to have a personal fitting at Dark Garden’s boutique.

Electra Designs

Bride Stephanie modelling custom Electra Designs overbust corset

Electra Designs is comfortable making corsets for women with waists well over 40″, and Alexis has expressed excitement about making more corsets (and purchasable corset patterns!) for full figured customers in the coming year. Featured above is her lovely bridal client Stephanie from 2005; her corset features a very flat abdomen and beautiful bust shaping and support.

Totally Waisted! custom overbust for full-figured (and asymmetric) client

Totally Waisted! Corsets also caters to full-figured clientele, offering made-to-measure corsets whatever your size. Kate’s commissions are almost always heavily boned and she uses the highest quality materials she can find; the result as seen above is proper abdominal and bust support, and beautifully smooth curves. The photo featured above is also drafted for an asymmetric client (which will be discussed in another article).

Luscious Pearl Designs modelling her own historical recreation of the 1862 Strauss patent corded demibust

Luscious Pearl Designs from B.C. Canada specializes in beautiful made-to-measure corsets for plus sizes. Her pieces range from historical reproductions to contemporary couture and every fusion in between. Being a full-figured corseter herself, she understands how to specially draft for extra-curvy women in order to give flattering shape and support.

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Bride Jamie modelling The Bad Button “Armor” overbust

The Bad Button Bespoke Corsets is also well experienced in making corsets for full-figured clients; Alisha has mentioned that her corsets have been made up to size 50″ in the past. The gorgeous modified “Armor” corset with straps featured above was made for one of her clients, bride Jamie, in summer 2013. (You can see more pictures of Jamie’s wedding in her Offbeat Bride feature!)

Romantasy Simple Pleasures Cincher, from $185 – $265

Romantasy Exquisite Corsetry offers corsets in both standard sizes and custom-fit, all made in the USA, and available for natural waists up to 60″. Above is a photo of their Simple Pleasures cincher, which has an average price of $235 for the full-figured woman, depending on your waist size. This cincher can also be used upside down to fit gentlemen.

Claudia models the TO.mTO Amelia corset, €489

TO.mTO from Berlin makes impressively curvy and unbelievably smooth corsets for women and men of all sizes. In the above picture, client Claudia models the beautifully fitted Amelia longline corset from TO.mTO’s Vanity Fair special collection. This couture corset costs €489, or about $660 USD.

Evie Wolfe models the Belladonna overbust, $249

Forever in Black is a UK business that’s been creating corsets since 1995, adding historical costume and goth/Steampunk clothing to the list of commissions. Their standard sized corsets go up to a 42″ closed waist, and custom corsets like the Belladonna overbust (seen above, modelled by Evie Wolfe) can be made for any waist size if you need larger. An included toile fitting ensures dramatic curves for $249.

woodsholme

Woodsholme Tudor short stays, starts at $175

For those who prefer more Elizabethan-style stays, Woodsholme on Etsy creates beautiful historically-inspired stays, Victorian corsets and clothing. Louise, the corsetiere, creates made-to-measure pieces for all sizes; the Tudor stays featured above were made to fit a client with a 50″ bust.

For other corset makers who cater to full-figured clientele, also check out the following links:

*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.

If you liked this article, perhaps you’d also be interested in reading the Guide for Overbusts for Large-Busted/ Top-Heavy Corseters.

If you liked this article, perhaps you’d also be interested in reading the Guide for Overbusts for Large-Busted/ Top-Heavy Corseters.

Where to Buy Corsets for Men

 

Fakir Musafar as “The Perfect Gentleman”, 1959 This photo has inspired many other gentlemen to consider waist training. Click through to learn more about Fakir.

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.

Waist Training vs Tight Lacing – what’s the difference?

In a previous article, I mentioned that close to half the emails I receive are from people wanting to know what is the “best” corset for waist training or tight lacing – but today I want to touch on the topic of waist training vs tight lacing (or tightlacing or tight lacing) because it’s very important to know that they are not synonymous, and the definitions vary depending on the source.


