As a lifelong fan of corsets, I’m super excited about today’s guest post. We all know corsets are sexy and glamorous, but they can also be a little intimidating. And while it’s easier if you have a friend around to help you into one, that may not always be an option. Fortunately Maggie, author of the informational site Swimwear & Lingerie and the blog Swimwear & Lingerie has some great advice for us…complete with useful charts and illustrations.
Corsets are a fascinating piece of lingerie. If you’d like to learn more about them, I recommend purchasing the book Corsets: A Cultural History by Valerie Steele. If you’d like to buy one, then check out this classic Lingerie Addict article featuring some of my favorite corset designers
My name is Maggie, and I am very excited to be posting about corsets and a do-it-yourself attitude on the Lingerie Addict. One of my favorite aspects of lingerie is the element of surprise. My day is instantly brightened by the sheer excitement of wearing something that is a little out of the ordinary. The luxurious feel of the fabric and the boost to my posture never fails to put a little extra strut in my movements. However, it is the anticipation of the big reveal later on that really delights.
But the big reveal moment is far less exciting when you need help putting on the lingerie in the first place. Let’s face it, there are some less than glamorous aspects to getting into something tight and lacy that can kill the mood. For example, I have yet to figure out how to put on stockings and adjust them in a sultry way; frankly I resemble a line worker in a sausage factory.
So, when I purchased my first corset, I was baffled as to how I was going to get the darn thing on and properly fit without having someone around to lace me up. I was interested in simply wearing a corset for fun and frolics and not a serious tight-lacing, waist trainer, so my needs were not quite as stringent as theirs. After struggling quite a bit and actually having to ice my back after pinching my skin, I have come up with a foolproof technique that ensures a nice tight lacing and a comfy fit.
Step 1: Check that your Corset is laced properly. Often they are laced at the store by people who don’t understand the intricacies of corsetry. For example, there should be X’s on both the inside and outside of the corset, the X’s should not go between the fabrics when tightly laced. This is how pinches can happen my friends, plus it hampers the tightening of the corset and prevents a pleasingly flat closure.
You will want to count your eyelets and note where the middle of the corset is, relative to where your natural waist line falls. When threading and lacing your corset you will stop at the mid-point and create an extra long loop of slack on each side. Continue lacing as before, ensuring that the loops remain at the middle. When you reach the bottom of the corset pull the laces through to the outside and tie a knot in each at the very end of the lace.
Step 2: Before putting on the corset ensure that the back lacing isn’t so tight that you can’t do it up at the front and isn’t so loose that it will fall off or have more than a 2-3 inch gap between the back panels.
Step 3: Starting at the top and arranging your breasts as you go, do up the hook and eye closures completely. Now revisit grade seven and see if you really can touch your elbows behind your back (I fell for this gag sadly), seriously, stretch out a bit because you need to be able to tie your laces behind your back. You will be able to tell right away if the corset is too tight or loose in spots during this procedure. If this is the case, take off the corset and adjust the lacing in those trouble spots. Seems tedious, I know, but it is all worth it!
Step 4: Once you have achieved a mostly good fit, it is time to reach around and pull on the rabbit ears you created in the middle. This will cinch up the back and can be fastened with a good old knot and a bow. Voila you have successfully laced yourself into a corset. See? You really did learn everything you ever needed to know kindergarten.
But wait. You’re not done yet, try bending and moving around. You want to be comfortable in your lingerie and a full range of movement is necessary for that, as is breathing. If you feel overly impeded in a direction, consider loosening your stays and giving yourself a little extra wiggle room. After all, you are wearing the corset, don’t let it wear you! Now when you take off the corset, just loosen the bunny-knot a bit and then undo the hook and eye front closures. That way your corset is laced to your specifications and ready to go for the next time. Don’t you feel proud? You did it all by yourself!
Now get to the boudoir and try it out. With all this summer heat, you should be wearing your underwear as outerwear and celebrating your curves.
Photo Credits: What Katie Did, Secrets in Lace, and Agent Provocateur