Waist Not - Want Not
Corsetry Newsletter
October, November, December, January 2003
Volume 6 Number 4




In This Issue

Ann
Ann is ready for New Year's Parties in her Sheri corset!

FROM THE EDITOR
October, November, December, January 2003

Welcome to 2003! Every New Year brings new hope and a fresh start. We wish you the very best, and many new corsets for your growing wardrobe!

Here are some great photos of our recent waist-training graduate, Denna (looking just great at her fighting weight of 110 pounds and a 24.5" natural waistline) at our December Corset Soiree. Denna is wearing a stunning silver leather BR corset corseted to 22"). You'll see her in the first photo with Ann (wearing a pearl-embellished white Point Counter Point cincher) and Susan, a new corset enthusiast and Romantasy customer, also wearing a lace covered beige satin Point Counter Point cincher. Susan made the adorable old-fashioned skirt (soon to be offered by Romantasy!). Dancing with Denna is Rick, her training partner. We enjoyed the company of these two plus 18 other guests at our December San Francisco Corset Soiree. Georgette and Jon (third photo) returned for their third time, and Nancy attended her fifth Soiree! We also made many new friends as well, who are seen saluting Denna's considerable weight reduction using Romantasy's coaching program last summer. Joining us were the Markmanns from Biel, Switzerland (Michaela wearing our Simple Pleasures black satin cincher), new client Tomeka (in black) and George, and long-time friend, Dr. Joan. You will also see Ron sporting his fancy new navy brocade Jane Smith, Inc. corset, worn as a cummerbund with his dinner suit. Yes, men can wear corsets, too, and cut a fine and "GQ" fashionable figure at that!

Ann rewarded Denna with a watering can (she's quite a gardener) and tiny food scale to remind her to maintain her new eating habits and healthy lifestyle. Denna presented her surprised coach Ann with a whistle for more effective future coaching, and a hand exerciser, shown also. Our Corset Club grows with each get-together, including some curious onlookers such as Gail in lovely peach antique gown wearing our black Simple Pleasures. We hope you may be able to join us this year: stay tuned to our home page for soiree and other event announcements!

Denna and Ann Denna Georgette

George Denna

Denna and friend Denna and Ann Ann and Susan

Ann and Ron Denna and Ann
Denna dancing Dr. Joan Gail

CHALLENGES, LESSONS, AND REWARDS AS WE FACE 2003

I don't know about you, but both 2001 and 2002 seemed years especially full of both political and economic challenges at both a national/international and a very personal level. From September 11, 2001 to the US stock market scares this summer of 2002 (dropping some 900 points in one week!), our nation and its many unemployed have suffered tremendously. The economic shock waves were felt around the world.

Then yours truly suffered an agonizing, disabling, incredibly painful major back spasm in early June that went on for months and months of slow rehabilitation, "back" sliding relapses, and slow forward progress towards good health again. It has truly been the most difficult health matter I have ever faced in my life, albeit not life-threatening. Surviving the emotional impact of 9-11 was also right up there at the top of the most emotional impact I have had to face in my life. Although I was fortunate enough not to have any personal friends of acquaintances killed in the 9-11 two disasters, I felt like all 3034 some victims were part of my family anyway, and I am grieving still. Each day since then, when I'm at home, I light a candle so that I will never forget.

Out of challenges and disaster, setbacks and relapses, come certain lessons, as well as certain rewards. We all know that, don't we? But it is easy to forget to look out for them when they appear, and many may pass us by.

Flag

On a personal level, I discovered just how very much I love and appreciate my country --- it's history, the sacrifices of soldiers, politicians, and ordinary men and women pioneers who faced terrible odds, to build on a dream of freedom. I'm proud to display a flag now in my front window, not a flag of dominance and righteouness, but a flag of determination and freedom and willingness to fight to preserve my way of life.

