A Beginners Guide to Corseting

Guide to Corseting

It has been a while that corsets have become very popular. All celebrities are seen wearing corset outfits every now and then.

There are several websites where you can find inspiration related to corset outfits, how to style them etc.  But, only a few talk about how and where to get started.  And you being here, is a sign that you have made up your mind to add a corset to your wardrobe.

Here is a quick and easy guide for you to help in bringing the corset trend into your life.

Let’s begin with the basic description of the word corset

What is a corset? So, basically, a corset is a type of undergarment. However, it is now used as an over cloth as well these days.  A corset is a tightly fitted garment that hugs you around your waist. The main purpose of wearing a corset is to get a perfect hourglass figure within seconds.

Origin of corsets

Origin of corsets
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Okay, whenever we want to understand something or some trend, the first question that comes to our mind is from where did this trend come from?

So, let’s get to know a little about the history and origin of our favorite lingerie corsets. Corset has its traces a long back in history. Even though the corsets, as we know them today, originated in the 15th and 16th centuries, their existence has been there before that.  In old historical images and statues, we can clearly see that people then used to tie belts and other sorts of clothing to shape their waist and have an illusion of that perfect hourglass figure.

In fact, the corset, in the beginning, was not just limited to women. Men were also seen wearing corsets to define their bodies in a better way. The earliest form that is known of corsets was when they were used by European women in their gowns. Back then, women used to wear gowns called kirtles. These kirtles used to have tightly sewn inflexible fabrics in the bodice. The reason for these fabrics being added to the gowns was to provide the perfect shape to the body of the wearer. 

On the other hand, men were seen wearing similar stiff garments over their clothes that fitted their bodies tightly. These garments were called surcoats and were similar to what we call overcoats today. The only difference between the two is that surcoats were designed to fit very snugly.

Different types of corsets

Corsets come in many different styles and types. In order to know which style of corset is suitable for you, you first need to get familiar with the different types.

Majorly, there are two types of corsets. These are- the underbust and the overbust corsets.

Underbust corsets

As the name itself suggests, underbust corsets hugs you right under your bust. This means that an underbust corset does not cover or support your breasts. The sole purpose of an underbust corset is to train your waist and cover your belly.

Underbust corsets
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An underbust corset can be worn both as an undergarment and over your clothes.  When wearing an underbust corset, you will have to choose and wear a bra that supports your breasts perfectly. If you are a beginner, then, an underbust corset will do the best for you. These are easy to carry, affordable as compared to the overbust ones, and a little comfortable in order to make you familiar with corsetry in the beginning.

Overbust corset

The most basic and oldest type of corsets are the . Whenever you think about the word corset, you are most likely to imagine or picture one of these.

Overbust corset
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An overbust corset, unlike an underbust one, covers your entire torso. It starts from the breasts and ends right above your hips. An overbust corset’s main advantage is that besides training your waist, it provides support to your breasts and lifts them up, enhancing your figure in the best way it can.

Overbust corsets are good to be worn in any way you desire. They can be styled alone over a pair of nice pants, skirts, or any other bottom. You can also style them as an undergarment or over your clothes.

Now, these were the two basic kinds of corsets. Under these, there are many other styles and silhouettes. For e.g., European style corsets, Edwardian corsets, sweetheart neckline corsets, and numerous more.

How to choose the right fit?

Another very common and important question that a beginner has regarding corsets is how to know your corset size.

Now, the answer to this question firstly depends on what type of corset you are choosing. If you are planning to buy an underbust corset, you need to measure your waistline, hips, underbust, and torso length. Whereas, if you are inclined towards an overbust corset, you need to measure the bust size as well along with the other measurements.

Moreover, you need to know the fact that only those corsets that come in inch sizes are meant to be worn as waist trainers or will sincerely help you in your purpose. No genuine corset makers offer corsets in sizes like S, M, L, or XL. Such corsets are better and adequate for costumes. If you want a corset that fits your size exactly how it should go for the collections that provide inch size details.

How to measure yourself?

How to measure yourself
Picture Credits: thelittlegemstone

Bust

As we talked about above, bust measurements are only needed if you want to invest in an overbust corset. While measuring your bust, it is important to keep in mind that you need to keep the tape to the fullest part of your breasts.

