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What I Look for in a Tightlacing Corset

Each of us has different wants and needs when it comes to our clothing. I like mine to be form fitting and sleek. Initially, I sought to disguise my bulging waistline with different styles than I usually wear, but something occurred to me. If you are unhappy with your body, do you change your clothes, or change your body? Obviously you want to look good and be comfortable, but if you buy larger clothing because you have gained weight, rather than actively try to lose the weight, where does that leave you? When does it end? I was standing in a clothing store picturing myself buying a larger pant size every year. I hastily put the size 10 jeans back on the rack.

When tight lacing, the opposite is the case. If you are successful, you will be buying a smaller corset size every year. Twice a year or more depending on your diet, exercise and rate of wear. At my current rate, I estimate that I will be sporting a 22” corset by the end of this year. I do stress that it isn't a race, and I'll be perfectly happy in a 24”, if that's what I am comfortable wearing. Wearing the corset alone does not immediately result in weight loss. It does shift the body fat in what many say is a very aesthetically pleasing way. I am naturally pear shaped, so I haven't noticed a big difference, but many of my friends who waist train have said that their hips appear to be curvier. As a curvy shape is the goal of many, this is good news.

I have a checklist that I use to ensure that the corset I am about to purchase will help me meet my waist training goals. It’s quite long and detailed. After looking at the different shapes and styles available, I decided I only wanted a corset that could give me the high waisted, retro pin-up look. Underbust styles are ideal for waist training, they give pressure just where you need it, and are very comfortable. No matter your bust size, you can find an underbust corset to fit you. Overbust corsets are lovely as well, but not necessarily for daily wear.

Steel bones are also a must, as they have the strength to gently shape your waist without buckling and warping like plastic bones do. A corset made with a mix of flexible spiral steel and rigid flat steel is very good for a beginner. A more experienced tight lacer may opt for a corset with only flat steel. I hear it takes a bit of getting used to. When I obtain one I'll be sure to list the pros and cons. Another internal component of a good corset is waist tape. Waist tape is a sturdy ribbon that is used reinforce the waist line of a corset. It takes some of the stress off the fabric, and can add to the durability of a corset. Some corsets don't have it and they work just fine, but I prefer those that do.

Nearly every corset that I currently own has a steel busk in front. It is by far the fastest and easiest way to get in and out of a corset. It also aids in keeping a round tummy in check. You can request a corset with no front opening, but you need VERY long laces and it will take quite some time to get out of., especially if you have broad shoulders. I learned this the hard way. The corset does look very nice though. I have also seen real corsets with heavy duty zips and laces in the front as well as in the back, though I have not yet purchased one.

As to fabric, I like to ask the retailers how many layers they use in their corsets. Ideally there would be three. These can include a cotton or denim lining, a stiff coutil or twill inner layer to keep the bones from shifting, and a fashion fabric for the outer layer. A corset with a heavy outer layer, such as leather, may have only two layers and still be quite good. The fashion fabric can be anything you like, but for daily wear it's a good idea to pick something durable that can be easily spot cleaned.

Shape is a feature that is easy to overlook when shopping for waist training corsets, but becomes all-important after you have been wearing them for a while. Most corsets feature a sloped curve, with a gradual curve from bust to hip. Many corsets that are described as hourglass are actually sloped. They are very comfortable and do not press on the ribs or hips too much. Some corsets have an hourglass curve, which features a sharp indent towards the waist from the bust, and then just as sharply slants out to the hips. It’s a very dramatic look, highlighting the contrast between the tight lacer’s tiny waist and ample hips. This is my ideal figure.

It does apply pressure on the ribs and can shape them to have a smaller circumference at the base of the ribcage. A tapering waist is what I'm looking for, so for me it's fine. A wide ribcage tends to give me a very straight up and down ’ruler’ type figure. If you don't want that effect, it can easily be avoided by buying a shorter corset or waist cincher, that doesn‘t pull in the lower ribs. I prefer longer corsets that begin just under the bust and go below the hips. This completely flattens the tummy and also lifts the bust.

There are other corset shapes of course, but as I do not intend to wear them, I haven’t discussed them here. The conical Elizabethan styles aren’t fit for waist training, more of a costume really. The straight front or ‘S-Curve’ style is far too constricting and places a lot of pressure on the abdomen. I would not recommend it. The pipe stem style corset is one you may have seen on experienced tight lacers. It features a lengthened waist line, accomplished by years of waist training. It adds an extreme amount of pressure on the wearer’s ribs. I will not be taking my training that far. At the smallest, I will probably wear a 22” corset, because in my opinion any smaller that that would not be visually appealing on me.

I hope I’ve provided some helpful tips on how to pick out your corset. If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me at nytightlacer@gmail.com .

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