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Tightlacing 101: 4 Myths About Waist Training with a Corset

Today's guest post is by Tristan Risk, aka Little Miss Risk, a burlesque artist for Sweet Soul Burlesque and corsetiere with Lace Embrace Atelier. I had the pleasure of meeting her a few months ago during a weekend jaunt to Vancouver, and I am super excited to publish her guest post about tightlacing and waist training with corsets. If you like what you read here, you can keep up with Tristan Risk on her blog.

Little Misk Risk (the author) by Ed Araquel

I've heard it all: that's unhealthy, that's disgusting, why would you do that to yourself, and so on. At first you may think that people are having an adverse reaction to some kind of crazy surgery or mega tattoo, but the hubbub is actually about a classic piece of lingerie: the corset. As both a corsetiere for Lace Embrace Atelier and a waist trainer, I have had everyone give me their opinion on my lifestyle choices until I thought my ears were set to bleed. However, I'd like to take this opportunity to dispel a few urban myths about wearing a corset, and to share my passion for corsetry with you.

1. You've had ribs removed.

I hear this a great deal. People who look at me and the Guinness Book Record holder, Cathy Jung, often times will blurt this out. I take it with a grain of salt, as it's ridiculous as well as being untrue. Thank goodness for my background in biology so I can educate people who believe this to be true.

The human ribcage has four 'atypical' ribs. While they are connected to the vertebrae, they are not connected to the sternum or the cartilage that's attached to the sternum. They are commonly referred to as 'floating' ribs. When you waist train, your body adjusts to the shape of the corset over time and the ribs shift more easily to accommodate a greater waist reduction. This is done over time and doesn't just happen right away.

People who waist train for any length of time can develop a more extreme shape with their shifted ribs, which can give the illusion that they've been removed. But such a surgery doesn't exist, at least not that I've ever heard of.

(You may also enjoy reading Budget Corsetry: $20 Corsets for $155 or Less)

Photo by Tallulah

2. Can you hold yourself up without it?

Yes. I have very strong core strength as a dancer. A common misconception that is held by a lot of people I talk to is that if I take off my corset I'll flop around like a squid. Where this false impression comes from has a historical basis in fashion. In the Victorian era, it was commonplace to have children wear corsets at an early age. They would play with dolls that had corsets in order to get them used to the idea that this was a regular occurrence.

However, when little girls first started getting laced in, they would often times try to loosen them. In order that they would sleep though the night without untying them, it was standard for them to have their hands bound to the bed. With fires started in homes from gaslights and candles, there were often sad consequences if a blaze occurred.

Because their bodies were still developing, they grew with the tight lacing. They never got the chance to develop their abdominal muscles, and so they would need the support of their corsets, but they never were jelly-spined. In modern times we don't start children in corsets, much less tightlace them, for the same reason you don't get a child breast implants. They are still growing. I have as much core strength with my corset as without, and as a dancer who uses her body as an instrument, that does say quite a bit. I've yet to be unable to hold myself up without my corset.

(You may also enjoy reading 8 Corsetieres to Follow on Instagram)

3. Can you breathe?

Yes, this is actually a question that I get with startling regularity. Yes, I can breathe, eat, drink and do most activities I perform in a day. Will I go for an eight-kilometre jog in my corset? No, I won't. Will I sit at the computer, or eat a meal, or go to work in my corsets? Yes, I will. While doing yogic belly breathing is more difficult, you instead draw breath from the chest.

Two clients of ours at our shop --- one an operatic soprano and the other a torch singer in a Vancouver jazz club --- sing while wearing their corsets and tell me that diaphragm breathing is still possible, it just takes practice. I also find this a pretty amusing question since when it's posed to me, I'm obviously not holding my breath or hyperventilating.

Photo by Tallulah

4. Does someone help you get dressed/undressed?

If I play my cards right, I can get someone to help me get undressed, but it has nothing to do with getting in or out of the corset. That just depends on how well my dinner date was that night. But aside from amorous assistance, I don't require help.

One of the first things I learned was how to lace myself in and out of my corset. I teach all my clients how to do this and make them practice. The reason behind this is if you do need to loosen yourself off, or get changed, or any other myriad of reasons you want to adjust yourself, you have got to know how to do it yourself.

