Review: Corset Story Brocade Overbust Corset With Hip Ties
Disclosure: This corset was purchased by The Lingerie Addict for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.
If you’re a corset fan, it’s likely that you’ve heard about the infamous Corsets UK/Corset Story. They’re a relatively ‘cheap’ corset brand, offering a broad range of corset styles with tantalizing 2-for-1 offers seemingly constantly. Almost every time I’ve seen the brand name brought up, they’ve been bad mouthed. I've defended the brand in the past; not everyone can afford beautiful off the rack corsetry and not everyone wants crazy curves. There are always customers who will want straighter shapes or are after cheap dressing up items. When I was asked to review the brand, I spotted this curvier design and thought it was time to take the plunge: was the company changing their ways?
I ordered the ‘waist tamer’ sweetheart overbust in a polyester brocade with ribbon lacing hip detail. My natural waist is 25 inches and I normally wear a 20 inch corset. Nevertheless, I followed the website’s size guide for this corset: it recommended a 22 inch corset for me, with claims of achieving a 2-4 inch waist reduction for natural waists between 22-26 inches. When I purchased this corset it was only £29 ($40). On the website the price has since gone up to £119 ($170), but the style is no longer available. Corset Story sizing is available for closed waists between 20-38 inches, but I cannot find if this size range applied to this style.
At first glance, this corset went far beyond my expectations of the Corset Story brand. The design is a relatively elegant style, with a sleek polyester brocade outer fabric and decorative ribbon lacing on the hips that can be loosened to fit larger hip sizes. The corset uses a mix of 7mm and 4mm spiral steel bones throughout, with 4 flat steel bones at the centre back framing the eyelets. The corset closes with a wide steel busk with a small modesty placket underneath. The lining is in cotton twill, with a 1 inch wide cotton waist tape.
Edges are bound in the same polyester brocade as the outer fabric. Centre back eyelets are mostly of a 5mm silver finish, with 4 black enamel eyelets at the waist. 4mm silver eyelets are used on the hip gores for the lacing detail. Lacing is a slightly stretchy shoelace style and an unstiffened modesty panel is sewn into one of the back bone casings (personally I prefer a modesty panel to be easily removable, as this would require cutting out rather than unpicking). There are four ribbon loops at the top edge of the garment for bra straps, and 6 on the bottom for suspenders (though none of these attachments come provided with the garment).
Overall, construction is consistently neat and accurate throughout the garment. I cannot fault any of the stitching and all eyelets have been neatly applied with no splits. The construction sees most of the bones encased in cotton twill internal channels with cotton twill taping covering the hip gusset seam. Honestly, I have to admit that I was very impressed at the quality of make in this corset given all the horror stories that I’d heard about the brand!
One criticism of Corset Story that I’ve heard repeated many a time is that they use scrap metal instead of standard corset boning. I’m pleased to say that a brief deconstruction of this garment indicated that all bones were standard steel corset bones; the flats had holes drilled into them, but were otherwise dipped and smoothed as I’d expect in any quality corset. The label states that the garment was made in India.
However, my first serious inspection of this corset already had me a little concerned. The waist on this piece just looked too small for a 22 inch corset! True enough, when I measured it, the closed waist is in fact a hair under 19 inches. It was at this point that I noticed the label attached to the corset, which explained that it’s designed to be worn with a 2 inch gap. Whilst the additional missing inch can be explained away as commercial tolerance (which is normally allowable at 5%), it still feels a little bit misleading to size the garments at a waist size that isn’t reflected in the corset. There’s also the fact that the corset is advertised as ‘waist taming’: not a phrase traditionally used in corsetry granted, but it lays a bit too close to the body modification known as ‘waist training’. I can’t help but feel that to someone unfamiliar with corsetry, it would be easy to conflate the two and it just smacks of unsavoury marketing tactics.
By deliberately using the phrase 'waist taming' where you would normally expect to see the phrase 'waist training' (the latter of which implies that the garment is suitable for serious shaping and body modification), it seems as though Corset Story are trying to take advantage of customers that are unfamiliar with the intricacies of serious corsetry (and could easily mix up those phrases). Consequently, I can imagine that some customers would buy 'waist taming' corsets under the impression that they can waist train with it when the reality is that they are unsuitable.
My other initial concern about the garment was that it’s extremely heavy. The combination of outer and lining fabrics with additional bone channels makes each seam on this garment very bulky. The type of spiral steel boning used is a very heavy weight 7mm spiral steel. It’s a type of corset that feels more like armour than shapewear and I must admit that its lack of flexibility was a bit of a concern before I’d even tried it on.
In many ways, the fit of the corset is better than I’d anticipated from this brand. After years of people berating their ‘tube’-like garments, it was a pleasant surprise to encounter a garment with curves cut into it! Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean in any sense that this corset is a good fit. It’s certainly dramatically more curvy than previous offerings and does offer a somewhat substantial waist cinch and lovely hip curve. However, problems begin to arise around the bust and ribcage areas. The cut of the bust is extremely shallow and even when the garment is lightly laced it gives me an unsightly ‘double boob’ effect: this was a surprise given that I have quite a small bust to start with. I’d guess that realistically, this corset could only give a good bust fit for someone around size 30B or a small 30C at most.
The real problems arise around the underbust though. There is so little curve and so much compression here that the fit is incredibly constricting. The boning is so rigid and the cut so unforgiving that I can honestly say that this is the most painful corset I’ve ever worn: even worse than the tube shaped pieces I wore as a teenager. It is so painful that I cannot wear this corset for an extended period of time. I’m an experienced corset wearer and regularly tightlace down to a 20 inch waist, yet I can’t bear to wear this piece at a much lower reduction for more than 5 minutes.
I noticed that after the short period of time that I donned this garment for photos, my ribcage was left painfully and unusually red and sore to the touch: indeed, I was left with bruising that took several days to stop hurting. This is never a problem that I’ve experienced with corsets before. I know that a well-fitting corset is comfortable and that such pain is a very bad sign indeed.
What truly concerns me about this garment is the very real risk of injury. The combination of language (‘waist taming’) and poor cut makes me worry about customers not knowing better and purchasing this garment in good faith. For individuals that aren’t experienced in how a corset should fit and feel, there may be the assumption that a corset should hurt. Although it is good to see that Corset Story have improved their overall garment quality and fit to some extent, it appears they still have a long way to go before they can hope to compete with the ‘affordable’ tightlacing corset market.
Readers: Do you regularly wear corsets? Have you ever tried Corset Story before?