Corsetry Guide – What You Need to Know about Corsets

ultimate corset guide

Mookychick’s full guide to corsetry, from waist training and medical myths and facts to corset shapes, structure, lacing, measurements & custom vs. off the peg.

In this article you’ll find:

How corsetry works

During the waist training process, your corset will exert a pressure on your body that will create physical changes. Through gradually increasing this pressure (please read on for information on how to do this correctly), you can exaggerate and lengthen your waist and taper your ribcage to achieve your desired silhouette. This may involve organ movement, cartilage reshaping and bone repositioning, depending upon the corset shape you choose (see “Corset Shapes”) and therefore you must slowly increase the pressure over a long period of time in order to avoid injury.

Organ movement

A corset with a narrow waist will gradually push your internal organs away from the waistline. The upper organs will move upwards, and the lower ones will move downwards in a manner that can be likened to the way in which they move during pregnancy, where the organs reposition to accommodate the expanding uterus.

Cartilage reshaping

In order to taper the ribcage, the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone (sternum) must be reshaped. The upper seven pairs of ribs are called “true ribs”, as this costal cartilage connects them directly to the sternum. These ribs are unaffected by waist training.

The eighth, ninth and tenth pairs are called “false ribs” because, while they do connect to the ribs above with costal cartilage, they are not connected directly to the sternum. The cartilage here can be reshaped through corset training to create a tapered upper torso by slowly pushing these lower ribs closer together, but this process may take several years.

Bone repositioning

The eleventh and twelfth pairs of ribs are called “floating ribs”, as they have no costal cartilage attachment to the sternum or other ribs. This being the case, they cannot be reshaped, but are instead repositioned. The floating ribs are quite flexible, meaning that the pressure applied by a corset can push them closer together but, as with cartilage reshaping, it takes years to create drastic changes to the silhouette.

While a healthy body can be corset trained safely with the use of the correct technique, there are some potential side effects. These are described in the next section, and it is very important that you consider these implications carefully, and in relation to your own physical health, before deciding to wear a corset.

 

Corsetry and health – are corsets and waist training safe?

There are many opinions surrounding the dangers of corset training but, while some may be based upon accepted ideas taken from modern medical facts, there are others that are now considered to be outdated concepts.

Busting medical myths about corsets

– Infections of the lungs, most notably tuberculosis (TB), were thought to be risks of wearing tightly laced corsets. It is more likely, however, that corsetry would help to prevent such infections from taking root in the lower portion of the lung by restricting the wearer to breathing only into the upper part of their chest.

– Riedel’s Lobe is the name given to an extended right lobe of the liver, and this was also thought to be a result of waist training. It has since been proven that it is a natural anatomical variant, and is not a sign of ill health, but the extension of the lobe is likely to be the basis for the myth that a corset-wearer’s liver could be split in two by their tightlacing.

– Kidney necrosis, previously known as Bright’s Disease, was thought in the 19th century to be caused by tightlacing despite the fact that there was a higher incidence of the disorder in men, who rarely wore corsets, than there was in women, for whom corsetry was fashionable.

– Broken ribs are theoretically possible, as a strong tightlacing corset could be pulled tight enough to create this level of pressure upon the ribcage, but the tightening of any corset would become very painful long before it would reach a point where it was tight enough to break ribs.

– Rib removal is not necessary for successful waist training. Not only that, but it has never been common practice; while some have speculated that it was practiced in days when corsetry was more fashionable, it would have been an extremely dangerous procedure; there was a very high risk of death during surgery, and of post-surgical complications, during this period.

Medical Facts

Please read this section carefully before deciding whether or not to begin wearing corsets. If you have any existing medical conditions, seek professional medical advice. Please bear in mind that the risk levels of the various side-effects can be greatly altered if you have an ailment that predisposes you to being damaged by corsetry. It is not advisable to start corset training while you are still growing; it is important to wait until your body has reached its adult shape to ensure that the growing bones and developing muscles are not damaged or disfigured.

– A tightly laced corset will decrease your maximum lung capacity, as the internal organs of the upper torso are pressed upwards by the constriction of the waist (as discussed in “How Corsetry Works”). If you’re lacing down at a the correct pace (see “Wearing Your Corset”), you’re unlikely to feel breathless in every day activity, but it’s important to be aware that lacing tightly will change your breathing, as you will not be able to take as much air into your lower chest due to the restriction of movement of the diaphragm. This is unlikely to cause fainting, as was thought in the earlier days of corsetry – in hindsight, the main cause of fainting was most likely to be poor nutrition.