While awkward at first, I can assure you, like anything else, ease comes with practice. I struggled for 20 minutes the first time I put my corset on. Now, I can get in and out with the same ease of dressing with my bra. I even do a burlesque routine where I am handcuffed and blindfolded and strip out of my corset. So I tell people if I can do that then there's no reason why they can't dress or undress themselves.

One of the greatest myths too with waist training is that it happens overnight. I'll use Cathy Jung as an example again: she started wearing corsets in her early forties. She has gotten to her current waist size over a twenty-five year period. She is very active and has staved off spinal compression over the years with the aid of her corsets. She has a seven inch reduction from her natural waist and that was something that happened over the years. She didn't set out to break the record, it just happened.

Waist training is not a competition. Like anything else, if you listen to your body, and take things slowly and progressively, you are at less of a risk. It is also not for everyone. It does remind me of the first time I had sex or got a tattoo: I didn't know what to expect at first, but over time I enjoyed each encounter more and more. I look forward to continuing my love affair with this garment for a good many years to come.

Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

76 Comments on this post

  1. Just a point about rib removal. My late wife was a surgeon and had been told as a student that, before we had effective drugs to treat tuberculosis, it was standard medical practice to chop out pieces if diseased lung tisue and, to gain access to the lungs it was the usual practice to chop out whole ribs, not just the floating ribs but any one that got in the way – and they were not repleced afterwards. The only problem was that the patient frequently had dificulty in sitting up straight.
    So, rib removal was — long ago – standard madical practice but she had never heard of it being done for cosmetic reasons. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen of course.

  2. Marika says:

    It’s healthly on a girl of twenty years who have the scoliosis?

  3. Daniell says:

    “If I play my cards right.”
    That really cracked me up. Thanks for writing this.

  4. Patricia Hammond says:

    More than two Lace Embrace Atalier clients sing in corsets: I’m based in London and always wear either the Edwardian underbust, or Victorian overbust corset when singing…depending on the costume. Here’s clips to prove it! and And yes, every single person asks me if I can breathe! Even after they’ve sat through an entire evening of my doing just that!

  5. Leslie says:

    I have a back injury (T-4,5) and I was wondering if a corset would help hold my posture better or cause more pain. Is there anyone who has this experience that can answer firsthand?
    Thank you!

  6. Andrea says:

    Such a great post! We’re always happy to stumble upon articles about waist training myths. This a very useful post for all the women that want to try this but are afraid of the “consequences”. Good job!

  7. Tracie H says:

    I have just started waist training and my question is does the belly fat redistribute? It is seeming like it is moving to my rear(which I have no problem with) but I was just curious

  8. L Marie says:

    A small correction about children wearing corsets in the 19th century. Yes, children wore stays from infancy, no, these corsets were not tight-laced and no, children were not made to sleep in them and there is certainly no indication that tying a child to its bed to keep it from loosening corset ties was common practice, or even uncommon practice. Both boys and girls wore soft stays (boys only started dressing like “boys” when they were potty-trained) as infants – these were not to shape the figure, but to hold up petticoats. Infants and children have torsos that are simply tubes. Without a defined waist, a petticoat falls right off. So, the child wore soft stays that the petticoat(s) could be buttoned to in order to keep them on.

    In fact, tightlacing in general in the 19th century was never as commonplace as people believe today. The 1840’s, 1880’s, and the turn of the century were the three periods where you were most likely to see tightlacing, but even then, most women weren’t really doing it. Corsets were not worn primarily for figure shaping, they were worn for support – supporting the bust and the spine.

  9. Barbara says:

    I’m probably a bit too old to start wearing corsets but I finally just got my first. I’ve begun waist training and I love my corset. I purchased my second and can’t wait to get it. I even want to go a little steampunkin’ which should be real fun! I don’t know how my church is gonna like but they are pretty cool about things. but I sing on stage with our worship team and I can still breath and these are forcing me to even dress more modestly than I like albeit old fashioned. But still its fun and as long as I lose my waist I don’t care!

