Ok friends… I’ve been working on this post for a little while. I was worried about what the backlash would be from readers. So I feel I must write this preamble first:
I believe there is not ‘right way’ to have a body. You can be the healthiest version of yourself and never come close to being model-skinny. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. THIS is the body I was supposed to have, and I’m determined to actively celebrate it …. now …. and as I see fit!!! It’s taken me a long time to get to this level of self-acceptance, it’s a work in progress, but I’m thrilled to finally be here. After all, isn’t owning your body the healthiest thing of all?
Having said all this, I am a huge fan of foundational undergarments that help smooth bulges and hides the lumps & bumps under clothes so that they lay more smoothly against the body. Corsets have been around for over 100 years and many have rediscovered the corset’s versatility to not only accentuate a woman’s curves, but to provide relief and support for the back, in fashion, in costumes worn either under or over clothing, and in waist training to help achieve a different waist shape over time.
Recently I joined the #measuremebeautiful campaign and measured myself: 48 – 40 – 48. My Bust. My Waist. My Hips. Turns out I’m a natural “hourglass” shape. But regardless of what your natural shape is, if an hourglass shape is what you want, you can have it … by getting yourself into a corset.
CheChe of AlterEgo Clothing reached out to PPMeow! to help a newbie – ME – with all the ‘need-to-knows” before buying a corset.
Types of Corset – which is best for You?
There are two main styles of corsets: Over-the-Bust and Under-the-Bust. Under-the-bust is probably the most wearable as it can be worn like a laced belt to tighten and tame the waist. It’s basically a large belt. The two most popular styles at AlterEgo are the “Waist Cincher” (i.e. without hip flare recommended for those who have a more straight physique) and the “Waist Trainer” (i.e. with a hip flare recommended for those who are hippy-er….like moi).
What Makes a Quality Corset?
A Real Corset will have steel-boning. The boning in corsets is necessary to keep that taut design that stops the corset from folding with your body. Bodices, which look somewhat like corsets, will be much cheaper in both price and quality, and they will not have any boning of any kind in them. True corsets need to have strong fabric, such as heavyweight canvas or cotton, which supports the structure. You should be able to yank on a corset’s fabric without anyone worrying that you’re going to rip it apart. This is not necessarily the outer layer that people see, there is usually a fashion layer that has “prettier” fabric. 🙂
How Much Do They Cost?
Corsets are investment pieces. Translation: a good quality corset is expensive (upwards of $100). When buying a corset you have to think about how often you want to wear it. Everyday? Once in a while? Very occasionally? Go for an affordable make with steel bones to keep you rigid. Remember: you get what you pay for, so be prepared to get the type of corset you are willing to buy. A high-quality corset will last for years. If you are not willing to spend, chances are you are not going to get anything of a decent quality. AlterEgo’s corsets begin at the $130 price point.
What Size Should You Buy?
You should buy a corset which will reduce your natural waist by 4-6 inches. So if your natural waist line is, say, 40 inches, you should buy one that is 34-36″. Incredible, but true!! Now, the length of your torso is of great importance, so be sure to check all measurement charts and carefully compare them with your measurements when selecting. Plus, so much can depend on personal tolerances for compression, your goals for your corset, what you wear under your corset, the “squish vs firm” factor. AlterEgo will help you with the math and measurement – there is a bit of science to it. 😉
How to Wear a Corset?
Traditional corsets have a busk front (a stiffened section with fastenings like hooks and eyes) and a lace-up back. The strings draw together in a bow at the centre of the garment (not the top or the bottom as I assumed). The idea is that you hook the front first then tighten the back (with help, if necessary) to your fit. Don’t worry if the edges of the garment don’t meet at first. Eventually they will, I’m told. 🙂 There’s a ‘modesty panel’, which is an extra flap of fabric that can be folded in (like I’ve done in the photos below) so that you’re able to see the lace-up back more clearly.
How to Care For & Clean a Corset?
If you’re going to be wearing your corset underneath clothing, you might want to consider wearing a thin tank top, rather than have the corset against your body, to maintain the life and freshness of your piece. This will help prevent having to clean your corset often. For spot-cleaning you can use a mild detergent and/or use a fabric freshener like Febreze. NEVER use the washing machine. From time to time you might want to have your corset professionally dry-cleaned if you wear it often.
Being top-heavy/busty/a member of the-big-titty-committee, I constantly deal with lower back pain. I was pleasantly surprised at how much pressure it relieved off my back instantly, while improved my posture and making me look taller! I have to admit, I was and still am a little overwhelmed at the amount of boob that seemed to be at dangerously suffocating levels whenever I sat down..LOL (sorry for the blurry pics below). BUT overall, wearing a corset made me feel like a sexy, brown Jessica Rabbit …. MEOW indeed!!! 🙂
Personally, wearing one of these on a regular basis isn’t for me. I have no interest in wasit-training. Nor do I have an extra hand in-house to help with the lace-up back … and I’m wayyyy too impatient to learn to do it myself. But, I could totally see myself changing the look of an OOTD by wearing a corset overtop of it. And for those sung-fitting outfits I’ve been avoiding, wearing a corset underneath would put them back into my closet rotation. PLUS, with all the fun-filled events with the Toronto Vintage Society, I can totally see myself wearing a corset for an event or two!
With Cheche’s help, we spent a fun afternoon playing dress-up and finding a perfectly fitting corset, just for me.
The photos above were of a simple cotton “Waist Trainer” style corset. But there are a ton of customizable options for you too!!! AlterEgo‘s corsets are made in Canada and custom orders takes approximately 2-4weeks to arrive. AND they can be shipped directly to your home! I can’t wait for mine!
Stayed tuned to PPMeow! for an upcoming post showcasing previous OOTDs Before vs. After THE Corset – where I’ll recreate some of my previous Outfits of the Day pictures, only this time WEARING my new AlterEgo Corset to showcase the transformational differences. Weeeeeee!!!
Thinking of getting a corset of your own? Mention that Irene from Petite Plus, Meow! sent you — Cheche at AlterEgoClothing will take extra special care of you 😉
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