– There will be a reduction in stomach capacity, as the stomach is also pushed upwards when the waist is corseted. This will mean that you will be less tolerant of certain foods including, but not restricted to, fatty foods that are slow to digest, beans, pulses and other gas-producing foods. These foods will cause indigestion and trapped wind. Alcohol and fizzy drinks create similar problems, and it’s also likely that you’ll be unable to consume your usual portions. Salty foods tend to make the body retain water, and so are best avoided.

– Just as the upper organs move upwards during corset training, the lower organs move downwards, creating a similar pressure within the abdomen. This, it is thought, may lead to constipation, and it’s important to be mindful of the levels of fibre in your diet in order to avoid this.

– Corset training has the potential to cause a weakening of the back and abdominal muscles, as these muscles are not relied upon for posture when a corset is worn – the corset provides the support, not the muscles, and if the muscles are not used they will waste. That is not to say that the weakening of the muscles is inevitable; in most cases, strength can be maintained through exercise of the core muscles (Pilates is very good for this). In the case of drastic waist reduction, the muscle atrophy (wastage) may actually be a necessity for the waist to be so small – once the organs have moved and the ribs have repositioned, there is no way to reduce the waist further other than by losing muscle mass.

Should you decide that you would like to pursue your corset wearing to this degree, please bear in mind that it will become uncomfortable not to wear your corset once the muscles begin to waste, as the muscle structure required to support your posture will lack strength. Furthermore, weakening your muscles in this way will predispose you to muscle strain injuries.

Warning signs to watch out for when you’re wearing your corset

As mentioned in “Wearing Your Corset”, loosening or removing your corset if or when it becomes uncomfortable to wear it is a must. If you experience any of the following side effects, loosen your corset or take it off; trying to “power through” is a bad idea during corset wear.

  • Pressure on the top curve of the pelvis (the iliac crest) can cause soreness and discomfort, but also numbness in the buttocks and hips, which may radiate into the thighs and knees. If you experience this, you must remove your corset. It is likely that it is not suited to your shape for the waist reduction you are trying to achieve. Sensation should be restored to normal within a few minutes of removing it, but the numbness can last longer if the pressure continues beyond the point at which the lack of sensation is first experienced. Listen carefully to your body.
  • Pain, soreness and cramps in the ribs must also be treated by removing the corset. If you cannot remove it immediately, loosen it as much as you can to allow the discomfort to subside and take it off as soon as you can. This does not mean that you cannot waist train; it simply means that your corset has been laced too tightly. Should you experience this whilst the corset is fairly loose, it may be that the corset does not fit well and is applying pressure to the wrong places.
  • Indigestion, stomach pain/cramps and acid reflux are also signs that the corset should be loosened or removed. As the stomach capacity is reduced when the waist line is constricted, these problems are commonly caused by lacing too tightly too quickly, by eating or drinking too much, or by consuming the wrong things. Acid reflux can, however, cause damage to the sphincter muscle that separates your oesophagus from your stomach, so it’s very important to monitor your intake carefully, and be patient during the process of reducing your waist. If you experience acid reflux regularly, lace more gently to avoid damage and avoid high fat foods and spicy foods. Coffee can also cause this problem so, if you must drink it, drink in moderation and pay close attention to any side effects.
  • Blood pressure can increase if the corset is laced too much too quickly. Lace very carefully as discussed in “Wearing Your Corset”, and seek medical advice if you have an existing blood pressure problem, or if there is a history of such problems in your family.
  • Coughing is common in dry conditions; if the airways dry out, particles that may irritate the lungs are more able to enter when you inhale, but the cilia (the little “hairs” in your respiratory tract) are less effective in their task of pushing such particles back up. This can predispose a corset trainer to congestion. Remove your corset if you can (loosen it a lot if you can’t), lift your arms above your head, and rotate the upper body from left to right and back without moving your feet. After this, lean the upper body from left to right, and front to back, without rotating. I found that this helps to stimulate the cough, which in turn helps to clear the congestion, but if the problem persists, seek medical advice.

Skin care

Modesty panels (or lacing guards, depending on which you prefer – see “Structure”) will protect the skin of your back from the friction of the laces. Wearing a top beneath your corset will help with the reduction of friction, but will not prevent it completely. Always ensure that your panel/guard is in place and completely smooth to reduce irritation (see “Wearing Your Corset” for information on how to do this).