  10. Aura says:

    Don’t forget that fashion accessory that your great grandmothers invariably wore with their corsets: the pessary. The pessary became an absolute necessity after a lifetime of waist training, but was never openly discussed beyond the silenced whispers of closeted matrons.

  11. Rachel says:

    Hi! So I had gastric bypass about 2 years ago and I have a lot of excess skin around my midsection and it has been very frustrating trying to get the hourglass shape that I want, would you suggest waist training for my situation? I have been interested in it for quite some time now.

  12. C-Ray says:

    As for rib removal in the Victorian era… if you’ll check, you’ll find that during most of this period any type of surgery was illegal.. at least in England.

    Doctors would have gone to prison for it.

    Even autopsy was illegal, as was the dissection of corpses in medical schools.

    Medical schools had to teach anatomy in secret and bought bodies from grave robbers.

    Sometimes, even from killers who would kill the poor or homeless and sell the bodies to the med school.

    So there is almost no way these women were having ribs removed during that era for cosmetic reasons. The whole idea just falls apart under close scrutiny.

  13. C-Ray says:

    One reason for the breathing myth is because of Geri Ryan, when she played 7 of 9 on that Star Trek spin off. They had her tight laced and she didn’t take time to learn how to breath properly, so she passed out a few times.

    There have been a few other actresses who did the same, while shooting some movie set in the middle ages or the like.

    By contrast, actors and singers a century ago were trained to wear corsets and often thought it would be impossible to perform without their corsets. Males included.

    Someone who’s never worn a corset before can’t just get tight laced into one and do a 10K run, without knowing how to adjust their breathing.

    Dancers, singers and stage actors have to learn breath control, so you’d think someone on the cast and crew of these movies and TV shows would have a hint about this.

  14. carolyn lindsay says:

    I look at so many people in corsets; and forgive me if I am wrong, but it seems that their lower abdominals are full and sticking out. I saw where a doctor showed the intestines with and without corset. With the corset the intestines dropped down and stacked tightly in the lower abdominal areas. Maybe that is why most of the people wearing corsets abdomens look like they are rounded and stick out more?

  15. sphinxvictorian says:

    A very good article. The only thing I’m wondering, as a costume historian, I have read in several books about Victorian corsets that some women did remove a floating rib or two to allow for extreme tight-lacing. I believe Valerie Steele’s book mentions it, as does Stella Mary Newton in her book on Dress Reform. I wonder if it’s something people used to do, in the bad old medical days, that has been discontinued in our more enlightened day.

    • Cora says:

      Based on what we know of medicine during the Victorian Era (the lack of sanitation, high mortality rates, ineffective anesthesia, etc.), medical experts are almost 100% certain that the claims of removing ribs to fit better into corsets are a complete fabrication. Surgery was an incredibly serious, incredibly brutal endeavor during this period in human history, and we’d hear a lot more about women dying (either from the operation itself or from infection after) were this procedure commonplace.

  16. Debra says:

    Is there a corsetier or corset trainer in the virginia beach, virginia area that you would recommend? I am intrigued by the thought of corset training but want to have the proper instruction. The pictures are beautiful and the information is priceless! Thank you for them.

  17. Angela says:

    @Tally. I’m a size 24 mostly in my hips and I just got a really nice one from Hips and Curves and I didn’t even get the largest size. If you were looking for a serious one I’m sure someone would recommend custom but they’ve got steel boned corsets at a decent price. Just got my first ‘real’ one today and got my sister to help me lace into it. It’s really comfy. They have plain steel boned ones that go up to a size 49 inch waist.

  18. Tally says:

    I want to start, where do I start. I am a 26/28 in tops right now (from a 36) where can I find corsets for my size mist websites end at a 22.

  19. Kareena says:

    I am soo glad that you shared this info. I only got my waist trainer over the past weekend and you are soo right people actually ask a walking and talking person if they can breathe. I was also told that it is not healthy. I have done my own research, I also follow several pages on instagram and all I can say is, “I can’t wait for my lil waist.”

    Thanks again for sharing & the photo up top is just wonderful.

  20. shana says:

    my ribs right under my breast stick out in an abnormal way.(they didn’t do this until after being pregnant). my babies just seemed to like it up there and it even felt like they were doing damage. could waist training correct this. my thinking is that outward pressure caused it and pressure in the other direction over time would put things back where they once were. Also how many hours per day should a person wear one?

