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Pirate Fashions “Buxom Bodice” Corset Review

"Buxom Bodice" by Pirate Fashions - price ranges from $139 to $159 USD.

This entry is a summary of the review video “Review: Buxom Bodice Underbust Corset (Pirate Fashions)”. If you would like more complete information and side notes about the corset, you can watch the video on YouTube here:

 

Fit, length Center front is 13.5 inches long, princess seam is 11.5 inches (5 inches from the waist up, 6.5 inches from the waist down), the side seam is 12 inches and the center back is very high at 16.5 inches long.
Rib spring is 4″, lower hip spring is 9″ (but can be expanded to 14″ or more!). Ribs are very conical and brings in the floating ribs – this corset would fit someone with a long torso and pear shape best.
Material Two main layers (poly brocade fashion fabric, cotton twill lining).
Construction 6-panel pattern (12 panels total). Panels 2,3,4 and 5 all have a little bit of ease over the hip. Panel 2 is cut very long to create the shoulder straps, and panels 4, 5, and 6 are high to create the high back. Layers were flatlined and treated as one; panels were assembled with seam allowances facing inward and topstitched. Internal boning channels were laid down on the lining side and straddle the seams. Single boned on the seams (for sizes 20″ through 32″).
Waist tape One-inch-wide waist tape made from satin ribbon, exposed on the lining of the corset, secured down at each boning channel. It’s a partial-width waist tape, starting from panel 2 and extending to panel 5.
Binding Commercially-sourced black satin bias tape, machine stitched on both sides. Also includes 6 garter loops (garters sold separately).
Modesty panel 4 modesty panels in this corset (large one at the back, 8.5″ wide, will cover back lacing gap of at least 5 inches), front narrow modesty panel (3” wide), and two small panels to protect hips under the hip ties (widest part 4.5” wide). All of them are finished in the same black brocade fashion fabric and cotton twill lining. (See Final Thoughts for extra details.)
Busk No busk – the front is a lacing panel, 24 grommets. (see Final Thoughts for getting into and out of this corset!)
Boning 18 bones total in this corset, 9 on each side. Mostly single boned on the seams, and mostly flat steel bones (exception being the bones on the side seam that run over the hip). Sizes 34-40 are double boned (they have 24 bones).
Grommets There are 32, two-part size #0 grommets (16 on each side). They have a small/medium flange and are spaced equidistantly, and finished in silver. They’ve rolled nicely and they’re not pulling out, but I don’t tightlace in this corset (it’s a gentle reduction on me). A few grommets catch on the laces (the laces get “fuzzy” but they haven’t snapped).
Laces The laces are black round nylon cord. They have no spring or stretch, but they hold bows and knots well enough, and they are definitely long enough (almost too long!).
Price Available in the red, blue, green, brown, silver, and black brocade. All colorways are available in waist sizes 22″ through 38″, while the black brocade is also available in two extra sizes (20″ and 40″). The price is $139 USD for sizes 20-32 but the price goes up another $20 (up to $159 USD) for sizes 34-40, because these larger sizes are fully double boned.

 

Final Thoughts:

The Buxom Bodice somewhat qualifies as a waistcoat corset, as it has a high back and flexible shoulder straps.

"Buxom Bodice" by Pirate Fashions - price ranges from $139 to $159 USD.
“Buxom Bodice” by Pirate Fashions – price ranges from $139 to $159 USD.

I tend to see plenty of OTR corsets that feature halter straps, but not too many that include a high back and adjustable shoulder straps that can either go straight back or be criss-crossed for varying support. The high back prevents any back squidge (“muffin top”) whatsoever, and the straps pull the shoulders back to correct posture and prevent rounding of the shoulders. If this corset has the right measurements for you, it might even be an okay support garment if you’re looking to avoid postural kyphosis, at a fraction of the price of other corsets with shoulder straps. (Of course, if you have a medical condition and you need a therapeutic brace, please ask your doctor first!)

Because this corset is so long in the waist, I wouldn’t recommend this for someone who is short of stature/ short-waisted and spends the majority of their time sitting down, as the top edge will push up and lift your bust (hence “Buxom Bodice”) and the bottom edge may hit your lap. This corset best suits those with a longer torso – and because this corset is longer from the waist down than it is from the waist up, it would especially suit someone with a high waistline / deep pelvis. It’s very narrow through the ribs while the hips can be freely expanded, so it best suits straight or pear-shaped corseters.

While the chart above mentions that the hip ties can be expanded an additional 5 inches, in reality they can be expanded a bit more than that – however the little modesty panels under the hip lacing area will not stretch across the gap. I quite like the panels under the hip ties especially, as this is a fairly unique feature. (I’ve reviewed plenty of corsets with hip ties but this is the first that features cute panels underneath to protect the hips from the grommets/laces). But these panels can be tucked back or removed with a seam ripper if you dislike them.

