Waist Not - Want Not
Corsetry News Web Journal
Volume 4 Number 2

In This Issue



From The EditorFROM THE EDITOR
MARCH/APRIL 2000

Wasn't it just great? What a busy, busy holiday season--including the filming of Ann teaching her "Tight Lacing and Love Making Class" to a vibrant young couple Tom and Tonya on the national TV program "Blind Date" couple filmed in November! We'll post the airdate on our home page, hopefully soon. Now, here we are looking forward to great things in this new century, and the season of love!

Laura and Ann
(Producer Laura and Ann on location)

Also, we'd like to share some nice photos from the recent visit by our Corset Dream Maker, Martina Ostermann, from Koln, Germany. I had a lovely time re-newing our lifelong friendship, and showing her a new place, my special Big Sur. You can see photos of our visit at the end of this issue of the journal. Please read Martina's account of her January visit to California.

WIN A FREE HANDPAINTED SILK CORSET BAG FROM GERMANY -
Send us your comments on special figure challenges a corset can successfully address, and if we publish them in the next web journal, we will gift you one of these adorable silk bags! See below for details....

FAVORITE JAN/FEB EVENTS CELEBRATED!
Eventwise, first and foremost was the arrival once again of two of our favorite events: THE COTILLION sponsored by TGSF, our local transgender association, and THE CORONATION of the Emperor and Empress. The Cotillion was held January 29 this year and we hope you were there. Robby could not make it due to a sick kitty, but I was there in my brand new burnished gold and copper sequin, lace-trimmed True Grace Lily Corset worn with Isabella's Wedding Skirt, and our new friend, Chablis was up front and personally judging contestants, wearing her new Isabella longline underbust rainbow corset and a gorgeous gown she made herself!

Emilee
Chablis has been wearing her black brocade Valentine also by Isabella, to the famed September San Francisco Folsom Fair and also to multiple functions over the holidays and looks so pretty in it, but the silver corset was spectacular. Jeanette Vonier, our main photographer was also a judge, looking great in her Sheri Victorian burgundy underbust Victorian creation! We all had so much fun renewing acquaintances and showing off, as you will see in our photo of the Three Corseted Babes, and Ann with Jeanette. We were also proud to see Emilee (photo of Emilee on left) as she joined other Debutantes for their first introduction on stage. Emilee participated in a recent Gender Image Salon with Monica and Ann, photos also here!, and this was her first night out, wearing a beautiful black lace covered and gold satin Isabella corset. We were very excited to see our mutual handiwork and hope to share more evenings with Emilee and DVG friends.
ROMANTASY got lots of play on stage from Didi Mau, one of our favorite candidates and a long time friend. The Outrageous Didi wore our black Simple Pleasures cincher over her own long red gown design, as you'll see in the photo of Ann nuzzling up to Miss Didi herself. Although she did not win, she is a true winner, teaching all of us how to be ourselves, be honest, be compassionate, be friendly and adventurous. And I dare say. Outrageous!

Why not even a bit outrageous? Ann dared to carry her brand new "Moshie" pug furry doggie purse pictured here, with a black feather and gold lace headband, matching Ann's beautiful French feather tiara! Phil escorted Ann and did the honors of all the photography you see here, using his new digital camera and looking spiffy in his new red CorVest. Ann congratulated Serena (in blue bangled minidress) for a job well done as Miss TGSF 1999. Well done, TGSF and congratulations Ms. TGSF 2000, Ms. Ramirez (shown below second photo, wearing red ballgown, with judge and ROMANTASY photographer, Jeanette Vonier/Elegant Images).
Didi and Ann

ROMANTASY EXHIBITS AT HILLSDALE SHOPPING MALL--GETS READY FOR CAL DREAMIN' IN APRIL
We visited this venue in late February 27, 11 am - 4 pm, with an exhibit of our bridal corset dresses and introduced quality foundation garments to many new brides! Sheri made a special skirt to match her lovely wedding corset first shown at the SF Bridal Faire several years ago. If you'd like information on our next exhibit at Cal Dreamin transgender conference in April, please call us at 415-585-0760, or see our home page for more details.

