Posts by Marianne

Corset Style Watch & News: May 2015 Lace-Up

There have been so many beautiful corset photos and design concepts coming up on my Facebook feed lately! I simply had to compile a handful of my favorite designs and news items into a post for you.

Sian Hoffman "Peekaboo Panty Corset" | Photo © Tim Bret Day

Sian Hoffman “Peekaboo Panty Corset” | Photo © Tim Bret Day

I just adore everything about this Sian Hoffman photo by Tim Bret Day. The hair, the set, the pose, and especially that corset! This quirky panty girdle features an ouvert rear, attached garters, and what appears to be extra boning and a halter/harness strap in the front. From a maker’s perspective, even with the aid of stretch fabrics (as is Sian Hoffman’s wont), the fit for this type of garment is to be admired. Notice how the panty lays perfectly against the rear, staying up without cutting in. If the intersection of retro, modern, and fetish is your cuppa tea, then Sian Hoffman is the corsetiere for you.

Engraved busks by Vanyanís

Engraved busks by Vanyanís

Particularly thrilling to corsetmakers is the reintroduction by Vanyanís of engraved busks. (A busk is the front closure hardware found in most corsets.) Engraved busks – often branded – are sometimes found in antique corsets… which would make this the first time they’ve been used in new manufacturing in at least a century. Seen above is the “laurel” motif etched in three finishes: silver, black, and gold. Corsetieres the world over are in awe, and perhaps just a bit green with envy…

Mesh corset dress and collar by Videnoir Couture.

Mesh corset dress and collar by Videnoir Couture.

Videnoir Corset Dress

Embellished corset dress by Videnoir Couture.

Shortly after seeing the Sian Hoffman girdle above, I saw this amazing collar by Videnoir. And then Videnoir posted more photos of the dress shown above. This corset dress showcases exquisite lines on a mesh body, and of course Videnoir’s signature flocked print, literally highlighted with what is surely hundreds of rhinestones. The contrasting textures are topped off with drapes along the neckline and a full mermaid skirt.

Embellished corset by Neon Duchess

Embellished corset by Neon Duchess

Along similar lines, yet distinctively her own, is this scarlet corset by Neon Duchess. This piece is made to be worn on stage by violinist Analiza Ching. Uneven layers of red tulle are draped onto the bodice and into a peplum-like fluffy skirt. The tulle is appliqued with lace, which is then edged with rhinestones. As you can see from the pins, corsetiere Hannah Light is still working on the finishing touches, and I can’t wait to see what the final piece looks like.

Edwardian style corset by Sparklewren.

Edwardian style corset by Sparklewren.

Lastly, we have this corset of jaw-dropping hipspring by corsetry darling, Sparklewren. You should really read her full blog post. This corset was made for Cathy Hay, the publisher of Foundations Revealed, to be worn under an exquisite Edwardian gown, with the goal

“…to create the fashionable silhouette through whatever era-appropriate means possible, rather than making a corset (and subsequent ensemble) to “fit”.”

-Sparklewren

It’s a study in proportion, historic techniques, and optical illusion. Cathy Hay’s blog post shows a stunning photo from a toile fitting, showing her hips padded out an additional 6″ to fill in the hip spring.

Pop Antique Integrated Corset "Bombshell" waspie with built-in mesh top | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

Pop Antique Integrated Corset “Bombshell” waspie with built-in mesh top | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

Lastly, to top this all off, I’d like to share a couple of other “news” pieces from other media outlets which have crossed my screen lately.

From Whale Jaws to Corsets: How Sailors’ Love Tokens Got Into Women’s Underwear – speaking of engraved busks, check out these lovely carved whalebone busks. “Busks” have been an integral part of corsetry since long before the separating metal closures we now know.

Cinderella Costume Designer on Corsets: Actors Like Them – although at this point hopefully you are no longer concerned with Cinderella’s waist, but it’s still a lovely interview. You can also get a glimpse of some of the design sketches for the costumes in the film.

Shake What Your Mama Didn’t Give You: Shapewear Through the Ages – this piece is wonderfully balanced. It quickly contextualizes corsets, spanx, plastic surgery, and even codpieces as mere elements to a “cultural” body, a concept which has always existed, merely changed over time.

 Have you recently seen any corset designs or details that particularly caught your eye? Which of the above concepts do you find the most interesting? 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestYouTube

Review: Bodysuits by Les Lunes

Disclosure: I received these items free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

Sheer Heaven Mesh Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

The ethos of Les Lunes resonates strongly with me — the brand aims to make garments that are both stylish and easy to wear. There’s overlap between their lines of Lingerie, Active Wear, Casual Wear, and Ready to Wear, with the groups mingling and styling with both each other and an average wardrobe in a complementary way. For review purposes, I was sent three bodysuits in Les Lune’s signature soft, drapey bamboo jersey.

We have positioned ourselves at the epicenter of three sister cities, each of which are leaders in shaping the future of the world. Each Les Lunes element resonates with the strong fashion heritage of Paris, the motion and innovation of San Francisco, and the craftsmanship of our privately owned workshop in Shanghai.

-Les Lunes

Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

V-Neck Wrap Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

Let’s take a minute to talk about bamboo and bodysuits. Les Lunes touts the sustainability factor of bamboo, but as I mentioned when I reviewed Underprotection (another fashion forward, eco-friendly lingerie and loungewear line), the advantages of the bamboo plant don’t necessarily translate when it becomes a fabric. Unless things have changed in the last few years, it’s my understanding that the process of turning bamboo into fabric is a bit of a toxic process. Of course, there are plenty of reasons to love bamboo besides its sustainability street cred: it it a wonderfully soft, smooth and comfortable fabric with a lovely hand, which refers to the tactile quality of a fabric, and it has a light sheen which gives it a faintly luminous quality. Aesthetically, I don’t think I’ve ever met a bamboo jersey I didn’t like.

Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

As for bodysuits in general, I confess I feel a little conflicted about them as well. It took me a long time to overcome my mental link between a bodysuit and a cliche teddy with an 80s-esque high-legline, made of cheap polyster lace. These bodysuits, of course, are nothing like that, but I still don’t quite understand how they fit into a wardrobe from a practical standpoint. Perhaps for some people, bodysuits are their perfect loungwear, but I tend to go for styles that are looser and offer more coverage. (This is mostly because I get cold easily.) I eventually decided that for me, the logical place for bodysuits is with my high waisted jeans and fitted skirts, where they will be sleeker and better anchored than a tucked-in shirt.

