Sylphide: FAQ

I'm happy to receive many e-mails. But please, please, please, read these FAQ first and write only if questions aren't answered there! Also don't send tremendous long attachments unless requested; it takes too long to download them. Pictures must absolutely be sent as JPG files and not as BMP or TIF files.

On this page I have collected frequently asked questions and added my answers. As a consequence, the contents are subjective.


The most frequently asked question is "Does it hurt?"
  1. If you do it correctly, no.
  2. Conversely, if you do it wrong, yes.
  3. If it hurt me, I wouldn't do it.
Can you breathe when you are laced up?
  1. If I am able to finish answering this question, then I have survived, at least as far as breathing is concerned.
  2. This question is absurd! If I couldn't breathe, I would be dead long ago or I wouldn't have time to answer these questions.
Won't your upper body be cut off?
Until now I've managed to stay in one piece.
Can you become pregnant if you wear a corset?
It doesn't prevent pregnancy. If I should become pregnant, during that time I would naturally not wear a corset. Soon after the delivery you can begin lacing again.
Does a corset hinder your ability to move?
In general I can move in a completely normal fashion. I go to work, and I ride a bicycle every day. Some movements are not so easy; for example, bending over. The corset holds your backbone straight, which is all to the good.
Do you wear a corset all night?
Yes, most of the time. After a while for me to become accustomed to it, night time wear became easy, and it has the advantage that in the morning you don't have to lace up the corset.
Do you loosen your corset at night?
No, not any more. At the beginning I often did, but after a while I became so used to it that I didn't need to loosen it at night.
How long you wear a corset at a time?
It depends, from one to three days.
How tightly do you lace?
Between 46 and 49 cm (measured over the corset) for everyday wear, 44 cm for special occasions or figure training.
What are your measurements?
My waist measures between 44 and 49 cm depending on the corset.
Do you want to get smaller than 17 inches?
No, that would be too small and I think it would not look good.
How many centimeters have you taken off your waist?
Approximately 20 cm, but I also lost some weight.
What was your waist size when you started?
66 cm.
What is your waist size now without a corset?
57 cm.
Your waist on the 17" pictures looks more like 14" or 15"!
The measurements given on my web site are outside measurements, taken over the corset. In the literature most of the time you see inside measurements, i.e. about 5 cm or more are subtracted from the actual outside measurements.
 
When you are laced, are you still able to eat?
Yes indeed, it's easy. With my corset closed I cannot eat as much as usual, but that is not especially a disadvantage.
What to do you eat?
I don't eat meat, but almost everything else, and I try not to lose weight.
Are you on a diet?
Except for meat I eat almost everything, and I try not to lose weight.
How much can you eat while corseted?
If it is really tight, I can't eat as much as usual. Otherwise I would be too full. :-)
Have you lost weight since you started wearing a corset?
Yes, a couple of kilograms.
How much do you weigh?
Wouldn't you like to know!
Where do your internal organs go, if your stomach is so flat?
They are compressed and pushed somewhat upward. That is better than if they were squeezed strongly downward.
How have you achieved such a flat stomach? How must the corset be made to keep the stomach so nice and flat?
My corsets have stiff busks in front and an additional stiff support (a steel stay) which helps the busks keep my stomach flat.
Have you had any ribs removed?
No, I have not.
 