EVENING DINNER GALA A LA CORSETTE;
YOU'RE INVITED TO JOIN A SMALL GROUP
(reservations limited to 10 couples!)FOR A TIGHT-LACED DINNER PARTY
SAT EVE, MAY 13, 8 PM, at FARALLON RESTAURANT
We're also looking forward to a May return visit with Michael Garrod from London and we promise a very special, unique small gathering to celebrate on one yet to be announced Friday evening. . For this special event, we plan to sponsor a dutch-treat Evening Dinner Gala, a trip of tight-laced ladies escorted by dapper gentlemen (including Michael, of course!) to an elegant San Francisco restaurant. We are arranging matters with Farallon, the lovely underwater-themed restaurant just behind the St. Francisco Hotel on Geary. There is a private dining room but first....six corseted ladies walking in regal order, showing off their tiny waists and fabulous figures! Of course we need to find reason to parade through the restaurant every so often, don't we! Then off to either the Starlight Room or the Tonga Room for some dancing and prancing afterwards. We intend to knock 'em dead as the properly outfitted ladies show off their gorgeous ROMANTASY creations...Michael will regale us with some stories from the fall Bal de Gracieuses and Millennium Ball in London! Tentative elegant prix fixe menu for $85/perperson with choice of dessert or appetizer, and wine at $15 per glass. Mark your calendar and stay tuned for more information.

If you want to help us swivel heads, call to reserve a spot or to get more information: (415) 585-0760.

OUR NEWSLETTER BECOMES A WEB JOURNAL;
AND WEBSITE GETS MAJOR FACE--LIFT!

We've been working with Jim Cherry of Cherry Business Solutions (JCherry@cb-solutions.net, if you need assistance with web design or maintenance visit CB-Solutions.net) since our friend Steve Gaines recommended him. Jim has taken over the controls of our updating efforts, and you can see the first results in our newly designed home page, navigation buttons, email address listed on every page! (it's one of my pet peeves on other websites: how to quickly write them?), a new "Best Styles" page to help our first time visitors to move more quickly through our various styles and makers plus nice graphics of each basic style, a new ROMANTASY Private Label Corsets page gathering our unique and/or exclusive corset designs and favorite perennial 'best style' corsets and cinchers on one easy-to-order page, and consistent wall paper and initial top of page logo! Whew! It's been a struggle, but an exciting one, and more is coming!

Our visitors have also grown apace, doubling in just four weeks!, with the unfortunate occasional result that we exceeded the bandwidth and folks had to wait and visit later. We increased our bandwidth to accommodate the recent interest (three corset consultations and orders in two days is not uncommon, especially as wedding season is just around the corner!)

Our bi-monthly bulletin has continued to grow, including in-depth articles on various aspect of corsetry. From some web statistics we found that half of the visitors to the journal page went on to the second page which features the heart of the topic we merely introduce on the first. Thus, we felt it was moving beyond being just a bulletin or newsletter and decided to rename it a "journal". We'd like to include more thoughtful comments and writings of our readership and invite you to submit articles for our consideration, as well as photos.

Although it's been a financial and energy struggle to tighten up and modernize the site, we are much encouraged and gratified when we receive comments in our Guest Book demonstrating that our desire to communicate ROMANTASY'S position, namely, that corsetry is elegant magic and beauty "personified" in a quality fashion or foundation garment, and not just bedroom or fetish wear, such as:

"ENJOYED YOUR SITE, OBVIOUSLY A LOT OF THOUGHT WENT INTO DESIGNING IT. IT WAS SO NICE TO NOT BE KICKED INTO PORNO SITES WHILE TRYING TO FIND INFO ON CORSETRY. HOPE TO SOON SCHEDULE A PRIVATE SALON IN THE NEAR FUTURE FOR MYSELF AND MY WIFE WHEN WE VISIT YOU IN SAN FRANCISCO SOON. C.D. 1/24/00

DETAILED MONOGRAPHS AVAILABLE ON CORSETING NUANCES:
We will continue to cover corseting issues in our newsletter, but provide more in-depth coverage of "The Best Style", "How to Dine Well While Tight-laced", lacing techniques, waist-training, and other, each one about 20 plus pages long and only $5. They all contain very useful information for the newcomer to corseting and can help avoid investing in the wrong style for the wrong purpose! We hope more of our new web visitors will make this small investment to advise their choices!

But most of all, we look forward to springtime and hearing from you about the possibility of romance while wearing corsets, of course!


-- Ann Grogan

New Scallop Trollop Cincher by Isabella:  Hereinbelow is the adorable new cincher by Isabella. We're doing it in rose pink and soft teal for the time being, but will entertain requests for other soft pastel spring colors. It's just so cute it's hug--able, and quite comfortable because Isabella uses spiral boning.

 Scallop Trollop Corset
The Scallop Trollop Cincher
by Isabella ($325 waists to 32"; $385 over 32") in rose or teal lace-covered satin.

