Chapter 1

SETTING THE STAGE FOR CORSET MAGIC

Easy. Simple. Fast. Fun. This is what Corset Magic is all about: a reduced waistline, a flat tummy, great posture, and a fashionable figure that you can achieve quickly and easily. Try wearing a modern style, contemporary custom corset made to fit the hills and valleys of your own body—I mean a new, popular version of that antique garment your mother and grandmother grew to hate. When you see the results, you’ll grow to love it! Watch heads swivel in your direction as people note your new hourglass shape. You might even be mistaken for a movie star the very first day you wear a corset. Yes, corsets work.

First, a corset works as a superb fashion garment instantaneously—and easily—to trim two to three inches off your waistline on a temporary basis. This quick result will be stunning!

Take a look at the “before” and “after” photos on the back cover of this book, and below, and you’ll see what I mean. Our model, Linda, is a pretty lady, even in the photo on the left where she is not wearing a corset. But with only a little help from a corset, in the photo on the right, her figure becomes decidedly noteworthy.
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But hold on a moment. There’s another fact you need to know, and it’s what this book is all about.  When Linda removes that corset, however, her body—and yours, when you wear a corset—returns to its original shape within five or ten minutes.

Second, with only a bit more effort and time, a corset works as an effective, functional garment to help you comfortably reach any reasonable goal of permanent waistline reduction---or weight loss, if you want it.

It’s not unusual to note up to four or five inches of waistline reduction and 5, 10, 20, or more pounds of weight loss after you wear a corset for only a few months. That latter process is known as “waist training.” This somewhat strange-sounding phrase means a process of wearing corsets gradually to reduce your waistline, while implementing healthy new eating habits and a moderate amount of waist-specific exercises.

This book gives you the simple steps to train your waist, and they work--if you work them! Let’s talk about working Corset Magic on weight first.

Nearly all of us share a common desire to feel attractive, sexy, or powerful. We all want to be liked and appreciated. We all have to start somewhere, get a clear picture of where we want to go, then adopt a realistic method and follow it step-by-step to get there. Many of my corset clients—particularly brides—are “going to lose weight first, then come back to waist train.” Some web sites and even so-called “corset experts” recommend first losing a certain amount of weight or body fat, first before waist training, and errant bellies seem to be the first target of both men and women.

After all, it’s rather common knowledge that large waistlines signify danger. What’s little known however, is perhaps the most stunning of all facts regarding fat, specifically, that stomach fat is associated with a host of pernicious health effects in humans, including death by heart attack (Discover: Science, Technology, and The Future, “Killer Fat” by Mariana Gosnell, February, 2007). Furthermore, about 46 percent of Americans have an excess of it. More amazing yet, the majority of physicians do not regularly check their patients’ girth, which is the primary indicator of obesity!

More specifically we suspect, if not know the statistics that show that women with waistlines of 35-inches and over, and men with waistlines of 40-inches and over, have a higher incidence of high blood pressure, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Indeed, after tobacco and alcohol, obesity is the most important contributor to increased mortality, according to Dr. Christopher J. L. Murray, as reported in the San Francisco Examiner, September 12, 2006. Thus, most all of us consider dieting at one time or another, focused on the errant waistline or belly, and some of us are perpetually on a diet.

Maybe you’re one of them, or maybe you’ve lost weight in the past but put it all right back on. According to a Good Morning America news report on August 1, 2006, 130 million Americans start a diet each year and may have some success. However, ninety percent of us gain the weight we’ve lost back within five years and 90% of us gain back more than we lost; only 2.5% of us actually keep the weight off! Stuart Lawrence Trager, M.D., professor at the Hahneman University School of Medicine, says that “we all have difficulty in eating less and exercising more. Four-fifths of those who start diets, abandon them.” (Testifying on the U.S. government’s food pyramid revision at the Senate’s Subcommittee on Consumer Products and Safety, C-Span coverage of hearing on October 1, 2003. You can read more about the pyramid below.)

Nonetheless, maybe you’re going to the gym to try to lose weight first, then try a corset. Maybe you’ve heard the misguided advice to do just that before waist training. Perhaps you’re considering expensive liposuction. One correspondent paid $6750 in 2006 for liposuction on six body areas. She was still disappointed with the results, and contacted us to start corset waist training, before she went on to stomach-stapling, or saline-filled gastric banding.