Why do you wear a corset?
Because I like my figure with a corset better than without.
You find wearing a corset stimulating?
No.
How long have you been wearing corsets?
I have been wearing corsets since 1993.
What dangers to health result from tight lacing?
If it's not excessive, none, from to my experience.
How quickly does one become accustomed to a corset?
It takes several weeks to months, depending on how much time one has to devote to this hobby and how tightly one chooses to lace.
How tightly should one lace when one first starts wearing a corset?
At the outset you should pay close attention to your body and not try to achieve too much. An initial waist reduction of about 5 to, at most, 10 cm is best. It is very important to have a well fitting corset; otherwise it will be uncomfortable or not produce the desired result or or create other sorts of problems.
How soon should the corset be laced tighter?
You should begin slowly and proceed carefully. After the body has become accustomed to a given degree of tightness, i.e. if the material is no longer stretched tight, but has instead become somewhat loose, the corset can then be pulled in a bit more. Stay at that smaller size until you have become accustomed to it, and then again lace in a little more, and so on. The respective times for the body to adjust can last several days or even weeks. Don't go too fast!
At what age can or should lacing begin?
The younger, the better, but on legal grounds the limit should be not under 18 years of age.In bygone times girls often got their first corset at the time of their religious confirmation and couldn't wait to start lacing. The advantage of starting tight lacing when young is that the rib cage is more easily reshaped. The older a woman is when she starts lacing, the longer it will take for her to become accustomed to it.
What is the best time of day for lacing or lacing smaller?
The best time is in the morning before breakfast or late in the evening before going to bed. The latter is best for me personally, since my body can become accustomed to the corset during the night.
How long before you go out in public should you lace your corset?
Use your own judgment as to how long you will need to become completely accustomed to it before going out.
Why is the front stiffening of the corset so important?
It is important in order to make the stomach flat. That's desirable not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also from a health standpoint. If the abdomen were able to protrude below the waist, the abdominal organs would be displaced downward (the connective tissue would be stretched outward) and an unsightly bulge would be produced.
Do you lace yourself or does someone help you with it?
Sometimes one way, sometimes the other. Most of my corsets I can lace by myself.
 
How do you care for your skin beneath the corset?
Because I have dry skin, I rub a moisturising cream into it as often as I can. Before I put on the corset I powder my skin so that it can slide more easily and so that any folds in my skin that might occur inside the corset can be smoothed out more easily with the help of my chemise.
What happens to the skin beneath the corset?
One should be very careful of the skin beneath the corset. In the case of dry skin, one should use moisturising cream as often as possible to care for it. Beneath the corset a cotton undershirt is especially necessary, so that the folds produced during lacing can be eliminated by pulling on the undershirt. It's also very important to powder the skin before putting on the corset to facilitate the sliding of the undershirt between corset and skin.
Should I really do an enema if I want to wear a tight corset?
No, that is not absolutely necessary, but it is often helpful and then you can lace yourself tighter more easily. Additionally, enemas are proven in nature medicine for various indications.
How much do the stomach and back muscles atrophy and do they remain so?
This occurs only as a result of constant pressure over a long time. They become thinner and weaker. This is, however, completely reversible.
How does it happen that the layer of fat on my stomach becomes thinner because of corseting?
This also occurs at the same time as result of constant pressure over a long time. It is unfortunately also reversible ;-)
How severely are your lower ribs reshaped?
That depends on the shape of the corsets; in my 17" corset and the new 18" corset they are moulded in quite a bit.
After being laced my back hurts me or becomes numb. What should I do?
This is a sign that your corset has been laced too tightly or too quickly. If this happens, the corset should be loosened. If the pain or the numbness doesn't go away, it's better to take off the corset and try again later a little more carefully.
How can I avoid ugly marks on my skin beneath the corset?
You need a lacing flap to put under the laces to avoid marks from the laces. The width of the flap is unimportant, but you need to be careful that the space between the two halves of the corset is not wider than the lacing flap.
 
What clothing do you normally wear when laced?
Preferably clochard jeans and a T-shirt or a sweater. In summer often skirts and blouses.
What sort of corset should I use if I want to wear close-fitting blue jeans?
One that keeps your stomach as flat as possible, and therefore has strong inflexible busks and can be further strengthened with a spoon busk.
What sort of corset should a bride wear?
A white corset is best. The dress should also fit the figure closely and be tailored so to show off the corseted figure. The bride should become accustomed to the corset before the wedding day so that she won't have any problems with it on her "day of days".
Where can I get clothing suitable to wear over a tight corset?
Yes, that is a problem. A couple of suggestions for everyday clothing are given on my Web site. If you know how to sew, you can give your imagination full rein. In addition at flea markets you might find articles of clothing capable of being altered that could go well with a corset. Blouses and dresses can be taken in.
What sort of corset should I wear in summer if it is hot?
If it is not too hot to wear a corset, it is best to wear one made of a fabric that breathes (for example cotton), not too tight, and in which you feel comfortable.
Can I indulge in sports while wearing a corset?
That is not recommended. For sports it's better to leave your corset at home. That's better for the body and better for the corset. Mild physical activities, for example bicycle riding, are no problem in a corset.
 