And that’s exactly how I wore these bodysuits when field testing them. In general, I found it to be quite an effective look. I’m mostly talking about the suits as a group rather than individually because their fabrication and fit are very similar. By my measurements (34-26-38), I was between sizes, but I was sent the smaller: XS/S, which fit very well. This was definitely for the best, since I lost about ten pounds (and an inch from my waist and hips) shortly after sending my measurements. Overall the fit through the body is fairly slim and straight, with a gently shaped side seam. The fabric composition is 95% rayon from bamboo, 5% spandex. Each bodysuit is extremely well-stitched with attention to finishing details, including an assortment of elastics and binding techniques to suit the various cuts. The crotch closes with snaps — a must for a functional garment.

Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

The care instructions say to hand-wash cold and line dry, but I tried a round of machine-wash gentle/tumble dry low for this review and it was fine. I’m really lazy when it comes to hand-washing my clothes (not to mention we only have tiny sinks in my apartment) and anything I own that isn’t tumble dried will end up just as covered in cat hair as it was before washing. I suspect the stretch lace on the 3/4 sleeve body suit will eventually fray little elastic hairs if machine washed and dried too many times, though.

Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

Sheer Heaven Mesh Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

One of the styles I was sent to review is no longer on the site: the Sheer Heaven Mesh Bodysuit. It’s a pity, because this piece probably has the most interesting and detailed construction and the most modern/on-trend design. There are four different kinds of elastic on this thing! Picot at the leg, 1/2″ wide plain elastic at the neckline (brushed side out at the front, then brushed side against the skin at the underarm/back neck placement), satin strapping, and 1″ wide waistband-esque elastic at the bra band. The high quality satin elastic straps are convertible, though I find they are too snug for comfort when worn as a cross-back. I like the mesh detail at the top of the cups and, best of all, the full coverage of the bottom portion. The bra portion offers moderate support, though the snugness of that armhole/back neck finish does make for a little bit of spillover.

Les Lunes Sheer Heaven Mesh Bodysuit - front view

Les Lunes Sheer Heaven Mesh Bodysuit – front view

Les Lunes Sheer Heaven Mesh Bodysuit - back view

Les Lunes Sheer Heaven Mesh Bodysuit – back view

Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

V-Neck Wrap Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

The V-Neck Wrap and Scoop-Neck Lace bodysuits ($135 each) both feature thong bottoms, which is not at all made clear on the website. I tend to wear basic bikini briefs or boyshorts on a day-to-day basis, so the thong didn’t fly with me. Since I’m a slightly bottom-heavy hourglass, the elastic cut in on my butt to create VPL when worn with my high-waist jeans. I’m not the sort to go commando so I don’t relish the thought of either having conflicting panty lines or buying thongs just so I can wear these body suits. Design-wise, the thong seemed especially incongruous combined with the 3/4 sleeves of Scoop-Neck Lace style. Aside from my thong pet peeve, though, both pieces are very easy easy to wear and style, being comfortable and cute but low-maintenance.

Les Lunes Scoop Neck Lace Bodysuit - front view

Les Lunes Scoop Neck Lace Bodysuit – front view

Les Lunes Scoop Neck Lace Bodysuit - side view.

Les Lunes Scoop Neck Lace Bodysuit – side view.

Les Lunes Scoop Neck Lace Bodysuit - back view, and how I feel about the amount of coverage. (I even pulled the back legline DOWN to take this photo.)

Les Lunes Scoop Neck Lace Bodysuit – back view, and how I feel about the amount of coverage. (I even pulled the back legline DOWN to take this photo.)

Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

V-Neck Wrap Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

I particularly like the V-Neck Wrap style, which I received in a lovely vibrant green that has just a drop of teal to it. The angled neckline is fairly open, with a little mandarin collar, but the degree of bust coverage can be tweaked by adjusting the overlap. I used a vintage brooch to pin the neckline in place for the styled photoshoot.

Les Lunes V-Neck Wrap Bodysuit - front view

Les Lunes V-Neck Wrap Bodysuit – front view

Les Lunes V-Neck Wrap Bodysuit - back view

Les Lunes V-Neck Wrap Bodysuit – back view

Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

Sheer Heaven Mesh Bodysuit by Les Lunes | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

All told, I was pretty pleased with the bodysuits from Les Lunes, though I’m not sure if it’s enough to make me a body suit convert. The Les Lunes price point is definitely not low-budget, but I think it’s very fair for the quality of materials and construction. Ethical production is also part of their sustainability practices. There are a lot of other pieces from the Les Lunes lines I could see myself wearing, and I think they’ve really nailed a broad appeal for a modern audience who seeks casual elegance in their clothing choices.

How do you like to wear bodysuits? What do you think of these styles by Les Lunes? Do you have other garments made from bamboo rayon? Let us know 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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestYouTube

Review: Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights”

Disclosure: I received these items free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights: Diamond Tights | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan | Shown with integrated corset by Pop Antique

Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights: Diamond Tights | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan | Shown with integrated corset by Pop Antique

Wade & Belle’s “Not Too Tights” ostensibly aim to defeat the muffin top created by tights that are simply too tight. In reality, I think the need for this style of fit goes beyond that aesthetic consideration. The level of discomfort that can be created by having, essentially, a rubber band cutting across your midsection should never have to be endured. Wade & Belle sent me a pair of each of their three designs of tights (black, diamond, and polka dot) and I put them to the test.

Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights" packaging: tissue paper wrapped tights, branded sticker, branded perfume sachet, fitted perfectly into a compact shipping box.

Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights” packaging: tissue paper wrapped tights, branded sticker, branded perfume sachet, fitted perfectly into a compact shipping box.

Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights" in opaque black

Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights” in opaque black

Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights" in black - note the level of wear around the center seam as well as the smooth fit of the wide waist band.

Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights” in black – note the level of wear around the center seam as well as the smooth fit of the wide waist band.

Styling the Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights" with a very fitted jersey dress. The waist lays smooth and doesn't cut in at all, and the legs are a very nicely (and cozily) opaque black.

Styling the Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights” with a very fitted jersey dress. The waist lays smooth and doesn’t cut in at all, and the legs are a very nicely (and cozily) opaque black.

Unsurprisingly, the black tights were the first that I wore. They felt sturdy and were nicely opaque, a look of which I have grown increasingly fond. The texture of them is smooth and dense, a good weight for any time of year (at least, in moderate San Francisco). How did they measure up? Well, my soon-to-be-wife pretty much immediately stole them for herself and they are her new favorite tights because they don’t dig into her sensitive stomach. (As a size reference, I am generally a size small in bottoms to her medium/large.) I stole them back to try them again before writing this review, pairing them with a figure hugging jersey sheath. Even at the end of a long day and after dinner, there was no muffin or ridge where the tights ended on my waist.

Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights" in polka dot

Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights” in polka dot

Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights" in polka dot

Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights” in polka dot

Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights" in polka dot - note the subtle shadow above my stomach, indicating the tighter fit of this pattern.

Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights” in polka dot – note the subtle shadow above my stomach, indicating the tighter fit of this pattern.

I was excited about the polka dot tights because I love polka dot everything. However, when I first took this pair out of its packaging, my reaction was along the lines of, “Oh hell no.” I was at the wrong part of my cycle to even attempt to put on the seemingly child-size tights. Eventually I lost about ten pounds and, at a more neutral part of my cycle, I wore the pair of dotted tights. Even so it was a struggle to get them on; I can’t imagine anyone over a size 4 or taller than my 5’3″ wearing these comfortably. (Update: the day I wrote this post, my partner coincidentally decided to wear the dot tights, giving them their second outing. They ripped midway through the day when she adjusted them after using the bathroom. She is considerably smaller than the 6′ / 185lb cap for their “one size.”) They are also a lighter weight and feel less sturdy… unsurprisingly, given that they are a much lighter 40 denier.

Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights" in diamond

Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights” in diamond

Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights" in diamond | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan | Shown with integrated corset by Pop Antique

Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights” in diamond | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan | Shown with integrated corset by Pop Antique

Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights" in diamond | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan | Shown with integrated corset by Pop Antique

Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights” in diamond | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan | Shown with integrated corset by Pop Antique

Lastly, we have the diamond tights, which are probably my favorite. The fit on these seems about the same as the opaque black and I love the simple, large-scale geometric pattern. This kind of pattern can be styled many different ways for a look that is either elegant or quirky, for day or evening. They are 120 denier (the same as the opaque black) and held up well to an accidental velcro snag.

Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights" Waistband

Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights” Waistband

Setting aside the particulars of each style, here are my overall impressions of the brand. Generally speaking, the special waistband on the Not Too Tights is simply an extra-wide foldover – at least, as far as I can tell. Sometimes a solution doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. The branding and care instructions are printed inside the label. Though the instructions say to hand wash, I confess that’s more effort than I am generally willing to go through for tights. I machine washed them, gentle cycle, tumble dry low, and they seemed fine. My only reservation is the sizing. The seam on my opaque black tights is clearly showing signs of stress and the polka dot tights seemed comedically small when I first took them out of the packaging. Fortunately, expanded sizing is in development — if your posterior is bigger than a size 6 or maybe 8, you might want to wait for that. Stylewise, though three designs is a pretty narrow offering, I think it’s smart to launch with a small, versatile collection.

Wade & Belle "Not Too Tights"

Wade & Belle “Not Too Tights”

All told, it was really my partner Morgan’s love for the Not Too Tights that sold me on them. Once the expanded sizing is available, I’m sure I’ll be buying two new pairs of the opaque black — one for each of us in two different sizes. I’m interested to see what designs they come out with in the future, if they’ll stick to timeless basics or branch into more fashion-forward or trend-based design. At $20 per pair, they may be slightly higher than the average girl’s price point for tights, but if you are particularly concerned with smooth lines or waistband discomfort, I would recommend trying out a pair, especially since shipping is free from the Wade & Belle website.

What do you think of the Not Too Tights Concept? Will you be trying a pair, or have you already?

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestYouTube

Why You Need More Than One Corset for Waist Training

I always recommend to waist trainers that they invest in more than one quality corset for best results. Of course I realize that a good corset is just that — an investment — and buying two or more corsets at a time can be cost prohibitive. Once you’ve determined that waist training is really for you, here are my top four reasons why you should go ahead and get that second or third or even fifth corset!

http://laurietavan.com/corsetry/

Pop Antique “Demoiselle” corset | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Joey Mena

Longevity
Quite simply, if you have more than one corset, they will last much longer! Like shoes or a bra, if you wear the same corset every day, it can wear out very quickly. The more you wear your corset, the faster you will see results with waist training, so you should be corseting daily (and possibly nightly as well). Use your first corset to test the waters; if it fits well, you’ll probably see the fastest rate of change with this corset. Once you’re ready to downsize, this is when you should start rotating between multiple corsets, giving each one a chance to rest and air out between wearings. Which brings me to my next point…

Pop Antique "Gibson Girl" corset | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © John Carey

Pop Antique “Gibson Girl” corset | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © John Carey

Reduction
I get it. Some days, you’re just not that into it. Whether it’s your period, something you ate, the weather, or just a general malaise, sometimes you just don’t feel like tightlacing, but you still want to give a nod to your corset lifestyle. Other days, you could not feel more limber and enthusiastic, or you want that firm pressure giving you support. It’s great to not only vary the size of your lacing gap, but actually have corsets with different levels of compression built into their fit and construction. And, of course, you might need a different level of reduction based on what you’re doing…

Laurie Tavan longline corset ensemble | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Martin Ave

Laurie Tavan longline corset ensemble | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Martin Ave

Activities
Different activities can call for a different style of corset or level of reduction to accommodate their requisite motions or posture. Driving and sleeping are two prime examples of this. It’s pretty common to continue to use an older corset with a milder reduction specifically as a sleeping or maintenance corset. You might also find that the corset you wear for a long day on the computer is not the same one you want to wear for a night out dancing and drinking!

Dollymop for Dark Garden "Hussar" corset | Model: Khadijah | Photo © Joel Aron

Dollymop for Dark Garden “Hussar” corset | Model: Khadijah | Photo © Joel Aron

Styling
And, of course, it would be expecting a lot for one corset to enmesh perfectly with everything in your wardrobe! While there are some general tricks to styling with a corset, color alone is often enough to guarantee a need for more than one corset. A plain black underbust goes incredibly well with a wide variety of looks, but you might find yourself needing another neutral, such as brown or beige, to wear as an underwear corset or pair with earth-toned looks. Waspies, pointed underbusts, standard underbusts, and longlines all create a different impact on a look’s silhouette. Detailing like lace, flossing, or sheer construction can make a corset the centerpiece of your outfit.

Pop Antique "Gibson Girl" corset with pink waist tape and flossing detail. Via @PopAntique on Instagram.

Pop Antique “Gibson Girl” corset with pink waist tape and flossing detail. Via @PopAntique on Instagram.

Waist trainers, how many corsets do you have, and how do you decide which one you’ll wear each day?

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestYouTube

En Plein Air: Handmade Lingerie & Corset Pairings from Orchid Corsetry

Orchid Corsetry was a brand I very much admired when I was just beginning to come into my own as a corsetiere, when they were going by “Desert Orchid.” This year their “En Plein Air” collection encompasses not only craft corsetry (handmade in Shropshire), but also lingerie stylings of bras, panties, and harnesses. Though corsets are technically a type of lingerie, in most cases they are made by a specialized corsetiere and the craft bears more relation to tailoring or even millinery than typical lingerie construction. Increasingly, however, I am noticing corsetieres branch out and develop RTW garment or lingerie options to match their styles… or skilled lingerie designers turning their hand to the specialized art of corsetry.