It is a better option if you can ask someone to help you with your bust measurements. You can stand straight with your arms lifted up to the level off your shoulders. Now ask the person to wrap the tape around the fullest part of your breasts. The fullest parts mean the point of your nipples.  Make sure that the measurement is snug so that the corset you buy also fits you snugly.

In case, you don’t have someone to help you out, you can do this alone as well. Just, stand in front of a mirror. Now wrap the tape around your breasts and back. Just, make sure that the tape is at the right angle, not too loose, and is not twisted from any side.

Underbust

Now, this part needs to be measured no matter what kind of corset you are looking for. Just in case you are not familiar with what exactly is called underbust, here is a simple explanation. Underbust is the exact lining that separates your breasts and your abdomen.  The crease line just under your breasts is what we are talking about here.

So, again, it would be helpful and easier for you if you are able to get someone to help you with your measurement. If not, take the help of your mirror. Stand straight. Take the inch tape around your underbust. Make sure you cover the overall area from the front and back properly and in symmetry. Don’t keep the tape too loose and assure that it is straight and right.

Waist

Okay, so the waist area is a very important body part that needs to be measured just perfectly if you want your corset to fit you right. But, the problem is that it is the trickiest job to measure your waistline.

The reason that we are calling this job tricky is that there are several ways out there to measure the waistline but no one tells you which one is the most suitable.

Some people say that you should always measure your waist from the part of it which is the smallest or the narrowest. However, isn’t this just impossible for many of us to figure out the smallest part of our waist? Every girl or every woman has a unique body shape. Finding or clearly seeing the thinnest waist area is possible for those who have many curves in their body or have an hourglass figure. However, there are many who have a straight body type. This method becomes useless and confusing for such people.

Hence, here is the best and the most effective way of measuring your natural waistline. We are talking about the bend and measure method. All you need to do is, bend on one side and mark the point of your waist that pinches when you bend. Now do the same by bending on the other side. Measure your waistline by keeping the tape is level with these marks.

Also, always keep in mind that while picking up the corset, always look for at least 4 inches smaller size than your actual and natural waistline.

Hip

Measuring the hip can also be a bit difficult. Again you can use the bending method. Sit or bend down and measure your hip from the point or the crease line of your torso and legs.

Torso length

Okay! Now, this is an easier one. All you need to do is sit on a chair. However, sitting is not important. Torso length can be easily measured standing as well.

Start from the underbust point to the starting of your hip. We are sure that identifying underbust and hip are clear to you by now. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that your back should be upright and you shouldn’t bend even a little while measuring the torso length.

Some quick tips when buying your first corset-

Some quick tips when buying your first corset
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1. Fit is very important

As the definition suggests, a corset tends to fit very tightly and snugly to the body. Hence, fit is very important. Make sure that your measurement is right and you buy the perfect size.

2. Don’t compromise with quality

There are many options available in the market. From cheaper to affordable and to the very expensive ones, the market is full of a variety of corsets. And, we know that for the trial purpose, the cheap ones look more appropriate to us.

But, this should not be the case with corsets. Don’t even think of compromising with the quality of your corset. The quality affects many other factors like the material quality, fit, comfort shape, etc., and, even for the trial purpose or for the beginning the corset needs to be top-notch.

3. Put your comfort first!

Whenever wearing any garment, comfort is very important. Especially a garment like a corset that is so tight and stiff, comfort needs to be kept in mind while purchasing. Now the question is, how would you know whether a corset is comfortable or not?

Comfort with regard to corsetry means, the fabric should be good and suitable to you, the fit should be tight but not too tight, the material and style should suit your posture, etc.

4. Experiment always!

Experimenting is always a good idea in fashion. With corsets, you can experiment in two ways. The first is with the different types of corsets. It is impossible and impractical to figure out which type of corset is best for you. The best way of finding out the most appropriate style and type of corset for you is by trying all of them out. Whenever you go to buy a corset, try out different styles and patterns and then decide what to buy.

Another way of experimenting with corsets is by styling them in different ways. Wear corsets in different styles, above your clothes, over your clothes, with jeans, skirts, pants, shorts, try out layering, and much more. There is no end to experimenting with styles if you are creative enough!

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