When will you post new pictures on your Web site?
When I have some ;-)
Can you send me additional pictures or more private pictures?
No, from time to time I will post new pictures on my Web site.
May I use your pictures on my Web site?
In principle, no -- it would go against the policy of the Internet. But you can provide a link from your site to my site. A picture or two as appetizers in addition to the link are OK, but please ask beforehand.
May I take photographs of you?
At the moment I'm not prepared to do that.
How do you pay for your Web site?
I have some links to websites which have content relations to corsets. They pay per link. But there are no banners and the links are in the text. However, a great deal of time and expense has gone into the creation and maintenance of this site. Judging by the amount of mail I continue to recieve it would seem that this site has been of great help for many of you. I urge conscientious readers to support the concept of "informational shareware" and send a donation, however small, too keep this website going! Many thanks to those few of you who already have! If you would like to I can give you a postal address.
What are your interests?
I like music and corsets.
Can I meet you?
No, sorry :-(
Can I send you e-mail?
Yes, that's OK -- to info@sylphide.de. But please, please, please, read these FAQ first and write only if questions aren't answered there! Also don't send tremendous long attachments unless requested; it takes too long to download them. Pictures must absolutely be sent as JPG files and not as BMP or TIF files.
 
Do you wear high heels?
I wear shoes whose heels are most 8-9 cm high.
Are high heels preferred with a corset?
According to my experience, they are not unsuitable. I wear only shoes with heels higher than approximately 7 cm.
How high are your heels?
Various heights, around 8-9 cm at the highest. One pair is 10 cm high. I don't like platform soles.
 
How do people react when they see you on the street?
All sorts of ways! Many are enthusiastic, invite me to have a coffee and want to ask me about corseting. Others are dumfounded and have their mouths hanging open. Still others call out, "Just look at her!", and give each other a nudge. Many take no notice.
Do many people speak to you about corsets?
No, very few speak to me directly.
What do your acquaintances say about your corseting?
Many like the figure that the corset produces, and others marvel at my small waist.
Have you been able to interest other women in corseting?
As a result of my Web site several women have become aware of corsets and want to buy one for themselves.
Where do you get your corsets?
I order them from England from a man by the name of Michael Garrod.
How many corsets do you own?
At the moment I have five corsets, the oldest of which I no longer wear.
What colors are your corsets?
I have four white corsets and one black.
Of what materials are your corsets made?
They are made of strong cotton material and the outer surface is satin.
How long does a corset last?
Depending on how often and how tightly you wear it, between one and five years for good quality corsets.
 
How can I get HER to like wearing corsets?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions. Since it plays a special role in the spreading of corsets all over the world, I shall deal with it in as much detail as possible; and I'll describe everything from the point of view of a woman who laces herself.

The first thing you should do is to set yourself realistic objectives! Exaggerated expectations always end up in disappointment. It's of utmost importance that you don't push your partner or even exert mental pressure on her! In the beginning it's best if you intimate vaguely that you like small waists and that HER waist is quite small by nature (if that's true). Tell HER that tight-fitting clothes are fashionable nowadays. This may be the start for a discussion about how to emphasize the waist or how to set off HER figure to best advantage. At this point you could state that it is possible to stand out from the masses by enhancing the beauty of a special feature. Suggest that SHE could make HER waist even smaller than it is by nature. Maybe she then thinks of corsets - and refuses to wear any. Or you could mention that it's not a new thing to make one's waist smaller, as this was common during the Belle Epoque, for example. This is the point where most women reject the idea of a corset en bloc. If SHE doesn't you're lucky and one thing will lead to another.