Butterfly Corset - Front
ROMANTASY's new "Butterfly Corset"
by Isabella, available in
purples or golds
($385, waists 34" and over $460.)
Butterfly Corset - Back 

TGSF COTILLION Photos
Click pictures for larger view



New Set of ROMANTASY historical postcards plus hand-painted silk corset bag from Melanie available:

We have so many nice comments about our color corset postcards that we have collected all seven that are still in production and placed them in a precious silk bag featuring a gold-bordered corset. The bag ties with a silk tie. A perfect treasure for the corset aficionado/a. ($15 includes shipping; CA residents add $1.30 tax). Add a pair of hand-made miniature corset earrings in silver or gold (pierced only) for only $5 more (CA residents add $.50 tax).

The postcards include: our newest color postcard shown above, model Acacia in BR Creations' Silver leather Millennium corset with G-string and gauntletts by Sheri, hat by Sue Nice, and our fall postcard showing Isabella in velvet Edwardian and customer Chelesa in Isabella's Vamp Corset (photographer Jeanette Vonier/Elegant Images of San Rafael, CA). They also include the following postcards: BR Creations Victorian and bridal dress, the wedding corset by Sheri, Sue's Rainbow Corset shown below, Mr. Garrod's rubber corset (while these last; supply low), BR Creations' burgundy Victorian, and Sheri's corseted costume. If you wish a double set, simply ask with your order.

ROMANTASY Postcard

Figure Challenges: How Corsets Can Help

Elizabeth Corset"Hi Ann, I am totally in love with my Elizabeth Corset by Sheri. I have gotten many compliments on it, and I love the fact that it gives me a wonderful hourglass shape (I have a rather thick waist, and have always wanted to be more stem waisted), and it's just simply beautiful to look at. Kudos to (sales manager) Wanda for helping me pick out a corset which fit all of my requirements (comfortable, easy to put on, more tummy control, and wearable as a top) and for helping me pick out the material. I'm very happy with the results. Thank you, Lisa" 1/31/00

Lisa's kind comments point out the wisdom of her thoughtful search for the perfect corset, FOR HER! Each customer is different and needs to understand fully the range, fit and feel of the wide variety of styles and makers whom ROMANTASY Exquisite Corsetry is proud to represent! Recently we placed a new page on the web, clicked through from our home page and called: "Best Style". The many visitors prove that customers shopping for a corset want and value the careful, detailed information we are able and pleased to provide, so that mistakes that waste money and time are not made, or the risk substantially reduced!

Corsets are not for everyone. If you think through the basic purpose for which you are ordering the corset, plus the figure issue you wish to address, our expertise is in guiding you to the right choice for you.

In this article we address specific figure challenges and the right choice of style or corset to make. Please enjoy our corset customer's and corset maker's thoughts on this topic.

If you send us your comments on a mentioned or new figure challenge and we use them in the next newsletter, we will send you an adorable little hand painted silk corset bag for your travel makeup, bobby pins, or other small treasure, created for ROMANTASY by Melanie!

THAT THICKENING WAISTLINE -
Almost any corset will do something to pull in the waist. The issue is, will it be comfortable, and will it create the profile that I desire? It is illustrative to look at our Best Style page, since the graphics clearly show the nature of the profile created by major corset styles. Probably the least comfortable styles for the inexperienced wearer, or for those desiring many hours of wear, is the stem, ribbon and wasp waist corsets in that order. The most comfortable style is the underbust Victorian. And of course, the very best is a custom one made to measure for you! Be sure to tell your maker whether you desire a tight lacing fit (4" or more when the back sides close) or a fashion fit (less than a 4" reduction when the back sides close).

THAT BELLY THANG....click here

SHORT OR TALL?
Color becomes important in addressing issues of minimizing or enhancing height. Remember the rule that light advances, dark recedes. Simple but important principle.

To make your waist appear even smaller, choose black or a dark color for the side panels, and a lighter color for the front and back panels. If you are short, do not wear a light skirt and a dark bustier style corset on top as the clear delineation of color will "chop" your body in half. It is better to choose one color for both skirt and corset.

THOSE FEMALE HIPS...
Remember: dark recedes and light advances. Choose a dark color for your skirt and perhaps a dark color for your corset. Be careful if the bottom edge of the corset cuts directly across the widest part of your hips, as a dramatic change in color will merely draw attention to how wide they already are! A monochromatic dressing theme will be the best.

