Susan shows off her new skirt, accompanied by escort Robert
We're very proud of our new waist training student, Susan Shippey. Susan made
the cute pink Carnavale outfit I am wearing at Coronation (also modeled by
Murielle on our April/May/June home page) as well as her own lovely green one to match
the True Grace Peacock Corset. Susan, her date Robert, my escort Ron and I
really enjoyed the Feb. 22 Coronation, and we congratulate our good friend
Snatch, for winning Empress (in red outfit below). She along with Emperor
Michael will do many good deeds for local charities this year, the real reason
to lend our support to this great and fun organization! We're also happy to be
in touch with Sarah, another successful waist training graduate, who continues
to maintain her considerable loss of excess poundage during training last year
We're happy to provide a bit more substantive comments on certain corseting issues, some taken from our book in progress, in this newsletter. As ever, we appreciate your photos and comments, as well as any articles you would like to submit for publication.
|Outgoing Miss TGSF Kalani
crowns Rachel, Miss TGSF
2003 (Cotillion 03)
|Cotillion M.C.s Lenny and Chablis with outgoing
Miss TGSF Kalani
|Ann with Miss TGSF||Ann with M.C., Chablis,
former Empress of San
Francisco's Imperial Court
|Ann and Cheryl Shepard
(wearing Sue Nice silk
dupione Victorian corset)
|All contestants||TGSF President, Rachelle
|Ron (wearing a Sue Nice
corset) escorts Ann wearing
a Sheri's Sincher and
new Bubble Skirt by Susan
Why Don't Corsets Hurt?
That's an easy question to answer.
First, corsets don't hurtwhen they're custombecause they fit the unique hills and valleys of your body. If they're not custom, and you didn't get a good fit to boot, then a corset could hurt.
Second, corsets don't hurt because you control how tightly they are laced. If you want them tight, OK, but if you want comfort, just loosen up the laces in back.
Third, corsets don't hurt because you're going to wear them in a moderate, common-sense kind of way, right? Right!
Corsets Don't Hurt When They're "Custom"
Custom corsets aren't only suitable for the proverbial Ally McBeal pencil-slim body; they're suitablequite literallyfor everybody! That's because they're made to your individual and unique personal measurements. Custom corsets are for real people; people with warm, squishy, loving, freckled, wrinkled, smooth, hairy, soft, hard, little, or big bodieslike you and I actually have. That means corsets don't pinch your hipbone or cave in your rib cage. They don't cut into your body at the bottom of your bra's underwire and they don't dig into your kidneys. They don't pooch out the tummy or take your breath away.
Now, if I try your custom corset on, it might do that to my body, because it's made for you, not me. When it's made for you, after a period of wear, the steel boning that, in combination with pattern pieces, gives the corset its shape, begins to conform to your body and stay that way. It's like a fine leather shoe that molds to your foot after you wear it for a while.
Many people have a difficult time with the concept of "custom." They aren't used to getting what they want. They haven't done enough research to know how to order a well-fitting corset that is suitable for waist training. We're accustomed to shopping in ready-to-wear department stores featuring a limited selection of standard sizes and styles each season. Unless we have the financial resources to hire a seamstress or tailor, or shop in haute couture boutiques, we have to fit our bodies into what's already on store racks. Clients know that I offer custom and not ready-made corsets and I tell them in advance of an appointment that I'll be taking at least nine different horizontal and vertical body measurements to ensure a perfect fit. Yet when they try on samples of corsets from my inventory, they sometimes complain: "The top is too high," or "The bottom doesn't go low enough," or "My boobs look too big!" That won't be a problem when I get done, because their custom corset will be adjusted to their individual body. I'll take front, side front, underarm, back, rib cage, waist, hipbone, and derriere measurements to ensure a perfect fit. That's what you have to do when you take your own measurements or enlist the aid of a friend to do the same for you.
A well-fitting corset starts with an accurate and thorough set of measurements. Believe it or not, the first step toward accuracy is not a tape measure, but honesty. Don't cheat! Don't be afraid of facing or reporting the true results of your measurements, as many of my clients seem to be, especially women. Witness what one potential client wrote by email when we were discussing her wedding corset: "Eek! I don't want to know the exact measurements of all my various bits. I'm sure they'll be bigger than I like to think they are." Another client, when sending me her updated measurements for a wedding corset, titled her email: "Re: MeasurementsUgh!" Yet another exclaimed, as I characteristically murmured to myself while measuring her body and recording statistics during a fitting appointment, "Do you have to talk out loud? I don't want to know!"
