Beginning a Waist Training Journey

Photo © Paul Mockford | Victoria Dagger in a corset by Caroline Woollin

Victoria Dagger in a corset by Caroline Woollin at the Oxford Conference of Corsetry | © Chris Murray

I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions. Actually, I’ve been hearing that a lot lately, which makes me wonder: who out there is one for New Year’s Resolutions? But I digress. I do like the idea of using the new year as an excuse to enact a change with oneself, but I don’t usually set specific goals. Last year, I nested cozily (though that wasn’t specifically the goal); this year, I would like to, perhaps, eat a little less cheese and a few more vegetables… wear more hats and nice lingerie (like my new pieces from Dita‘s Von Follies line)… revamp my branding for Pop Antique… and pick up waist training again. Oh yes, and I’m now writing once a week here on The Lingerie Addict!

Victoria Dagger for Neon Duchess at the Oxford Conference of Corsetry | © Chris Murray

Victoria Dagger for Neon Duchess at the Oxford Conference of Corsetry | © Chris Murray

As of the first of the year, I’ve been trying to wear a corset every day, if only for a little bit. The last time I trained was last summer, in preparation for The Oxford Conference of Corsetry, at which I was both a speaker and a model. Naturally, as soon as the conference ended and I returned to California, I got all lazy and stopped training. This year, though, I have an ongoing project that will provide continual motivation beyond the satisfaction of the training itself.



Nicole Simone for Pop Antique | © Chris Gaede

Nicole Simone for Pop Antique | © Chris Gaede

Having done this before, it’s been a bit easier to prepare myself for and coast over the speedbumps (more on those another day). As a writer for The Lingerie Addict, I probably don’t have to tell you that I don’t condone body snark — and that includes snarking yourself and your progress! Not being hard on myself actually makes it much easier to stick with it and make progress — I lace down as tight or loose as I feel like, and take the corset off when I want to. (I even take the occasional day off.) Even so, about two weeks in, I noticed my stomach was flatter and my waistline subtly more defined, though not yet any smaller. Now at three weeks, I am starting to miss the feeling of the corset on the occasional day when I run out of the house and forget to wear it. It’s amazing how malleable the body can be. Be sure to remember that each body is different, though, and your progress will never be identical to anyone else’s. Just like a change in eating or exercise regimen, the more gradual the change, the more lasting it tends to be. A reduction that is quickly made will be quickly lost without maintenance.

Pop Antique "Sherbet Doll" corset | Styling by Pop Antique | Model: Neon Lolita | Photo © Lauren Luck

Pop Antique “Sherbet Doll” corset | Styling by Pop Antique | Model: Neon Lolita | Photo © Lauren Luck

Of course, I know I’m at an advantage in that I have an impressive collection of corsets to start with and the ability to make as many more as I may need. If you’re looking to start training, what do you need to have and own? You need at least one well-fitted, high-quality corset. It doesn’t (necessarily) have to be custom, and you are not obligated to wear it day and night. I find it ideal having two corsets of different sizes and cuts to suit my mood and outfits.

Are you wondering how far should you lace down? You should lace down exactly as far as is comfortable, or even a hair looser. If, halfway through the day, you find yourself thinking, “This feels great, but I bet I could go a little tighter!”? Don’t do it! I’ve found that attempts at minute tweaks more often than not backfire. Remember to take it easy and let your progress build up; you can always go tighter the next day, but if your attempts to tightlace in the middle of the day don’t work out, you’re more likely to take your corset off completely than to loosen it back up. Don’t forget to take care of your corset, unlace first, and clean it properly.

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Corseted daywear style, in my Dark Garden waspie.

You will find your eating and style habits change somewhat to accommodate a corseted lifestyle, but perhaps not as much as you may think, or in the same ways. I am definitely motivated to eat smaller and healthier meals when wearing a corset, because otherwise my options are either to feel bloated as it sits in my stomach and fights sturdy steel, or to take off my corset. Style-wise, I think the main change for me has been to be more “put together” on a daily basis; I haven’t done a great wardrobe purge as many tend to do. I don’t feel the need to showcase my corset every day, so sometimes it hides discreetly under a baby doll dress or even a t-shirt. The astute will notice the subtle difference in the way your clothes hang, and the posture benefits remain even when the mechanism is invisible. I find myself far more compelled to change (or at least, irritated by) the seating in my apartment — low, squishy chairs and couches are the bane of any corset wearer!

Victoria Dagger in Dark Garden | © Max Johnson

Victoria Dagger in Dark Garden | © Max Johnson

I know we have a few waist trainers amongst our readers — what advice would you give to someone beginning a waist training journey? What do you wish you’d known when you first started training? If you’re a reader who’s been thinking of training but hasn’t yet, why not?

Mad Mimi Form

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Marianne
Marianne Faulkner

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.