April / May 1999

From The Editor

Greetings from rainy San Francisco! Fall, winter and now impending spring have brought many changes to our lives here, and delayed our newsletter a bit. We are also seeking a new Senior Webmaster / Mistress to implement secure on-line ordering and a new design on which we have been fast at work. Please call if you are interested, or know someone, hopefully local to the Bay Area. Meanwhile, Laurie will be ably assisting us as our new Maintenance Webmistress extraordinaire--with thanks!


Sometimes I think we should call our fair city "San Fantastic" or "San Fantasy"...spring brings my favorite time of year for wacky and wonderful events, two of which involve the transgender community and worthwhile charity endeavors.

  Ann and Robby

Here's our SoCal Field Rep,

Robby, in a BR Victorian,

& me in my18th Century

Cotillion corset & skirt by Sheri

Robby Cannedy, our corset Field Rep in Newport Beach, CA (see her page on the web) and I, along with staffer Gwen and friend Bobbie, recently attended the very posh transgender dinner-affair, "The TGSF Cotillion" held at the elegant Henry Adams Showplace. Imagine how proud we were to see President Leslie Bailey (Leslie and me pictured below) floating about for hours and hours in her dark green taffeta ballgown skirt topped by Sheri Jurnecka's green-and-gold lame Valentine Victorian corset, and matching green bolero jacket! 

Robby and I gifted Leslie with a set of green Austrian crystal and rhinestone busk covers just before she made her grand appearance. They truly "dressed" up the front metal busk and completely disguised it. Don't forget these little "gems" as an adjunct to any corset, to render it more elegant, or to even modify the appearance. Robby just doesn't like the metal look on an elegant corset. I don't mind, by the way, because showing that metal busk in front proves to the cognoscente that you are wearing a real corset, not a Vickie's Secret wannabe...


Ann and Leslie at the Cotillion MORE PHOTOS FROM THE COTILLION....

Gwen in her Sue Nice Corset

Ann & President Leslie,
both wearing corsets by
Sheri, at the Cotillion
Gwen in her new Sue Nice
Victorian Corset
at the Cotillion
...Also, Miss DiDi Mau did ROMANTASY proud wearing a gold and black Chinese brocade Victorian over her red evening gown in the contest for Miss TGSF.

We hope you saw Didi as well as other beautiful and talented contestants on Evening Magazine, Channel 5 local tv a week later. Visit Didi's latest site at:

Of course, we can't help but show off our outfits...I'm wearing my Fairy Princess outfit by Sheri and by me! Yes, Sheri made the yummy 18th Century corset and matching stole out of lavender and purple Indian silk, and I hand-decorated the corset with three rows of rhinestone strips, plus made my hat, matching purse and covered shoes with the same fabric. How could I help but choose that corset as "Corset of the Month" for April????

Don't forget that we now can make matching accessories for your corset, to put the finishing touches on a very special garment.


Also, Robby and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves for the second year at the Imperial Court Coronation in late February. Founded about 30 years ago by Empress Jose Sarria, this wild and wacky crossdress / costume / fantasy evening celebrates diversity and playfulness, while emphasizing charity and community service. You've never seen such glitz and glamour in one locale. Congratulations outgoing Empress Alexis and Emperor Fred, for raising $14,000 for charity, and welcome to Sheeba and T.J., our new royalty!

And what kind of corset did Ann wear? Her most glitzy and glam corset of all:  a recent confection by none other than the Master of Glitz and Glam, Sir Michael Garrod of Wokingham, England, thank-you-very-much!

Sue Nice, our corsetmaker from Sacramento, and our newest ROMANTASY corsetier, Isabella Costumiere, also from our capitol city, completed Michael's corset with a coordinating purple corsetcollar and 6-yard ballgown skirt (Sue) and bolero jacket (Isabella), all pulled off in just three days! Thank you three for creating such a spectacular outfit for me to "walk" in front of 1000 guests to meet the new Emperor and Empress!

