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Corset Care 101: How to Store Your Corset

Corsets: betcha can’t have just one – but how do you store them all?
Model: Victoria Dagger; Photo: Joel Aron; Corset: Dark Garden

With the winter holiday season officially over, many of us are sorting through the accumulated rubble of our various gifts received and parties thrown. As for me, I also have been in the process of unpacking from my first move in four years, so besides picking up a season’s worth of cocktail dresses from my dressing room floor, I have to sort and put away all my regular clothes, including my collection of corsets. There are several different ways to store a corset; today I’ll cover four basic ways, plus a bonus decorative storage method I’ve always secretly wanted to try.



Hmmm… wherever shall I put all these corsets??
Model: Victoria Dagger; Photo: Sam Guss; Corset: Sparklewren

1. Laced and laid flat in a drawer
This is perhaps the simplest and most obvious solution. Between wearings, tighten the laces on your corset until its gap is fully closed. (Put one of the busk loops behind the stud side of the busk while fastening the others like normal; the tension will keep the busk from opening itself.) Tie off the excess lacing into a bow and then pull it straight up, tucking it inside the corset at the center back. Lay your corset flat in a drawer, stacking your collection but being careful not to place anything adjacent to a delicate fabric (such as a lace overlay) that might snag it (including the busk of another corset). You may also fold your corsets in thirds if your drawer is the wrong proportion for them to lay flat.  Depending on the shape distribution and boning pattern, some corsets may not fold well. Alternatively, you can place them semi-upright in a bin instead of flat in a drawer.

Placing one of the busk loops inside the corset will keep the busk fastened for storage.

Corsets laced shut, folded, and stored semi-upright in a bin at Dark Garden Unique Corsetry.

2. Rolled up and stored in a drawer or bin
With your corset unlaced, roll your corset up around itself, starting with the stud side of the busk and leaving the fashion fabric facing outwards. When you get to the lacing gap, keep rolling, but make sure you catch the ribbon loops at that point. As with the previous method, the boning placement may affect how well your corset rolls, but the rolling shouldn’t cause any damage to the bones, even for long-term storage.
If you are concerned about your fabric getting dirty or abraded (white corsets, lace overlays, rhinestone detailing, etc.), you may wish to protect it by then wrapping it in a corset bag, pillow case, or perhaps even the leg cut from a pair of nylons. I wouldn’t recommend storing all of your corsets wrapped if you have a lot of them, as it’ll be hard to tell them all apart if you can’t see the fabric clearly.

3. Hanging from its laces on a hanger
This is how most of my corsets are stored. You can have your corsets laced or unlaced for this method, but I like to leave them unlaced because then it’s easier to get back into them. Simply flop your corset over the bar on a hanger so it’s suspended by its laces. Use a sturdy hanger, as the weight of the corset can cause bowing or drooping. I like to use tiered slack hangers, as closet space is at a high premium for me. The boning pattern makes no difference with this method; however, protecting more fragile fabrics is less straightforward. Though I’ve yet to try it, you could place a piece of fabric over the corset in question, like a dropcloth, perhaps pinning a couple of places to keep it from sliding right off every time you go for the adjacent corset or article of clothing.

I like to store my corsets hanging from their laces on a tiered slacks hanger.

4. Laced closed and hanging facing out
Using the busk trick from the first storage method, lace your corset fully shut and tie off the waist loops. You can tuck the bow into the top of the corset as above, or wrap it around the neck of your hanger.
Method A: As well as the hanger, you’ll also need some ribbon (probably about two feet should be sufficient) and two safety pins, such as the tiny gold ones that come with a lot of clothing and lingerie. Cut your ribbon in half (burn the ends if you don’t want it to fray), then fold it in half. Pin through both layers of ribbon (on the cut end) to the lining of your corset at the side seam to create your own hanger loops. If your corset is too wide to hang well this way, try pinning the ribbon ends separately to front and back, like a spaghetti strap closer to the princess line.
Method B: Use a skirt hanger, protecting your fabric from the grips with padding made from scraps of fabric or wider ribbon, such as a soft cotton twill. (Try not to use the padding pieces each time you unclip your corset!) This method works best for corsets that are roughly the same height all the way across; less well for sweetheart and low-back styles, particularly in larger sizes.
This will create a nice boutique-like feel, particularly if you use high quality, matching hangers.