I, too, suffer from the disease of "don't-wanna-know" when my hips expand a dread half-inch above normal. Sometimes I continue to report my priorbut presently inaccuratefanny measurement to my corset maker, from which only I suffer in the endso to speakbecause the bottom edge of the corset will be a bit too tight for reality! Many people sense their own bodies as enemies, something against which to struggle, to control, or worse yet, to ignore. We aren't at ease in our skins. We try to dismiss our bodies and their "petty" needs. We're bombarded daily with impossible standards of beauty or attractivenesseven men, although standards for men have as much to do with power, money, or accomplishment in work as they do with being fair of face or muscle-bound.
Corsets bring you right up against your bodyliterallyand put you in touch with yourself in a major way that can be startling and impressive. That's why some of us turn into true corset enthusiasts after making peace with our first corset. Corseting breaks a habit of self-alienation by making physical changes that often have profound positive emotional effects as well. For many, corseting creates a sense of being protected, nurtured, and, yes, for some, even loved. Whether or not you develop a lifelong love affair with the corset, you may well find our waist-training goals challenged by negative attitudes you have toward your body; attitudes you may not know you have and attitudes you will need to overcome.
Corsets Don't Hurt Because You'll Open Up the Laces When You Need To
| If your corset feels like it doesn't fit after wearing
it for a while, you're going to reach around back, loosen those laces, and go
about your important businessstill corseted and looking fine, I might
add. That seems like an obvious solution to discomfort, right? Wrong! At least
not obvious to me! |
For years and years I wore my corsets without opening them up in back, and from time to time suffered mightily. After listening to me complaining one day, Pandora, a corset enthusiast friend, said: "Ann, why don't you just loosen or tighten your laces throughout the day depending on your state of comfort, at mealtimes, or whenever you're tired of it?" Charlie B., one of my clients, discovered this for himself. "You sure are right here, Ann. Very important statement! It only took me two and one-half years for me to arrive at this simple little practice." Duh! I don't know about Charlie, but for some weird reason I have yet to fathom, until that day I finally woke up I thought that I had to stay laced to the level I initially chose. Perhaps I felt subconsciously that suffering was a badge of honor. Maybe I'm a masochist. Certainly, at a minimum, I was just plain stupid. You won't be. Just loosen your corset the way I do now when it starts to get seriously uncomfortable.
Corsets Don't Hurt Because You "Season" Them Gradually and Lace Them Moderately
You're not going to over-lace a brand new corset, especially if you're a first-timer, if you pay attention to your body and follow my advice. If you're experienced, you're still not going to get ready for a party by lacing down five inches in five minutes, even in a well-worn corset, and then run out the door. There are three reasons you're not going to do that: your corset makeror your own experiencewill likely remind you not to do that, because you'll ruin a new corset if you do, and because you simply can't. If you try to, you'll be out of that sucker in no more than half an hour. If you call me to complain, I'll ask you this question to bring you to your senses: "You wouldn't buy a new pair of Ferragamo five-inch snug leather stilettos, put them on the first day, and run the Boston Marathon, would you?" I didn't think so. That's the wrong shoe for the race, and you're a novice. You wouldn't wear them all day the first time even if you weren't running.
The point is, when custom corsets hurt or get damaged, it's almost always because you overstepped the bounds of common sense and attention: attention to and respect for your own sense of comfort and well-being, as well as for the limitations of the garment and the corset style you ordered. As Tim R. confirmed after he successfully graduated from my Waist-Training Coaching Program, the biggest surprise of his entire program was that, "when properly broken in and laced, corsets can be comfortable!"
With that question finally (I hope) put to bed we're ready to move on.