Some corset companies use the terms interchangeably, which can be confusing or possibly even dangerous because saying that a corset is designed for “waist training”, a client may come along with an entirely different idea of what “waist training” really is, and may end up using the corset in a way that it was not designed for. So when a corset company (especially an OTR company) claims it to be appropriate for waist training, be very careful about how they define the terms waist training vs tight lacing before you decide to invest. Email them and ask them to get more specific, if possible.

I have talked about the book Corset Magic before (written by Ann Grogan, owner of Romantasy – you can find the book here). The book is primarily about waist training, but there is an entire chapter featuring different people’s arguments about what is and what is not considered proper “tight lacing”. After 3 years, I still refer beginners to this manual because it is a wealth of information.

It seems that many people find it difficult to come to a consensus about what “tight lacing” is and what “waist training” is. I’ve talked about this with other lacers, other trainers/trainees, other corseters/corsetees (as different people also define themselves by different terms) to try and come up with a definition that everyone can agree with. So far, this has been rather unsuccessful – but I will explain the definitions of tight lacing and waist training as I have come to understand them:

WHAT IS TIGHTLACING?

  • Some people say that tight lacing is anything beyond a 4 inch reduction. This may be challenging if you have a natural 24″ waist, but easy if you have a 40″ waist.
    This is my main waist training corset. I waist train to be able to achieve a certain tight laced reduction.

    This Contour corset is my main waist training corset. I waist train primarily to achieve a certain tight laced reduction.

  • Others say that tightlacing is anything more than 20% reduction, which would obviously be different if you are starting from a different size. This would be the equivalent of a person with a 24″ waist lacing down to about 19″, while the person with the 40″ natural waist being able to lace down to 32″.
  • Still others say that tight lacing is arbitrary and dependent on the individual’s personal squishiness, tolerance to restriction, etc. Therefore two people with the same starting waist may each cinch down to a different point, they may have a different apparent hip spring, etc. but as long as they are laced to the point where it is a ‘challenging’ (but not painful) reduction, each may be considered a tight lacer in their own right.

At the time that I’m writing this, own views of tightlacing hover somewhere between the second and third points. In my own experience, I can differentiate between “lightly laced” (feels like nothing) “moderately laced” (snug), “tight laced” (challenging but not painful) and then “over laced” (which is where you may begin to feel unwell or in pain – in this case, you have pushed yourself too hard and I’d advise not getting to this point for any reason, not even to “test yourself”).

Nevertheless, almost everyone I’ve talked to seem to agree that tightlacing is something that can be done “once in awhile” – for photo shoots, performances, special events etc. In the case of waist training, this is not something that can only be done “once in awhile”.

WHAT IS WAIST TRAINING?

Just like weight training, voice training or marathon training, waist training is something that you work at over time. It involves a certain intention, end goal, consistent work and dedication.

I can’t lace down by 4 inches. Can I still be called a waist trainer?

If you are just starting out with waist training and you cannot tolerate high reductions, then you can still call it waist training if you want. Some people wear their corsets all day, every day at a 2-3 inch reduction, which to most lacers would likely not be classified as “tightlacing”. But I know a few individuals who have actually noticed a difference in themselves while lightly laced if they consistently do this for 6 months or more. If you’re petite with a natural 22″ waist and you can’t lace down that much – or even if you’re larger but you just can’t tolerate a lot of pressure – but you are dedicated and try to wear your corset on a near-daily basis, don’t let anybody tell you “that’s not waist training”. Like I said, definitions vary depending on the source.

If you can tightlace, and you do so every day (even if you only do it because you enjoy it and don’t have particular goals), some might be consider this to be waist training as well. You can be a tightlacer without waist training, and you can waist train without being a tightlacer (to a point). But many people are both at the same time, if they can achieve high reductions for long durations on a daily basis.

Why do people waist train? (What are their goals?)

  • Some people waist train so that they will be able to tightlace to a certain reduction – so if I want to close my 20″ corsets, I have to train to get there.
  • Many other people waist train with the intention of making their natural waist smaller even when they’re not wearing the corset.