Orchid Corsetry Julian Kilsby Miss Miranda cupped corset

Orchid Corsetry cupped corset, shown with “Dusk” knickers | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid’s En Plein Air collection features four lingerie sets. Each set is available made-to-order in two color ways, particular to each set. The collection also capitalizes on the ongoing strappy trend, utilizing it not only for aesthetic purposes but adding extra adjustability on bra bands and the hips of panties. Of the four sets, three feature bralettes and one a structured bra (sized 30-42) with a foam cup. The bralettes are recommend for “self supporting” breasts, up to about a UK D-cup (which is much smaller than the widespread American perception of a D-cup). The collection also really benefits from actually being designed as looks and shot as a collection with a cohesive lookbook, which is an investment few corsetmakers manage as it is very expensive and labor intensive to do so.

As shot, the corsets aren’t showstoppers – rather, they support the overall looks styled. Each piece is fairly simple with a small detail here and there to coordinate with the corresponding lingerie set. Orchid Corsetry does not have a standard fit line of corsets on the site, which suggests that each piece was custom made for Miss Miranda, though it’s possible Orchid instead developed an in-house standard sample size. The shaping is very moderate, though I know designer Bethan Billingsley has the ability to fit exceptional curves, making her work valued amongst serious waist trainers. In fact, it was her demonstrated mastery of the cupped rib silhouette that first drew me to her work six-ish years ago. Nonetheless, the construction and fit shown is lovely, particularly the bias applique on the “En Régate” 12-panel underbust.

Clouds: Bralette (£80, S-M-L) and panties (£60, S-M-L) available in Dove Grey or Damson (Plum). Shown with waspie corset. I adore a soft grey but I must confess I find halter styles to be uncomfortable and therefore impractical. If you look closely, you can see the bralette “band” has two slender horizontal straps, which is a nice touch that neatly echoes the strap of the panties. All the panties from the “En Plein Air” collection are both pretty and yet very wearable. The texture of this lace is both pretty and slightly unusual.

Orchid Corsetry "Clouds" Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry “Clouds” Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry "Clouds" Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry “Clouds” Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Midnight: Bralette (£90, S-M-L) and panties (£70, S-M-L) available in Navy or Ivory. Shown with ribbon corset. I have to confess I find this particular execution of a ribbon corset to be a bit underwhelming – the shape is downright mild, though I appreciate the combination of matte and satin textures. From the front, this bralette and panty set is my least favorite; the proportion doesn’t seem to quite hit the mark and the print is busy for my taste. The back view, however, I very much like: the criss crossed straps and simple lines of the high waisted brief are immediately eye-catching rather than overwhelming.

Orchid Corsetry "Midnight" Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry “Midnight” Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry "Midnight" Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry “Midnight” Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry "Midnight" Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry “Midnight” Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

En Régate: Bra (£120, 30 through 42), panties (£80, S-M-L), and harness (£50, S/M or M/L) available in Black or Ivory. Shown with 12 panel underbust. Featuring the only actual fitted foam-cup bra, with a 3-piece fit to the silk outer, it’s no wonder En Régate is one of the strongest looks shown. It’s also the only look with a harness — I wish there was a photo that showed the bottom and/or back of the harness. At a glance, it looks as if it’s attached to the bra, which is not the case. I also find myself wishing that the strap slider detail was symmetric. The panties apparently have a mesh back (not shown). Aesthetically and functionally, I like the adjustable hips on these panties. Again, these panties are pretty in a way that doesn’t make them impossible to actually wear under your clothes.

Orchid Corsetry "En Régate" Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry “En Régate” Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry "En Régate" Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry “En Régate” Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Dusk: Bralette (£95, S-M-L) and panties (£70, S-M-L) available in Black or Ivory. Shown with 12 and 14 panel underbusts, respectively. This look is one of my favorites, especially for the back of the bralette, which is almost like a strappy racer-back. I’m not sure I understand the need for a slider on the cup strapping — perhaps it raises the center front of the bralette, based on comparing the adjustment of the black and ivory sets. The corresponding panties are simple, pretty, and versatile. You can also seem them above with the russet cupped corset — a color choice, by the way, which echoes my corset trend predictions made at the beginning of the year. In black, this is the one look where I feel like the corset is the centerpiece, from the delicate texture of the lace overlay to the wonderful line and proportion of the attached garters. I would love to see that garter shape turned into a separate garter belt to continue the “Orchid Intimates” lingerie line. The ivory corset features instead a floating lace applique, which again has a lovely weight and proportion to it.

Orchid Corsetry "Dusk" Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry “Dusk” Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry "Dusk" Lingerie Set | Model: MIss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kislby

Orchid Corsetry “Dusk” Lingerie Set | Model: MIss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kislby

Orchid Corsetry "Dusk" Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Orchid Corsetry “Dusk” Lingerie Set | Model: Miss Miranda | Photo © Julian Kilsby

Have you tried Orchid Corsetry before? Which look from the new collection is your favorite?

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestYouTube

Book Review: How to Find a Bra That Fits

Disclosure: I received this book free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

How to Find a Bra That Fits, by Liz Kuba, is a simple self-published tome that aims to educate the American market about bra fit and sizing. It contains basic information about bra styles, sister sizing, breast shapes as they pertain to bra fit, and so forth. At roughly 50 pages (plus a further ten-ish of appendices), it’s an easy read for a single evening or afternoon if your head doesn’t begin to swim from all the numbers and fit theory.

How to Find a Bra That Fits book cover

How to Find a Bra That Fits, by Liz Kuba.

If you’re already curious, you should know that How to Find a Bra That Fits is available for free on Smashwords during the month of April 2015. It is also currently on sale for $0.99 on Amazon.com as an e-book.

Now, let’s get into the content. The goal is to (re)educate American consumers to help us find a bra that is the right size and therefore supportive and comfortable. This slim volume starts off with what is effectively a critique at American bra manufacturing/sales for their limited sizing and poor fitting techniques. She talks a bit about why this is so; specifically, that it is expensive to develop, manufacture, and stock a wider range of sizes. Culturally, I think American culture has both a clandestine fascination with and a phobia of large breasts. Next up, then bra anatomy and basic styles, how the sizing system works (cup/band relationship and sister sizing), a quick test to assess the fit of your current bra, and of course, info on how to re-measure yourself to determine your size, plus more in-depth info on actually trying on bras, bra care, bra myths, breast cancer and bras, and finally revisiting fit to discuss breast shapes. The appendices include a glossary, chart of sister sizing (different bra sizes that have the same cup volume), resources, and list of retailers.