It is very important to tend to the needs of your skin if you wear a corset regularly in order to avoid irritation. Following the tips below will help to keep your skin healthy:

  • Always wear a corset liner beneath your corset, and change it daily. It will help to reduce chafing and sore spots, and will also prolong the life of your corset by protecting it from shed skin cells and sweat. It is best to buy a liner specifically made for this purpose, and they are readily available from most corsetieres.
  • Maintain good personal hygiene – wash daily, and thoroughly, with an anti-bacterial soap. Pay particular attention to the navel in order to avoid rashes. Should you develop a rash, continue your hygiene routine and do not wear your corset until the rash has cleared. If symptoms persist, seek medical advice.
  • Moisturise your skin after washing to ensure that the skin is hydrated. Corset wear may cause dry, itchy skin if you do not use a good quality skin lotion on a daily basis.
  • You may experience some pinching of the skin whilst wearing your corset as your body moves within it over the course of the day. Your corset liner will be helpful here, as you can often alleviate the problem by pulling the top of the liner upwards and the bottom downwards at the same time. The pinching problem tends to worsen the more that you constrict your waistline, and it may be necessary to loosen the laces a little to reach the pinching folds of skin and unfold them.

 

Choosing a corset shape to suit you

What do you want to use your corset for?

Firstly, you must decide for what purpose you are buying your corset – is it for occasional wear, moderate waist training, or for a lengthy body modicification project? Please bear in mind that corset training (and even corset wearing – please see “Wearing your corset”) must be a very slow process in order to avoid injury, so patience is the key! Don’t be tempted to try to hurry things along by lacing your corset too tightly too quickly, or by choosing a shape that is designed for the more experienced corset wearer. There are a number of different corset shapes available.

What corset shapes are there?

Hourglass – Reduces the circumference of the waist without pressure on the ribs. This is the ideal shape for the occasional wearer – minimal rib pressure makes it the most comfortable of the shapes to wear. It is also perfect as a starting point for those who wish to progress onto more extreme silhouettes.

Conical – Reduces the circumference of the waist and the lower ribs, forming the torso into a cone shape. These corsets are for the experienced corset trainer only, as this shape places a lot of pressure on the lower ribs. Should you decide to progress onto this shape, you must train your waist and ribs very carefully. The lower ribs can be repositioned (as detailed in “How Corsetry Works”), but this must be done over a long period of time through gentle waist training (please see “Wearing your corset” for more information).

Pipe-stem – Similar to an hourglass shape, but with the circumference of the narrowest point of the waist extended beyond the length of the natural waistline. These corsets are also for the experienced corset wearer only, as the lengthened waistline places pressure on the lower ribs. The repositioning of the ribs in pip-stem corsets is mostly confined to the lower two pairs – the “floating” ribs, which have no connection to the sternum – but, again, this must be done very slowly and carefully.

Flat-fronted / S-bend – The busk of an S-bend corset is completely inflexible, forcing the hips and shoulders back, creating an S-shaped silhouette. These were originally marketed as a health corsets, as they place less pressure on the abdomen, but this benefit was outweighed by the injuries caused by the way in which they force the body into an unnatural posture. These corsets are not readily available, due to the extreme pressure they place upon the back.

Corset Structure

A good corset should have:

– At least three layers of fabric – an outer layer, an interlining, and an inner layer made of coutil (a very strong, tightly woven, non-stretch cotton fabric with a smooth finish). Some corsets use coutil as a visible outer layer, whereas in others it is covered by a decorative fabric.

– A waist stay – An inner band of polyester twill tape or cotton (or cotton/viscose) petersham tape at the waist. A strip of one of these thick, strong, woven ribbons is sewn into the corset to strengthen the waistline, but this should not be visible; the tape should be sewn between the outer and inner layers, to avoid skin irritation.

– A strong steel busk – a closure at the front of the corset which allows you to get in and out of it without unlacing the corset completely. A busk has sturdy steel clasps on one side, and on the other has studs that fit into the clasps. This creates a very strong fastening that cannot be replicated with zips, or with hooks and eyes; the clasps and studs are riveted to steel strips (strips like the spring steel bones described below) which are invisible once the busk is fitted. The clasps and studs should be either evenly spaced all along the busk, or be spaced evenly except for the bottom two, which are set closer together. This is to provide extra support over the lower abdomen.

– Spiral steel bones – twisted and flattened loops of steel wire, used in curved seams of corsets due to their flexibility. They are encased in boning channels, which are usually made from a durable woven tape, to keep them in place.

