The corset and garments that are inspired by it, among many other fashion trends, is a constant in style. Wearers of corsets have worn them for their ability to create an hourglass figure, whether they are wearing old-fashioned costumes or a corset-style top for casual wear. Find out how to wear a corset.
What is a Corset?
A corset, traditionally an undergarment worn on one’s torso that shapes the body into an hourglass shape, is what it was. A corset is a two-panel piece of fabric that has a clasp at the front and laced up at the back. This allows wearers to adjust the tightness to their waist.
Corset whalebone, or steel boning, was used to reinforce the corset shape in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. However, many modern corset manufacturers use nylon or plastic instead of the traditional busk. Fashion retailers today have transformed the corset silhouette into casual corset tops. These corset tops cinch the waist, support the breasts (like bustiers), but don’t often contain reinforced boning as it hinders movement. Modern pieces of shapewear, including waist training undergarments that shape the torso to a distinctive curve, serve the same purpose as corsets. They are designed to lift the bust and slim the waist.
Corsets can be worn as a lingerie piece, shirt, costume, or shapewear. Modern corsetry includes garments made from a variety fabrics including silk, satin, coutil and leather. They can also be supported with metal or plastic support frames.
Four Ways to Style Your Corset
These corset outfits can be worn in either the classic or modern version.
- Cropped top: Most modern corset shirts are slightly higher or lower than the belly button. A short corset can be worn with a mini skirt or menswear-inspired pants for night out, or a corset and slacks to go for dinner. For warmth, you can wear a white strapless corset with high-rise skinny jeans. You can experiment with different patterns and colors to make the outfit more formal or casual. For a formal look that can be worn on date nights, a corset crop top in lace with a midi skirt and wide-leg pants is the best choice. A simple corset top in white or black with culottes or culottes makes a great casual outfit for daytime.
- As vintage shapewear: The corsets can be worn as shapewear. They smoothen the silhouette of the torso and support the chest. To make a Victorian period costume look more authentic, wear a corset under a vintage dress. A shapewear corset can be worn under a slimmer-fitting dress, such as a bodycon or bias-cut dress, for a modern look. You can wear a satin, silk, or cotton corset under your dress. These fabrics will not create creases or lines.
- Layer a corset or leather: Top over a white button-down shirt. This classic look can be dressed up or down. This outfit can be styled with leather pants and heels or a mini-dress made with over-the-knee boots. As a nod towards the Middle Ages, layer a corset on top of a blouse with puff sleeves. For extra warmth, layer a turtleneck sweater underneath a corset in winter.
- Corsets can be worn over dresses: A corset will highlight your creativity and enhance your hourglass figure. For extra flair, it can be worn over a flowing piece like a maxi or bodycon dress. Layer a corset on top of a T-shirt and cover it with a blazer to add some style. You can also style a corset with any of the many jumpsuits you have, from fitted and billowy to fitted.
Three Tips to Wear a Corset
Wearing a corset correctly is as simple as finding the right fit, and then gradually tightening it to prevent injury. These are the best tips to follow if you’re looking for a traditional, lace-and–clasp-boned corset.
- Choose the correct waist size. The size of a corset is determined by its waist circumference. You will need to measure it. Measure your waistline and wrap a measuring tape around it. Next, guide the tape along your belly button. Your waist measurement will determine your corset size. Your waist measurement should be no more than 30.8 inches. If your waist measurement is greater than thirty-eight inches you should choose a corset seven to ten inches smaller. You don’t have to worry about the size. The lacing allows for adjustment.
- Your corset should be re-inspected. For comfort and proper sizing, it is important to break in your corset before you try it on for the first or second time. Wear your corset for no more than two hours. Once the corset has molded to your body, tighten it by tying the laces more frequently.
- Tighten mindfully. Your corset should not be tightened to the point that it causes pain or restricts your ability to breathe. Corsets should not cause pain, even though they cinch your waist. A corset that is too tight or too small can cause damage to your torso. Always loosen your corset before tightening it. The corset will become more tight as you go.