Here you find an adviser and guide about corset wearing, figure training and tightlacing on the topic “What features must a corset have?”
Which associations do you have when you hear the word ‘corset’? Maybe fainting, discomfort, agony, etc.? Unfortunately this is the case with many people. The following compilation of questions and answers, based on my own experiences, is to do away with the corset’s negative reputation, to list its positive effects and to inform you about the practical use of corsets today, in our time. After having read this information you should associate corsets with elegance, grace and attractivity.
What features must a corset have?
You should like it! That sounds simple, but it makes sense from a psychological point of view; if you like your corset it’s much easier for you to accept possible restrictions or difficulties. This is a rather subjective criterium, but there are other, more objective ones as well.
The shape of the corset is of great importance. In former times women had worn various corset shapes, depending on the current fashion styles. Corset shapes changed in the course of time: there were short and long ones, some included the bust, some did not, etc. I think it’s essentially important that the corset’s lower part is long enough. While sitting on a chair the lower corset edge should reach just above the pubic bone. This enhances your feeling of comfort and guarantees that the corset fulfils its supportive function as best as it can. Furthermore it prevents your stomach from ‘sticking out’ under the corset, which wouldn’t be beautiful from the aesthetic standpoint; and it supports your abdominal muscles and thus prevents them from being stretched.
The upper part of the corset must include the four lowest rib pairs, the rest is a matter of taste. General recommendations say that the corset should reach at least up to just under the bust. If it includes the bust, you need no bra, which is a considerable advantage if you want to wear low-necked summer or evening dresses. The corset automatically lifts your ribcage and thus makes your bust look more attractive. A corset that includes the bust is very effective in supporting it.
A corset should be tightest where the body is easily formable. This is the case round the waist and round the lower ribcage (the lowest 3-4 pairs of ribs can easily be compressed!) Conversely the corset shouldn’t be too tight where the body cannot easily be formed, that is round the hips and round the upper ribcage. There it should only support the body and prevent ugly bulges. So especially the upper and lower edge must not be too tight, otherwise it ‘cuts’ into the skin, which is ugly and unhealthy, as the skin suffers from it. It’s ideal if there’s a smooth line from the firmly laced waist and lower ribcage to the upper ribcage and to the hips, which are not so firmly laced.
The form of the waist is essentially important for the whole appearance; I mean especially the length of the waist (the vertical expansion of the corset’s smallest part). The longer the waist, the more demanding it is for the wearer (for it’s a larger portion of the body that is tightly laced) and the more dainty and graceful you look. In the victorian era women wanted to have possibly long waists (the longer, the better). Here you have to effect a compromise between waist length and tolerable degree of waist reduction. The silhouette from the waist to the upper and lower edges of the corset should be smooth and without bulges or other striking features. You should find your figure aesthetic and you should like it. Some women try to get small waists with the help of corsets whose waist has a length of only 1-2cm; but above and below the waist it broadens abruptly. Such a corset is certainly more comfortable than one with a long waist. But the result of it is a silhouette that looks as if a small belt was squeezed into the waist. This is what most people wouldn’t call aesthetic.
I recommend a waist length of 5-7cm, this is a good compromise. In combination with smooth lines up to the bust and down to the hips this can look very attractive, even without lacing very tight. The moulding of such a long waist is possible because in women there’s usually a wide part of the torso that doesn’t contain ribs or hip bones and that is hence easily to be formed.