When to Order a Corset If You are Losing Weight, and
What to Order If You are Short Waisted
Our client wrote:
"HELLO ROMANTASY, I am a 47 y/o male cross-dresser and am actually quite presentable except for a barrel chest with a bit too much thickness in the middle. Even with a 30 pound weight loss (so far) onlya loose dress is presentable as my lower ribs just stick out over my belly the more weight I lose. Just under my "breasts" measurement is 38" dropping to 36 1/2 at lower ribs and 34 1/2 at natural waist. I am continuing to lose weight and expect in a few months my chest measurements to be perhaps 1/2 inch lower with waist around 32". There is practically no space between my lower ribs and hips. Specifically, this space is no more than 1 1/2 inches in the front with these areas virtually touching in the back.
"Per my girlfriend I have what women would call a petite build - long legs and a short waist. I need a great deal of rib cage control to make my appearance as feminine as possible. I have a very feminine sweep to my low back already but need to pinch my waist in a lot from the sides and get the front of my rib cage moved in. I am looking for permanent changes via waist-training. Like many guys I have practically no butt with measurement at widest point being 36 1/2 inches so do not wish any control in the fanny! I can reliably wear a corset at least 12 hours per day M_F and, if able to >not be seen under regular dark oxford shirts, could wear much longer. Weekends I could wear corset all day.
"Suggestions appreciated as to style. Would a corset made to measure at my current measurements be of much use once I drop 2 - 3" off my waist via my diet or should I simply wait a few more months to order once my diet complete? "
Here is our response:
|"Hello There, Thanks for your website visit and inquiry. I am happy to
These are complex, individual questions as you must realize. There are no simple answers.
"RE: when to order, it depends if you want to use the corset to boost your weight loss and waist reshaping progress time wise, or not, and wait until you lose all the weight you wish.
I suggest you read my theory on that, set forth in the Introduction to my book, The Corset Diet Book.
You can see the permanent results with corsets used by my waist training coaching program students here.
If you place an order now, we can ask the corset maker to call for updated measurements just before cutting your pattern. This makes it more accurate and functional over time. Also, remember that corsets are made a certain no. of inches open in the back, meant to lace down only 2 inches to start with, closing down eventually when the sides meet in back, four or more inches. We can order more than the normal four inches once I see your actual measurements from this page, and discuss it further with you (prior history etc, the questions located on this page).
Finally, permanent waist reduction is possible even for short waisted people but it takes a custom, well made corset and it takes longer than for other people and longer than temporary reduction. A corset for you will have a much more precipitous in-out movement at the waistline, so that it does not substantially compress the ribs or cut into the upper pelvic bone.
Rib movement is more difficult for anyone. You can address it first by illusion. A corset with a smooth side profile, not one that bows out too much over the rib cage, will provide you with the results you desire. Over time, no specific time, your ribs can permanently move but if you stop corseting for 'some time', unspecified again as it is not scientific, your ribs will go back to their original shape.
You do not want to corset temporarily and fast to push in the ribs as that can be quite painful! Lacing down can provide gentle inward movement if you do it slowly over time and also some hours before you go out in a tightly laced corset. All this depends a lot on your own body as well as the corset! I hope this helps. If you wish to proceed with my recommendation, just send your measurements and fabric, color choices and I am happy to work with you! Best, Ann "
Some Thoughts on Learning to Lace a Corset by Yourself
| Recently a client visted for a personal consultation,
observed corsets on his own body and on my velvet mannikins, then returned home
to practice lacing himself into his other corsets. I was mystified to hear by
email that he had "had a breakthrough" in lacing his corsets. I had
not given him any special instruction in this matter. The improvement was in
the nature of improving the hourglass waistline shape and ease in lacing and
dressing by himself. I was curious about why, because I had not given him any
special instruction in this matter. Here is what I learned:
Our client wrote:
"I'm not completely sure. It's like learning to ride a bicycle. You try and try and it doesn't work, then one day you take off across the field. And you say to yourself 'hmm, that was actually easy.' For one thing, I slowed down. I got started with off the rack corsets that were too big and bulky, with heavy 'shoe' type laces. I'd pull and tug from the top only to have the things bulge out. Finally, I'd just pull it from the middle and say the heck with it. This time I just decided to relax and work it a bit at a time. I also limited myself to my custom made one and the excellent off the rack one from Dark Garden, so that helped. Finally, and I'm not sure this part makes sense, but it also helped seeing all the corsets that you had mounted around the studio. By seeing the hourglass 'swoop' (not sure that's a corset term) in three dimensions (rather than just a 2 dimension picture), it gave me a better image of what I was aiming to achieve. Whatever it was, it was an exciting breakthru. Hopefully, like riding a bike, it's something I'll never forget. "
Here is our response:
"The above is quite interesting. I've never had anyone mention this process and breakthrough. You are obviously quite a visual person so 3D really works. Also some experimentation is fun. You can use one, two or three different lacing cords also and there are at least four ways to lace in the back. I'll show you some the next visit. I've only managed to put one on my webpage from Vollers so must get busy on that addition! You are quite right, slow down! The thing about corsets is, they are an antique historical garment (sometimes hysterical, too! :-)), and we should not rush pleasure or try to reinvent the wheel. Americans in this century are so fast-paced (30 sec. commercials I hate with a passion!)! We don't savor the moment. The lacing yourself in could become a meditation if you let it, part of a delicious ritual of respect for the history and craftspersonship of the garment. Focus more on the moment and process, less on getting the job done or speed. A change of perspective might enhance the experience of dressing in a corset."
