One of the questions we get the most frequently is: what's the difference between a corset and a waist trainer? And which one is better to use?
The truth is, we actually recommend both styles of waist-slimming garments! Which is better for you depends on a number of factors including your personal goals, style, shaping needs and overall preferences.
First, here’s a brief definition of each garment:
A corset is a garment, typically constructed with steel boning, that slims the waist with the aid of tightening laces in the back.
A waist trainer, also known as a cincher, is a garment that slims the waist with the aid of compression material, typically constructed with a latex core and hook-and-eye closures in the front.
It’s important to note that both terms can actually refer to either style of garment. This can obviously be a little confusing. In general, we use the term “waist trainer” because it refers to the results that you can achieve with regular use: an overall slimming of the waistline. The term “corset” can also be a general term for waist-slimming garments. For the rest of this post, however, the term “waist trainer” will refer to the cincher variety, and the term “corset” will refer to the lace-up variety.
In this article, we’ll explore the main differences between waist trainers and corsets, and then we’ll discuss the benefits of each.
The most immediately noticeable differences between corsets and waist trainers are the materials. The fabric in corsets is typically cotton, satin or leather, with long flexible steel rods to give the garments their structure. On the front of corsets, you’ll usually see small steel busks that fasten into place. Satin laces in the back are used to pull corsets very tight, typically resulting in an immediate reduction in the waistline between 3 and 6 inches.
Waist trainers, on the other hand, are constructed with synthetic materials like nylon, latex, and Spandex. They also use some plastic or occasionally steel boning to help retain their shape. Waist trainers are fastened using hook-and-eye closures in the front. Instead of using laces to slim the waistline, the materials provide firm compression, which typically results in a reduction of 1 to 3 inches from the waistline. You can size down a cincher by fastening the tighter row of eyes with the hooks.
How to Wear Them
Waist trainers and waist cincher corsets are typically both used as styles of undergarments that are hidden underneath your attire. Corsets are slightly more difficult to conceal underneath clothing because of the slight bulkiness of the busks and the laces. For these reasons, some wearers prefer waist trainers for everyday use and might pull out their corsets for special occasions. Having said that, it can sometimes be tricky to wear waist trainers under clothing too. If you plan on wearing something that is very revealing or tight-fitting, you might prefer a no-closure cincher or even a different style of seamless shapewear.
There are occasions, however, when corsets and waist trainers both function well as outerwear. A corset can be a stunning statement piece worn over a thin top; it can also function well as a part of a burlesque outfit. Some corsets even have an overbust design, although these typically are used more for special occasions and as costume pieces, rather than as everyday waist trainers. But they are quite flattering on any body type; not to mention, they provide additional bust support.
If you have an Instagram account, then you are probably already aware that workout waist trainers can be worn over a light tank or with just a sports bra. Many of the bright colors, sheens, and patterns are meant to be shown off! Whether you’re working out at home and want to take some shareable selfies in your waist trainers, or if you want to draw attention to yourself at the gym, a workout band makes a statement in your workout wardrobe, in addition to its waist-slimming benefits.
Uses and Results
Both waist trainers and corsets are effective for a waist training regimen. If you are wearing either style for at least eight hours a day over an extended period of time, you may see some great results because of the added heat stimulation to your core—not to mention some added posture support and overall confidence boost.
Some women prefer corsets because overall you will get a more dramatic hourglass shape when you wear one. But others prefer the ease of use that comes with waist trainers, as well as the versatility they have under clothing.
One benefit that waist trainers unquestionably have over corsets is their effectiveness during workouts. In fact, many styles in our workout shapewear collection are made exclusively for that purpose. They come in a shorter cut and are flexible yet durable. You will have ease of movement while increasing the intensity of your workouts. And, as mentioned above, they definitely add to your workout wardrobe – the bright colors make them fun to flaunt at the gym. Corsets and even everyday waist trainers, in comparison, are not designed for this purpose—in fact, using them during workouts could damage them or cause you unnecessary discomfort.
Some women like to do waist training in their sleep, and in this case, we recommend that you use a waist trainer for more comfort. Some people use old, looser waist trainers for exactly this purpose. You may prefer a no-closure style cincher to ensure that you won’t have any discomfort lying on hooks for any part of the night.
If you’re still not sure which style of waist slimming garment is best for your purposes, it really comes down to a matter of preference. Here are additional factors that may help you choose one over the other.
Hands down, a lace-up corset is going to be the most durable and long-lasting options for a waist training regimen. The steel boning will not wear out any time soon, and since you will be tightening with laces, you will not lose any of the compression benefits. What’s more, you will always have a custom fit and should have no problem keeping the garment tightly fastened as your waistline starts to slim down.
A latex cincher, on the other hand, will eventually need to be replaced if you're wearing it regularly. With time, the latex loses its power and may not provide as firm of compression as a new garment will. Furthermore, as your waistline sizes down, you may find that a cincher has limitations in how tight in can fasten.
Both styles of garments have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to comfort. Since they are made with compression materials, you may find that waist trainers lack breathability—although, making you sweat is part of the reason they work. Corsets are generally a bit more breathable. But, on the other hand, corsets are definitely less flexible (hence why waist trainers are better for workouts).
One added benefit of waist trainers is that many of them come in a vest style. If you have a larger bust or would like more compression coverage for your back, this can be a preferable alternative for you.
Corsets can be very fun to wear if they fit with your personal sense of style. You can find them in a variety of colors, cuts and even with certain embellishments. Waist trainer styles are a completely different look, which you may or may not prefer. Corset lingerie gives you that feminine, vintage, or burlesque look. Waist trainers come in a variety of bring colors and prints, as well as classic black and nude to hide underneath lighter-toned clothes.
If you are going to be wearing them under your clothes this may not be a huge deciding factor for you anyway—unless your outfits tend to be more revealing. In that case, waist trainers would probably be better because they are easier to conceal.
While there are high-end and low-end choices for both corsets and waist trainers, in general corsets are going to be more expensive. Waist trainers are typically in the $50–$70 range, while most steel-boned corsets are at least that much, and often over $100.
Ease of Use
When it comes down to it, corsets are tricky and time-consuming to put on, while waist trainers tend to be more user-friendly (although they can be tricky too!). Both garments just take practice. However, if you tend to be in a rush when you get dressed in the morning, the waist trainer may be the more practical option.
We hope this article has cleared up some of the confusion and questions that many people have when trying to decide between wearing waist trainers or corsets. Ultimately, we love both garments and recommend either or both, depending on your preferences and needs. And remember, you can always reach out to us if you have any more questions!