Where else could I be a professional woman, independent, unmarried, proud of her education and business accomplishments, free to choose her friends, to try and fail and try again, to walk the streets alone, to dress however I want and to choose my own job, friends, religion, and to express how I feel about my circumstances?

However, I also discovered just how connected our world is, how much of "One World" we really are. I saw how much the US needs allies and must take major steps to cooperate and participate in the world community on all levels, including protection of the environment---not the best of our recent "Bush" history to be sure! I realized all this when literally tens and hundreds of messages of support, hope and love poured onto my email in box from friends, clients and even strangers---fer Pete's sake!----from around the world.

Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge

I still write Nail from Australia, whom I've never met, who reached out to me in friendship and love on 9-12 in my email inbox. Now, what godly force possesssed him to send his love and condolences to me from across the world? I will never know, but I have learned how to better recognize and accept gifts of grace.

I also struck up an email friendship with Elizabeth who worked in the Pentagon that fateful day, went to Afghanistan, and is likely still there supporting our troups and efforts to help bring stability and peace to the area.I tried to send on the love I had received from Nail and almost all of my former foreign student visitors whom I host in my San Francisco home from time to time, who also wrote me many messages of love and support. I imagine that it all helped ease the pain experienced by all good and peaceful people around the world.

Perhaps best of all, no best of all!, my mid-life sister and I seemed to have realized that past squabbles, hurts and imagined wrongs, were rather insignificant in view of ultimate destruction as we saw the end of life. We took steps to set them aside and gently reestablish a waning relationship of true, supportive family.

As if I wasn't traumatized and worried enough about the health challenge that faced my friend and superlative corset maker Michael Garrod mid-2002, on the personal health front I faced a huge challenge. Once again, unexpectedly certain angels came out of the woodwork of my life. Interestingly, they weren't always among my closest "friends," someting I am still pondering. How can I ever thank Ron C. enough, "just" a corset client whom I met only several months before my back spasm hit. He wouldn't take "no" for an anwer and convinced me that he really wanted to help---no mean feat to do!

 

He ended up shopping for urgent supplies and groceries, taking me to to purchase fabric and mail packages, taking me to some therapy appointments, even cooking me breakfast when I could not stand, loaning me a heating pad belt to wear, and just giving me encouragement to bear the pain and get on with my walking rehabilitation. Oh, yes. . . and a three-pound box of chocolates, to boot! You can also see photos below that we took of the Marin Headlands on a day we toured beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, enjoying coming fall and my own returning health! My mom's friend, Mildred, personally brought over her favorite moist heating pad and it overnight grew to be my favorite bed companion!

Amanda and Parker Amanda and Parker

My neighbor Amanda, whom I only knew slightly, stepped in and did the same. She's the lady pictured with her cute tiny maltese, "Parker". My mother saved my "gizzard" by taking Tata kitty and me to her house so I could lie prone in misery on her living room floor, pop pain and muscle relaxant pills, eat meals off a plate she put on my chest, chat with her, and watch tv until I could stand up and start to walk a little. Amy Licht, another new client, took great pity on me and delivered ice packs and ointment from the drug store. Bev (thanks for the surprise cookies, too!), long term email corset client, Jeanette, a new email client, and Walt and Sally from my writer's group, started sending me rehab suggestions, cheerey check-in messages to see how I was progressing, and words of hope.


Ann

Romantasy corset maker Sue Nice stepped in and in an unbelievable three days rushed an adorable modified standard corset to my house so I could lace up in a more sturdy corsets to support my recovering back muscles. I could not have made it this far and be walking 2 to 3 miles per day without that beautiful little "medical aid" you can see as the Corset of the Month on our August home page. Thank you, Sue!

Lessons from challenges? You bet! Rewards after challenge? Certainly! Hope for the future and a better 2003 --- undoubtedly! I'm here to attest to all of that, and more:

For 2003 I wish you the good fortune of a few compassionate and reliable family members and friends in times of both sickness and health; I wish that you have open eyes to recognize the blessings and accept the many gifts that will surely come your way the New Year, despite and because of, the challenges you may face. If no challenges arrive, count yourself lucky, but if some come, you will be even luckier, I'm sure!


