There’s a reason tight lacing with a corset has been popular for centuries in different cultures around the world. Women love wearing corsets to create an hourglass shape.
But since this style isn’t something everyone chooses to wear, there are a lot of questions and misconceptions that can circulate about wearing them. What are the effects of tight lacing on the body?
We’ve worked with women of all shapes and sizes and we can tell you confidently that tight-lacing is an effective way to create a style statement and to shape your figure while you’re wearing it. And as long as you use common sense, follow our best practices for corseting and listen to your body’s cues, you’ll have a positive experience.
Related: What Can a Corset Do to Your Body?
How Tight Lacing Works
Before we get into its effects, we’ll take a moment to explain how tight lacing with a corset works.
A typical modern corset consists of a fabric bodice that is reinforced with flexible steel boning. It closes at the front with metal closures called busks and is tightened at the back with laces.
A corset that has been broken in, or “seasoned,” will be molded to the wearer’s shape. When you pull the laces tight, the garment provides firm compression at the midsection, which can help the wearer have a flat belly and a waistline that is several inches smaller.
This effect only lasts until you take the corset off. The tissues around your midsection are soft and will return to their resting position.
Some people like to wear corsets as part of a daily regimen, which can be referred to as tight lacing or waist training. The goal with this practice is to help you slim down your midsection on an ongoing basis. It works best as a complement to a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet, adequate hydration and regular exercise.
Tight lacing does not cause your waistline to permanently shrink. You can benefit from it because it can help you feel confident and motivated; it can remind you to stick with your health goals and to eat in smaller portions.
Related: Are Corsets Good for Weight Loss?
Tight Lacing Best Practices
To experience the most benefit from wearing a corset, we recommend following a daily regimen such as the one we described above. Daily wear can keep you motivated and confident, not to mention you’ll look your best as you work on your slimming goals.
Our advice is to wear a corset for a minimum of eight hours a day and a maximum of twelve. For most people, this is practical to do during the workday. It’s also beneficial to wear a workout band or waist trainer during your regular workouts to maximize the benefits (this is different from a corset because it doesn’t use laces, but it has similar effects).
It’s important when wearing a tight-fitting garment like a corset to ensure that it fits correctly. When you order a new corset, be sure to follow that garment’s sizing chart precisely. The charts on our website are customized for each piece. If you are petite, plus-size or taller than average, you may want to choose a corset that is designed for your body type (short, long or in specialty sizes), to ensure fit and comfort.
When sizing your corset, take measurements at your natural waist, which is a couple of inches above your belly button. Use soft measuring tape and make sure that it is level, not drooping. It should lie flat against your skin, but not be stretched tight.
It takes time to adjust to wearing a restrictive garment like corset daily, so don’t expect to start at eight hours a day right out of the gate. Start by wearing your corset for just an hour or two at a time and then gradually increase the amount of time you wear it each day.
Keep in mind that steel-boned corsets also need to be seasoned before you pull the laces tight; otherwise you risk damaging the garment. Wear a new corset loosely for about two weeks. After that, the corset should be molded to your torso’s unique shape and you can pull the laces tighter.
You shouldn’t wear a corset for more than twelve hours a day for a couple of reasons. Your body needs some time to relax, and your skin needs to breathe. Plus, your corset also needs time to air out.
Listening to Your Body’s Cues
It a healthy practice to listen to your body, whether you’re wearing a corset, eating, exercising or following any practice that affects you physically.
●If you feel discomfort when wearing a corset, loosen it or take it off. It should never cause pinching or shortness of breath; these are indications that your garment doesn’t fit correctly.
●Again, be sure that your corset has been seasoned and fitted correctly before you start tightening the laces.
You might feel warm when wearing a corset, depending on the materials the garment is made from. For this reason, it’s important to be mindful of the amount of water you’re drinking when tight lacing—you may need more than normal. If you’re too warm or think you may be dehydrated, take the garment off. You may want to consider wearing a lighter garment like a cotton or mesh corset which can be cooler than other materials.
Another effect of tight lacing to be mindful of when tight lacing is how it affects your eating. Your body will be able to digest normally, but your stomach won’t have as much room to expand during meals. This can obviously be uncomfortable if you consume a lot of food, resulting in a feeling of pressure or possibly heartburn.
For this reason, we strongly advise only eating small portions while wearing a corset. Chew slowly, enjoy your food and pay attention to when you feel full. These are healthy eating practices anyway and can contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle while corseting.
Another common effect of corseting that you may want to be aware of is its effects on the skin. If you find that your around the midsection is dry or itchy from extensive wear, there are a few ways to prevent that.
●First, you may be losing a lot of moisture through perspiration, so be sure that you’re drinking a lot of water in order to hydrate your skin from the inside out.
●Next, examine the material in the lining of your corset. Is it keeping you cool and comfortable? If not, consider wearing a light tank top underneath your corset that will keep your skin cool and dry.
●You may also want to use a moisturizing gel designed for waist training during wear.
Also be sure that you are airing your corset out each night. Putting on a damp corset will probably cause problems.
If the material in your corset just isn’t comfortable against your skin no matter what you try, then test out different materials. We highly recommend cotton or mesh corsets for comfort.
Misconceptions About Tight Lacing
There’s a common misconception about how tight lacing can move or shift your organs. While it’s true that compression around the midsection can put pressure on your soft tissues, this isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. Your soft tissues and internal organs are designed to adjust to varying pressures. Even wearing a bra shifts your soft tissues, and that isn’t a cause for concern (unless you’re uncomfortable, in which case you switch to a different bra).
For example, as already discussed, your stomach expands and contracts. Other organs do as well, depending on what they are processing and how hydrated you are.
If you’re still not convinced, consider what happens during pregnancy. Your soft tissues move to make room for a growing baby and then return to their normal positions. While this isn’t the most comfortable process, it is natural. A corset, by comparison, does not put nearly as much pressure on your body. And it is only temporary—after you take a corset off, your soft tissues will be in their natural resting positions.
Another misconception about tight lacing is that it causes your lower ribs to move. If you’re following a normal corseting regimen, using a garment that fits correctly, and listening to your body’s cues, you have no cause for concern.
The rib cage is not pliable; unlike soft tissues, bones do not move unless they are broken or are growing (which is why corseting should NOT be practiced by anyone who isn’t a fully grown adult). There may be some bizarre reports about extreme tight lacers who achieved practically non-human results, but again, if you follow best practices and use common sense, there is no cause for alarm.
Related: Is Wearing Shapewear Harmful?
We hope this article has been informative and helpful if you are researching the effects of tight lacing and are trying to determine if it will work for you. If you have any other questions or want to learn more, be sure to explore our blog or contact our expert stylists for advice.