Overall, the tone of this book was really conversational and easy to read. As someone who deals with fit (in a slightly different context, as it pertains to corsets) on a pretty much daily basis, it was very understandable to me, but I could also see how some of the content might require a couple readings in order to be fully absorbed. Luckily, at 50-ish pages, that’s easily done! The author speaks with a tone of calm authority and uses inclusive vocabulary, giving clear information. By “inclusive” vocabulary, I primarily mean that she also directly includes the trans community – a huge plus in my book – though another reviewer points out the consistent use of female pronouns. Occasionally I found myself wishing she would go into a bit more detail (mostly when describing cuts of bras), but I suspect the level of information is intentional in order to not overwhelm the reader and distract from the basis of the book: actually determining bra size. The illustrations used for the book are very clear and consistent. I’m not sure I understand the hand-outlined caps typography and blocky yet loose illustration of the cover, but at least it’s fairly simple and consistent within itself.

It’s important to note that the method used for this book uses a +0 band size method (or even -1 if your underbust measures odd). However, Ms. Kuba does note that the most important thing is being comfortable in your bra, and that one can “round up” if they need a looser band or have little body fat. You only need three measurements to get your bra size (or a starting point for it) with this system. I took my own measurements, against the advice of the book which recommended a friend’s help. Given that this book is aimed at the entire bra wearing audience, young and old, I suspect a good proportion of its readers might be slightly uncomfortable with the level of intimacy involved with having a friend’s assistance.

Josie by Natori bralette | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Joel Aron

Josie by Natori bralette | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Joel Aron

As a bralette enthusiast with a hard to find bra size and no associated pain, I tend to be lackadaisical about the size of bra I wear, but I was fairly confident that I am a 30D. My only bra in that size is my Charlotte by Parfait by Affinitas, so I threw it on and wore it for the day. To my surprise, I realized that the larger of my breasts was indeed a bit overly full in the cup, and I would have benefited from a DD. By the numbers only, the book puts me at a 28F. Taking sister sizing into account and going up to a 30 band, that’s still a cup size larger than I would think I need, but it’s pretty close. An important part of learning your bra size is throwing away what you think you know about cup size vis a vis “big boobs.” I doubt anyone would ever look at me and think I am a DD!

Charlotte bra and brief set by Parfait by Affinitas | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Mariah Carle

Charlotte bra and brief set by Parfait by Affinitas | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Mariah Carle

After assessing your by-the-numbers bra size, of course, you’ll need to double check it against actual bras. The chapter entitled, “Fit Issues, Revisited,” identifies red flags of fit and provides the sizing solution. Is that same information available on the internet for free? Sure, but the book wouldn’t have been complete without it, and it’s nice to have all the information clearly written and concisely collected in one place. (Speaking of clearly written, I didn’t notice any typos or formatting errors! I appreciate these niceties and I think they do much to improve the [perceived] professionalism of any self-publishing endeavor.)

Aside from reminding me to reevaluate my bra size – Ms. Kuba recommends confirming your bra size about once a year – the book also helped me figure out my breast shape. Some of it I was aware of, or thought I knew, but it was helpful to know the standardized vocabulary that goes along with it.

All told, I thought the book was very well done. Of course, I’m not a bra fitter, but one can’t write for a lingerie blog for four years without have a decent understanding of bra sizes.

Would you use a book to help you find your bra size? Do you wish someone had given you a book like this when you were a teen or preteen and buying some of your first bras?

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestYouTube

Money Can’t Buy Happiness, But It Can Buy Lingerie

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links.

If asked the age-old adage, “Can money buy happiness?” chances are you would already know the answer is, “No,” broadly speaking. You’ve probably seen articles about shared on Facebook and of course the complete answer is much more nuanced… So how does that apply to daily life, and to lingerie?

Dita Von Teese "Madam X"  Soft Bra and High Waist Brief | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

Dita Von Teese “Madam X” Soft Bra and High Waist Brief | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

Lingerie straddles the line between “material possession” and “experience.” The studies have shown that money spent on experiences is, in happiness terms, better spent than money used to buy physical items. Of course lingerie technically falls into the category of “stuff,” but wearing and hopefully buying lingerie does create an experience. The interaction with a boutique staff or online shopping cart is an experience (something that all business owners should try to keep in mind), and unwrapping a new purchase is also an experience. Lingerie given or received as a gift also creates a shared experience, which adds depth to its pleasure and increases the longevity of the happiness created. Actually, money given to or spent on other people creates more happiness than spending on oneself. So next time you see that bright yellow designer knicker that would be perfect for your best friend on sale, go for the surprise gift… you’ll both be happier for it.

Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Chris Gaede

Longline bra from H&M | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Chris Gaede

As for wearing lingerie, there are two main ways in which I think it can create an experience. First, there’s the design maxim that good design is invisible. Like having a bad mattress or couch, having bad lingerie – panties that creep up, bras that cut into your shoulders to the point of causing numbness down your arms – creates a negative experience, day in, day out. By investing in quality and comfort for your basics, you create an experience that enables you to go through your day with a higher level of function and focus.

Dark Garden "Sweetheart" corset | Model: Dwoira Galilea | Photo © Joel Aron

Dark Garden “Sweetheart” corset | Model: Dwoira Galilea | Photo © Joel Aron

On the other end of the spectrum is luxury lingerie, which may be designed to create an experience through physical sensation. Whether it’s the soft flow of a silk robe that whispers with each movement… the tingle of Made by Niki’s string collection brushing against your bare skin… the heightened awareness of your body and breath from a tightlaced corset… or lubed-up latex thigh highs as you glide them onto your legs… the act of putting on and wearing luxury lingerie is unlike wearing “normal” clothing. And once it’s on, you have the opportunity to cement the experience by doing something special, whether you take yourself out to the fancy craft cocktail bar you’ve always wanted to try, or have a romantic tryst. In order for this to be effective, the luxury has to stay special, creating a feeling of mindfulness each time your special pieces are worn. Don’t allow the luxury to turn mundane. As cliché as it is, I like to occasionally remind myself of my nice things, and take a moment to appreciate them.

Made by Niki bra & brief set, latex stockings by Lust Designs | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

Made by Niki bra & brief set, latex stockings by Lust Designs | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

As you can see, neither of those principles suggests that you should impulsively buy all the lingerie that catches your eye, nor should you have a vast horde of luxury or cheap lingerie. And of course, you definitely don’t want to get into the habit of buying things you truly can’t afford! But by allowing yourself, or gifting to a loved one, a carefully curated selection of pieces, yes, I think money can buy a little piece of happiness.

Which pieces from your personal lingerie collection make you the happiest? Do they have a story that accompanies them?