Do you have some breakthroughs in lacing by yourself, or how to lace a corset you would like to share? If we print your ideas we will send you your choice of a corset pin or earrings (specify gold or silver, and clip or pierced earrings, or pin).
Overbust Corset Buckles at Top --- Causes and Cures
Our client wrote:
" I have a corset that I ordered from another company. It is a strapless and over the bust model. The problem is that if I sit for an extended time it buckles and leaves the bust area. What is the difference in your corsets as all of them look like they are strapless also? Thank you, Lori"
Here is our response:
Hi there Lori, Thanks for visiting us and I'm happy to help if I can. Overbust corsets require a muslin fitting. Did you get that? You can read about it here, and that, in part, is why our corsets fit extremely well. Second, the boning has to come up over the bust and cup inward, and shape your bosom how you wish it to be. That comes from custom fitting. It is extremely difficult to get a good fit from a readymade overbust corset. Perhaps you are not lacing it tightly enough at the top back edge? You might try that. We do provide detachable straps on corsets if desired. We could make some for you but it would likely cost about $35-50 for a simple 1/2" pair. You would have to sew the clips on the inside front and back to clip the straps to. Let me know. Thanks and I hope someday to help you with a Romantasy corset! Best, Ann
Corseting and Drinking Water
We've long been a fan of drinking lots of water when waist training or wearing a corset on a regular basis. I first discovered the issue when I noted I am nearly always thirsty when tight-lacing. Not everyone feels the same, but many of my clients have shared this response with me. We received this letter from a recent reader of our Corset Magic: A Fun Guide to Trim Your Waist and Figure, and new client:
"Regarding Ann's Corset Diet Book, (I added a lot of water drinking, and) all that water must have done something for me!!! LOL I don't know how these types of matters are handled; and I surely don't want to upset any of your craftspeople, I would merely like the most use of this garment...would there be a possibility of changing my order and reducing my waist measurement somehow? Gee, I don't own a scale; I was very surprised to find I'd lost two inches in the waistline! (Pleasantly surprised, but concerned about this matter.) My waist is now 24", down from 26" I had when I placed the order! What can I say? Ann's book certainly was a great influence! Please, let me know what I can do about this matter, at your convenience! Thank you so much." Lisa P. 9/9/02
We replied that such loss is not that surprising, unless it occurs too precipitously, say, over only a 2 or 3 week period. Weight and inch loss should be more gradual than that, no more than 3 pounds (pounds are not equal to inch loss, of course) of fat or liquid in one month (Ed. note: most doctors recommend one pound a week), according to Dr. Dean Edelle on our local San Francisco TV channel 7, who also cautioned that three pounds of loss of muscle per week is of course, quite dangerous! If our client was eating well, then she might simply have replaced some calories by filling up her tummy with her new water level.