Her case didn’t surprise me, because the type of fat that liposuction sucks out happens to be subcutaneous, or surface fat, often the more “benign” kind that is meant for long-term energy storage. Sumo wrestlers encourage an excess of this kind of fat, yet remain mainly free of hypertension because they exercise six to eight hours a day and don’t suffer an excess of visceral, deeper-layer fat surrounding vital organs like the heart (and also predominant in aging men, by the way). Liposuction leaves visceral fat untouched and possibly even augmented (According to Gosnell in Discover magazine)! What a waste.

Please read on before you decide corsets aren’t for you, before you delay trying corsets one more minute, or, worse, before you take one of those radical, expensive, and irreversible surgical steps. There’s no need to be discouraged by past failures, no need to be ashamed of your present waistline—even if it exceeds 50 inches— no need to rush into risky surgeries, and no need to wait before you try corsets. You can start right now with a fresh new approach that works. Isn’t it about time that you do what Pamela Anne Miller, one of my clients, said? “I’m about ready to concentrate more on the waist not becoming a waste basket....”
Take a look at my corset client and student Denna G., a mother of three children, before she began waist training, her permanent 14-pound weight loss after only two months of corseting, and her svelte figure at graduation. Denna maintains that figure now, some two years later:
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When she put on her first corset, Denna temporarily nipped two inches off her waistline and reduced her tummy. But after only eight weeks of corset waist training, she dropped 14 pounds. The temporary reduction became permanent. Her waist eventually dropped from 31 inches to 29 inches and she lost 20 pounds. Denna exclaimed: “I feel like I’m doing this without effort!” You, too, can drop pounds and inches without effort, because a corset will:

• jump-start the weight-loss process thereby achieving visible results fast

• easily suppress your appetite and minimize hunger pangs, thereby encouraging you to reduce portion size

• immediately result in favorable attention to your improved posture and figure, thereby motivating you to continue

That’s right: Your tummy won’t moan in protest and you won’t go berserk from hunger. Hunger is one of the main causes of failure when people unsuccessfully attempt to diet. But you won’t give in to unbearable cravings, because you just won’t have them. Corsets diminish hunger in a matter of days. When you do get hungry, you’re satisfied with a far less quantity of food, thus, you eat less. I know, because since 1990, I’ve extolled the virtues of this magical garment to some 20,000-plus people, customers of, or visitors to, my web site and retail corset business or attendees at my corset fashion shows, exhibits, and seminars. I’ve heard it all when customers try on their first corset and take a look in the mirror, from “Zowie” to “Yikes” and everything in between. I’ve seen it all because I’ve poked, prodded, squeezed, analyzed, and measured tons (literally) of bodies—lithe and little, tall and tantalizing, fat and floppy, skinny and scrawny.

We come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes, so don’t worry too much about what you’re starting with. It’s where you end up that counts.

But let’s say you’re one of the rare people who doesn’t want to lose weight. Even if you’ve maintained the same weight over the years, where you display that weight will likely have shifted south over time. Thus, you can still benefit from this book, because you can maintain your basic weight, yet lift your flesh and spirits northward while corseting. You don’t know where to find a corset or how to choose a style? This book will help you find and design a style that fits you, and learn to enjoy the many other pleasures that corsets can offer. Perhaps you already know about corsets and own and wear one or more styles. You, too, can use information in this book to help you wear that corset comfortably for longer periods of time at a tighter reduction. You can lose a few waistline inches and create an even more impressive figure. You likely already know about the use of corsets for private romantic interludes. Corsets can put some pizzazz and romance back in your life. But everyone can benefit from wearing a corset. For ladies, corsets will boost your bustline. For everyone, corsets will improve your posture (no slumping possible—Mother will be proud of you!) and can add about an inch to your height. Yes, I mean “everyone,” including gentlemen who also corset and waist train. I’ll discuss this topic in detail in Chapter 13. For now, you can take it as fact. Mainly, I speak from my perspective, a woman’s, but my comments will generally apply to everyone. I’ll address men’s special concerns throughout.