    • Leanne says:

      I too have the same problem, after having 4 kids my ribs like protrude out. While I am athletic, and at a healthy weight, the 4 pregnancies also left me with some sag to my skin, I have tried everything to get it to tighten back up, will wearing a corset help with both of these issues? I am not into reducing my waist, as it is small already, I just want tight skin and my ribs to not stick out…

  21. Hailee says:

    I just started my corseting journey, and I am wondering if it will make my hips smaller too? I want to AVOID that as much as possible. In also very short (4’11”) and the bottom of my corset in back comes all the way down to about an inch past the top of my bum, which doesn’t make it look quite as shapely as I like! Should I get the corset shortened or just get a waspie? All advice welcome and appreciated!

  22. megan says:

    Im 18 and actually started when I was 17 (which isnt recommended, I know, but I was only 2 months from my birthday) I love corseting!! The shape it gives me under clothes is phenominal! I do have a lot of physical activity goingbon in my life however so I dont wear it all day. I wear my corset at night because I still get 8 hours which is the recommended time if you are looking for waist reduction. A lot of people on here have asked about lacing yourself up, its actually really easy once you get the technique down! I have a video on youtube about how to lace yourself up (the video isnt that great, but it does show you how to easily get in your corset) its called “my first corset and the beginning of my tightlacing journey) also people have asked where to get a good quality but yet cheap corset for beginners, well I got mine from “” they have simple ones fir beginners and also have fashionable ones for showing off on the outside of clothes! They did a really great job with mine and I love recommending them!! Tight lacing is nit an unnatural thing, pregnancy distorts your body more than a corset. Corsets just get us back to our true waist. I hope everyone has fun with tightlacing!!

  23. Lady J says:

    Will this prevent you from having kids if you haven’t had them yet? I’m intersted in waist training, but scared that it will have an affect on me from having kids.

    • Beccah says:

      I don’t see any logical way that tightlacing could prevent you from having children. The uterus, fallopian tubes, etc are safely tucked inside your hip bones, which are not generally effected by most corseting techniques. Of course whenever you plan to do something that can alter your body and you have concerns about is effects, you should consult your doctor. Tightlacing of course would not be recommended while pregnant as it could cause harm to the fetus. Other than that, I don’t think you have much to worry about.
      Now if you have a spine disorder like scoliosis, tightlacing can be much trickier. It is not recommend by most doctors because most corsets ate designed for straight, ordinary spines. HOWEVER, there are cost designers out there who can make costs specifically foe the curvature in your spine. I’ve looked into it before and I can’t currently remember names but if you search “medical corsets” on Google you should find something. It is pretty expensive to have one of those costs made, but the plus side is, it can actually help with back pain and strain in addition to reducing your waist size. Talk to you doctor about it, (you may need to express that you’re going to do it worth our without thier help to get them to cooperate) and depending on your insurance, you may even get it covered.

  24. Kit says:

    Hi- great post!
    I just bought a 20″ corset, and after lacing it I have found it bulges quite a bit, making me look like I am pregnant, whereas it is fits fine at the top. Any suggestions?

  25. Tash says:

    I heard of the corset slimming and wanted to start it but just want to know where does the stomach fat go, does it just melt away or travel else where? Can I work out in it? How long should I keep it on daily? How long will it take for me to see the results?

  26. It all seems so obvious but the number of times I’ve been asked about the ribs!

  27. casey says:

    Hello! This was a wonderful read, but I have a few questions. Is there an age requirement for tight lacing or waist training? I have heard that it is not advisable for younger women, would it be ok for someone 17 or 18 to start waist training, as long as they do it properly and safely? Thank you

  28. Krirstyn Lewis says:

    I love the information and love that corsets are so feminine. What I am wondering is if there is a site that explains the different types. In one of the photos on this page, it looks like the corset is like a body suit coming down into a panty at the bottom. In other photos, it looks like the corsets end at the hips. What is the difference?