– Spring steel bones -flat strips of steel used in straight seams of corsets, to provide support and strength. These should not be bendy! They should be flexible, but only within a limited range of movement. Spring steels are also encased in boning channels.

– Lacing bones – flat steel bones, with holes for the laces to pass through. These are sewn into the back of the corset and are covered by the fabric. Eyelets are fitted into the holes through the fabric and secured by small washers to create a closure that will be strong enough to take the strain of the laces. Lacing bones were not found in traditional corset designs, but are incredibly strong; the laces cannot put strain on the fabric, because the eyelets are anchored into the steel.

– The alternative to lacing bones – instead of having the lacing holes through the bones, a sturdy lacing closure can be created by setting two flat steel bones at each side of the back of the corset, with a row of eyelets in between them.

– Good quality, long corsetry laces – woven or braided polyester cords tend to be strongest. I prefer braided cord because it is round (woven cord is flat); when the corset is laced with round cord, there are no noticeable twists in the laces, whereas flat woven laces become obviously twisted during lacing. Twisted laces are very difficult to correct if you’re lacing by yourself!

– A modesty panel – a panel of fabric attached to the back of the corset, which sits beneath the laces to prevent them from rubbing against the skin. It can also cover “back cleavage”, but this shouldn’t be a huge problem if the corset is laced correctly (please see “Lacing”). Some corsets have lacing guards rather than modesty panels. These have the same benefits, but are different in that they tend to be attached to the centre of the laces rather than to one of the sides of the back opening.

A good corset should never have:

– Hooks and eyes or zips as fastenings – Even when a corset is used for minimal waist reduction, there is great strain placed on the fastenings and seams and, although it’s common to find corsets that fasten in this way, they do not last as long as busk-fronted corsets, because they are not as strong.

– Plastic bones – A plastic-boned bodice is not a corset, and should not be used as one! Plastic bones are very flexible (so much so that they don’t provide any support or waist reduction), and they don’t spring back to their original shape. This causes obvious lumps in the boning channels, which are both unattractive and uncomfortable.

– Eyelet tape – this tape gives the appearance of a corset which can be laced, but should only be used in bodices. It is a strip of fabric with eyelets set into it, but there is no support for the eyelets (e.g. steel bones either side of them) and so it will tear under the strain of lacing.

– Ribbon laces – ribbon is not strong enough to withstand corsetry and is too slippery to lace properly. It is best suited to bodices where the strain on the laces is minimal.

Overbust vs. Underbust

When you buy your corset, you’ll need to consider whether you would like an underbust or overbust style; underbust corsets stop beneath the breasts, leaving them exposed, whereas overbust corsets cover and support the breasts. Underbust corsets tend to be more versatile as they can be worn as undergarments or outerwear; overbusts give an odd silhouette under clothing, as the breasts are pushed into an unnatural shape, different to that created by a bra.

For overbust corsets, it’s often easiest to choose your neckline based upon the size and shape of your breasts if you are buying off-the-peg:

Sweetheart necklines cover the breasts and dip down in the middle. These are good for larger busts, as they provide support and uplift but allow the breasts to sit in the corset without “over-spill”.

Straight-cut necklines give a more “balconette” appearance to the breasts, and are best suited to those with a bra size of a D-cup or smaller.

For underbust corsets, it’s important to decide what type of bra you intend to wear (if any). Many people find that non-wired bra’s are more comfortable than those with underwire when wearing underbust styles, as sometimes the pressure exerted on the wire by the corset is uncomfortable.

Off-the-peg vs. Custom made

You’ll also need to decide whether you would like to buy an off-the-peg corset (one that is made to a set of standard measurements) or a custom made one (one that is made to your specific measurements). Many people find an off-the-peg corset comfortable for their first one, as the waist reduction must be minimal to begin with, but the “standard” measurements differ from one brand to the next, and so it’s important to check the measurement ratios with the manufacturer. The difference between the bust (or underbust if you’re buying an underbust corset), waist and hip measurements will tell you whether or not it is suitable for your figure; for example, the Corsetheaven website lists the “Andromeda” corset – a straight-cut corset designed for bra sizes of DD and above – as having bust and hip measurements of 10″ and 12″ larger than the waist, respectively. Therefore, a 20″ “Andromeda” corset will have a 30″ bust and a 32″ hip measurement. Reputable corsetieres will be happy to provide this information in order to ensure that your off-the-peg corset will fit you properly.