Ann in her&"Lily" Corset
Ann in her new "Lily" corset by True Grace,

getting ready for The Coronation


We are also fast at work preparing for a possible visit by an NBC production tv crew who is resurrecting the 60's show "You Asked for It". The focus may be on our men clients who corset for an extremely wide variety of reasons.

We were also happy to work with Margaret Slattery of "Evening Magazine", local Channel 5, for a 6 minute segment on the elegance of corsets, featuring Sheri and her creations, airing late last fall. That small segment promoted corsetry in a very big way, and we are grateful! Did you see it?


Finally, our Gender Image Salons are becoming very popular, and we encourage you to book now for spring to insure an appointment. Our clients remain enthusiastic about our approach, which nurtures the gentle side, seeking natural femininity, grace and celebration of beauty!

We look forward to introducing our new corsetier Isabella, with her own corset page soon, and to showing you her unique creations on display now at the boutique.


Don't forget our warranty plan (The Extended Pleasure Plan). If you fall in love with corsets and order more than one...then receive a 15% discount on future corsets from ROMANTASY our special "thanks" to you for placing your confidence with our unique and growing collection of the world's foremost custom corset makers: Ruth, Sheri, Michael, Sue, Constance, Corine, Paul, Victoria, Dorothy, and now....Isabella!

As ever, we love hearing from you and hope to receive your stories about waist-training, occasions for wearing your corset, new styles, new makers emerging in the internet and retail world, and bits of corset lore. If you'd like to complete a questionnaire on your corseting experiences for Pandora and my book, write soon because we are in final writing mode!

In our next newsletter I'll tell you about our visit to the cemetery to support and comfort The Widow Norton as she made her annual pilgrimage to her dear, departed husband's gravesite in Colma, after the recent Coronation.

--Ann Grogan

Who can first tell me by phone (415-585-0760), or email, the first name or

title of The Widow's famous husband and why he is

famous? If you are first, let us "gift" you with the

first of ROMANTASY's special gold corset pins!



We are proud to introduce a new 1 1/4" tiny gold-colored metal memorabilia pin which we created! It duplicates a photo appearing in our current corset catalog, including a quite detailed, miniature fan being held by a gloved woman, tightly laced into a JC Creations corset! The corset fabric is decorated and each detail is exquisite! The corseted figure sits on top of a discretely hand-etched "ROMANTASY" sign, to remind us of our commitment to the support of corsetry throughout the world.

Thanks Corine and Sjef for providing the inspiration!

The pin can be ordered by writing us at 2912 Diamond Street, Suite 239, San Francisco, CA 94131, and sending $12 pin; $15 keychain or necklace on black satin cord.

Smile    W E   G E T   L E T T E R S Smile

"I just wanted to send an email to thank you for the service that I received today. I was refered to your store by the owner of Fetishes Boutique in Philadelphia, and I was not disappointed. Thank you once again."

--GS 2/20/99


"I'm still wondering if a sticking-out-at-the-belly thing is typical for the way a tightlaced corset sits when worn, or if it's the sign of a not-quite-exact fit?"

We frequently receive excellent questions from customers, like this one!

The answer as for many questions, is both "yes" and "no."

Many people have to cope with "a little extra" at the waistline whether because of genetics and the typical way one's individual body gains and loses weight, or because of the normal aging process, or because of situational overeating, medical condition or other.

In some cases, extreme tight lacing with a corset, or tight lacing over years, can put added pressure on the waist and tend to protrude the belly region, making both certain ameliorative steps plus peaceful resignation with nature necessary.

"That belly thing" can also be caused or exacerbated, by a poorly fit and constructed corset, or by selecting the improper style of corset vis-a-vis the tummy and its proper management and control.

First, if that "belly thing" occurs with corset, the corset could be too short in front, providing insufficient coverage for the lower tummy and permitted the flesh to "squish" outward once the waist is pulled in.

Second, the corset could utilize flimsy, plastic steels in front, or worse yet, a hook and eye closure. For good tummy control, a proper wide front busk (when closed in front, equaling a 1" expanse of steel) is required.