  29. Teneal says:

    Hey all! Stumbled across this site while looking at Victorian style corsets an I was wondering how early a person can start? I’m fifteen and I adore corsetry but I’m not sure when to begin training. Another issue is that I do ballet, and I’m not sure if a corset will allow for moves like arabesques or other moves which demand back flexibility. I mean, pointe shoes and a corset is a gorgeous combo. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

  30. Mia says:

    Interesting post but just a slight correction. The human body does not have 4 “atypical ribs” it has 5 and only 2 are “floating ribs.” We have 12 pairs. 1-7 are true ribs that have their own cartilage attachment to the sternum. The last 5 sets are atypical in nature. 8 through 10, the false ribs, are attached to the sternum.via one shared piece of cartilage while 11-12 are the floating ribs which have no connection to the sternum whatsoever. Other then that, interesting piece. I’m putting together a radiology presentation on corset training and this gave me some good insight. :)

  31. Rae says:

    Wonderful article! I’ve been wearing corsets on and off since sixth grade, and I’ve always gotten the weirdest (and sometimes extremely rude/perverted) comments about it. I’m 20 now, and a writer, and I find that corsets have been helping me with the back pain from sitting at a computer for hours on end and they’ve also been helping with my self esteem. But, whenever I look up articles about them, I always seem to find a great deal of negative comments about them. It’s nice to see some support (no pun intended) for corsets and some actual truths about them. Again, great article. =)

  32. Sierra says:

    I’m 21 and four months after I had my daughter I went to a chiropractor and found out I have scoliosis…he said corsets are so bad for you he wouldn’t even recommend wearing for 3hours at a time…well now I’m in a fitness craze and IV lost over 30lbs but my baby pooch bugs me…I seriously want a pin up look since I’m busty and have a big butt I figured taking a few inches off my waist would help my self esteem…I now have core muscles but I’m still soft on my belly would a corset help tighten and tone the loose skin? I also try to workout everyday and eat right…but loose skin is a pain! And would it help my scoliosis? Or make it worse? Since IV lost weight I have much netter posture now but every once and a while I feel my back trying to fight it…any advice? I would love to finally get in the best shape of my life! Oh and I’ll be starting college this year where I will be gardening and whatnot would it help to wear for gardening? Cuz my back hurts when I do all that…

  33. Erthana says:

    Lovely article! I just have one question about wearing a corset almost 25/7.. What kind of corset do you recommend? I have a great, comfortable steel boned underbust corset, really lovely (and very affordable, which surprised me because the quality is truly great!), but it is a pain to go to the bathroom in it since it’s a little longer than regular underbust corsets :P I have a few though, and most of them aren’t really practical when going to the bathroom.. So any tips? :)


    PS: And; I always love finding another ‘coloured’ girl/woman who’s not a complete stereotype! <3

  34. Joann says:

    Good Afternoon Ladies,

    i just stumbled across this website … I’m 4’10” and 180# … I always admired the corsetts and the hour glass shape it made. Do corsetts come in petite sizes? Im in Columbus OH can you recommend and shops or can you tell me where you are located. I really want to start waist trainning.

    • Steph says:

      Try sugar kitty corsets. She is small but has been around for a while and I have heard good things – I believe she is appointment only, but usually can work somebody in very quickly. Last i heard, she had an office around N High & W Henderson…Don’t know if she has any premade/ rack ones right now, but she does do rush jobs for a bit more if you need something right away or you can take your measurements and buy off the rack to have something while you wait for your “real” corset. ;) I haven’t corseted in awhile, and am actually just getting back in – it’s easier to buy off the rack now that my waist is bigger, but I still have trouble finding the right style, length and shape – am 5’4″ with a long torso and natural hour-glass shape (most corsets are too short for me or sit in the wrong spot) – I have actually had a corset prescribed for me by a physician and paid for under insurance, it was great for my back pain, posture correction, and general support, but it wasn’t as good as a trainer for for waist reduction – there are another 5 corset places in Columbus that I know – not sure what side of town your on – also a lot of places sell/ custom make corsets, even when they are not specifically advertised (because they’re undergarments/fetish ware?) or call them another name — but if you’re not as familiar with what you want, I’d stick with someone who is out and out about what they make and what it’s for. Good luck, hope this helps.