It is, however, always important to try your corset so if you’re buying online , always make sure that the manufacturer will accept returns. You must bear in mind when choosing your corset that in the vast majority of cases, you will get what you paid for; a good, heavy duty tightlacing corset will not be cheap. If you’re aiming for occasional wear rather than waist training, the less expensive corsets will most likely be sufficient, as long as they have the features listed in “Structure”.

Should you find that there are no off-the-peg corsets suitable for your body shape, do not settle for one that “almost fits”, as it will be uncomfortable, unflattering and potentially dangerous! Custom corsets, while more expensive, are very much worth the extra money for those who are not suited to off-the-peg styles, and also for those who plan to train their waist beyond a manufacturers’ standard measurements. The smaller off-the-peg corsets are made to the same measurement ratio as the larger sizes so, for example, in order to wear one with a 20″ waist, you must also have narrow ribs and hips, which becomes problematic as the waist is reduced, as your measurement ratio will change.

I have heard many women complain of experiencing “underarm overspill” when wearing their corsets. This is avoidable, but not always through off-the-peg corsets. If you find a corset that fits your waist, lace it correctly (more information provided in the “Lacing” section) but find that you have some overspill (usually found at the back!), it is the wrong shape for you – you need one that is larger at the top.

Second-hand corsets are an appealing idea due to the fact that you can usually find a good quality corset for a much lower price. It is, however, not good practice to wear someone else’s corset. This is due to the way in which a corset moulds to the shape of the wearer as it “breaks in” (see “Wearing Your Corset” for information about breaking in), so you would be purchasing a corset that is essentially formed to the original wearer’s shape, even if it were an off-the-peg design. This will make the corset uncomfortable, as it will not fit correctly.

Measurements for your first corset

For your first corset, choose one that is four inches smaller than your natural waistline. To measure your waist accurately, wrap a tape measure around the narrowest point of your waist. It’s best to do this stood before a mirror; this way, you can make sure that the tape is level around your waist.

To measure your underbust, sit the tape directly below your breasts. For overbust corsets, you’ll need to measure both around the fullest part of your breasts (the bust), and around yourself beneath your arms, above your breasts (the overbust).

Hip measurements can be tricky – the natural hip measurement is found at the fullest part of your bottom, but most corsets do not sit as low as this. Therefore, it’s important to find the correct length corset (more information below), and then measure that length down the centre front of the body (you may want to mark with the ends of the tape with an eyeliner pencil to ensure accuracy).Then, measure around your hips at the point where the tape measure ends. It’s best to do this is a sitting position, as a corset that appears to fit well when standing may be too long when sitting, causing it to press into the pubic bone.

Corsets are available in many different lengths to accommodate different body shapes. Some corsetieres make off-the-peg long-line corsets which are said to be suitable for ladies over a certain height, but you should always check the busk length. For example, Corsets-UK manufacture a range of corsets designed for those over 5’4″ in height, but if you’re smaller than this with a long torso, it could be suitable. Also, if you’re a lot taller than 5’4″, you may find that this range is not long enough for you.

It is also important to check the side-length of the corset, as many are longer at the front than at the side, meaning that you may find that one with the appropriate busk-length sits higher on the hip than you would like. Unfortunately, this information is not often readily available for off-the-peg corsets, so it’s best to contact the manufacturer to find out. While most manufacturers will accept returns if you’re buying a corset without trying it on (e.g. if you buy online), you can avoid many unnecessary orders and returns in this way.

 

How to lace a Corset

Follow these simple steps to lace your corset correctly:

1) Thread the lace through the top two eyelets of the corset, so that the horizontal lace is inside – the laces should hang through the eyelets to the outside, and the ends must be even in length.

2) Thread the ends of the lace down through the next set of eyelets, to the inside, forming an X shape on the outside of the corset.

3) Thread the ends of the lace up through the next set of eyelets, to the outside, forming an X shape on the inside of the corset.

4) Repeat steps two and three until you reach the waistline of the corset.

5) At the waistline, thread the right side of the lace down through the eyelet immediately below it to form a loop. Do the same on the left side. These loops will be used to tighten the corset once it is laced. The ends of the laces should now be on the inside of the corset.

6) Repeat steps two and three until you reach the last set of eyelets. At this point, adjust the laces to give an even space between the back panels, and check again that the ends are even in length.

7) Tie the laces together at the bottom of the corset. This knot will not be untied when getting in and out of the corset, and must be tied securely.

8) Put the corset on without tightening the laces (they must be loose to avoid damage to the corset).

9) Adjust the modesty panel so that it is flat beneath the laces. You will need to adjust the modesty panel several times during the lacing process – smooth it out regularly so that it is not creased, as it’s much more difficult to correct a bunched-up modesty panel once the corset is laced tightly.

10) Gently pull the loops out to the sides to tighten the corset. If you are lacing alone, it can be difficult to keep the laces flat as the Xs closest to the loops will pull in more easily than those further away. I find that slowly and gently wiggling the hips whilst pulling the loops out to the sides, upwards and downwards, to be very helpful, but you may still need to even out the laces with your fingers. This may take some practice!

11) Tie the loops together securely at the centre back (but remember that this knot will have to be untied for you to get back out!) and tuck any remaining lace beneath the knot.

12) To remove your corset, untie the central knot and loosen the laces as much as you can before unfastening the busk. Trying to unhook the busk while it is still laced will be uncomfortable and difficult for you, and damaging to your corset.

The space in the back opening of the corset MUST be even from top to bottom during wear in order to ensure that the pressure of the corset upon the body is distributed correctly, as this in turn will ensure both that the corset is not damaged and that you are comfortable. If you cannot lace the corset evenly, it does not fit, and you will be able to see the problem area by the spaces between the bones at the back (e.g. if the bones are even at the bottom and the middle but wider apart at the top, there is not enough space for your upper torso in the corset).

In many cases, however, it is not the case that going up or down a size in the same corset will remedy this problem – this is only helpful if the corset is too big or too small all over. If your corset fits well in some areas but not in others, it is the wrong shape for you, and I would recommend that you look for a corset that is more suited to your body shape.

There is some debate about whether or not it is safe to lace your corset completely closed. Personally, I never do. This is partly due to the idea that it is better to be on the safe side in the “grey areas” of corset training, or indeed in any activity that has the potential to be dangerous.

The steel bones in the back of a corset are straight, and quite rigid, whereas your spine is not. In effect, you would be lacing a strong, straight strip of metal against a curved spine, exerting pressure on the delicate spinal column. I do not believe that this is safe, and for the sake of leaving a 1 ½ inch gap in the back of your corset to accommodate your spine, it is not worth the risk.

 

Wearing your corset

The number of consecutive hours for which you wear your corset must be increased gradually, from just two hours per day. The optimum rate of the increase that leads up to full time wear varies from person to person, but adding an extra hour to wear time each week is sufficient and should not be uncomfortable. This slow increase also allows you to break in your corset; it takes approximately fifty hours of wear for your corset to fully mould to the shape of your body.

When you lace your corset for the first time, make sure to leave a gap in the laces of about 3 inches so that your body has chance to adjust to the restriction. With a gap of this size, the modesty panel or lacing guard (see “Corset structure”) will be wide enough to protect your back from the laces, but a wider gap will allow the laces to press heavily into the skin, even if the modesty panel is wide enough to cover the space between the bones. While these indents are temporary, the pressure of the laces can be uncomfortable.

As explained in “Lacing your corset”, I do not recommend lacing your corset completely closed and, if you can do this on your first wear, the corset is too big for you. There should be a minimum gap of 1 ½ inches to avoid the lacing bones exerting pressure on your spine and, if you can lace it to that distance on your first wear, you will not achieve any waist reduction using that corset.

In order to drastically alter your corseted silhouette, it may be necessary to wear your corset for up to twenty three hours per day, removing it only to wash, dry and moisturise. This sounds extreme, and many people find it incredibly difficult to sleep in their corset. It is something that you become accustomed to over time, but there may be many sleepless nights before you reach that point. It is important, however, to not “jump in at the deep end”; as explained above, you must allow your body chance to get used to being restricted by your corset by wearing for just two hours per day at first. When your corset is fully broken in and you have, through increasing wearing time by an hour per week, reached a point where it is a safe option, you may decide to wear your corset for twenty three hours per day. It is not, however, strictly necessary; you will still achieve a good waist reduction even if you remove your corset for sleeping.

Should you decide to wear your corset for long periods, please be aware that there are still circumstances in which even the most experienced corset wearer may need to take a break! As explained in “Bad signs”, there are a number of situations in which it is very important to remove your corset, and you must listen to your body carefully in order to avoid damage to your body.

To loosen your corset quickly, untie the centre knot and begin lifting the crosses of lace away from the bones, starting at the centre and working outwards from there. Once the centre loops are flat to the bones, unfasten the busk by pushing the two sides together, then lift the steel loops from the studs. Do not twist the busk to open it, as this will damage it.


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