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestYouTube

Corset Shopping: Levels of Customization and Fit Glossary

Pop Antique Integrated Corsetry "Bombshell" | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

Pop Antique Integrated Corsetry “Bombshell” | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

When buying a corset, there are many types of corset available for purchase – and I don’t just mean the diverse styles! Between the factory produced and the handmade options, your head could spin with the acronyms, turnarounds, and fit options… so let’s break these levels of purchase down into a handy glossary, shall we?

Dark Garden "Alexandra" corset | Model: Elisa Berlin | Photo © Joel Aron

Dark Garden “Alexandra” corset | Model: Elisa Berlin | Photo © Joel Aron

Standard Fit

Off the Rack / OTR: Also known as “Off the Peg,” an off the rack corset is in-stock, standard sized, and available to be brought home or shipped immediately at time of purchase. For some, OTR refers only to mass-produced/budget corsets, not handmade, though some corsetieres may have a boutique or showroom where handmade stock pieces are kept.

Ready to Wear / RTW: Ready to wear, or the French Prêt à Porter, is mostly used as a catch-all term for standard fit. Technically it is a synonym for off the rack, a corset available for immediate purchase, but in the vernacular it can also refer to a standard style and size that is made to order.

Made to Order / MTO: A made-to-order corset is a standard size corset that isn’t made until it’s been ordered. The corset style, fabric, and detailing combination may be from a standardized menu or uniquely based on the client’s choice of fabric and detailing. Made to Order corsets are individually handmade and the turnaround will vary by maker.

Pop Antique semi-custom "Ingenue" corset | Model: Elisa Berlin | Photo © Jon Bean Hastings

Pop Antique semi-custom “Ingenue” corset | Model: Elisa Berlin | Photo © Jon Bean Hastings

Personalized Fit

Altered Made to Order: The advantage to a MTO corset is that it can also easily accommodate small fit personalizations – for example, a longer or shorter torso length, or a larger hip spring. You should expect to pay an additional fee for this service. Turnarounds might be slightly longer than a standard MTO but much shorter than for a custom corset.

Semi-Custom: The specifics of semi-custom will vary from maker to maker – for example, it may refer to a corset with standard height, but personalized circumference measurements (such as underbust, waist, and hip), or it could be used as a more succinct phrasing for “Altered MTO.”

Made to Measure / MTM: For MTM, a thorough set of measurements is taken and a unique pattern is drafted. The corset is then sewn in the final fabric. I generally don’t recommend MTM corsets: they are essentially custom corsets without the benefit of a toile/mockup fitting to test and confirm the fit. Custom corsetry addresses the unique variances between bodies; by skipping the mockup you don’t allow for the unique variances in compressibility and posture as well as pure measurements, and if the measurements taken are inaccurate the whole thing is a wasted endeavor.

Custom/Bespoke: A custom corset is fit in every dimension for your body only. A unique pattern is made and the fit is tested via mockup fittings. All the vertical and circumferential measurements are fine-tuned for the individual, as is the angle, shape, and placement of the seams. The best custom corsets are the result of an ongoing association between client and maker, as certain corseting preferences may only become apparent after prolonged wear. Custom corsets may be based on a standard style or have a unique silhouette. A custom corset is significantly more expensive and has a much longer turnaround than a standard made-to-order.

Dark Garden "Alyscia" corset | Model: Monica Lenk | Photo © Joel Aron

Dark Garden “Alyscia” corset | Model: Monica Lenk | Photo © Joel Aron

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestYouTube

“20 Bones,” Broken Ribs, and Other Myths about Corset Waist Training

Whether you’re waist training, thinking of waist training, horrified by waist training, or perversely fascinated by it, there are a lot of myths, misconceptions, and outright lies to wade through. In no particular order, I’d like to cut through a bunch of the bull.

Pop Antique "Demoiselle" corset | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

Pop Antique “Demoiselle” corset | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Alyxander Ryan

The Myth: A corset needs at least 20 bones to be suitable for waist training.
The Truth: Boning maintains vertical tension in a corset, otherwise it would slip down and crumple around your waist like a tube top in the 90s. It does not create shape. The number and type of bones needs to support the shape of the corset. The shape of the fabric panels creates the fit, which will determine how effective and comfortable the corset is. As I said in my review of the Waist Training 101 book, you could put 20 bones in a pillowcase and it wouldn’t magically become effective shapewear. There is no magic number for bones.

Not counting the busk, the Vixen by Pop Antique has 12 bones, but it still creates a dramatic, beautiful, and comfortable hourglass silhouette. | Model: Olivia Campbell. | Photo © Marianne Faulkner

Not counting the busk, the Vixen by Pop Antique has “only” 12 bones, but it still creates a dramatic, beautiful, and comfortable hourglass silhouette. | Model: Olivia Campbell. | Photo © Marianne Faulkner

The Myth: Waist training, or even occasional corset wearing, is not only uncomfortable but damaging to your skeleton and your internal organs.
The Truth: Cinderella or Dr. Oz got you worried? Lucy has a great in-depth response here, and I also wrote a piece when those corseted x-rays were going around. Corseting compresses the organs far less than pregnancy does, and even simple actions like sitting and eating create internal compression. The reduction of lung capacity is mild to the point of virtual irrelevancy in a modern sedentary lifestyle. Well-fit corsets support good posture and reduce back pain and can out-perform a medical brace for the same purposes. Compare to high heels, which throw off your posture, hinder movement and balance, and can permanently shorten the Achilles tendon if worn daily. Unless you have a preexisting health issue, it’s impossible for a corset to exert enough force to break a bone, and (unlike pregnancy) any reshaping of the rib cage will revert once the corset is no longer being worn.

Famous tightlacer Polaire. Public domain image.

Famous tightlacer Polaire. Public domain image.

The Myth: Waist training is a disgusting form of self-torture women inflict on themselves to be considered attractive to men.
The Truth: I generally read this remark directed at severe tightlacers, and it’s simply untrue. Waist training is a body modification and actually tends to improve the self-confidence and body awareness of its practitioners. In my experience, men are more likely to be disturbed by a tightlaced figure. Also, per the above, corsets aren’t torturous – not if they fit right.

Dark Garden "Alyscia" corset | Photo © Chris Mackessy

Dark Garden “Alyscia” corset | Photo © Chris Mackessy

The Myth: Waist training is an easy way out for those who are too lazy and indulgent for diet and exercise.
The Truth: Waist training is not easy – it requires patience and devotion as well as a financial commitment. It also creates a different result from diet and exercise: the goal of waist training is not weight loss/thinness, but a change in silhouette. Furthermore, waist training and diet/exercise are not mutually exclusive! Waist training can encourage healthier eating habits (smaller meals, fewer empty carbs and sugary carbonated beverages) and it’s often recommended that an exercise regimen also be added to one’s routine to keep up core strength while waist training.