Corsets clipped to skirt hangers, with padding protecting their fabric from the clips. Dark Garden Unique Corsetry.

When storing your corsets flat (in a drawer or bin, or on a hanger), tighten the laces fully, tie off your “bunny ears,” and tuck them into the top of the corset as shown to keep them tidy and out of the way.

5. Displayed proudly on your wall
I’ve always thought a beautiful and clever way to both store and display a few corsets would be to hang them on my way, like pieces of art. Follow the directions to hang a corset laced shut, and choose an attractive hanger (such as these padded hangers) from which to hang it. Then, find a frame that is large enough for the corset and the hanger both. You won’t need the matboard or the glass — check vintage and thrift stores for bargains on frames missing these components. Tap in a nail or coat hook where you’d like the top of the hanger to be, hold up the frame for placement, then add a second nail above for the frame.
One warning: leaving your corsets hanging for too long could of course result in them getting dirty or discolored, so be careful about where they’re placed, check them regularly to see if they need cleaning, and perhaps rotate the display every so often. This is not a long-term storage solution.

You can find some great frames without glass at thrift stores – perfect for displaying a three-dimensional piece like a corset!

How do you store your corsets? Do you have a method not listed above? Please share in the comments.


Marianne
Marianne Faulkner

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

9 Comments on this post

  1. Mina says:

    Hey, you may want to know that Polish shop gorsety.pl is using your photos on their webpage, pretending them to be their new arrivals. They are fond of stealing photos, many girls in Poland called them out for that, to no avail. They are commercial company, and if you ever decided to go that way, you are owed a compensation due to Polish law.

    https://www.facebook.com/GorsetyPL/posts/1875755965842572?__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARB_MnAgRlKC9TQrWvVV18iRhZDR_tjzkHJP_qG0vkYiH3Wf06xP-6L3Kr7TaiDl9UZY2WpLnhryzLyXsl_lZVLrr__6qMHUEcL_CuQ3N92QiUzgGPPEQKWQ0dvr9L90RM58c5kTKdf_N-a43HSyYTNrKq2woq9jkz9aa_MfNp-HwZjGhtng55QNTHNi0aMBowGcW23Cg_t_gSkd096QjRIlod0&__tn__=-R

  2. Romina says:

    Wouldn’t it be better to put it on a mannequin torso? they’re not very expensive. I’m asking because it makes me sad to see the corset all flat and was planning to buy a mannequin torso :P
    thanks.

    • Millie-May Price says:

      not if you have more than one! i don’t know about you, but i don’t have the space for an army of mannequins!

  3. Thursday says:

    Mine are laid flat in storage bags and tucked into my lingerie box (seriously need another one by now…). It’s also worth remembering, if you’d like to hang them for display, avoid direct sunlight – it’ll fade your fabric. The hanging loop also aren’t that helfpul if your corset is on the wider side, it’ll hang loosely and possible warp if not held straight by the hanger.

    • Marianne Marianne says:

      Yup – that was what I meant by being careful about placement because it could cause discoloration – I guess I could’ve phrased that more bluntly. A well-made corset shouldn’t warp from being hanged any more than it should warp from being rolled, though, but the best piece of advice is of course to be mindful of the way one goes about utilizing ANY of these storage methods. Take the time to place your loops symmetrically, test the tension and placement, and make sure your hanger is straight on the wall. The ribbon loops are definitely the trickiest method above but they do give a singular appearance that is more polished than the other methods, I feel.

  4. Hibiscus says:

    Mine are hung on hangers from their laces, in a special part of my closet so they don’t get snagged. It makes them easier to find, and no harm comes to them.

  5. Karolina Karolina says:

    I’m pretty guilty of not storing my corsets properly but I just don’t have appropriate storage space! I keep them all rolled up in a massive bag on top of my wardrobe with extra delicate ones and my latex ones in special storage bags… I’d like to be a bit kinder do them but I have no way how to!

    • Marianne Marianne says:

      I am admittedly terrible at putting them back where they belong after I wear each one, but I have to say that the multi-tiered slack racks have been a huge boon to my corset storage problem. Both my current and previous apartment have been very skimpy on closet space, though admittedly I’ve supplemented with a garment rack and a wardrobe. I still have a few rolled in bins but I notice I tend to forget they exist because they’re not immediately visible.

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