But let's fancy that she says the corset would oppress women and it would cause damage to the health etc.. These are typical prejudices among people who don't know anything about corset-wearing. It's very important to do away with these. At first you could tell HER that it has nothing to do with oppression, for SHE is supposed to wear corsets of her own free will and voluntarily. Women in earlier times had no choice, but today they have an option! Now it's very important to make clear to HER what the advantages of a corset are. The texts of this website can help you with this. I recommend you to print out the corset adviser and to read it through together with HER or to let HER read it and talk about it afterwards. As an introduction for the text you should mention that it was written by me, a woman who laces herself. You could show HER photos (maybe some showing me) from the website. But in this context you should under no circumstances create a situation of competition, you should rather indicate realizable opportunities, i.e. by showing HER authentic photos. I'll give you some examples to make myself clear: it wouldn't help much if you said "...you are to be as small as the lady on the photo one day...". It sounds better to say "...look, how much more feminine she looks with a corset on ..." or something like that. It's absolutely necessary that you tell HER that corsets can (but need not necessarily) be worn every day (with almost every possible style of clothing), that they are not uncomfortable, harmful or inconvenient and that there are no handicaps from the corset if it's used appropriately. It seems proper and useful to me to compare corsets to high-heeled shoes.

Ideally SHE would now like to try out corsets herself. And for you this means moderation. I mean moderation concerning your objectives and moderation concerning the period of time in which you'd like to realize your objectives. If HER first corset isn't especially tight and if SHE can wear it and feels comfortable in it, it will be much easier for her to like it than if SHE felt not good while wearing it. In the above mentioned text I wrote that, after some time, it is easy to exchange the first corset for a smaller one. So you should get at first a corset that looks beautiful and that makes the waist smaller by approx. 5 cm. She should wear the corset only if she feels like it. Make compliments on HER figure and keep back your high expectations; and soon you can probably see that SHE likes wearing corsets. Do increase the tightness of HER waist in a way that SHE can tolerate and that SHE finds agreeable. This should be the only criterion determining HER waistline. I can serve as an example, for my waist is quite small and I find it agreeable; I feel good in my corset. But don't forget that I got used to that tightness over a long period of time - my body yielded so that the corset is not actually very tight. If necessary, SHE can contact me by e-mail (info@sylphide.de). I wish you much success in your efforts to convince HER!

 
How can I arrange for HIM to like corsets on me (and to buy me some)?
  1. Tell HIM about your wish, and HE will run and buy as many corsets as you want, you will see.
  2. Borrow a corset, put it on and show the result to HIM. HE will be ready to buy as many corsets as you want!
  3. Net result: Men are having a hard time, while things are much easier for women :-)
 

What about men wearing corsets?
I have focused on the promotion of the female wasp-waist. I don't want to exclude men who are wearing corsets, but they are not my target group. However they can participate in my information and can provide their knowledge to the benefit of all.

I think that it is strange for a man to wear a corset. In my imagination a small waist doesn't fit well with a male body. It doesn't stress his natural shape, but makes him look unnatural in a way. I think that corsets are especially made for women, to stress the natural shape of the female body. This was probably the intention with which somebody invented this piece of underwear.

 
In our days the corset has a bad reputation in the public. What are the reasons for this and why do many people think that corset-wearers are 'abnormal'? What can we do to improve the corset-image?
In my opinion a corset is a piece of underwear for women to help them to get their waist - which is naturally small - even smaller for esthetical reasons. Of course it is true that a corset makes a woman look more erotic, but for me this is not necessarily the main reason for wearing corsets. I don't want the corset to have anything to do with fetishism or even sado-masochism. I'll explain this point below in more detail.

At the turn of the century the corset was very popular (and there was a minor revival in the 1950s), but since then it has become something like an outcast (I know that this expression applies only for persons, but I can't think of any other). I would like to revive it as an article of female underwear. The aim must therefore be to get the corset out of its shadowy existence and to make it a piece of clothing that is as widely accepted as any other, e.g. the bra.

The question is how to get there! First of all we have to ask ourselves: What are the reasons for the decrease of the corset? At the beginning it was certainly the liberation movement, in the course of which women wanted to get rid of all restriction. The ladies were striving for liberty, not only mentally, but also physically. This development led to the rather shapeless dresses of the 1920s and 1930s. During the 50s there was a short corset revival, but the liberation movement in the 60s soon put an end to it. Since that time corsets have been totally out of fashion.

