With all the articles I write about corsets, I get a lot of questions about the effectiveness of corseting in reducing the uncorsetted size of your waist. I don’t write about this because, get ready for some bad news, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Ok, it’s sort of possible. But if this is your goal and nothing else you really do need to look at other options, no matter how modest that goal may be. Wherever someone has lost inches off their natural waist with the help of corsets the reason is either because wearing a corset often has caused them to lose weight, or because they are full time tightlacers with high reductions. And if your natural waist is smaller outside the corset in this last case, what’s the point if you can only live with it for a relatively short burst of time?
Think about this realistically. Your body is fluid and it can be manipulated. But it will always try to get back to its natural form. Especially when it comes to your bones and organs. If it didn’t then every mother would look permanently pregnant and nobody would heal from injuries. It takes a lot of dedication to train your waist down more than 4 inches (in most cases), and keeping it there by itself is going to be about ten times harder. After nearly seven years of tightlacing, with up to a seven inch reduction, my own waist is absolutely NO smaller than it was when I started. If anything I’ve gained an inch with age. It used to be a tidy 26. Let me use myself as a case study, because it’s easy to get the pictures and I don’t personally know any other (accomplished) tightlacers.
This is me at my smallest. The full 20 inches. I can’t keep this up all day, but I can get there long enough to do a photo shoot like this if I prepare for it. Keep in mind the laces around my waist are also adding a relative good deal of bulk.
Now for the sake of fairness, this is my “sloppy” size, the largest measurement I will have when corseted. This is 23 inches. For every day wear I’m somewhere between the two pictures, an average of 21.5 inches. I’m 27 years old and I’ve been lacing this way since I was 20.
This is a picture I took for reference of the way my waist looks after about 9 hours being laced to the above 21.5 inches. This lasts VERY briefly. Maybe an hour if I’m lucky, or less if I eat right away. Sorry for subjecting you to pictures of me in my underwear.
And this is me THE ENTIRE REST OF THE TIME. It’s definitely nothing to write home about.
So yes, corseting can make a difference. But no, it’s absolutely not realistic to corset only in order to achieve this, because the payoff is the most un-worth-it thing ever. Why would you tightlace for months or even years, at a minimum 6 inch reduction, just so you can be an inch or two smaller for the time it takes to watch a movie? Now I’m trying to be very realistic here and admit there are certainly many people out there who are at the point where they now only need to do “maintenance” corseting for a natural waist reduction of let’s say, two inches? (let’s face it, if your reduction is any more than this it’s because you love corsets and will certainly be wearing them more often than just for maintenance.) But that takes a lot of dedication for relatively very little payoff, and is also dependent on body type, so you may very well get NO payoff at all. It doesn’t make sense. Even I have a very hard time wearing them absolutely every day, on average it’s about 5 days a week and I’m someone who is clearly obsessed.
Listen to me, I, an avid tightlacer who is totally in love with corsets and has been for years, do not tightlace enough to see any kind of permanent reduction. If you don’t love corsets for what they are, what chance do you think you have? You’ll be miserable. If you really want to reduce your natural waist, give pilates a shot. Corset because you love corsets, because you love the way they feel, because you love the way they support your back, make you eat better, make you feel more confident, because you love body modification, because you love the way your waist looks when you are wearing the corset, and you look forward to a smaller natural waist as a bonus. Don’t wear a corset because you don’t actually want to wear a corset.