I would argue that the vast majority of people who contact me about waist training fall into this category, so lot of the time I use this definition of waist training (if only because it’s by popular vote):

Waist training (corset training): achieving moderate to high reductions in a corset for long durations (months or years) with the intention reducing one’s natural, uncorseted waist – whether by indirect means (e.g. weight loss), or by direct means (e.g. altering muscle, ribcage and/or fat-pad morphology).

 

Is it possible to “accidentally” waist train (reduce your natural waist without intention)?

Yes, it’s possible – I know some people who wear a corset every day for medical purposes (e.g. to relieve back spasms, or to provide bust support) and many have experienced that their natural waist measurement reduces over time. Some of these have been delighted at the “unexpected perk” to wearing corsets, but several others have been annoyed or upset by this development. Continually purchasing smaller and smaller corsets is not something everyone can afford, so sizing down can occasionally be unwanted. This individual may not consider this “waist training” as they used the corset for another reason entirely, but some others might consider it “accidental” waist training.

HOWEVER – other people may consider this a “happy accident” to train their natural waist down. In one sense, this is what happened to me. I used to have corseting goals of making my natural waist smaller – and getting back down to a natural waist somewhere around 24 inches, which was where I was at when I was around 20 – 21 years old (at that time, my waist was achieved with diet/ exercise, not with corsets). These days, I don’t have the same goal of having a natural 24″ waist. The main purpose for my waist training was to be able to close my size 20″ corsets – I was waist training to achieve a tightlacing goal, and as I got closer to that goal, my natural waist dropped from 28-29 inches down to about 26.5 – 27 inches – and it would stay that way for 24 hours or more after taking off my corset. (However, if I stopped maintaining that reduction for weeks, my waist would begin to expand again). Having a naturally smaller waist was a waist training bonus for me, even though it wasn’t my primary goal.

 What corset should I look for if I want to Tight Lace?

If someone asks me what kind of corset is appropriate for tightlacing, I presume they mean something that is:

  • strong enough that it’s not going to rip the first couple times you wear it
  • gives a noticeable waist reduction and shaping, because it’s not elastic,
  • has steel bones, not plastic bones that easily warp, and
  • has a hip spring and rib spring that is wide enough that the corset will effectively cinch in the waist without squishing or pinching everything else.
  • A tightlacing corset may be either custom fit or standard size.
  • I have two video on how to shop for a tightlacing corset, whether you’re shopping in person/ in store, or if you’re shopping online.

What corset should I look for if I want to Waist Train? 

This corset has coutil strength layer, a smooth floating liner, waist tape, and carefully dispersed bones.

This custom Puimond corset has a coutil strength layer, a smooth floating liner, waist tape, and carefully dispersed bones.

If someone asks me what corset is appropriate for waist training, I presume that they will be using the corset on a daily or almost daily basis, likely for long hours and eventually at high reductions. If you intend to waist train, GO CUSTOM FIT. Even if you have rather “standard” measurements, a custom fit piece is almost always more comfortable. Many corsetieres will construct specific “waist training” corsets. Some of the differences I’ve observed with “waist training” corsets vs regular or “tight lacing” corsets amongst corsetieres:

  • waist training corsets may have higher quality and stronger materials like coutil or special corsetry broche (whereas tightlacing corsets may be made only from twill)
  • waist training corsets may be constructed with stronger seams or they may feature triple or even quadruple stitching (tightlacing corsets may have double stitching but that’s it)
  • waist training corsets sometimes have more bones, but more importantly the boning may be interspersed in such a way that it helps avoid giving the wearer pressure points. (Please note that just because a corset is double boned on the seams, doesn’t automatically means that it is suitable for waist training.)
  • waist training corsets usually have a smooth interior to prevent wrinkling or abrasion (tightlacing corsets are sometimes constructed with internal boning channels, which I find least comfortable of all construction methods)
  • waist training corsets may feature a reinforced busk/ extra wide busk, modesty panel, stronger laces and other upgrades to make your lacing experience more comfortable (tightlacing corsets may or may not include these. Please note that even for waist training corsets, some of these features may need to be purchased or requested)

All this makes a waist training corset not only more comfortable, which means you will be able to lace tighter and longer in comfort, but it also lasts longer without falling apart and overall, it’s more effective at molding your body and will be a more positive experience. You save time, you save money, and you save yourself from discomfort and frustration by choosing a higher quality corset that is made for the job you’re giving it.