So the corset has nearly disappeared for almost 90 years now. People who wanted to wear it in spite of the new fashion didn't dare to show it in public. Consequently it became an article for small groups of people. This was probably the reason why it survived, although its existence was rather modest. Yes, on the one hand I think that the corset's survival is due to those small groups of people who remained faithful and went on using it. On the other hand it's also due to them that efforts to re-establish the corset for common use do fail. I'd like to explain this in the following:

If a group of people is - in one or more aspects - excluded from the public, then this is probably owing to its members' behaviour which doesn't comply with generally accepted standards. In our case this means that the function of the corset was no longer only to form a small waist, there were other many functions attached to it, especially in the field of sexuality. This may have been the case in the last century, too, but not to such an extent as it is in our days. By the time other things were connected to corset-wearing, things that initially had nothing to do with it! What I'm talking about are high heels (in my opinion high heels are higher than 12cm ~ about 5 inches), latex and rubber clothing (there were nearly no corsets of rubber or latex a hundred years ago!), extremely long fingernails, body piercing or even mutilations, tattoos etc. ... These all are practices from sexually very liberal and permissive surroundings (in the following I'd like to call them 'unusual': this expression is meant to be merely descriptive and without any judgement). Another serious point is that these practices - unfortunately together with corset-wearing - are often performed in connection with prostitution. The public knows about this fact and for most people the 'unusual' practices are inseparably lumped together with corset-wearing. All these things contribute to the fact that corset-wearing has a negative image in our society.

I take it that corset-wearing was generally accepted and even desired a hundred years ago. It was even abnormal not to wear one. Women put on corsets mainly with the intention to become more beautiful; there were sexual reasons, too, but they weren't so important. At the period there was not the least connection between corsets and the 'unusual' practices. Every woman wore one. It was a common piece of clothing for both the housemaid and the lady which by no means was only worn by extravagant people. This was possible because the corset was generally accepted, as the bra is in our days. Today nobody would call a lady extravagant or deviant if she wore a bra. This is due to a quite functional view of the bra. It certainly has erotic components, but they are not the main reason why women wear bras. I think that it is not the bra itself, but rather a beautifully formed bust that has an erotic effect (which is 'normal' = generally accepted eroticism). It was the same thing with the corset. Not the corset itself, but rather its 'product' - the small waist - was looked at as erotic.

Therefore I have developed a theory: If the corset is to be re-established as a normal and functional piece of underwear, then its image has to be redefined. It must no longer be looked at as a fetishist and deviant article that is often connected to prostitution, but rather as a functional means to get a small waist, as it was common at the end of the last century.

In order to get there it is necessary to take away the negative image (which I explained above) from the corset. A lady who - for functional reasons - is interested in corseting, shall not at all have to be afraid of being associated with 'unusual' practices by public opinion. But unfortunately this is still the case today. I don't like the injustice of public opinion, but it does exist and we have to cope with it.

I'm sure that the majority of women would prefer not to wear a corset if she additionally had to wear high heels (of more than 12cm ~ 5 inches), had to have tattoos and piercings or exaggerated make-up.

I'd like to make clear another point: I'm not totally against any means besides the corset to promote femininity, but I'd like to reduce the use of these things to a generally acceptable level that can be performed by most women. An example: I often wear shoes with high heels, but the heels are not 15cm ~ 6-7 inches, but only 5-7cm ~ 2-3 inches high. This height is fully accepted in our society and it contributes to femininity. Concerning piercings I confine myself to earrings, as many thousands of women do. My fingernails have an average length, for I think that very long ones would hamper free movement. The same applies to make-up: in my opinion exaggerated make-up is not beautiful. One should confine oneself to an average level with these things to make the corset popular again, for it is not so much the corset itself, but the related attributes that prevent it from becoming a fashionable article again.

I do not want to prevent anybody from performing any 'unusual' practice. What I want to say is that all these things are not appropriate to make the corset popular, on the contrary, they have an adverse effect on the corset image. We can only hope that the reputation of the corset will improve as a consequence of the recent fashion shows. I confine myself to promoting the corset alone. I'm not against the performance of all the other things, but I'm against their connection to the corset.

It should be normal to wear a corset. The corset image should be quite similar to the bra image. I think that I as a corset-wearer can contribute to reach this aim by looking a bit girlish and 'innocent' and by signalling that I'm laced because a small waist is beautiful and dainty (Girl-next-door-look). In my opinion this strategy is the best because it allows other ladies to lace without to be connected with prostitution. For a woman who wants to become a corsetee it is much easier to identify with someone who looks like the girl from next door than with someone who looks like a vamp or a prostitute.


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