Pop Antique "Valentine" corset | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © John Carey

Pop Antique “Valentine” corset | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © John Carey

The Myth: The process of waist training involves constantly chasing ever-smaller corsets laced fully closed.
The Truth: Waist training doesn’t work by constantly sizing down to smaller and smaller versions of the exact same corset. To graduate to a smaller size, unless the training is accompanied by weight loss, one needs to go to a curvier corset, smaller in the waist only. This could involve changing to a different standard-fit style or maker, or having personalized or bespoke fit corsets made. The size of the lacing gap is a personal preference; 2″ is standard but 0-4″ are all acceptable based on the wearer’s size and comfort.

Pop Antique "Gibson Girl" with minimal rib compression and rounded hip spring | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © John Carey

Pop Antique “Gibson Girl” with minimal rib compression and rounded hip spring | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © John Carey

Myth: Waist training with a faja and waist training with a corset have the same effects on your body.
The Truth: Because a corset has a much more controlled fit, the results can be much more controlled, especially if a change to the rib shaping/silhouette is desired. The laces also allow a greater degree of control of the waist, ribs, and hips individually, from day to day or hour to hour, which is impossible with the simple hook system on stretch shapewear. Lastly, the stretch cinchers supposedly encourage your body to sweat off weight – see above re: corsets not being a substitute for exercise! A well-fit corset works with your anatomy rather than fighting it.

Pop Antique "Vamp" corset | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Karolina Marek

Pop Antique “Vamp” corset | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Karolina Marek

Myth: Fajas are less intense and more comfortable than corsets.
The Truth: Though fajas/girdles/”cinchers” are presumed to be more comfortable than corsets, my experience was the opposite: a girdle creates all-over compression as opposed to the balanced fit of a corset, which only compresses the waistline. To be blunt, stretch shapewear really does make me feel encased like a sausage, whereas a corset makes me feel supported like a firm hug. As I mentioned above, lacing gives a more controlled fit – so if you want more compression on your aching hips, or less on your ribs because you just ate, it’s the work of a couple minutes to tweak and improve your comfort levels!

Pop Antique jersey corset dress | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

Pop Antique jersey corset dress | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Max Johnson

Myth: Waist training doesn’t create any lasting results.
The Truth: Lucy has set up a fantastic before and after gallery of waist training, where you can see for yourself that the change in silhouette sticks around even when the corset comes off. These results are more semi-permanent than truly permanent, as the body will relax back into its original shape eventually without maintenance training.

Dark Garden bespoke "Victorian" costume | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Ryan Chua

Dark Garden bespoke “Victorian” costume | Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Ryan Chua

Bonus Myth: Because handmade corsets are expensive, that means the corsetieres are rakin’ in the dough!
The Truth: I have an in-depth post about why corsets are expensive. Corsets require not only years of study, but specialized and expensive materials and equipment (equipment = overheads!), unique and extremely accurate construction techniques, and a fair amount of time to make – especially once correspondence is factored in! Running one’s own business means corsetieres don’t have health insurance coverage, vacation time, or even sick time factored in.

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestYouTube

Indie Corsetiere Spotlight: Rosie Red’s Fairy Tale Reverie

Rosie Red "Wilde Roses" Collection | Model: Georgina Horne | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Georgina Horne | © InaGlo Photography

As an indie designer myself, I love seeing what my peers are up to in the world of corsetry. Recently a new designer has emerged: at 23 years old, Rosie Denningham of Rosie Red Corsetry & Couture is already well on her way to the top. Her design voice is unique and easily identifiable, and she’s already had the honor of dressing one A-list celebrity. Rosie’s curve-friendly designs are like something straight from a fairy tale. She’s indulged me with an interview…

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

How long have you been making corsets and when did you officially launch your brand Rosie Red Corsetry and Couture?
I made my first ever ‘real’ corset in my second year of university, so that’s about two and a half years ago. Wow, that’s gone quickly! Rosie Red Corsetry & Couture started as a Facebook page to showcase my work and over the past year I have been building it as a brand. Although I am now working at this full time, with support from the Prince’s Trust, and have showcased my Wild Roses collection at many catwalk and fashion events, I haven’t actually ‘launched’ in any official kind of way. I will need a launch party. Yeah, there will definitely be a party. Love a party. Maybe a Language of Flowers party (the name of my new collection in current development).

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Rosie Pigott | ©InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Rosie Pigott | ©InaGlo Photography

Where did you learn the art of corsetmaking?
University [Birmingham Institute of Art and Design] was definitely a catalyst for me, but there is just so much you can learn in a few days. I think because I have a strong technical understanding of garments and patterning, corsetry seemed like the next challenge. I have interned all over the place, beginning with a visit to Miss Katie, who made Immodesty Blaize’s orginal outfits. I have learnt so much from so many incredible corsetieres, maybe most importantly that there are so many different ways to do different things. The Oxford Conference of Corsetry enforced this even more. I also read everything I could get my hands on about corsetry: Linda Sparks, Jill Salen, everything Valerie Steele; I bought Sew Curvy’s ebook when it came out and Corsets: A Modern Guide by Velda Lauder. I basically Googled “corset book,” and aimed to read all of the things. And I ‘trial and errored’ a zillion things. The first pair of knickers I made, for example, my tutor said ‘looked more like dental floss…’ I’m a very hands on kinda gal. I would rather do it and talk about it after, then talk about it and over analyse before I’ve even set about starting.

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Evie Wolfe | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Evie Wolfe | © InaGlo Photography

What resources do you recommend for other burgeoning corsetieres?
Intern where you can! Talk to people, ask questions and be curious. There is a fine line and an etiquette to do so, but you’d be surprised what you can learn from just being inquisitive. If you’re unable to intern, for heaps of reasons, then I would absolutely advise going to a Sew Curvy class. Julia teaches in such a hands-on way and is just lovely with a wicked sense of humour.

And I know you didn’t ask me to give any pearls of wisdom haha, but I would say: ‘just do it’. The time you may have spent worrying about not being good enough, you could’ve spent improving!