If you’re like many of my clients and me, you may find that you develop a more positive attitude toward yourself, bring your self-image in line with reality, and begin to make healthier lifestyle choices all around. You’re bound to feel great and look just fabulous. I hope you’ll enjoy the photos of exquisite corsets as elegant outer wear. I expect that you’ll be inspired to design a spectacular, fashion-forward corset ensemble to wear to the opening of your city’s opera, or to a Halloween fantasy ball. Here are two corset costume ideas that might appeal to your creative side.
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And here’s a photo of that loving group of corset enthusiast friends and clients I gather several times a year at a San Francisco hotel cocktail lounge or hot new dance club. We don our corset gowns, dress our beaux up in tails, tux, or business suits, and off we go to dance the night away. Upon arrival at our destination, we’ve been known to be announced with much fanfare by the band, such as, “The Corset Club has arrived!” We always attract other curious and appreciative lounge guests to join our merry group, and beg to try a corset on, for the fun of it!
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Whether you’re going to waist-train or just play “dress up” or “costume corset queen,” be prepared for some fascinating—and fascinated—public commentary. It’s happened to my clients, and to me. My favorite story is about one special occasion on a lovely, warm summer day when I was on my way to the San Francisco Palace of Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum to meet a friend, David Kunzle, whom I mention in the next chapter. I wore a flowing pink crepe dress (which you’ll see in the photo to the right) with matching rose brocade hourglass corset tightly laced over the dress. I also wore a wide-brimmed summer hat decorated with a large chiffon rose and long pink ribbons. Upon seeing me, a grey-haired gentleman, who shared the bus stop bench, exclaimed, “Wow! Where did you get that outfit?” I knew from the tone in his voice that it was a friendly, approving question, not a critical or abusive one, so I quietly explained that I was a corset designer and purveyor, and was going to the museum for lunch and an outing with a friend. “Women used to dress like that—and I loved it—hats, gloves, looking fine . . . ,” his voice trailed off and his eyes practically glowed as he stared at my waistline.

On the second bus I noticed an older gentleman board, then rely on his walker to make his way slowly down the aisle and sit across from me. He couldn’t help but notice me, especially since no one else was seated nearby. “My goodness!” he exclaimed. “Southern Belle style! That’s just great! I remember the Southern Belle style! “That makes a man feel just great to have a Southern Belle on his arm. I remember twice in my life I had a Southern Belle. Once in the Army and once after.” I smiled and thanked him. Needless to say, he made my day, and I hope I made his.
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But hold on another moment. I’m not a doctor. You just knew I’d say that, didn’t you? You’d be certain I’d say it if you knew I’m a . . . lawyer. That’s right, a lawyer who practiced civil trial law for 14 years—the last six as a California Deputy Attorney General—and who decided to retire and create a socially beneficial product. Basically, I decided to make love instead of war. Naturally, I’m concerned about saying anything whatsoever that you could take the wrong way, out of context, to an extreme, or that could cause you harm. Therefore, I’ve had medical professionals review this book, a culmination of what I have learned during many years of personal and professional experience as a corset wearer, designer, purveyor, writer, and researcher. If you have any concerns or are experiencing any kind of health problem, please consult your doctor, or find a licensed or registered nutritionist and physical therapist to verify my information and tailor it to your particular needs. As a friendly warning, beware of the pages of trivia and nonsense about waist training that you will find on hundreds of corset web sites and chat rooms today. Many of those discussions are little more than fantasy, containing few kernels of truth. Pictures of so-called success stories are frequently computer-enhanced. Furthermore, much of the information out there concerning corsets makes simplistic, unsupported, and unsupportable statements. If you want to learn practical information about waist training, you need to distinguish carefully between generalities that might not fit you and specific statements that do.

Finally, some web sites and so-called “doctors” or “experts” give pat answers and advice about how to use corsets to waist train, but you’re unique. Your goals and the specific steps to reach them must be realistic for you. In this book I’ve used only real, unretouched photos (well, maybe a wrinkle or two in the face of a model have been softened, but the body and waistline reductions are accurate), true case histories, and health-conscious and correct advice to show you the way to eventual and moderate waist-shaping success. I focus on reputable web sites with substantial expertise behind the information they publish, web sites that are likely to be around for some time. Even though some of those may be out-of-date or off-the-air when you read this book, their information will likely remain helpful for a long time to come. Please use common sense, which, as Will Rogers said, is “exceedingly uncommon,” to ensure your continued good health and to see whether what I advise is right for you. It’s easy, simple, fast, and fun.

Now, please join me as we explore that pesky “Corset Question,” and put it to rest forever. I think you’re going to have a lot of fun!

CONCLUSION

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Order "Corset Magic: A Fun Guide to Trim Your Waist and Figure," by ROMANTASY Exquisite Corsetry owner, Ann Grogan. Our book contains the most comprehensive, details available on the fun, fashionable, and effective process of safe figure shaping known as "corset waist training." Please inquire about our three-month coaching program.