I also find that a fuller skirt, perhaps one from India that is longer and has a drawstring at the waist, disguises my fuller hips. And I always pad a bit up and out to even out the upper body and lower body, making the waist appear even tinier. Men can pad up a bit and should not be shy of using modest shoulder pads. They need to create more definition between the neck and shoulder line to emulate the female upper body. And a swishy skirt can work the same way for men as it does for women: it simulates underlying hips and makes it more difficult to see what is really there...or not there as the case may be!

BUSTING OUT OF A CORSET
Busts provide something of a challenge whether they are modest or ample. I find that I do not particularly prefer a Valentine Victorian as my smaller proportions get a bit lost....but the flat-bodied 18th century corset (especially with a little side pushpad) seems to create mounds out of molehills.... :-) Valentine Victorians do provide great support for full-figures, and D chests or larger may be well advised to request quadruple boning for perfect support! Even the Civil War style corset (to the nipple) provides ample support for a full-figured corset wearer, but the corset must be worn over a dress for modesty's sake. Please click here for additional comments about enhancing the bustline.


DAMAGE CONTROL:
THE WEAR AND CARE OF YOUR LOVELY
AND VALUABLE CORSET

"I'VE JUST COME ACROSS YOUR WONDERFUL SITE AND AM RELIEVED TO FINALLY HAVE SOMEONE WHO MIGHT BE ABLE TO ANSWER MY CORSET CARE QUESTIONS. I HAVE BEEN INTERESTED FOR SOME TIME BUT HAVE BEEN HESITANT TO PRUCHASE ONE WITHOUT A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR WEAR AND CARE. PRICES ARE OFTEN PROHIBITIVE FOR ME, BUT I DO UNDERSTAND ONE HAS TO PAY FOR THE FINE WORKMANSHIP AND SKILL THAT GOES INTO MAKING ONE OF THESE BEAUTIFUL GARMENTS. MY FEAR IS THAT I WILL PURCHASE ONE AND BE DISAPPOINTED BY NOT BEING ABLE TO KEEP IT CLEAN, OR WORSE, IN AN EFFORT TO CARE FOR IT OR WEAR IT, I WILL DAMAGE IT. I HAVE HEARD BOTH YEAH AND NAY ON HAND WASHING. CAN YOU HELP? -- C.B. 1/15/00"

What an excellent question from a thoughtful email correspondent! We will be responding in the next web journal, and welcome some thoughts from you, our readers, and from expert corset makers.


1901 Corset
Photo Click for larger view
The Dread 'CORSET QUESTION' --
What Do You Think It Is?

From time to time we face myriad questions from newcomers to corseting, who have not experienced the difference between off the peg and custom corsets. We read about our ancestor's amusing reactions to tight-laced ladies, and predictions of dire consequences from sterility to insanity (true!). We also hear reference to the dread "Corset Question", but we've NEVER had anyone define the phrase or tell us the origin.

If you think you know to what the Corset Question refers, please send us email, and then help us answer the question. We'd like to explore more of the mysteries of this fascinating garment, and will credit you for your answer if you wish.

BR Green Brocade
Photo. Click for larger view


A PROGRESS REPORT:
GENDER IMAGE SALONS

Our Gender Image Salons have been especially well received by the local and national transgender community over the past year we have conducted them. We decided to share some personal stories and a progress report in this issue of our journal. We do so to give you a "feel" for ROMANTASY's approach to men wearing corsets and improving their image as ladies. We also do it to publicly celebrate the courage, earnestness, dedication, willingness to risk and adventure and learn (how ELSE does one learn???), and the love we have felt, shared and received from our Salon customers. They are to a person, an inspiration and complete reward for our efforts. Let's start with a quote from January 13, 2000:
Our newest model and friend Chablis, an image for inspiration!

"Dear Ann and Monica: THANK YOU so much for your time and talents! I can't begin to describe to you what a wonderful time I had: learning, playing, and meeting such wonderful people. Keep up the great work, and fun! I may end up at the Cotillion after all (Ed. note: Jan. 29, 1999 in San Francisco). I am going to have to practice with both makeup and the corset so I can do justice for you both by then. Love, Emilee" (Ed. Note: Indeed, Emilee did come to the Cotillion and you can see her Salon photos and her Cotiollion Debutante photo above!)

E. (from the East Bay, California) came to us through the web and our good and valuable reputation in the Bay Area gender community. We were pleased to find that she had a wonderful sense of humor, bright intelligence, and extreme business competence in the male competitive world. She was also blessed with a shapely, slim body. She had, however, no experience dressing "in the real world", and wished us to help increase her self-confidence so that she could begin to venture out dressed in public, which she had never done. She also wished to book a follow-up shopping expedition to increase her limited wardrobe. Monica, our makeup artist, and I worked our magic the best we could, and personally enjoyed the evening to the max, hoping that E. will continue apace with her practice schedule and personal journey of exploration.

