How to Travel with Corsets

© Edson Carlos | Model: Lauren Luck | Corset: Pop Antique

© Edson Carlos | Model: Lauren Luck | Corset: Pop Antique

As I write this, I am far from home, on the opposite coastline and nearly as far as south as one can get in this country.  Along with my selection of drapey sundresses, I packed a handful of corsets, most of them recently completed orders that need to be shipped off to their new homes.  Flying with corsets can be a bit nerve-wracking, since even a small collection is quite valuable.  Traveling with corsets by any method also involves taking a bit more care with packing than some of us are usually inclined.

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© Max Johnson | Model: Victoria Dagger | Corset Dress: Pop Antique

Step one of travel is, of course, packing.  “Packing light” when corsets are involved takes on new meaning; though each corset takes up relatively little space in a bag, all the steel components add up quickly to a heavy load.  If you’re flying, I highly recommend packing all of your corsets together in a weekender style bag and bringing it with you as a carry-on item.  If at all avoidable, do not check the bag with your corsets.  (Personally, I try to avoid having to check luggage at all.)  Though the wheels of a structured suitcase will help ease the ache of your shoulders, if your flight is full, you may be required to check your carry-on at the gate. If you’re not flying, perhaps traveling by train, then by all means go for the wheels and/or split your corsets up across your bags so that no one bag bears the brunt of the weight, as long as the luggage area of your train is secure.  Roll up your corsets and pack them in corset bags (pillowcases will do the trick) inside your main baggage and make sure nothing potentially damaging (like your toiletries, or clothes or shoes with sharp textural detailing) is nestled too close to your corsets.

My carry on bag as I flew to OCOC last year, about 75% filled with corsets.

My carry on bag as I flew to OCOC last year, about 75% filled with corsets.

If you’re waist training or otherwise thinking about wearing a corset for your trip, think carefully before deciding which corset to wear, or if you’re going to go without.  Sitting down, especially in a bucket seat, really drastically changes the proportions of your body.  Your hips expand, the arch of your back reverses, your entire torso compresses vertically, and so on.  Chances are you don’t have a special corset for traveling (though I would recommend it if you travel frequently and have the budget for bespoke).  Having to call it quits on the corseted part of an outfit in the middle of the day can be rather dispiriting so think carefully through the decision.

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Sitting down changes your posture and throws off the fit of even the most comfortable corset. | Photo © Jesse Alford | Model: Sara Cecil

If you’re flying, you’ll have to deal with security, but this may not be as big of a hassle as you’d expect.  Wearing your corset on the outside and being willing to take it off to go through the security checkpoint is the easiest, but a pat down and the other corsets in your bag can also help explain the profusion of metal on your person, particularly if you are otherwise well-presented and polite to the security agents.  Underbusts will be easier to sit in for prolonged periods of time and easier to take on and off quickly, and having the back support as you lug your corset-filled carry-on to your gate can be a small blessing.

© Douglas De Rossi | Model: Victoria Dagger | Corset: Pop Antique

© Douglas De Rossi | Model: Victoria Dagger | Corset: Pop Antique

Lastly, as you are disboarding from your flight or train, try to wait until most of the other passengers have already gotten off the flight.  There’s nothing fun about standing in the middle of the aisle holding a bag of steel as other passengers fiddle with the overhead bins, then trying not to hit any other passengers who may still be seated in the head with said bag of steel as you walk towards the door.  Boarding is a little trickier, since you’re probably going to be stuck holding a heavy bag and hitting people in the head regardless, but you can still minimize the time in line by waiting till the end if you have preassigned seating anyway.

What tricks and tips do you employ when traveling with corsets?

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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4 Comments

  1. Evija
    21/03/14 at 5:39

    Lovely post, but.. when is part 2 on lacing coming? :)

    • 30/03/14 at 16:16

      Soon! Next month sometime. I may have to create some diagrams to illustrate certain concepts, which can be time consuming. Nice to know there’s an avid interest :)

  2. x
    26/03/14 at 5:57

    I have a trip planned for next month to go to a conference. I wear my corset purely as a posture correcting accessory, and I am very scared of 5 hours of lectures in banquet chairs without a corset to remind me to sit properly. I’m flying with my grandmother and I want to cause her the least trouble with customs. Would you recommend wearing or carrying on my corset if I’ll only have one with me.

    • 30/03/14 at 16:17

      It’ll be easiest if you just take your corset in your carry on. It probably won’t cause any issue if you wear it through security (especially if you are friendly and polite, as tends to help most situations), but they may want to give you an additional pat down, which could cost you a few minutes.

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