Every time I go to a Steampunk Festival, I see T-shirts that say something like this:
“Boots First, Then Corset”
And I wish I had my own T-shirt that says something like this back at them!
“A pro can put them on in either order.”
Here are my best tips on how to wear a corset like a pro!
How to be able to move while wearing a corset
- Get a corset that fits you properly.
- Don’t lace it too tightly at the chest. Because breathing is important.
That’s it! To illustrate, I took a few pics. I chose the most heavy duty corset I have. It’s double steel boned (with two spiral steel bones along each seam), weighs just shy of 2 pounds, and is about 3/8 of an inch thick along the boning channels. I’m laced pretty aggressively. Right now my natural waist measures 32 inches, but me plus thick corset measures only 26.5 inches around in these photos.
So here are a few photos showing what I can still do while wearing this crazy heavy corset. I’m not particularly flexible. (Exercise, bah!) But most everything that I can do uncorseted, I can still do while corseted.
I can sit cross legged.
I can pick things up off the floor.
And yes, I can put these amazing boots on. If you follow all of my tips, you’ll find that corsets can be surprisingly comfortable!
Corset Lacing Tips
Since I design and sell corsets, it made sense to put the corset lacing tips with my store! So if you have a corset, and you’re trying to figure out how the heck to get the thing on, please head over to the guide in my FAQ. 🙂
Corset Comfort Tips
Most corsets require seasoning, or breaking in. This is less true with my hourglass corsets (they mold to your form very quickly.) But typically, to be sure you are comfortable at your event, it’s a good idea to wear the corset for an hour or two per day, for several days before your event. Also if you are wearing a corset (like the silver one I wore above) that reduces your natural waist more than 4 inches, I really recommend waist training prior to the event (Wear the corset or a training corset for a few hours each day, to accustom yourself to the feeling.)
A thin spaghetti strap tank top (like the ones in my affiliate link above) will save your life. You wear it underneath your corset with the straps tucked inside. A V-neck is best for not showing – or, pull it down really far before putting on the corset. Why? Several reasons:
- Laundry day sucks. And corsets are a ROYAL pain to clean. But tank tops absorb sweat and are easy to clean.
- The tank top adds an extra layer between your bones and the corset’s bones. It’s a bit more comfy that way.
- When all done with your event, it’s quick and easy to go fishing for straps, take off the corset, and SLOUCH.
If you need to ride in the car to get where you are going, “car-tighten” your corset. That is, lace it just tight enough that it won’t fall off. It’s uncomfortable to wear a tightly laced corset in the car, and you can tighten it when you get there. We are cosplayers. We own our right to get dressed in the parking lot. 😉
Speaking of getting dressed in the parking lot… If I’m traveling to an event more than an hour away, I’ll leave the corset in the back of the car until I get there. Which is reason #4 for the tank top!
Things not to do
Never unhook the front of a tight corset. Loosen the laces first. Unhooking a tight corset causes undue wear and tear in the busk area, and can cause stitches and even fabric casing to tear over time. This is also true with swing clasp closures – although to a lesser extent.
Your friends will love you if you let them borrow your corset… But you might not love your corset quite as much when you get it back! Letting friends borrow a corset, in my experience, seems to be the number one easiest way to make it go crooked. We’re all shaped slightly different, and most people have torso shapes that are asymmetrical in some way. The corset molds to your form over time. If worn by someone else it will try to mold again to their form – and then when you get it back, it will need to mold to your form again. The process winds up being quite hard on the corset. So just a tip – if you reserve your corset collection for your own use, each corset will last you a lot longer.
And those are my best tips on how to be comfortable while wearing corsets. Coming next week – Part 8: How to care for a Corset!