Even better, you may inquire if the corsetmaker uses spoon busks, or a triangular busk. The spoon busk is extremely rare and difficult to obtain. Mr. Garrod of True Grace Corsets is well known for his exquisite corsets using the spoon busk. However, recently he has found defective fabrication and a tendency of the busks to snap when the corset is tight laced, or closed more than 4" for some hours at a time.

The spoon busk is shaped exactly like an elongated spoon (see the True Grace page on our website for a graphic) and cups slightly under the lower belly to pull inwards, if the corset is otherwise properly constructed.

The triangular busk serves basically the same purpose as a spoon busk, but it too, is difficult to find as a corset fitting.

Third, you could ask your corsetmaker to provide extra steel boning on either side of the front busk, to create up to a 4" wide expanse of steel. Some corsetmakers use 1/2" wide front busks; ask for them to use the widest possible front busk, or to add the front steels as described.

Fourth, the corset needs to be properly fit to the body, so that the lower half of the corset hugs the body. If the fabric panel pieces are too wide at the bottom edge, there is no tension when the laces are tightened and the hem could protrude outwards. I have watched Sheri Jurnecka fit a muslin on a customer, then mark the bottom 3" of every front boning casing to gradually pull in 1/4" or more of fabric at the bottom. This gently curves the bottom edge inwards, providing better tummy control. Readers familiar with sewing will understand that this technique is similar to making a "dart."

Fifth, the corset needs to cover the lower tummy and end just above the pubic area, being neither too high, nor too low so that it "digs" in when you bend forward.

Sixth, one must make one's peace with the process of aging and body modification that necessarily causes the hips and belly to expand (both bone structure and adipose tissue). I have personally noted a gentle but encroaching expanse of both over my eight years of corseting, although I do not consider myself a "tight-lacer" nor full-time corseter, and prefer to wear my corsets at a 2-3" reduction and perhaps five times a week for about 6-8 hours maximum. Eating right, exercising and consistent corseting will generally address this natural process as best as one can.

Seventh, make sure your corset, no matter off-the-peg or custom, goes low enough below the waist in back to be equal to the front edge. If the back is too high, it will not give enough tension as you lace in and attempt to pull the front edge close to the body.

With these tips, we sincerely hope you will be able to be a better corset consumer in the future!

We would like your ideas about exercises that work to control tummy expanse.

Please write us & we'll credit your ideas in our next newsletter!



"Dear Ann, a couple of weeks ago I was shopping and had my corset on. We visited a CD shop to buy a CD for my younger son. The entrance was protected by magnetic sensors. We left the shop without a purchase but the alarm went off! We reentered the shop again and left again with the same results. The shop assistant looked quite curious; however, apparently I look quite honest (and indeed we are!) so that we could leave without getting into further trouble. Could it have been the corset?"

--Wolfgang, Germany

Answer: Yes, indeed, it was the corset! ROMANTASY advises new corset customers in our six page instruction monograph, to beware of airport security devices, but perhaps we should mention shop security systems as well. There is a lot of steel in a corset and it will surely set off alarms!

The way to handle this situation is to be aware that it will happen. I approach the airport security before I go through, call out that I am a medical patient and am wearing a medical or orthopedic brace and will set off the alarm. Invariably the security looks concerned in any event, pulls me aside and "frisks" me.

In one not-so-amusing incident before I was aware of this problem, I passed thorough security in a very tiny airport in Cordoba, Spain, and set off the alarms. In those days, airport guards carried machine guns. It was no laughing matter to me at the time, although I have relaxed at the memory, when they surrounded me with very stern looks on their faces, hands on weapons, ready for action!

Once I realized what had happened, I had to quickly explain and explain myself in my not-so-great Spanish, and was whisked off to the women's bathroom to be physically inspected by a female attendant. I actually had to undress and loosen the corset so she could look inside!

Now that would be a case of extreme body modification to be carrying a weapon next to my tight-laced waistline! But then, how could a non-corset aficionada know?

That's it for now. We hope to hear from you soon, and meet you at the boutique!

--Ann, Robby, and Wanda

More photos

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