The biggest issue I found with this corset is the time it takes to get the corset on and off, particularly because it doesn’t have a front busk (Pirate Fashions explained that they wanted to stay true to the Piratey aesthetic). How I put this corset on:

  1. I first loosen the laces in the back by about 8 inches.
  2. Then I undo the lacing knot at the bottom of the center front, and unthread the laces to about waist length.
  3. Once the front is loosened enough, I can step into the bodice and pull it up over my hips, and slip my arms through the arm holes.
  4. I quickly rethread the front of the corset (I might skip a few grommets for speed) and tighten just enough to test that everything is sitting properly on my body. I needed several try-ons to get the straps to a comfortable snugness. (This is so much easier with another person helping!)
  5. Once the straps are at the right length and the bodice is positioned properly, I’ll rethread the front properly (not skipping grommets), knot it off at the bottom, tighten up the front and pull it closed, and tuck the “bunny ears” up into the top edge of my corset.
  6. Then I lace up the back like a normal corset so it’s comfortably snug.

It’s definitely a process to get into and out of, and does take longer than a busk – but it does get easier after several wears!

Do you have this corset, or another corset from Pirate Fashions? What do you think of it? Leave a comment down below! See the Buxom Bodice and other themed clothing on Pirate Fashions here.

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Roberto Cavalli Waistcoat Corset

This post is a summary of the “Roberto Cavalli Corset-Style Vest/ Waistcoat” video, which you can watch on Youtube if you prefer:

 

Fit, length Center front is 9.5 inches long, the side seam is 11 inches (from the armscye to the hip), and the center back is 19 inches from the collar to the bottom. Circumferential measurements: waist is 26″, full bust is 32″, high hip is also 32″. The silhouette is modern slim – not made for tightlacing or waist training.
Material Fashion fabric is a dusty blush colored wool/viscose blend, and the lining and back panels are 100% silk.
Construction 12 panel pattern. The panels were cut to look like a ribbon cincher on the fashion layer. The floating lining is more simple and streamlined.
Binding None. The garment was sewn right-sides together, flipped right-side out, and the lower seam was hand-finished and pressed so the seam is hidden.
Waist tape None (didn’t expect to find one as it’s not a genuine corset, and also ribbon cinchers tend not to have waist tapes in general).
Modesty panel None. The exposed gap in the back allows heat and perspiration to escape, like the vents in other garments.
Busk 9 inches long with 5 pins, the last two of which are closer together. Standard flexible busk (half inch on each side).
Boning 10 total bones not including busk. 1/4″ wide bones, all plastic / acrylic. Three bones on each side panel, and two more 1/4″ wide bones sandwiching the grommets.
Grommets 24 grommets total – very tiny (size #X00) 2-part eyelets with very narrow flange, finished in gold and set equidistantly. A few splits on the underside, but for the most part they’ve rolled nicely and don’t catch on the laces. Washers are teeny as well, but they do their job.
Laces 1/4″ pale pink flat polyester shoelace. Zero spring. The garment game laced with the bow at the bottom as opposed to at the waistline.
Kristin Chenoweth in Roberto Cavalli at the 2014 Oscars

 

 

 

I fully admit that I’m a bit of a Cavalli fan, even though this is the first designer piece I’ve ever owned. I found this garment on Ebay whilst 2nd-hand corset hunting, and after many months of contemplation, decided it would be worth checking out – because of the circumstances, I haven’t been able to track down the year / season of this piece or the retail value. But if this is a genuine Cavalli, then going by the price of his current designs, I would say that I got a decent deal on this.

Jennifer Lopez in Roberto Cavalli at the AMFAR in 2011.

 

 

 

 

Although this waistcoat is not a genuine corset per se, it has some interesting “corsetty” aspects (the ribbon cincher panelling, the front busk, the back laces) so I thought it would be interesting to compare this piece (which is the product of a mainstream fashion designer) and see how it measures up in the context of my normal corset reviews.

It is actually well-constructed with lovely muted fabrics and surprisingly strong despite the tiny eyelets and the lack of a true strength fabric, and the sparingly-used acrylic boning kept the lines smooth, so I was pleasantly surprised. 

My one mild annoyance was at the faux pockets actually, as I prefer not to carry around handbags and would love to see more women’s clothing with useable pockets – but I can understand how having functional pockets on such a small and fitted garment might ruin the silhouette or stretch out the lining. But all in all, I’m pleased with this garment and will be keeping it in my wardrobe as a fun accessory and a nod to corsetry.

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Where to buy Corsets that correct posture/ corsets with shoulder straps

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.

Your typical run-of-the-mill underbust corset does a good job of correcting lumbar posture (making you stand tall from your lower back), but some individuals still find that they slouch from the shoulders, which regular underbusts don’t directly fix. So, which corsets are best to correct your whole posture and help you sit tall?

Some overbust corsets extend high enough on the body that they can help correct posture in the thoracic vertebrae, but what if you don’t like conventional overbusts, or you just want some variety in your corset collection? The answer possibly lies in a high-backed corset with shoulder straps. There are many corsets that come with straps, but the type of straps matter greatly if you’re looking to correct hunched shoulders.

Avoid halter straps if you have a slouching problem.

If you have a habit of slouching, avoid halter straps on your corsets because if the straps are too short or tied too tightly, the material pulling on the back of your neck will exacerbate a forward-head position and possibly encourage your shoulders to follow, making your posture worse. What would work better is a waistcoat-style corset which has a high supportive back extending up between the shoulder blades, and individual shoulder straps that help pull the shoulders back and open up the chest.