Ann Grogan


COMMUNICATING IN THE WORLD OF VIRUSES AND SPAM

I don't know about you, but my email is being flooded on a daily basis with viruses and spam. A San Francisco law firm sharing my problems, recently sued a major distributor of spam based on two California state laws requiring in part, that the subject matter be clearly listed in the Re: line. The best I can do is quickly delete irrelevant emails, or emails with no subject listed, but I do that by viewing the Re: line. This brought to mind some email ettiquette that would certainly help us to help you and minimize the risk that your email might be erroneously deleted.

Please, when communicating with Romantasy by email:

1. be sure you include a topic on the subject line, using words relevant to the corset business.

2. be sure to hit the "reply" button to include all prior correspondence in your letter to us. This avoids delays when I have to retrieve old email that seemed finished, and might have gone to the trash bin when your initial inquiry did not seem to result in an order. In view of some 100-200 emails per day that we receive, I do not have the capacity to keep in my Inbox, or file, all ongoing and separate emails from each and every client.

Thanks so much!

NEED A MAJOR BOOST FOR YOUR BODY FOR THE HOLIDAYS?
TRY OUR WAIST TRAINING COACHING PROGRAM STARTING NOW, TO GET INTO FAB SHAPE FOR NEW YEAR'S PARTIES!

Having some gentle, daily or almost-daily encouragement and guidance, clearly help anyone stay on track to accomplish goals, be they in one's professional or personal life. Research shows that email contact with some health advisors helped student volunteers to lose more weight than those who did not have that contact.. That's the basic principle behind our Waist Training Coaching Program: we stay in close touch with you to encourage and guide you! Plus we are devoted to your health, and helping you develop lifestyle changes that last for much more than the 12 weeks of training while wearing a corset. But you have to start almost immediately since the program take three momths!

Denna

Our most recent grad, Denna, commented on some of these points during the last week of her training in early June. Her comments are really perceptive and might be helpful to those of you who doubt that corset training can work for you. Please take a look at her photos later in this and our previous newsletters.

"Both Rick, my partner and Training Buddy, and I have found that we have really cut back on our portion sizes at meals. Recently he exclaimed to me, 'I cant believe the [huge] portions we used to eat!' So my corset training program influced him.

"I pretty much eat most everything, even during my program (not a lot of red meat!), but I find I think ahead and plan ahead at each meal, and don't overeat one thing that I really like. For example, I was at a summer barbeque the other weekend. My tongue was having an orgasm from the wonderful taste of fresh lumpia and I wanted to eat about ten more. But I remembered that there was peach pie for dessert...and lots more to try. Instead of heaping my plate up with ten more lumpia, I took just one more, and saved room for a tiny slice of pie----without ice cream!

"Even on one occasion during my 12 weeks training, I was lusting for some red meat. Rick and I puchased a good quality fillet mignon, just two little ones, and grilled them. The taste was just wonderful and a real treat, although the quantity was not too much for me in my corset, and was enough for him. I just take bite-sized pieces of anything these days, not mountain-sized ones like I used to!

"The point is, the corset gives me continuous and almost immediate feedback that I really, really have eaten enough and am not hungry. Without it I would not know when I had eaten enough. But now I do. I quit eating. I find my appetite has diminished and yet I am quite healthy, even more than in the past. I have completely vanquished my old annoying IBS problem! This amazes me. In fact, my elimination (excuse me for discussing a delicate topic here!) is much easier each day, faster, and more frequent, which is great!

"I also notice that I detect spices much more easily in food, and can tell when something has been over-salted or over-spiced. I don't like a lot of salt now. I drink my margueritas but now without salt! I still enjoy my wine and social drinking, but now I choose red wine over white because I know white contains more calories and sugar.