  35. Jane says:

    About being able to breathe: many Gothic or symphonic metal singers, such as Sharron Den Adel, Simone Simmons, or Tarja Tururnen wear corsets at during their live performances. Their voices are absolutely astounding live, and they’re practically singing Opera.

  36. Azure Rose says:

    I started wearing corsets in 2001, as a Renaissance Faire performer, so I didn’t get to wear them everyday.I am in love with the look and feel that these corsets give, and the period gowns I wear over them maintain a very accurate historical appearance that more modern corsets cannot achieve. I am now interested in waist training to achieve the classic Elizabethan conical shape, and have ordered two new steel-boned fully tabbed corsets, one in my actual size and one a little smaller in the waist. I still have my smaller steel-boned corsets to wear again when I achieve my goal waistline again.I still perform at Ren Faires as a member of a Royal Court; its a great excuse to wear my corsets, and a fun activity, too!

  37. Sydney says:

    I’m 19 years old and hoping to begin my waist training as I begin to lose weight during this year, as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do with my waist. I found this very informative and loved it! It’s crazy what people will assume!

  38. eve says:

    Hi, very helpful site! I used to love corsetry as a fashion piece, and the restricted feeling that on overtight piece would give…. They only come out now when i need a bit of back support after injury as i find them uncomfortable…. not in waist, but in bones sticking into the tops of my legs when i sit, and bones digging into two bruising points in my ribs, which have expanded after 3 kids… Am i just wearing the wrong corset? It is as though they are too long, but i actually find them too short, can never get “overbust” as they end up underbust -and am 5’9″ tall. Would love to help those ribs back, and squish the waist.

  39. Gilliane Moxham says:

    Actually a girdle looks very nice too and can be very comfortable once you give yourself time to get used to it. Then a strange thing happens , you actually begin to miss it when it’s off!

    You must get a girdle that fits you precisely. Then you have to put it on right, leaving it down in the back as you fasten the back suspenders (garters) first and then tug it up in the front before you fasten the front suspenders. And then leave it on, leave it on every day and night until you get used to it. You have to train yourself in a girdle.

    Relax in there, let your tummy rest against the front panel, likewise with your rear , let it relax against the girdle too, gradually you will feel the girdle hold you up and do all those wonderful things.

    Now look at yourself in the mirror and see that flat front panel where your belly used to be!
    Admire the new slim you, that’s what a girdle is all about. It becomes a way of life , worn with a corset on top . Enjoy!

  40. verla says:

    wondered if there are different types of corsets for sleeping in as opposed to day wear ones?

  41. Asia says:

    How did you begin? and where did you get it? how much is it? how many hours a day doyou wear it? When do you buy a new one? I have been interested since I was a teenager that I even got corset piercings in my back lol I am 25 years old now.corset waist training looks so elegant and exquisitely beautiful!! I am finally determined to do this myself despite of people’s judgements, however I work in the medical field 12 HR shifts and I work out/jog a lot so I would not be able to wear a corset 24/7, what would you recommend for me and how many months should I expect for results would show? thank you!!

  42. Jewel says:

    So i have always been fascinated with he idea of waist training and this article has inspired me to go for it! What I was wondering is there any weight requirement for this? Or can virtually anyone do it??

  43. India Harlow says:

    Hi there,

    Great post. I was wondering can you waist train with a simple belt. I have loads fashion waist belts and usually get additional holes put in them. I find that after wearing a belt for a while my waist becomes noticibly slimmer. If i wear them tightly during the day is this dangerous? Will it hurt me internally?


  44. cat says:

    Very interesting read! I’ve been interested in waist training with a corset. If say I’m apple shaped (really squishy around the waist) will waist training move that fat elsewhere and change the shape?

  45. shareena says:

    I got the link for this article from Staylace.

    It’s a really good post but I wanted to ask you something. How does one sing effectively while tight lacing? I was tightlacing for a year (Until last year around December) and the reason I stopped is because, I was becoming short of breath without it on. It began affecting my singing as I couldn’t take a decent amount of air in and reach the notes effectively.

    So what did I do wrong?