FUN FUN FUN -- Perhaps 'FUN' is the operative word here! Time and again like E., after the Salon our students report that they had a completely enjoyable evening (morning appointments are also available). Even though most students arrive hesitant, even almost terrified at what they will encounter, they leave relaxed and basking in the love, respect and pampering they receive from Salon staff. One correspondent called it a bit of an oxymoron: fun and friendly, yet fearsome all in one! Don't know quite how that works, but it does.

FIRST-TIMERS -- This is possibly where ROMANTASY shines in the image business for the transgendered community. On the telephone when we describe our program or book a Salon, we delight in immediately doing our best to dispel any dread, shyness, hesitancy or fear.

EMPATHY AND NON-JUDGMENTAL ATTITUDE -- I will credit my enlightened mother for her encouragement for me to keep an open and inquisitive mind in the face of new and different experiences, life styles and personalities. I have never found it difficult to embrace in the fullest sense of the word, the challenge that many, many crossdressers face and conquer, learning to live with life's double ambiguity, learning to accept disappointment, and expanding their capacity not only for self-acceptance, but acceptance and compassion for others whose lives are touched by their own struggle to find the central point in the transgender world. It takes courage and we admire it. We hope this attitude of acceptance and encouragement to "get on with it"-- meaning, get on with your life and explorations, shines through to our students. "I look forward to meeting you too; I am struck by your obvious empathy for those with cross-gender feelings, which isn't too common (though I am very fortunate in being married to one such)" says Rita, with whom we recently corresponded by email.

OUR EDUCATIONAL APROACH -- We firmly believe that our Salon offers far more than a mere "make over". And it provides more than just a momentary "fantasy" trip. We assert that for several reasons. First, we teach, not just "do". I have heard a makeup artist at a booth at a gender conference state that she no longer "teaches" her technique when doing a makeover, because she loses future customers. That is her marketing approach but it is not ours. We have had one potential client blanch when he heard the registration fee for the Salon, and in angry response, he alleged that we were trying to "rook" or to take advantage of the transgender community. While we understand his perspective because he was accustomed to $50 or $60 appointments, he clearly did not understand the complexity and fullness of a ROMANTASY Salon.

We provide a beautiful little booklet in which Ann takes careful notes while our makeup artist works her/his magic, and then the artist takes notes while Ann teaches movement, gestures, etiquette and body contouring. This booklet can become not only a souvenir of the evening but a record of advice past, and things to be added in the future. We also provide a face profile on which we list and give color swatches. We provide and try on wig styles and colors, giving feedback and styling tips. We teach movement and exercises to free up the pelvis and put some pzazz into the walk, plus show ways to accessorize clothing and invest in garments that address relevant figure challenges of the client. We have tea, cookies or wine and cheese, plus plenty of opportunity for questions, all the while sharing myriad fashion tips from both of our consultants.

SPIRITUALITY AND TRANSFORMATION -- Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of our Salons is to experience and share the wonder of our client's adventuring soul as she pursues a dream they may have long held but suppressed. There does seem to be an aspect of the spirit that is tapped during part of each Salon, a moment when pure joy comes to the surface and we are all of us, just a group of friends sharing love and encouragement and moving very close, in a safe environment, to who we really are, accepting ourselves, accepting the other. We like to think we make it all right to be who you are, and for us to be who we are. Sort of a mutual admiration and exploration society. Please call us if you'd like to find out more.

Emilee before and after

David advised Bobbi on skin care
Bobbi
Dana getting ready
Monica and Dana

We Get Letters...and Kudos!


*        *        *


AND IN CONCLUSION...

In anticipation of the arrival of our friend, Michael Garrod, we hope you enjoy some of the elegant photos of his glorious gold dinner jacket and lovely coordinating gold corset for Miss Pandora Gorey, photographed at the November past Bal des Gracieuses in Germany. Also photographed is C&S Constructions model, Karen, in a special design. Stay tuned for more Bal photos in the next web journal.

-Ann Grogan with Robby Cannedy and Martina Ostermann

Martina (in Sheri's Sincher) and Ann (in Spanish Leather Vest Corset) share a private joke before their big night out at Bix Restaurant (1/00)
Martina (R) with friends at Benecia glass blowing factory (1/00)
Martina contemplates the California coast at Big Sur - her first visit to this wonderful place, at Partington's Cove (1/00)

View previous editions of the newsletter.