We are Frequently Asked if One Can Waist Train if one is Short-Waisted, or Successfully Waist Train with Belts, Rather than Corsets
Our client wrote:
Hi, my name is Violet and I am doing some research on tight lacing. I have a waist of about 28"-29" and not a lot of space between my ribcage and pelvis ( short waisted) I am also quite thin and don't want to lose any weight...In fact I wouldn't mind gaining 5-8 lbs. I'm not interested in any particular inch measurement of waist, just a bit more curves. The thing is that I am a Middle Eastern dancer (AKA "belly dance") and I'm worried if I will be able to do this at all or not. Ideally I would corset at night and try to wear a waist belt most of the day. I wouldn't be able to wear it during dance classes though. ( I am also a dance major at a University.) Because everyone sees my belly while working I probably wouldn't want to go down more than 3 inches because I wouldn't want my rib structure to look too abnormal. Is this possible with only corsetting at night? If you think my goals are realistic please let me know. I wouldn't want to tell anyone about this. I would be interested in hearing more about your program so that I didn't do all this alone. Thank you for your time." Violet 8/9/02
Here is our response:
"Hello there, Thanks for your visit and interesting inquiry. I see several questions included.
First, in view of your short torso, 3 inches from pelvic bone to lowest rib, a custom corset is required, because it will need to have rather dramatic curves at the hip bone so as not to pinch it and endanger nerves as you lace down three inches.
Second, I need to know if you want permanent or only a temporary 3 inch
Third, you can waist train and even tight lace (3-4 inch reduction in a corset) and not lose much if any weight. See Camille and her story after three months in our coaching program.
Fourth, you can waist train at night.
Fifth, you can waist train with a belt (please read this page) but you likely need one no wider than 2" maybe 1.7 " in view of your shortwaist. Read about training with belts on this page. You can read more personal stories of training with belts and order one here.
I hope that answers most of your questions. Do let me know how I can help you further. Congrats on doing your homework before jumping into something that might be uncomfortable at best, and dangerous at worst! All best,"
Ann Grogan, President
How Much Waist Reduction Should I Order For My New Corset?
This is a common question any corset maker receives, and any corset customer has. The answer is both an art and a science. Recently, one of our customers was surprised that she could rather easily close her new corset in back during the first week. Here is a letter we wrote her in response to her inquiry about whether this was normal.
"Regarding appropriate waist reduction for a first, new corset, when you ordered you originally gave us your snug natural waist measurement of 25.5". The typical reduction for a waist that size, which is fairly small, is 4 inches. That means, when the corset closed in back, your waist on the inside of the corset, will be 21.5". Remember that a corset's fabric and bones add anywhere from 3/4 to 1.5" on the outside.
"I always choose to make corsets with a 4" reduction automatically, unless the customer requests more reduction and also tells us they are waist training and already can lace down four inches easily for many hours, or are in Jennie Craig/Weight Watchers and losing weight. Much more than 4" is very, very difficult to achieve for long hours of lacing and wearing the corset.
"For example, I have a 23.5" snug natural waistline. To reduce my waist to 18.5", I have worked at it for 13 years on and off! At that level, I can last only about 3 hours and then must loosen up to 19 or 19.5". That is a 5" waist reduction. To achieve a 4" reduction and last for 10 hours, has taken me some 8-10 years of occasional waist training and wear. There simply is not much fat to squish or move aside in my midriff area and I don't want to go too fast in terms of moving my intestines and other organs up, down and aside. I want to be moderate in terms of manipulating my body and I don't like to push myself to do more than I am generally comfortable with. Others who wear their corset 23 hours a day, can achieve much more progress more quickly than I, of course!
| "The goal of corseting, certainly of waist training, I believe, is not to
lace down 6 or 8 inches and wear it comfortably for only 10 minutes or even an
hour or two, but rather, to lace down and be able to wear the corset 6-10 hours
a day closed in back and be fairly comfy with daily activities, including
eating in your corset! With a 25.5" waist, and a 4" reduction, that
should take some time for you to achieve, before you need a new corset.
"There is one other factor in ability to lace down easily and that is your body's plasticity. Some people have very firm midriffs and some are "squishy". That has to do with genetics, whether you exercise regularly, whether you already wear corsets and waist traing, thus are used to the corset bringing your waist in, and your comfort level with restrictive clothing in general, including corsets. If you are "squishy", then it is conceivable that you could rather easily close the corset in back and fairly quickly after receiving it. However, can you also accomplish wearing it at that level for say, 10, hours of your busy day, or through an entire cocktail party, wihout wanting to open it up in the back? That is the true test of appropriate waist reduction.