Underbust Waistcoat Corsets

Miss Katie waistcoat corset, £325
Miss Katie waistcoat corset, £325 on FairyGothMother

Miss Katie, a UK designer, has created this waistcoat underbust corset for £325 (or about $530). This standard-sized taffeta corset is laced nearly up to the neck, and the shoulder straps look to be made of ribbon and can be tied looser or tighter based on your preference.

Ties That Bynde custom daily wear corset with shoulder trainers

Ties that Bynde is a Michigan-based corsetiere who just recently debuted this training corset. Custom-fit and made from spot broche coutil, this corset is strong enough to be worn daily. The shoulders straps attach to the corset using ribbon and grommets, which are slightly adjustable.

Scoundrelle’s Keep Sabine underbust, starts at $340

Scoundrelle’s Keep of St. Paul, Minnesota specializes in Steampunk style corsets, and their Sabine underbust corset features neat a multi-adjustable shoulder harness. The entire harness attaches to the underbust corset using adjustable belt/buckles, and can be entirely detached from the corset if desired (so you can wear the corset as a simple underbust at times). The four belts in back adjust to the height of your shoulders, while the two straps in front can be tightened to coax the shoulders back, or loosened for your comfort. The laces in back can also be adjusted depending on the breadth of your shoulders. They also make an overbust version called Aubrey and both of these corsets come in your choice of colours.

Totally Waisted! Corsets waistcoat corset, $650

Totally Waisted! Corsets is a Toronto-based business that creates a variety of couture corsets from traditional Victorian styles to modern corseted wedding gowns. Kate has experience in drafting posture-corrective garments and her corsets are capable of giving impressive waist reductions while looking relatively natural. This gorgeous made-to-measure corset features straps adjustable using ribbon laces, and it includes lace accents, painstakingly tidy contrast stitching and beautiful flossing.

High-backed underbust corset by Daze of Laur

Let’s take a moment to admire the colourful work of Daze of Laur. Laurie’s high-backed underbust corsets feature shoulder straps adjustable with ribbons and can be made with a neutral posture or can be incorporated into a more S-bend style corset. Although she is not currently accepting commissions, do check back periodically as her creations are not to be missed.

Overbust Waistcoat Corsets

The Bad Button overbust waistcoat corset with integrated straps and collar

The Bad Button Bespoke Corsets has designed a beautiful overbust waistcoat corset that doesn’t have lacing right up to the neck as in the previous mentioned designs, but this corset works by adding structure and support over the upper chest, back, and over the shoulders. The shoulder straps are not really adjustable (and so must be carefully fitted), but for women with heavy busts, the extra support in front can remove strain the shoulders by lifting and supporting the bust from below.

House of Canney Duelist's Steampunk Corset vest, starts at $265
House of Canney Duelist’s Steampunk Corset vest, starts at $265

The House of Canney has an awesome selection of waistcoat and vest-like corsets for both men and women. This Duelist’s Corset is made-to-measure and features a unique offset busk, collar that can be worn up or down, and Anthony’s trademark “keyhole” lacing design (which would be amazing for those who like a little ventilation in back!).

Dark Garden Beau Brummel Waistcoat Corset, $1195

Dark Garden Corsetry offers some incredibly beautiful custom designs, whether it’s a modified simple underbust to integrate shoulder straps, or whether it’s a waistcoat corset (seen above) for full coverage. They have styles for both men and women, to suit every taste, and can be made to be more posture-corrective or more lenient with posture.

Corsets with Criss-Cross Straps

Contour Corsets Redresseur style corset with locking shoulder straps

It’s no secret that Contour Corsets is one of my favourite designers; Fran’s engineering is incredible. In this unique piece, you’re looking at the back of the corset (the laces are underneath the flap, so the back is smooth under clothing) and the wide shoulder straps criss-cross in the back to help pull the shoulders back and correct posture. The straps here are adjustable using grommets and little locks, although other Contour styles utilize simple buckles without locks. Even without shoulder straps, Fran can make a simple underbust corset more or less posture-corrective (using patterning and rigidity of bones/fabric) depending on the client’s preferences.

Electra Designs custom high-back underbust shoulder straps

Electra Designs is another favourite corsetiere who displays considerable ingenuity. Alexis explained that the custom-fit corset seen above was for a client with notable physical asymmetry. Masterful positioning of the piping masks scoliosis very well in a piece like this. She uses special flexible lacing bones that maintains a neutral posture and hugs the curve of the lower spine, while the criss-cross shoulder straps help to correct upper-spinal posture and is adjusted using buckles in the front. The same way that “reverse bunny ear” lacing can give more leverage while lacing down, so corsets with criss-cross straps have the leverage to gently squeeze the scapula together more easily, and straighten thoracic spine posture and open the chest. 

*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, and not meant to replace the advice of a medical physician. If you have posture issues or have any health concerns, please talk to your doctor, orthopedic technician or chiropractor before using a corset to correct your posture (or for any other reason).