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I’ve been putting this post off forever, but after getting some questions from one of my bra friends ( Yes, I have friends that I only talk about underpinnings with. What of it?), I decided it was time.
Corsets are somewhat popular with the plus size crowd, and I think it’s because they’re so much better than other shapewear, especially for bigger bodies. I tried a lot of shapewear before prom, and I wish I had had my corset to wear under my dress. I just wanted a bit of smoothing under my clingy dress, but everything squished my waist into a tube. Now that I have a corset, I will never go back to Spanx type shapewear.
Types of Corsets
The two main types of corsets you will encounter are overbust and underbust. Overbust covers the bosoms, and underbusts stop right under the bosoms. If you want a corset for waist training, get an underbust. Overbusts are for dress up and casual wear, because you don’t want to lace too tightly and hurt the girls. With an underbust, you don’t even have to worry with your boobs, and you can lace as tightly as is comfortable, after seasoning, of course.
Seasoning is what the breaking in period is called. I know it will be incredibly hard to stop yourself from tightening your corset as far as you can when you first get it, but you must resist! Your corset needs time to mold to your body, and if you tighten it too fast, you’ll bend the bones all out of whack. Season your corset with the Rule of Two – Two inches of reduction, for two hours a day, for two weeks. An easy way to measure a two inch reduction is to tighten your corset just to where it’s not falling off, then measure the back lacing gap. So if your lacing gap measures 7″, tighten it until it measures 5″.
Make sure your lacing gap is straight and parallel. If the gap looks like / \, \ /, ( ), or ) (, straighten it out so the bones don’t warp.
My Corset Review
The corset I wore to the faire is a CS-426 from Orchard Corset. It is a 30, which means it measures 30″ when fully closed. I didn’t measure, but I’m going to guess that my waist was around 34″ in those pictures. My uncorsetted waist is about 38″. If your waist measures 38″ or more, Orchard recommends ordering 6-8″ smaller than your waist measurement.
I talked to Cheri a lot before I made a decision, and she was extremely helpful. If you are unsure about anything, Orchard Corset customer service is the best I’ve ever encountered in all my years of online shopping, so don’t hesitate to contact them. Shipping is also super fast. Two days from Washington to Kentucky! Cheri suggested the 426 over the 411, because I’m plus size and a little over average height at 5’6″. The 426 is longer than the 411, so I don’t get undermuffin. The 426 is also good for gals with “vintage figures”, meaning your hips are at least 10″ bigger than your waist. Mine are about 12″ bigger, so I got that covered. If your hips are smaller than your waist, a CS-411 would be better for you, unless you don’t care if there’s a gap between the corset and your hips. I’ve heard that some women pad their hips out to get that hourglass shape in a corset, and I think that’s a splendid idea.
Since I got those childbearing hips, even Orchard’s level 3 corset wasn’t curvy enough for me. I knew I could get my waist smaller, but my hips could only be compressed so much. So I added expandable hip ties. I followed this video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6M_XDftZHo and it was really tedious, but super easy and so worth it. I laced down to 33″ on the first try like it was nothing.
I recommend watching the other corset videos Lucy (see above link) has. She knows everything there is to know, and she’s just an all around great person! I feel very important because I’ve talked to her on Tumblr. Be jealous.
There it is, kids. My plus size corset post. I know I probably left things out, so if you have any questions, please ask in the comments. I know people have a lot of questions about corsets, especially plus size corsets, and the purpose of this blog is to give the plus size perspective on non-traditional fashion, so ask away!