Waist Not Vol 2 No 3

August/September 1998

FROM THE EDITOR - "Are Corsets Comfortable?"

Editor Ann Grogan    Owner Ann in her new leather corset and collar by Albert As the owner of a corset business, the question I am most frequently asked is the one posed above.

This question must derive from the age-old stereotype that corsets are painful, if not downright harmful or even lethal! We know from history that they have been blamed for everything from female sterility to female insanity.

It leaves me to wonder what rude results will occur to our numerous male customers? As for pain, nothing could be farther from the truth--assuming two things.

First, the corset should be CUSTOM made by a competent corsetier (not lingerie shop), that is, made to measure for your body from top to bottom, according to certain minimum standards.

What are those standards?

Most people would agree that they include at least, the following, especially if you desire a four or more inch eventual waist reduction:

1. About six steel bones must be used per side of the corset.
2. There should be a steel bone on either side of the back grommets.
3. The fabric should be sturdy to withstand pulling at the waist.
4. Grommets should be spaced about 1" or so apart from each other.
5. Sturdy lacings and not slick ribbon should be used in back.
6. Corset should be in two pieces, with a steel front busk (clip front) and back-laced with non-slippery laces.

Green Brocade          BR Creations Victorian
Bridal Corset          C&S Victorian Custom made-to-measure garments insure a perfect fit. That is what you pay for, and why you pay more than for an "off the peg" or "off the rack" garment.

As an aside, many, many customers and especially Americans, don't fully understand the concept of "custom." Custom means made precisely to your personal body measurements, according to your fondest design desires. Simplified: you get what you want!

The reasons customers have difficulty fully understanding that they can get it higher, lower, wider, tighter, more lace, less lace, longer lace, longer lacings...etc., are many.

Americans do not live in a culture where most women know how to sew and make patterns, nor do we have a large upper class whose members can afford to frequent tailors or corsetiers whose services do not come cheap.

We also live in a "want it now" and "planned obsolescence" society which changes fashion seasonally, if not more frequently. Timeless but true fashions are generally expensive, conservative and often boring.

So Americans opt for flash and glamour, cheap construction at cheap prices, toss it when done and go buy another. As some would say, Americans are penny wise and pound foolish.

 But once we experience the quality, comfort...and ego-boosting results of wearing a Custom corset (by ROMANTASY, of course!), most people never go back to the "Frederick's of Hollywood" styles of foundation or fashion garments.

Second, the key to corseting success, loving your garment and seeking it out to wear on multiple occasions, is moderation.

The simplest way to express this is take it off or loosen it just shy of moderate discomfort. I say "moderate" because there will always be some surprising feelings accompanying the first restriction by steel stays and lacing down.

For some, this is immediately experienced as wonderful; for others it is a surprise that requires accommodation and practice.

I frequently tell my corset customers that they would not purchase a new pair of fine leather shoes, put them on and run the Marathon the first time, would they?

Of course not. One can only imagine the attendant blisters, pain, etc

So then, customers should not put on the new, rather stiff corset and wear it 12 hours tightly laced!

ROMANTASY provides a comprehensive guide to breaking in and caring for a new corset with every corset purchase. The goal for comfort in  waist training is learning to wear the corset for longer periods of time, not necessarily "going for" extreme lacing. If you own a corset by another maker but feel you did not receive sufficient information, you may send us $5.00 for our information sheet.

So, enjoy your corset . . . slowly and with style! And consider the following customer comments. 

. --Ann  

Corset with Piping       BR Creations Victorian
Air Mail "Ann, I never got back to you to tell you how much I've enjoyed the corset I got from you; it is wonderful and opened up a whole new world to me, both for my crossdressing and in my weight control program. The corset is so much more comfortable than the girdle, longline bra and waist cincher I used to wear. I'm in heaven. I want to order another BR Creation...I can't wait to hear from you." --RR
"Hi Ann!  I love my new corset! I'm wearing it right now as I type this, and it's so comfortable. It fits like a glove...a very soft glove at that. And since I've been wearing other corsets since I ordered this one, it's only open 2 inches in the back. And Ruth made it a little smaller than 22", I measured each half at 10-1/2", which is great, since I lost some weight and my natural waist is about 25-1/2" now. It doesn't even feel tight. I'm sure I can wear it for hours. I replaced the lace with a pale pink rayon cord, which looks so pretty! I bought them in several colors to go with blouses.  It really dresses it up. I haven't worn this one out in public yet, but I'll let you know the reactions I get. This silhouette is much more "hour-glassy" than my others and it'll sure get noticed! (which is one of the big reasons we wear them, right?)Thanks again. p.s. I love that cute little bustier pin! Thank you! --Sharon Maxwell-Yamamoto, July 1998 Black Leather
"I am a lover of corsets and am just learning about the web. You are right...corset are comfortable. I made an ice skating dress, chemise, pantalets, corset, bustle, petticoat, skirt, jacket and bonnet. I was able to spin, jump and even do a spiral in it!" --TBB July 10, 1998


Red Corset       Sheri Jurnecka Victorian We are pleased to announce a new personal coaching for effective waist training system on the web this month.

We offer a three-month encouragement and feedback system, designed for those web visitors who have corsets and want to enter into a special program to successfully reach their goals, be they body modification, weight reduction, a specific waist size, or other.

We hope you will join us in the Program if you are a newcomer to corseting, whether or not you own a ROMANTASY corset or another, or even if you wish a boost to another level of waist reduction.

Our approach will be moderation and consistent encouragement toward realistic goals, depending on each person's lifestyle, physique, general health and attitude.


Corvest   "Corvest"

"I am interested in purchasing a corset but maintaining my masculine waistline. How do I do that?" --SG

There are three ways to corset and maintain a male waistline. First, ask your corsetmaker to place the waist line at your normal male waist, usually 1" below the bellybutton. Second, do not request a corset to be made with more than a 3" reduction when closed in the back. Two inches may be even better. Third, select a style that incorporates a traditional male vest, such as the Corvest (see our gentlemen's posture corset page). The vest is boned like a woman's corset but cut in the shape of the traditional men's garment.

"I was wondering if corsets are made just for making a smaller waist or if they are used also to enhance the bust?" --Heather Dear

Your question is a good one! Corsets basically work by compressing at the waist, lifting the ribcage and bust and emphasizing the hips. They should properly rest easily either high on the hipbone for a Victorian style or lower for the Edwardian, but over the hips, and not squish anything out. They should hold in the tummy.

This process is a natural result of corseting. Over the years, the lower ribs do contract inwards or lift slightly upwards, the upper chest is opened up, and the pelvic saddle may expand slightly. Even with an underbust corset style, there is some lift to the bust caused in part by the better posture that is inevitable from wearing a corset, and in part the result of the firmness of the top corset trim. A velvet or lined trim will provide even more support than a satin one.

The underbust style even creates lift for a modestly endowed lady. For a well endowed lady, that lift would not be very effective. A better choice for her is the overbust style which does indeed lift and create any bustline desired. This is true especially if you order custom, and therefore receive a corset muslin fitting first, to help the corset maker adjust the pattern: more or less cleavage, more forward or not, bust reduction or enhancement, etc.

Curvy Couple    Scarlet Style The Scarlet O'Hara style (produced by Sheri Jurnecka for ROMANTASY) rises to the nipple and provides a gentle shelf style support for the bust. This is a very cute style but does tend to show at the upper hem more under clothes, and cannot be worn out as a fashion accessory without a blouse or dress underneath...unless of course you intend to provide an occasional show for your admirers!

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