Top 3 "Starter" Corset Brands Under $100
As much as I love and advocate for handmade corsetry, I know that spending $300 on a garment that you're not sure you'll wear often and possibly can't even try on first is a hefty investment. Be it for waist training, back support, shapewear, or fashion, there are many reasons to start wearing corsets. For many of the same reasons it's more practical to buy a standard-fit corset before investing in custom, you might find yourself buying a mass-manufactured corset to test the waters before upgrading to a high-quality handmade piece.
My first corsets, purchased 10 or so years ago, were like this... factory-made pieces bought off of eBay. Budget corsetry has come a long way since then: styles are curvier and the price point has dropped for some brands and increased for others. I haven't tried any of the brands listed, but these are the three names I hear come up most often. Be aware that sizing, customer service, and even quality control for budget brands can be inconsistent. Though even a starter corset is often considered an "expensive" garment by consumers, consistency is one of the first corners that is cut in order to make that price point.
Orchard Corset is probably the most popular brand of starter corsets. Their corsets run from $65 to $103 (there is only one style that even hits the three digit price point). The shaping of an Orchard Corset is moderate and they are very popular with those just beginning to waist train, and certain styles have waists up to 46". They have a wide variety of styles and fabric choices available.
Mystic City Corsets are probably the only eBay store from which it's "safe" to buy a corset, as eBay is generally rife with shoddy knock-offs. Their shaping is more extreme and accommodates a high reduction or dramatic natural hourglass. It seems their sizing varies by styling, but some corsets are available with waists up to 44". Prices range from $65-$135; the overall style of the brand is much more classic/industrial goth with detailing like flat studs and large buckles on black leather, though of course plainer styles are likewise available, as well as some with brightly-colored contrast.
Lastly, we have ReStyle in Poland. ReStyle's styling also tends towards the classically gothic, but more of a spooky direction with occasional forays into basic steampunk. The color palette is all neutrals, black (with occasional white accents) and brown. In USD, prices range from roughly $45 to $62. They offer styles with both moderate reductions and dramatic hipsprings, from 18-32".
Which of these brands have you tried? What were your experiences with them? If you started wearing budget corsets originally but have transitioned to handmade, what did you think when you made the switch?