"One of my friends told me recently that he maintains his body by doing 200 crunches a day. Not me! Yes, I continue my exercise program but I don't feel I have to overdo it! That's because I've changed my eating habits after the waist training program.

Denna

"What motivated me during the program and continues to motivate me, was seeing results of my efforts immediately! I've tried Weight Watchers and other programs and yes, they work, but not as well as corset training. Here, each day I could see the results of losing one pound, 1/2 inch, then the net pound and so on. I did not have to wait four weeks to see the results of my daily efforts! It ws quite exciting to me. Rick had to point it out to me at first. He took me to the mirror and asked me to pay attention to my progress. I started to see it every day and that kept me on the program all the way through!"

Congrats again, Denna. You have been an inspiration to many others as you have shared freely your progress and the reasons, discussing corsets and nutrition with them as you have learned. You have been an inspiration to me as well. Keep up the good work and I will be behind you 100% as you stay healthy and svelt over time!

CUSTOMER INSPIRATION

We try to do our best to provide excellent product quality and customer service, and sometimes we are encouraged to do better when we receive unexpected courtesy from a client who is inquiring about some point of concern. Lisa P. gets our "Customer of the Month" award for her courtesy in handling her inquiry about the status of her corset order, and telling us promptly about her need to change the size of corset she had ordered! Thanks Lisa, for making our day!

We answered her inquiry thusly: "Hi there Lisa, I must congratulate you on the kindness with which you inquired about your order today! It is unfortunately frequently the situation that customers are abrupt, demanding, and don't really seem to respect the art and craft of corsetmaking, nor civilities or politeness when doing business today. I appreciate your patience and of course, am motivated to give you the best possible service because of it! Thank you for making my day! Ann

Lisa had written: Dear Sir or Madam, I would like to check on the status of my order, placed a couple of months ago for a Simple Pleasures cincher. I know your quality garments take time, and I haven't a problem with that, at all! My "problem" is this: I have since lost a little weight, and think I need a smaller one! I've been reading and rereading Ann's Corset Magic: A Fun Guide to Trim Your Waist and Figure, 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 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

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.

"Dear Angie:

"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.

Ann laces herself  

"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:

1. Some corset makers (but not all) will put a seam up the back sides and reduce the overall circumference, but at your expense. This could cost between $35 and $75, depending on the maker. You can only appropriately shrink a corset about 1,5-2" that way. More reduction throws the pattern off on your body and you risk the corset torqueing and twisting uncomfortably. We can do this for you if you so choose.

2. Romantasy provides a consignment page for clients who wish to sell their new or used corsets. We suggest a modest discount even on a new corset to induce a sale, and Romantasy takes a small commission to pay the web fees for posting the garment. For that purpose you can send us a nice digital of the corset, front and back, or return the corset to us for that purpose. When the corset sells, 30 days later we pay your fee by business check.

3. You can send you corset to us on consignment for both the website and also to try on customers who come to San Francisco for a personal fitting. Sometimes a corset is a perfect fit and we sell it on the spot!

4. You can try to sell your corset on eBay or other web auction. I understand this is quite easy to do.

"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."

LET'S TALK ABOUT AGE AND CORSETING

Ann and Lynn  

Regarding corseting, there ar etwo issues concerning age: how old is "too" old to corest, and how young is "too" young? As for when, exactly, one is "too old" to waist train, I didn't start to corset and waist train until I reached 46 years of age, yet I've had considerable success with temporary waist reduction! Chantal did not begin until she was 30. Lynn McDaniel was 46. I believe Cathie J. admits to being over 60. Thus, it seems to be more a matter of health and desire, than age.

Many claim that the younger one starts corseting, the more malleable is the body and the more noteworthy the results. I'm not so sure. There is nothing inherent in being age 20 that means automatic success in waist training. If anything, youth might indicate a certain lack of judgment and urge to move faster than advisable, while maturity will lead others to a more deliberate and successful waist-training process.