    Prior to tight lacing I did my research on various corset sites, spoke to many tight lacers, read articles on how to modify my diet around tightlacing, I got some out of print magazines based on tight lacing and I was so so dedicated, that I even had a sleeping corset.

    Still, my singing was affected. I never rushed it.. In the year that I was tight lacing I only had two corsets. So I was not rushing and forcing my body to do things, it could not do. I would always gradually break myself into them by first wearing them in the home very lose, then tightening the corset up slightly when I was going out. As the weeks went by and only once when I felt comfortable, I would begin tightening the corset. The only time I would take it off was when I was to have a bath, or to exercise. (Until I got my sleeping corset.)

    Can you tell me where i went wrong?

    Thank you

  46. Annie Belle says:

    Thanks for this informational post!

    Would you recommend that I start with a waist-cincher before I go full-on into corsets?

    • AlexaFaie says:

      Definitely start with an underbust corset of some kind. A shorter one will be easier to wear than a longline one, so a waist-cincher/waspie style corset (as long as its steel boned and meant for waist reduction) could be a good choice. Just don’t make the mistake I did and start with an overbust! They are much harder to fit right and can put you off before you even get started.

      I wouldn’t recommend trying a plastic boned piece of “shapewear” in an attempt to decide if corset wearing is for you as you just won’t get the same feeling as the fabric usually stretches and a corset won’t. You could wear one for months and not get a true idea, whereas you could pop into a shop which sells steel boned corsets (usually goth shops will have something steel boned, or see if there is somewhere near you specialising in corsetry) and try on one there. Another thing you could try is taking a belt (leather is ideal) and putting it round your waist, and then pulling it as far as you comfortably can. If that feeling doesn’t bother you, you’d probably enjoy wearing a corset (though not all of the reduction is focused in such a circular fashion on just the waist in a corset). It can also help you work out how squishable you are (squishability being very important for corset wearing!)

      Starting with an inexpensive “off the rack” corset will give you a good idea if corset wearing is a thing you’d enjoy. Make your first one 2-4 inches smaller than your natural waist size. I’d always recommend one actually 4″ smaller as that allows you to lace it in just an inch, or 2, or 3 or fully close it if you find you do like it a lot! If you only get one 2″ smaller, that’d be the most you could reduce by before you’d need to buy another corset (assuming you’d be wanting another) so in my opinion a bit of a waste of money. Just take it slowly and don’t try to lace any corset fully shut too quickly – it WILL be uncomfortable if you do that. And you never want to be uncomfortable in your corset!

  47. This is an absolutely fascinating guest post! I’ve always wondered about corsets and would love to own one one day, but I had no idea people ‘waist trained.” I thought you just put the thing on and went about your day!

    I can see where my thoughts were misguided and I’m slowly starting to understand corsets a little bit more :)

    Thank you so much for teaching me just a little more about wearing a corset!

  48. Laura says:

    Is 50 too old to start waist training? I have wanted a corset for so long and now that I can afford one…..

    • AlexaFaie says:

      Not at all Laura! There’s no age limit. :) Just look at Cathy Jung, she’s still wearing her corsets at 75. Any time you want to start is the perfect time to start. Go for it! :)

      • isabel says:

        I,m 55 and been wearing corsets for about 7 years now although NOT everday. So not full waist training. But in saying that I wrar them everyweekend and whenever I go out during the week. I dance ince in them. As I do 1940’s swing and Lindyhop. And 1950’s Jive but I don’t bellydance in them which I also teach !. Being a Specialist Bra and Corsetry Fitter. Helps to. And I intstruct my ladies on how to lace themselves up and also the reverse. Yes I,m also asked the “can you breathe” question. Well I wodnt be here if I couldn’t ? Or ” do you enjoy wearing them?” NO I do it because I hate it ? Hmmm lol but. I tell people I wear them because they feel right I feel good in them and my clothes look ace especially for the 40’s and 50’s look that I wear . Back to the origianl question sorry I digressed. But yes you can start wearing them at 50 . I,ve just fitted and sold one yesterday to a 59 year old ! Good Luck x

  49. Victoria says:

    I bought my corset from Tristan before my wedding a few years ago. The training she gave me was awesome and she and the other ladies at the shop even trained my husband to tighten and loosen the corset. And though I was told that I could eat and drink normally, the ladies at the shop told me to be careful of champagne as the bubbles may sit higher and cause some burping while in the corset. I didn’t experience any problems with the champagne – until the next morning, that is.

