Your first time lacing yourself into a corset can be tricky! So I’ve made this page to help with the process. You will need a mirror (full length, or one in which you can at least see down to your lower back) in a well lit room – so you can see what you are doing while lacing up the back of your corset.
If you have a friend or significant other who can help – that does make it easier – and they can follow the instructions on this page to lace you into your corset.
First, you’ll need to loosen the laces of the corset so you can put it on. To do this, first untie the corset in the back, and hook your finger underneath each X down the back. Start in the center, work your way out to top and bottom, and repeat, until the corset is very loose – go for about 6-10 inches of gap between the edges. Make sure that your “bunny ears” – the loopy pieces at the center of each side – are not pulled all the way flush to the corset – it will make it easier to find and pull them later in the process.
Next, hook the corset around yourself. If it’s tight at the waist and you have issues getting the busk to hook – take it off and loosen the laces a few inches more.
Tighten the laces of the corset (partially) by pulling on the “bunny ear” portion of the strings.
Adjust the modesty panel. That’s the flap of fabric that’s connected to one side of the corset that covers your back underneath the laces. Smooth it, grab the corners and pull them so it lays flatter. You’ll need to keep adjusting the panel as you tighten the corset further – so repeat this step as you complete steps 5, 6, and 7.
Tighten the corset further. Do this by pulling on the X’s like you did in step 1 – but this time start at the top and bottom, and work your way toward the center. Then pull your bunny ears at the center. If your outer X’s are floppy and you can’t find the exact strings – ignore them and work on the second/third to the top and second/third to the bottom (whichever is easiest to find) – and work your way toward the center from there. That will fix the floppy string problem. Repeat until you have a nice neat row of X’s top to bottom – but the corset is not yet all the way tight to your form.
Turn around to the front, and double check that your busk (the metal hook portion in the front) is straight. Most of us have a slight assymmetrical shape to the torso – and if you don’t pay attention while lacing your corset – it could mold to your form crooked! If you notice a slant to your busk, grab the bottom of the corset and twist, grab the top of the corset and twist the other way – wiggle and keep twisting it until it’s straight.
While you are facing the front, do a bust check. The bust area of the corset curves out and then in, and if you are wearing a bra beneath your corset, the bra should not start below where it starts to curve out. If you are going bra-less beneath your corset, make sure that the ladies aren’t trying to escape below the curve too – if anything but your waist is in the waist portion of your corset – it won’t fit you properly!
Now it’s time to tighten the corset the rest of the way! Repeat the process of Step 5 – pulling on the X’s from the top/bottom to the center until your corset is as tight as you like. When you finish, tie those bunny ears together and give them one last tug before finishing the bow.
As you wear your corset, it will actually mold to your form over time. Some corsets require a “breaking in” time where you must wear the corset for hours loosely laced before you can cinch it down all the way and wear it in public. My exclusive hourglass corsets tend to mold to the form extremely quickly – and don’t require a breaking in time. But if you wish to wear it for a couple hours on a day prior to your event, this will help your overall comfort level during your event. Also, I’ve found that once broken in, you’ll get an extra inch or so cinched in the back of the corset.
How to remove your corset
Removing the corset is the reverse of putting it on – untie it, then loosen the laces in the back, then unclasp the busk in the front. NEVER unclasp your busk before loosening your laces – this can cause the stitches and fabric around your busk to weaken and eventually tear.
I always wear a thin spaghetti strap tank top beneath my corset. I tuck the straps down inside the corset and make sure either the tank is a v-neck style – or pull down the front so that it doesn’t peek at the bustline. This serves several purposes. First, corsets are an utter pain to clean – and the tank top is what’s actually against my skin, and can be easily washed. Secondly, I’ve found that the tank top makes the corset feel a bit more comfortable, while not really making a difference in the look. Lastly – and this is the best benefit – when I am done with the event, and my torso is completely done being encased in steel for the day, all I need to do is go fishing for my straps and put them back over my shoulders, and I can remove the corset and ride home in my tank top – and comfort!
Also, riding in the car is not pleasant while wearing a corset. It depends on your comfort level with corsets – but my general rule – if my costumed adventure is an hour or more away, the corset is staying in the back of the car until I get there. I own my right to get dressed in the parking lot. 😉 And that’s another good reason for the under-tank top! For costumed adventures less than an hour away, I’ll lace myself in loosely, and tighten it when I get there.