Corset Style Watch: Chic & Sheer Corsets

Sheer corsetry, a study in contrasts with barely-there fabrications and sinuous steel structure.  Dark Garden’s “Risqué” ready-to-wear corset, balancing sheer mesh and silk satin.

Corset trends are gentle and slow-moving, taking years instead of weeks to build momentum.  Today’s post looks at several chic and sheer corsets, with a focus on the handmade.  Sheer corsets wonderfully exemplify the unique outer/under aesthetic of modern corsetry.  In their lightness, they are often more comfortable (and thin) for wearing all-day as a foundation garment.  Lace overlays look striking as the lace may appear to simultaneously float and sculpt, with the strength layer near-invisible.  The sheerness layers well over clothing, particularly complementary prints, emphasizing dramatic corseted silhouettes yet without the heavy, rigidly corseted look.
In the interest of fairness, I have listed these cinched sweeties in alphabetical order by maker.

Crikey Aphrodite’s lacy sheer corsets would be unquestionably perfect for brides but also style well with feminine daywear looks.
Photo © Clare Coulter Photography

Crikey Aphrodite, Glasgow
Bespoke Corsets
Sheer corsets are the perfect addition to Crikey Aphrodite’s beautiful, feminine line-up of custom corsets, which are popular with local brides.  The sheer styles sometimes have additional textural detailing, such as latticed ribbons on the hips.

Dark Garden’s custom Adelaide corset, a lacy, sheer, cupped style.
Photo © Joel Aron

Dark Garden, San Francisco
Unique Corsetry & Bridal Couture
Dark Garden’s first sheer style was the Adelaide: a fully-custom cupped corset, made to look as if it were structured entirely by its lace overlay.  Following its success, Dark Garden started offering its classic ready-to-wear styles in black and pale peach mesh with silk-duchess satin contrast under the name “Risqué.”  The Risqué is also available with lace overlay, and includes a back panel and 3 pairs of garters.

Pop Antique’s “Flirt” combines a sheer body with quirky contrasting details.
Photo © Andres Razo

Pop Antique, San Francisco
Flirt Corset
Full disclosure: Pop Antique is my line.  The “Flirt” is a sheer corset which it also features a cupped bust, detachable mini panniers at the hips, optional contrast silk fabrication and waist tape, and lacing detail.  I love wearing my Flirt over a teal and purple rose print silk jersey sheath dress to really highlight the pop color and sheer texture.

Sparklewren’s beautiful sheer cincher is one of her few ready to wear styles. Limited edition.
Photo © Catherine Day Photography

Sparklewren, Birmingham
Limited Edition Sheer Cincher
Sparklewren has other sheer designs, but I particularly adore these tiny ready-to-wear cinchers.  They have such a perfectly balanced design, from the barely-there sweetheart silhouette to the artfully placed lace.  She currently has them listed on Etsy, where they are also available in white.

Velda Lauder’s Black Mesh Underbust, ahead of the curve (pun intended!) on the sheer corsetry trend.


Velda Lauder
, London
Underbust Black Mesh Corset
Given this weekend’s tragic news about Velda Lauder’s passing, I don’t know how much longer this corset will be available for purchase, but this incarnation of the sheer style is particularly noteworthy as an early adopter.  When I first saw this corset, it was from an old Lingerie Addict post, Corsetieres & Corset Makers: Off the Rack vs. Custom Made, from 2008!

What Katie Did’s “Cabaret” corset is a sheer version of their classic Morticia underbust.

What Katie Did, London
Cabaret Sheer Morticia Corset
The same pattern as their popular Morticia corset, Cabaret is made of double-layered sheer organza with satin casings, and available in peach or black.

Which is your favorite of the above styles, and why?  What corset trends have you noticed gaining momentum lately?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Marianne

Marianne

Marianne Faulkner is the designer of Pop Antique, a clothing and corsetry line specializing in sustainable materials and comfortable curves. She is based in San Francisco where she earned her MFA in fashion design at the Academy of Art University, and has been a columnist at The Lingerie Addict since 2011.

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8 Comments

  1. 20/03/13 at 2:09

    I love yours the most, Marianne :D I can’t help but enjoy quirky elements! XD Though I must say all of these are stunning :D I almost went for a sheer cincher at some point but ended up with something superbly tightlacing once again ><"

    • 20/03/13 at 2:21

      Awww, thanks Kath! :D
      I think it’s entirely possible to have a sheer tightlacing corset, though it probably won’t have the same longevity – but you have so many corsets that it’d take you a while to run any particular one down anyway! Anyway, they’re so comfy that it makes them really well-suited for all-day wearing and potentially more dramatic reductions, plus the styling potential.

  2. Laura a.k.a Lola Haze
    20/03/13 at 20:46

    Marianne, these are so gorgeous — thanks for sharing!

  3. Ju Verly
    21/03/13 at 15:52

    Hi Marianne!
    I´m from Brazil and I read TLA every single day, I just love it!
    Could you tell me the difference between a corset and a corsellet?
    Thank you!

    • 21/03/13 at 23:25

      Hi!
      So glad you enjoy the blog!
      A corselette is a softer garment, like a girdle combined with a bra. A shorter variation called the Merry Widow was particularly popular after its release in 1955.
      The term is used sort of loosely today, sometimes referring to lightweight corset-like garments that aren’t as shaped and structured.

      A well-made modern corset generally has a pronounced hip to waist curve and a lot of high-quality components: steel boning throughout, two-part grommets with lacing forming the back closure, a sturdy and stable fabric as its base, waist tape to minimize waistline stretching, and a steel hook-and-stud “busk” closure in the front (though it can also be made with a closed front or very strong alternate closures).

      Corselettes and girdles can make a smoother line under garments and help create a period silhouette, but won’t do much of anything to actually reduce your waist. A well-fit corset will actually sculpt the body to the desired silhouette.

      • Ju Verly
        22/03/13 at 7:04

        Marianne,
        thank you so much for having answered my question!
        It´s so clear now!

  4. 23/03/13 at 13:38

    The Sparklewren one is gorgeous!!!!!!!!

  5. Thursday
    22/04/13 at 6:52

    All lovely! I do love the sheer corset style, something about the softness of transparent fabrics combined with the strength of sturdy steel bones tickles my love of contrast. The WKD Morticia Cabaret has been on my lust list for some time.

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