    I actually really enjoyed wearing the corset. It was super comfortable and great back support.

  50. Chris says:

    Love this!! Thanks so much!

  51. KathTea says:

    I love this! I aspire to tightlace to 15″ over the next decade but as a result it affected my love life and I have broken up with my boyfriend, after many attempts to assure him that I know what I am doing. Oh well, on to new adventures then I suppose! Not abandoning my 15″ dream yet ;)

    This article is ABSOLUTELY in my bookmarks now :D

    • richard says:

      Dear Kath, Good for you! Life has taught me to avoid those who get in the way of one’s ambitions. As an ardent fan of corsets, stockings and high heels since childhood, I admire you. Remember, life is an adventure! Take care.

    • Carla says:

      I have been researching corsetting for a while now. By while I mean months and months…have loved the look for a long time. When I finally decided I wanted to do it I sat down and told my husband. I thought he would think I was just out of my mind. I have to say, I love the man I married. He was the most supportive person I could ask for. I don’t think we would have lasted over my ambitions. Once I decide something, I make up my mind and if you don’t approve you USUALLY end up in the dust or on the doorstep.

  52. June says:

    I have major corset-lust! ;) I really want a well-made corset but just can’t afford it at the moment (and have a feeling I’d have to go the custom made route, which would be even more expensive). Sigh, maybe someday…

    • KathTea says:

      I highly suggest Jill Hoverman on etsy for starters looking for a custom made piece! Treacle loves her too :) You can see my corsets from her on my FB fanpage linked :D

  53. Karin Lahger says:

    Well said!

    I get these kinds of questions all the time both as corset wearer and as corsetiere/corset maker, and has to start from the beginning each time I explain. Perhaps I’ll just send them to this post next time :)

  54. Thursday says:

    I agree with Marianne, I would love to see that routine!

    I don’t have any intention to tightlace, but I do enjoy the sensation and effect of a well-made corset. I think if you are going to waist train, it’s important to remember to keep the muscles that aren’t getting used so often any more in good condition through exercise.

  55. Claire says:

    Awesome! Really good to read the point of view of an experienced corset wearer! You hear horror stories about corset-obsessed ladies in the States who’s internal organs have actually moved from constantly wearing over- tight corsets, but these are extreme cases. Wearing a corset every day was a natural thing for our great great grandmothers, why should it be such a taboo thing now? Well done you and keep it up!

    • Bess says:

      Internal organs will move a bit in a corset, but then, they do in pregnancy as well. Everything gets shifted upwards as the baby grows and that continues for a full nine months without any respite at night!

  56. Marianne says:

    Great post! Since I have naturally large hips and lace down to what I call “a slovenly 21 inches” for all-day events, I get a lot of, “Can you BREATHE?” comments. It’s so inane – if I couldn’t breathe, I wouldn’t be chatting and selling you corsets, and I hope you would be calling 911 to fetch an ambulance, or at least my boss, since I would be passed out.

    The opening photo is gorgeous, by the way! I would love to see that routine you mentioned, come perform in San Francisco! We’ve got burlesque going at least a couple nights a week at various Bay Area venues.

    • SamIam says:

      I have a few questions…. I’m trying to get more of an hourglass figure and I love the look of corsets if I trained myself for a few years and then randomly just stopped would the results remain the same or go back to normal? Also would starting training effect my workouts at all? Could I still do abdominal workouts? Already having a tight core would this make it harder to train or easier? Can you please explain the “cycle”? Or new trainees wearing recommendations. Ive heard a good way to start is to wear while sleeping?? I’ve heard many different ideas/concepts. I have been doing alot of research on Corset Training and the 2 major worries I have, really the only thing from keeping from going forward with the process is my first question about longer terms results and the biggest fear is how hard it is going to be to lace this up by myself :( sorry for all the questions… I really appreciate your time and look forward to seeing if a corset can be my thing =)
      Thank You.

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