The modern corset is a tool for slimming the waist and exaggerating the hips and bust in order to achieve the desired hourglass figure.
While Victorian women originally hated them, modern women love the shape and confidence it gives them. Just like high heels, they may feel uncomfortable, but provide the right posture and do wonders for the body and self-esteem.
Corsets vary in style, materials (lace, silk, PVC), shapes, fit, colours, and patterns. They can be overbust or underbust, with less and more extreme curves, with steel or plastic boning (many argue that these aren’t real corsets, but for a certain price you can get one with pretty decent support), worn over or under the clothes, alone or as other clothing items (which have incorporated corset elements, such as lace - for example, blouses or dresses). They can lace up, zip up, or have hook and eye closures. They can have details such as beads or frills to accentuate some parts and de-emphasize some other parts of the body.
POPULAR CORSET MATERIALS
- Satin is usually worn under the clothes if you only want the hourglass figure without the corset showing.
- Mesh is breathable and light, great for the summer months, gives the body a great silhouette and can be worn under or over the clothes.
- Cotton is casual and comfortable, durable and breathable, but not advisable to wear as underwear, as it’s a bit thicker.
- Leather is comfortable over the clothing and stylish but is not recommended for waist training as it stretches out.
- Brocade is a thick and durable polyester blend, worn as a stylish accessory.
- Layer - They are usually worn with a chemise underneath (or today: camisole) –an undershirt to absorb perspiration and keep it clean.
- Lacing - Usually they are tightened by fastening the front busk, and then lacing up the back. Lace the corset in the middle for the best shape and support.
- Selection - In choosing the right type of corset you may need to consider a number of factors such as your figure, personal style, and the occasion.
- Care - Corsets can not just be thrown in the wash and hung in your closet. To make sure they last, you want to care for them properly. Learn more about cleaning and storing corsets here
Underbust corsets begin right under the bust (self-explanatory) and usually end at the beginning of your lap. Recommended for first time corset wearers is a black cotton underbust with detachable garters. Later you can always add more daring styles and materials such as PVC and leather or various patterns.
They can be worn as supportive undergarments or as fashion accessories over the clothes. If you’re a fan of the look, you can wear an underbust over almost any dress or skirt!
They provide an hourglass shape but don’t offer support for the bust. Other than that, they are also great for posture as they provide back support just like overbust corsets.
Their main advantage is versatility – you can get a simple cotton underbust and use it for a million different styles and outfits – traditionally with a black or white frilly shirt, but also with more casual tank-tops or printed Tees– all the while maintaining a great figure! A classic piece of clothing like this is a great investment and a must-have!
Overbust corsets usually begin just under your arms and end above the hips. They lift up the breasts, while reducing the waistline, offer great support for the back and can be worn as casual everyday wear or elegant evening wear, over or under the clothes. Add a pair of high heels and you'll be turning heads wherever you go with your feminine posture! The downside of an overbust is that it’s not as versatile as an underbust, so you can have one style, and one style only.
A bustier is traditionally worn under the clothes, to push up the bust and shape the waist gently (basically a bra + shapewear combo). They are often confused for corsets, but there are important differences: a corset provides the hourglass “cinch” in the waist, while a bustier doesn’t, corsets are more expensive etc.
The modern version of a Victorian corset with a straight-across neckline. For women with smaller busts (B cups or smaller), it can actually create an illusion of multiple cup sizes. Just be careful that the bust isn’t too loose, as it will require alterations (for example inserting some bra pads).
CORSET OUTFIT IDEAS
- Great for a sexy casual outfit with a pair of skinny jeans, or, for a formal event, go all out with laces, brocades and ribbons, or embellishments such as rhinestones and beading, don’t be afraid to experiment!
- A bodice underbust can look very elegant with a classic white shirt and a pencil skirt, or a flowy black skirt for formal events. It can also add interest to basic jeans and a tank-top outfit for a daytime look or a casual party.
- A brown longline corset looks very classy for a formal lunch or even the office! Wear it with a white shirt, grey knee-length skirt and low heel mary-janes, AND don’t forget to cover it up with a classic blazer.
- For inspiration, take the four badass chicks from the Moulin Rouge and add rhinestone jewelry, headpieces, garters and waist chains to make the look as glamorous as it gets! For a modern Moulin Rouge look, take a black underbust and pair it with a purple lace top. Add some bows, lace gloves, a rhinestone necklace and a matching flower to your hair. Of course, if you don’t want to go out in public looking like a burlesque dancer, you can add a simple or frilly black skirt, and you’ll be the star of any party!
- For a formal evening look, you can never go wrong with a classic sweetheart neckline overbust, paired with a frilly knee-length lace skirt.
- A deep red brocade overbust with a matching skirt is great for any formal event such as proms and weddings. Add a long necklace with black pearls and a flower for a true royal goth look.