So, the corset definitely existed before the bodacious Ms. Bettie Page and her teeny tiny waist took over the world of pin-up modeling, but she definitely comes to mind when the topic of corsets comes up! Type 'Bettie Page + Corsets' into Google, hit 'images', and you'll find hundreds of amazing photos of our girl rocking the specialty lingerie garment we're talking about today.
What's a Corset?
By definition, a corset is a type of undergarment sometimes known as a waist-trainer or cincher. Usually worn over the waist and upper body to some degree, a corset generally consists of a soft fabric with vertical strips of a firm material sewn in. Nowadays, that material is usually plastic or steel, but historically, whalebone, ivory and wood was used. Most corsets lace up the back, or use hook-and-eye closures to secure them in place.
The purpose of a corset is, put very simply, to shape the body. Originating in Italy around the 1500s, they were (and still are) worn by people looking to create the illusion of a sleek, slim physique, or, more to our point, a dramatically curvy one. Think hourglass! Let's be real, a small waist, full hips and pushed-up breasts is a sought-after silhouette for many of us. The good news? By lacing yourself into a corset, that pin-up look is definitely possible.
Proper Corset Fitting
Many people think corsets are supposed to squeeze your waist to be unnaturally small in comparison to your natural waist size. However, this type of corset fit can really hurt your body if you don’t spend a good amount of time training and working toward this fit. This is also more commonly done with waist trainers than corsets, and by people who wear corsets quite often.
- Your ideal corset should be 4 inches smaller than the side of your natural waist.
- Measure honestly, don’t try squeezing in too much or measure too loose.
- If your corset fits a little snug initially, don’t panic - that’s how it’s supposed to fit!
- Over time, you will become more comfortable with the snug fit and how the corset curves around your body.
Find a good, comfortable, honest measurement and subtract 4 inches from it to find your ideal corset size!
Anatomy of a Corset
Keep in mind that this is just a general guide! There are many types of corsets, waist trainers and cinchers out there, and not all corsets will have the same features.
Bones (Boning): These are steel or other metal supports along the corset that help it keep its straight, supportive shape. Boning is typically straight along the back to assist with posture, and curved down the front of the corset to accentuate curves and comfortably fit over the bust and hips.
Busk (also called loops/hooks): The busk comprises the clips in the front of a corset that allow for quick, easy removal if a corset becomes too tight, or if you just need to easily take it off.
Bustier: A form-fitting piece of lingerie meant to push up the bust by tightening the upper midriff and shaping the waist. Bustiers are different from corsets but act in a very similar manner. They don’t normally include steel or metal boning, but have stitching and reinforcements that act similarly.
Corset: A garment meant to hold the torso and waist in an hourglass shape, to accentuate the smallness of the waist and the wideness of the hips.
Corselette: A corselette can be several different types of garments, from a corset that includes a supportive bra to any type of lingerie bodysuit that includes a corset-like grommet panel and ribbons.
Grommets: The metal eyelets that hold ribbons in place and help the wearer adjust the corset to their desired fit.
The two main styles of corsets are underbusts and overbusts. An underbust looks similar to a waist trainer - it begins underneath your breasts and ends just above your hips. These can often be worn as a statement piece over a blouse, or underneath clothing to give your body more of an hourglass shape. Unfortunately, underbusts aren’t always flattering for women who have larger breasts that fall over the top of the corset.
Overbust corsets are flattering on all body and breast types! The top part gives ample support to the breasts, while also ensuring they look sexy.
Check out all the corsets & bustiers at PinkCherry Lingerie today!