The practice of corseting has been used by women for hundreds of years. Naturally, we’re thrilled that it's still such a hot trend here in the 21st century – especially as corset designers are constantly releasing bold new styles that are sexier and more dramatic than ever.
Getting started with corseting is a ton of fun, but there are a few things you should know first. We thought it would be helpful to provide some guidance for beginners, so read on to discover if corseting is for you and how to begin!
Corseting is the process of wearing a corset daily to dramatically slim your waistline– either underneath other clothing or on display as part of a costume or special-occasion outfit. Corseting falls under the umbrella of “waist training,” so it can be used to supplement your long-term slimming regiments (i.e. a healthy diet and exercise), but generally the term refers specifically to steel-boned corsets, as opposed to latex waist trainers.
What is a steel-boned corset?
A steel-boned corset is reinforced with—you guessed it—steel boning. This construction ensures that the garment is durable and effective for maximum slimming. It is laced in the back for an optimum fit that provides dramatic results.
Don’t be intimidated by the word "steel." These thin, rod-like materials still have some flex, so that your midsection is compressed but not constricted. Without the steel boning, those dramatic hourglass curves would not be possible.
Choosing the right size
Before you start corseting, you want to be confident that you are using a waist trainer that fits well. See our size guide for instructions about how to take measurements. For corsets you’ll want to subtract 3–4 inches from your waist size to determine the corset size (if your waist is 30 inches, you’ll want a size 26 corset). When in doubt, go a size up, not down.
How do I put it on?
It’s a little tricky to lace up in a corset, so we advise using a mirror or getting assistance from someone. First, gently unroll the corset so that the laces are facing up. Pull them apart, loosening the X’s starting from the center. When you put it on, you know that the correct side is up when the hooks that clasp in front are on your right. It should be very loose when you clasp it; never pull or tug on the hooks when you fasten the front.
Next, pull the laces starting at the top and bottom and work your way towards the middle, pulling the loops as you go. The pull loops should be at the natural waist. Tie them when you’ve reached the desired tightness.
Breaking your corset in
It’s very important to season your corset, or break it in, before you start wearing it. Put it on gently at first, without pulling the laces completely tight. Wear it for an hour or so each day, or for 2–3 days so that it molds to your figure. Then you can go ahead and lace it tightly.
You can pull those laces very tightly. One of the first things you'll notice when starting your corseting is how strong the compression is. It may feel tight during the first few wears, but your body becomes accustomed to it quite quickly. Stop wearing it immediately if you start to feel pain, shortness of breath or discomfort beyond the initial tightness.
Starting a regimen
After you've chosen your corset and seasoned it, you can start wearing it on a regular basis slowly. Your body needs time to adjust to wearing it. Begin with just an hour or two a day and then work your way up. Once you are comfortable, we recommend corseting for eight hours a day for the best results.
Remember that everyone's body is different. If you're using corseting as part of your existing fitness goals, there are several factors that will affect your results: lifestyle, diet, genetics and your commitment to corseting (see this post for more).
We recommend using a corseting regimen with a healthy lifestyle that includes 5–6 nutritious meals a day and working out. While you're wearing your corset you might find yourself eating less because your abdomen is constricted, but it's important to mindfully consume the nutrients your body needs along with lots of water.