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How to Create Your Very Own Corset Collection

Today's guest post is brought to you by Heidi of Strait Laced Dame, a corset maker, waist trainer, and corset educator. Connect with Heidi on her Instagram or YouTube channel to see more of her work.

 Lovely Rats "Magpie" corset. Model: Heidi of Strait-Laced Dame Corsetry.

Image: Black Brush Photography. Corset: Lovely Rats Corsetry. Model: Strait-Laced Dame Corsetry.

As most corset wearers will tell you, your very first corset opens up whole new realm of possibilities. The way corset enthusiasts approach lingerie, everyday clothing, and even our own gorgeous bodies is suddenly enriched when we lace ourselves into this time-tested foundation garment.

I'm astounded at how even a slightly curvier silhouette can help me see myself and my fashion choices through a more discerning and appreciative lens.

Meanwhile, corset wearers also experience that quiet voice in the back of our minds compelling us to seek out more. More what? More corsets! Creating your own corset collection allows for more variety, more options, and a more intimate knowledge of this highly-engineered garment.

So, what should you think about before amassing a delightful horde of corsets? Here are some considerations for building your own corset collection.

Corset, Image, Model: Strait-Laced Dame Corsetry

Your Budget

Corsetry, whether for waist training or special occasions, is not a low-cost hobby. Even reputable "budget" brands require a small investment. As one moves into the world of custom corsetry, the price point understandably increases. Be aware that building your own corset collection may require some time and savings in order to purchase the lovely garments of your dreams.

Your Own Gorgeous Body

While many “standard-sized” corsets are readily available, they are not necessarily an ideal choice for all bodies. As a side effect of their design and mass production, off-the-rack corsets do not accommodate asymmetry of body or naturally dramatic proportions. However, this limitation can compel one into the world of custom corsetry, where you might find your perfect fit, along with more bespoke options for colors, cuts, and details.

Image: Black Brush Photography. Corset, Model: Strait-Laced Dame Corsetry.

Less is More

Corsetry is not a competition. It's not having the largest corset collection that “wins.” Variety in your wardrobe allows for more creativity in outfits, but you may not need more than a few corsets to achieve all of the silhouettes and looks you desire. As a waist trainer and tightlacer of almost a decade, I’ve found myself continually falling back on 3 or 4 corsets more than any others. These are the corsets that offer exactly what I seek in terms of comfort, silhouette, and daily utility.

Other Considerations

Personal preferences also factor into the process of selecting your corsets, including cut, fabric, utility, or degree of sparkliness. These features are your choice and should not affect the quality of your corset collection beyond making the collection all the more beloved to you.

Image: Weneal’s Photography and Retouching. Corset, Model: Strait-Laced Dame Corsetry.

Creating Your Corset Collection: Where to Find Your Next Corset

Ready-To-Wear / Off-The-Rack Corsets

Standard-sized corsets are generally designed to fit what a company might consider a common body type (or a common body type for their customers). For some people, these corsets make excellent choices. To understand if this applies to you, compare your natural body measurements to the size charts offered by the company. The most important measurements to consider are underbust, waist, and hip circumferences, along with vertical distance between each of these.

Custom Corsets

A custom corset is a remarkable garment, especially when brought to life by an experienced corsetiere. These corsets will be made precisely to your measurements, and can even accommodate body asymmetry when handled by a skilled designer. Custom corsetry also gives you the opportunity to request special fabrics, embellishment, and unique shapes for your corset. Your corset can be as simple or complex as you please.

Secondhand or Sample Corsets

Many corsetieres create incredible garments specifically for photoshoots or other special occasions, which, once the images are captured, are ready to be passed on to their next owner. This is a fantastic opportunity to snag a wearable work of art for yourself at a discounted price. Most commonly, you’ll find these corsets listed as “samples” in a corsetiere’s online shop.

Perhaps you’ve found your measurements match up nicely with those of a specific ready-to-wear corset model. The more popular a brand or model, the better your chances of finding a good quality secondhand corset through a platform like eBay or Facebook Marketplace. As a side note, remember that you are searching for used corsets here, not new.

As you investigate these corsets, exercise a certain amount of skepticism, and be sure you're viewing photos of the actual garment - not just stock images from the original manufacturer. Original images ensure you have more information about the individual corset that will be coming to you, including any imperfections or marks of wear.

Making Your Own Corsets

As some suggest when you mention an item of clothing you desire, why not just make it? I admit the reason I learned to sew was solely so I could make my own corsets. Of course, this path is not practical for everyone, but those of us with an excess of energy and ambition may just find sewing to be a perfect way to grow our corset collection.

Keep in mind that this is not an “easy” option for amassing your corset horde. In fact, it will likely take you several years and a massive amount of sacrificed fabric and boning to begin seeing the fruits of your labor. However, the end results may be not only a custom collection of corsets, but also a new passion for creating your own lingerie.

Image: Black Brush Photography. Corset, Model: Strait-Laced Dame Corsetry.

As Your Corset Collection Grows

Don’t be afraid to recognize which corsets in your collection no longer serve you. Perhaps they don’t fit as well as they once did, or maybe they just don’t support your overall aesthetic goals anymore. Whatever the reason, it is perfectly okay to part with corsets that you’ve grown out of. And, perhaps best of all, if they are in good condition, you might just be able to pass them along to another corset lover. After all, we all grow as humans, and that includes our preferences for garments and lingerie.

Are you a corset enthusiast? What advice would you suggest?

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.