"Unfortunately, from a long distance and by mail order, I cannot physically see or feel your waistline and determine your musculature. That is why we now ask clients if they are squishy or firm at the waistline, and try to find out as much as I can about prior corseting experience and nutrition or dieting plans in place when they order a corset. Choosing the appropriate waist reduction when the corset is closed in back is both an art and a science.
"Now, assuming that that choice is, for some reason, incorrect and a client can easily lace down 4" and wear the corset 6-10 hours a day, can do so within one or two weeks of receiving the new corset, and really and truly wants a tighter corset now. In that case you have some options:
"I hope this gives you some ideas about how to test the fit of your new corset, and alternatives should you decide you want a tighter corset now."
|Ann is presented on stage with
|Contestant for Empress,
|Ann with Chablis, Former Empress|
|Outgoing Emperor Berlin and
Empress Barbie La Choy
|Clowns||Former Empress Alexis
|Susan and Ron represent
Romantasy at Cornation 03
|" Dear Ann, You might not remember me, we had quite some correspondence back in 1998 and you also sent me a catalog. At that time you were planning to write a book on our favorite subject, and you had sent out a questionnare which I answered as one of the first ones. I would like to know if the book ever became a reality. I notice that your website has undergone a remarkable change since those early days, my congratulations!" PM 8/6/02|
|"Just wanted to say thank you for all the help regarding the purchase and seasoning of my corset purchase from Romantasy. The choice (Sue Nice) was excellent. At first I was unsure of the fit, however; following your seasoning advice in your Corset Magic: A Fun Guide to Trim Your Waist and Figure for new corsets, it is now a perfect fit. The book has been extremely helpful, as being a novice is sometimes uncomfortable. I look forward to continuing my corset training and future purchases. Once again thank you and hopefully in my travels I will wind up in San Francisco and get a chance to meet you. Sincerely," DS 9/12/02|
|"Hi, I just thought I'd drop you a line to thank you for going to so much trouble on my behalf yesterday. I had an excellent time, and certainly learned much that I could not have picked up simply by surfing web sites ... Many thanks once more for your kindness and helpfulness, it really made the experience a pleasure. As an inveterate hater of shopping, it takes a lot for me to say that." JR 9/19/02|
|"Hi Ann, Thanks for
your service so far. FYI - I just posted the following to the Yahoo group
the TransgenderedHoustonCovergirls at address http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TransgenderedHoustonCovergirls/
: Start of my posting:
'Ladies, I just ordered my first corset! I have had excellent service from Ann Grogan, who owns Romantasy at http://www.romantasy.com/. She has answered several of my e-mails concerning everything from fabric type, to style to pricing questions and did so promptly in each case. 60% of her customers are men and she is very active in the transgender community. If you are in the market for a corset consider giving her a call. Her e-mail is . And no - I am not getting any price reduction for this endorsement!'
End of posting The group has everything from heterosexual married guys sneaking off rarely from their wife's to transgendered girls weeks away from SRS. With 592 members perhaps you'll get an order from one of them." Toni 10/01/02 (Ed. note: This kind of unsolicited referral is deeply appreciated, since we work very hard to encourage the appreciation of quality custom corsets by anyone, including members of the transgender community!)
|" Dear Ann, I wanted to thank you, once again, for all your kind assistance yesterday. I had the opportunity to learn a lot of new things about corsets, and I had a wonderful time. I read through the documents you gave me yesterday, and everything seemed to be understandable and sensible (but then, I expected they would be so). I should have no difficulty following the breaking-in or cleaning instructions. I shall call Sheri Jurnecka on Sunday to set up a fitting and let you, in turn, know when I am scheduled for my fitting. Gee, I'm so excited! I am so looking forward to having my very own *real* corset. Your good advice, kindness and hospitality were deeply appreciated, and I truly enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere of your parlour. Thanks again, and I shall be in touch. -Elaine Gregory P.S.: I noticed that in one of your documents, a need for models for a new catalogue was mentioned. I am certainly no model, but I think I might be interested in volunteering if such an opportunity were to arise. It sounds like fun. " EG 10/07/02|
As we go to press, we do so with much trepidation about world events and war. Our prayers are with the leaders of the world, that they do the right thing to achieve a secure future for peaceful nations and peoples based on individual, human rights.
-Ann Grogan, President and Owner,
with Corset Dream Makers, Robby Cannedy, and Martina Ostermann
View previous editions of the newsletter.