THE BIG QUESTION: is it possible to waist train in an OTR, tight lacing corset?

It’s possible. You may see progress, but it might not be as comfortable compared to a waist training corset. Depending on the brand, your corset may break or stretch significantly after a few months because it wasn’t designed to take daily rigorous use.

Like I’ve said in many Youtube videos and blog posts before, an OTR corset is something that you can test the waters with and see if corseting is for you. If you are tight lacing on an occasional basis or wearing it for temporary shaping and fashion, OTR corsets are fine. But after the first OTR corset, if you want to cinch down past the advised 4-6 inches and continue sizing down in corsets, it would be worth your while (and probably your wallet) to get a well-made, properly fit corset that will hold up to the tension you put on it and last you a long time. 

If you see an OTR corset company that boasts up to 6-8 inches reduction and says they’re appropriate for waist training, and especially if they make no distinction between tight lacing and waist training, proceed with caution. Educate yourself as much as possible before investing in a corset – your body deserves the best.

How do you define tight lacing vs waist training? What do you think are the features of a good tight lacing corset vs a waist training corset? Let me know in the comments below!

You may also want to read my related article: “What is the BEST Corset Brand for Tight Lacing/ Waist Training?”

Puimond PY09 Curvy Underbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Puimond PY09 Curvy Underbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 13 inches long, back is 13″ long. The shortest part from underbust to lap is about 11″. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for an extreme hourglass shape. Hips are mid to longline; holds in any lower pooch. High back prevents muffin top, very flattering. Recommended for extreme hourglass ladies.
Material Fashion layer is silk cherryblossom brocade; backed onto cotton; lining is cotton coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, boning channels on the edge of each panel plus extra ones in the middle of the wider panels – these channels are in special boning casing to protect the brocade. Floating liner (very comfortable). No garter tabs (wasn’t requested).
Binding Complementary pink ribbon, machine stitched inside and outside; not folded under on the inside because the edges are already finished.
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel None. (Wasn’t requested.)
Busk Standard-width busk (0.5″ wide on each side) about 12″ long (6 pins).
Boning 18 steel bones not including busk. On each side, there are 7 spirals (always one on the edge of a panel, and a few more in the middle of some panels) and another two steel flats sandwiching the grommets at the back.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly; high quality – very few splits but don’t catch on laces, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets
Laces Strong braided cord-like shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up, holds the tension well and bows don’t slip out. Zero spring.
Price The PY09 is advertised as $410 for regular fabric (brocades, satins, silks etc) and $550 for leather/vinyl. You can see the options on his website here.

Final Thoughts:

I just had to make Puimond my featured corsetier for April, as the cherry blossom brocade reflected the blooming cherry trees this month. This is my first underbust corset from Puimond, and also my first custom-fit corset from him. I had no doubt that Puimond is extremely well-respected in his field before, but it’s this corset that most definitely secures his place as one of my top 5 favourite individual corset designers, ever.

Puimond’s soft skills are also right up there with his corsetry skills – he was always very friendly, approachable, and patient as I explained my usual “problem areas” when it comes to corsets, namely a longer/ lower torso, very compressible waist, and needing enough room in the hips. He worked fast, gave me occasional updates, and the finished corset went from his studio and into my hands (across the US/Canadian border) within 48 hours. You can see the result here – a strong yet lightweight that gives firm reduction (this is so far the smallest corset I own), while still lending to an overall soft, feminine effect.

Puimond is a master of textiles; he works just as easily with temperamental brocades as he does with coutil, satin, leather and PVC to give a very smooth, no-wrinkle, no-fray piece. His construction techniques adapt depending on the corset pattern and materials which is a reflection of his extensive experience. Excuse me while I fan-girl about this corset all over again.

To see Puimond’s other styles, please do visit his website here.