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

What other designers and corsetieres do work that resonates with you? Who or what inspired you to get into corsetmaking? Is there a particular element of your upbringing that you feel contributes to your innate design sensibility?
My parents are both very creative. My mum used to make wedding cakes with these delicate and intricate sugar flowers and my dad is super musical. Our house is full of guitars, basses and other stringed instruments. Creativity was always really encouraged. As a little girl I was dressed up all the time. My dressing up box was my favourite ‘toy,’ and I often sellotaped and stapled my own outfits together.
It was Jo from Rawhide corsets that inspired me to get into corset-making. She was a visiting tutor for the corsetry module at university and brought in a whole heap of corsets of all different shapes and sizes for us to try on and learn how to lace. It was single-handedly the best, most transformative thing I have ever worn. I realised that this was an item of clothing that actually did something to alter the body; I felt empowered and incredible.
Jean-Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood and Coleen Atwood have got to be my favourite designers. Maybe a bit cliché, but it’s the truth, and they are so popular and well-loved for good reason. I admire all of the corsetieres who are doing their own authentic thing, and I am lucky to have such great friends in such great designers. I recently showcased my collection alongside Neon Duchess at Oxford Fashion Week’s Couture show. She’s one to keep an eye on. I also have just received my own Sparklewren piece. I interned for Jenni while I completed my final year of uni, it was a total joy, as is her work and the lovely lady herself.
Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Do you personally wear your corsets (often)? What about corsets from other makers?
I often wear my own cincher and underbust. It really helps my posture, and I am massively into vintage clothing so enhancing my waist and curves is something I strive for. I love fancy underwear in general, you never know when you might get hit by a bus ;) Now that I have just received my Sparklewren, she will be getting many outings.
Rosie Red "Flights of Fancy" Collection | Model: Emily McLeish | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Flights of Fancy” Collection | Model: Emily McLeish | © InaGlo Photography

It seems you currently only do bespoke fit work, is that correct? Do you have plans to develop a ready-to-wear line eventually?
I currently do only make bespoke wear, this is because from having studied costume design you realise that no two bodies are the same. As I am specialising in bridal and event couture, these are garments that normally are taken to be altered after purchasing anyway, it makes sense to me to create patterns to the individuals shape from the get go. Having said that, I absolutely have plans to grow and expand as a brand. For example, Jenny Packham offers a RTW line stocked in places such as Debenhams. The sky really is the limit, so I won’t ever say, “never ever.” Catering for all body shapes and types is key to my brand though, and by always offering a bespoke service this means that it will always be possible.
Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Models: Evie Wolfe & Georgina Horne | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Models: Evie Wolfe & Georgina Horne | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Evie Wolfe | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Evie Wolfe | © InaGlo Photography

Your website says you have a few signature details for your work, care to tell us a bit more about those and how you came up with them?
Signature design features are really key to making Rosie Red Corsetry & Couture the brand that it is. I want people to instantly be able to say ‘that’s a Rosie Red!’ Authenticity is vital. I line my multi-layered corsets with red satin coutil, I like to think of this as the Louboutin effect. Also, it gives a bit of a POW when you have soft bridal colours lined with this buzz. Maybe it says something about my personality too. I also embroider words, poetry, prose and lyrics into my garments. These are often in hidden places that you need to search for. I like to think that clothing can hold secrets, and I never explain who I am writing for or about. English Literature was always my favourite at school and I read a lot. Words are just really beautiful. Another detail and maybe the most well-known is my ‘rosie’s roses’. No one has worked out how to make them yet, and if they do they will probably realise that they are far too time-consuming and patience-demanding to try to replicate. I absolutely adore them and I will be selling them as RTW hair clips and fascinators in the near future.
Rosie Red "Flights of Fancy" Collection | Model: Emily McLeish | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Flights of Fancy” Collection | Model: Emily McLeish | © InaGlo Photography

What inspires your current design work?
Stories, music, meeting people, dreaming and nature. It’s always hard to answer about inspiration without sounding too cliché. I just think that I’m really observant and emotional, haha. So if I observe something and it triggers a feeling, I think, “Yeah, I’ll incorporate that.” I also think about bodies first and foremost, and think, “How would that body look decorated like this?”
Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

What’s your favorite corset styling accessory?
I like corsetry worn within part of a whole ensemble. Anything tulle or lace. I love tulle and lace.
Rosie Red "Wild Roses" | Model: Evie Wolfe | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” | Model: Evie Wolfe | © InaGlo Photography

How do you select your models? Do you have any particular models or clients who serve as a muse to you?
I have so many messages daily from people asking how to model for me, it really is so flattering and yet so disappointing that unfortunately not everyone can. Miss Deadly Red is my absolute favourite for ‘standard’ sizing but with a curve too. She came about because I really wanted a red-head with an old-school vintage feel that could pull off a fairytale vibe. She is perfect and an absolute sweetheart. My plus go-to ladies are model Evie Wolfe and blogger Georgina Horne (Fuller Figure Fuller Bust) they are hilarious, and just divine. I actually have made contact with several more models for something special I have lined up this year. I really want to represent all women and this means using women of all ages and also women with ‘disabilities’. Personality and confidence is key, I want to have a fun and successful day shooting. A dirty sense of humour is always welcome.

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Tell us about dressing Helena Bonham Carter! How did that come to be? Did you make something special just for her? Will we eventually see more images of her in your ensemble?
I received my email one year and a day ago telling me that Helena loved my work. Madness. I still don’t know if it’s fully sunk in. I think with hard work, positive thinking and a strong sense of ambition, you would be shocked at where you can end up. Some of the most frequent questions I get asked are ‘did you get a selfie?’ and ‘did you take pictures on your phone?’ Can you imagine how inappropriate and cringe[-inducing] that would have been! She is a totally amazing lady, but I was there because she wanted to see my work, not as a fan girl. Business head on. There are talks of things in the future… but that’s all I am saying now…

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Rosie Pigott | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Rosie Pigott | © InaGlo Photography

Any other celebrities you’d like to dress for your bucket list?
There are heaps. I really strive to have my ensembles on the red carpet, and as a regular feature. Paloma Faith is top of the list at the moment. I think she would be the most hilarious character and her sense of style is just so on point. I just had a builder come and lay some flooring (glamorous life) and he said out of the blue that Paloma Faith would look perfect in my stuff, and he was sure she’s next. So let’s hope he’s right, hey ;)

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" | Models: Rosie Pigott & Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” | Models: Rosie Pigott & Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Rosie Pigott | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Rosie Pigott | © InaGlo Photography

What do you think is next for you?
As I always say, world domination.

But as a side note the next step for me is to build Rosie Red Corsetry & Couture as a sustainable and growing business, with the help of The Prince’s Trust. I aim to keep bringing diversity into the industry, and to make more individuals feel utterly beautiful. I have a feeling that things have a mad way of working out, so I’m just really excited for the journey…

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Georgina Horne | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Georgina Horne | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red "Flights of Fancy" Collection | Model: Emily McLeish | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Flights of Fancy” Collection | Model: Emily McLeish | © InaGlo Photography

What do you think of Rosie Red’s work? Do you own any Rosie Red corsetry? In a fantasy land, what sort of piece would you order from her?

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red "Wild Roses" Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

Rosie Red “Wild Roses” Collection | Model: Miss Deadly Red | © InaGlo Photography

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestYouTube