A true corset has steel boning, which are the rods that keep the fabric straight without wrinkling or puckering. Fashion corsets have plastic boning or no boning which will not make the corset strong enough to hold in tissue without bulging and wearing unevenly. Fashion corsets will rarely have more than one layer of fabric, making them prone to tearing if they are laced too tightly. These type of corsets are more of a shirt than shapewear. Corsets proper for body modification have many layers of strong fabric and reinforced stitching. They will also have thicker steel rods running in the front center and on either sides of the laces to protect the spine from curving and to hold the front of the abdomen in.
True Corsets Have:
- -Steel boning
- -Rigid steel busk (front closure)
- -Rigid steel lace stays (back closure)
- -Thicker material
- -Sturdier stitching
Sizing for a corset
The easiest way is for a sales assistant to guide you in choosing a few sizes to make sure you pick the best one for your proportions. Corsets can fit anyone, including someone with proportions in a size K cup and a size small waist. Corsets are generally sized by the waistline minus four inches, but a larger cup size will require a slightly larger corset size, unless you are getting fitted for an underbust style. A new corset should never lace all the way closed. Even after one wear the fabric stretches and the body adapts to the piece. It will go on tighter every time. Especially if an intense reduction is desired in the long run, the corset should fit on the smaller side so there is room to shrink.
Corset sizing in general:
- -Extra small 20
- -Small 22
- -Medium 24
- -Large 26
- -Extra large 28
- -1x/2x 30
- -3x/4x 32
A key to being comfortable in a corset for long periods of time is to take it slowly, and to have the steels in your corset bent to account for your curves. Not only will this enable your waist to go even smaller, but will prevent bruising on hip bones and chest. The steels in a new corset are straight, even in the cups. Since no one’s body is straight, some intelligently placed bends assist in a lot more comfort. There are lots of styles a corset can be bent to, but and anatomically correct bend is the best. One can bend a corset themselves, it isn’t too difficult and if a mistake is made the steels bend back easily. If you are being fitted in a boutique you can ask a sales associate to do it for you. The trick is molding the steels softly while the corset is on the body, then taking it off and intensifying the bends. There is also a tape on the inside of the corset that works well as a guide.
It is also important to listen to your body while wearing a corset. If a nerve feels pinched, or you feel it is too tight, loosen it. Often it is just a passing phase your body goes through once or twice a day, and it gets better as your body gets used to a corset. If it is persisting whenever the corset is on, you may need to reconsider where the steels are bent and make sure the laces are pulling from your true waist, the soft spot in between your ribs and your hips.
Let your skin breathe. Unless it is for lingerie or a photo shoot, wearing a thin camisole or slip underneath the corset is a good idea. Not only will it protect the corset from needing more cleaning, but it will prevent chafing and itching.
Effectiveness. How much can I lose?
The first inch is merely the compression of fat cells from being round to being oval shaped. This can happen very quickly, in as little as 8 weeks from wearing a corset only a few days a week, and this inch is usually lost even without the corset on. After this first compression of tissue occurs, most tightlacers lose an inch a year. There is a snap back that occurs when the corset is off. The shape of the corset will be what your body retains the easiest over time, just in larger less compressed proportion. The more the corset is worn, the more dense your tissue will become and will shift away from the corset, and the less different the body without the corset will appear. The timeline for this is not exact, as this is dependent upon diet and exercise, genetics and just how frequently you are out of the corset.