Certainly mothers corseted their girl children in Victorian days, and I will avoid commenting on that! We are not living in those times, and corseting should be a matter of choice and common sense, not force and stupidity.

Of course, as you age you must pay special attention to blood pressure and circulation issues, as well as general muscle conditioning. Any problems with digestion might result in heartburn or constiptation if you don't practice good nutrition and regular exercise along with corseting. There are other medical issues as well, that might mean you should no longer corset, but if you stay in general good health with routine medical checkups and stop corseting if any problems occur, then you will likely be able to corset for many years of pleasure. Your individual body and your doctor should be your guides.

  Ann

Ann  

As for when is "too young" to waist train, I simply won't accept a waist-training student under age 25. Basically, your long bones must have stopped growing, which is generally thought to occur about age 18. However, even at age 20 women haven't reached that point according to Dr. Miriam Nelson, Tufts professor of nutrition and author of "Strong Women Eat Well"; they've only achieved 98% of their skeletal mass growth.

Although most growth in bone size and strength occurs during childhood, according to Craig Kliger writing for webmd.com, "What Factors Are Involved in Building and Maintaining Skeletal Health Throughout Life?," bone accumulation is not completed until the third decade of life, after the cessation of linear growth. Bone mass attained early in life is perhaps the most important determinant of life-long skeletal health. The specter of osteoporosis, especially for older women, is too grim to risk exacerbating the disease by endangering your bone growth with restrictive corsets before you are about 25 years old!

WE GET LETTERS...AND KUDOS!

" Ann, I got my (Sheri overbust) corset today. It is BEAUTIFUL! I'm going to try it on tonight (wish me luck-I'll be by myself.) I think I will take it with me to Italy. I leave tomorrow. I'm very pleased. I'll let you know how it works out when I return. Warm regards," Lisa N. 4/30/02

"Dear Romantsy, I am so glad to have found your website. Not only are your corsets beautiful, but your information is great for someone like me who just bought her first corset. " Elisa 6/9/02

"Hi Ann, Regarding the May corset on your homepage. That is beautiful! I love the dark blue velvet with the crystals look. My compliments to Sue Nice on a beautiful corset. Hugs," Sarah 5/2/02

"Dear Ann, Wow! Saw that my silk velvet and crystal beaded corset made corset-of-the month (for May)! Tell Sue I said thank you, I hadn't realized that it took her so much time (13 hours!) to do that hand beading. She did a very nice job and the stones look very secure. Also wanted to thank you for the corset card that you sent...I will have quite a little collection some day! " Vanessa 5/8/02

" Hi Ann, please let Mr. Garrod know the happiness he has brought me as well as others I'm sure. Also let him know what high esteem I hold his creation for me, something that brings me much pleasure and will for years." Tony 4/17/02

"Hi Ann, I was trying on my pantaloon set and corsets with my lover last night and we were so pleased. We are very appreciative of the literature you provided, the postcards and the lovely little corset-card in each box. Hope you are well and I'm looking forward to sending you pictures of me in my lovely Romantasy outfits! Best Regards," Gwen H 5/2/02

" Ann, I got my (Sheri overbust Victorian) corset today. It is BEAUTIFUL! I'm going to try it on tonight (wish me luck-I'll be by myself.) I think I will take it with me to Italy. I leave tomorrow. I'm very pleased. I'll let you know how it works out when I return. Warm regards," Lisa N. 4/28/03

*        *        *
AND IN CONCLUSION...

Happy New Year!
Ann Grogan
with Corset Dream Makers, Robby Cannedy and Martina Ostermann
 
Ann and Wanda
Wanda, former Romantasy store manager, and Ann discuss corset enbellishment, at Britex Fabric Store where Wanda now works.
  Museum
Ann, tight-laced and walking towards 2003! Happy New Year everyone!

Please view previous editions of the newsletter.