Puimond PY15 Black Wicked Plunge Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Puimond Wicked Plunge Overbust Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Center front is about 13 inches long. From apex of bust to bottom of the corset is 17″ (waist to apex 12″), center back about 13.5″. Unique dramatic wasp-waist (yet comfortable) silhouette. Hips are longline and rounded, while ribcage is more conical. Exaggerated plunge neckline; I recommend using double-sided/ toupee tape if your breasts tend to migrate.
Material Fashion layer is black spot broche, backed onto cotton; lining is cotton coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Top-stitching between panels, sandwiched boning channels (with the use of bone casings), one on each seam and one in the center of each panel. Floating liner (very comfortable).
Binding Black patent leather, machine stitched inside and outside; trimmed short instead of folded under on the inside (typical treatment of leather/ pleather binding)
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel None.
Busk None. Closed front with embellishment.
Boning 24 steel bones. Two steel flats in the center front (underneath embellishment), and four flats in the back sandwiching the two rows of grommets. Remaining bones are 1/4″ spiral steel, one placed on each seam and one placed in the center of each panel.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly; high quality – no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets
Laces Strong nylon braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up. Almost no spring.
Price The PY15 is advertised as $490 for fabric and $650 for leather/vinyl. You can see the options on his website here.

Final Thoughts:

This is my second Puimond overbust corset. As I had mentioned in my previous Puimond review, this one is constructed differently and is one of my favorite corsets in terms of fit, comfort and sturdiness. It’s a shame that I don’t get to wear it out often enough!

This corset is quite long with a low waistline, and feels as though it were constructed to fit me, even though it’s a standard size. (The bust is actually supposed to be like that!) The quality of the materials and hardware used are also top. If a standard size fits this well, I’d be quite curious to know how a custom one could fit! I’m a huge fan of Puimond and can’t recommend his work highly enough. To see Puimond’s other styles, do visit his website here.

Puimond PY06 Iridescent Pearl Plunge Overbust Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Sparklewren Couture Overbust Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length Front is about 12 inches long, back is 13″ long. From waist to underbust is 4-5″, waist to peak of bust is about 10″. Unique silhouette in which the ribcage follows the natural contours but nips in dramatically at the waist for an extreme hourglass shape. Hips are cut high; not a problem for pear shapes. Recommended for extreme hourglass ladies. Exaggerated plunge neckline; I recommend using double-sided/ toupee tape if your breasts tend to migrate.
Material Fashion layer is pearlescent vinyl; backed onto cotton; lining is cotton coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. Lock-stitching between panels, external boning channels in the middle of the panels, and a floating liner (very comfortable). 6 garter tabs.
Binding Matching pearl vinyl, machine stitched inside and outside; trimmed short instead of folded under on the inside (typical treatment of leather/ pleather binding)
Waist tape 1″ wide invisible waist tape between the interlining and lining.
Modesty panel None.
Busk Heavy-duty wide busk (1″ wide on each side) about 11″ long (5 pins).
Boning 10 steel bones not including busk. On each side, there are 3 bones in the middle of the panels (feels like spiral) and another two steel flats sandwiching the grommets at the back.
Grommets 26 grommets total, size #00 two-part grommets with moderate flange; set equidistantly; high quality – no splits, no wear/fraying/pulling out of grommets
Laces Strong cotton braided shoe-lace style laces; they’re thin, they grip well and they are long enough. Very easy to lace up. Zero spring.
Price The PY06 is advertised as $450 for fabric and $570 for leather/vinyl. You can see the options on his website here.

Final Thoughts:

This was my first couture corset purchase back around February of 2011. I have since purchased another Puimond overbust (PY15) which is constructed differently, and fits totally differently as well. For anyone who may have gotten the impression that I was complaining about the fit of this corset, please note that Puimond is not at any fault – he is a very well-respected designer in this field.

I’m more upset that my torso length doesn’t fit the corset, as opposed to the corset not fitting me. This particular corset was not made to my particular measurements; it has been around for many years and been worn by at least 4-5 different people. It’s held up surprisingly well over time, all things considered. I’m very excited to review my second Puimond corset in the future, as it shows how Puimond alters his construction techniques based on fabrics used and silhouette he’s going for – not all “Puimonds” are the same!

To see Puimond’s other styles, do visit his website here.

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