Corseting for permanent waist reduction

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.

Waist

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.

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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.

IMG_0744

Me in my underwear. For science.

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.

IMG_0984

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 thisΒ  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.

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16 comments on “Corseting for permanent waist reduction

  1. jess says:

    I’m not so sure if I agree. I started corseting just this past December and I’ve noticed a reduction in my waist. A few weeks ago, there were two days that I couldn’t wear my corset at all. I saw that my waist was 25″ on the second day without a corset. Before I starting corseting, my waist was 26.5. Now my natural waist hovers about 24-24.5 inches. When I take off my corset, my waist is 23″ so the snap back is about and inch. I sleep in my corset and wear it for about 16-18 hours per day with the rare days a few months that I’m too busy to wear it. I think permanent waist reduction works differently depending on how people are built. I haven’t really lost weight. If anything, I gained weight (put on muscle) but my hip and bust measurements are the same as before corseting.

    • Ava Strange says:

      If you wear your corset that often I can definitely see that being a possibility based on your body type. But my point was more that if someone ONLY wants to corset for this reason, the amount of commitment they’ll have to put into it won’t be worth it for them if they don’t enjoy wearing corsets. They may turn out to like wearing them after all, but if they don’t then 16-18 hours a day would be shitty for them, and not realistic. So while it’s technically possible, it’s naive to pick this up only for this reason. Permanent waist reduction should be considered an additional benefit on top of those that come with your time actually wearing it.

  2. Clair says:

    It’s so lovely to read about a fellow tightlacer’s experiences! Like you, I’ve been wearing corset for about 7 years, and my natural waist measurement hasn’t changed much, either. A lot of people ask me if they could make their own waists smaller by just sleeping in a corset or lacing in every once in a while, and I want to shake them and say, “You’re missing the point!”

  3. dit says:

    when your waist grows back without the corset, is it more fat and muscle? do the ribs move back also?

    • Ava Strange says:

      The only way a corset really changes you is it makes your ribs and organs more “flexible”, more easily able to shift each time you put it on. So when you take it off you’re no different than you were before. It has no ability to change the constitution of your body except indirectly through an adjusted diet. If you wore it full time over many years you may find your torso “growing” (or rather shrinking) into the shape of the corset, and your ribs would take longer to shift back, but overall nothing changes, especially once your waist bounces back into the original measurement. It’s just that the more and tighter you wear it, the longer this takes.

      • dit says:

        thank you for this post!
        i read in many articles that wearing a corset 23\7 can reduce your waist line permenently (with maintance) and i thought about getting one and start corset training.. even though i had a corset when i was younger for medical reasons and wearing it all the time (a l l t h e t i m e :P) is no fun…
        what about your posture? when you take it off do you feel you automaticly keep your back strait?
        and about your diet.. did it change? you eat better? have you lost weight?

    • Ava Strange says:

      No change in my posture, unless you count mere habit. Beyond that it’s just as terrible as it’s always been lol. Your diet can change when you reduce a lot but that will be your choice, and you likely will want to make some adjustments at some point as you won’t be as able to tolerate food that’s bad for you, ie gassy or not easily digested. Your meals will also likely become smaller and more frequent. I have not lost any weight myself, but others have.

  4. teijazan says:

    I am someone who has always been obsessed with corsets… the way they look, the hourglass curves that result, the ladylike posture and movement that one adopts when laced… just everything. I have been laced before, in corset shops and at renaissance faires, and I even own a fairly expensive off-the-rack corset, but I’ve never worn one for any length of time outside a ren faire. I was told (by multiple people who laced me) that I should not purchase an off the rack corset if I intend to tight lace because I am naturally curvier than an off the rack corset is cut… and also because I have slight scoliosis.

    As much studying as I’ve done, I haven’t found much on women with scoliosis wearing corsets or tight lacing. Do you think it is possible or would I further injure myself…? I absolutely love the feeling of being laced and cannot wait to start training, but I am worried for my back. I have been reading your site for hours now and I’m so obsessed lol sorry for the novel but I do hope you respond!

    Also, for reference if you do respond, I am 22 years old and 5’1 (another reason I want a custom, as ready to wear corsets are often too long for me) my natural waist is 26 inches. My hips, measured three inches down from my waist, are 33 inches. So sorry again for the novel, I just don’t personally know anyone at all who wears a corset and would love to talk to someone who doesn’t think I’m crazy for wanting to. πŸ™‚

    • Ava Strange says:

      Hi! I agree with what you’ve been told, for scoliosis alone I would definitely recommend getting a corset made custom for you by an experienced corset maker. Many people with scoliosis have worn garments similar to corsets to help, so it definitely can’t hurt, and may even be quite beneficial, as long as it’s properly made. I recommend sending some emails to corset makers you’re considering to gauge their level of experience with such things. A really great resource for all the different companies out there is at http://lucycorsetry.com/category/corset-reviews/ She’s very detailed in her reviews and has tried countless brands from all over the price point spectrum. No worries at all about the comment, I love to help! I didn’t know anyone personally who wore corsets when I got started either so I know how you feel. You can ask me anything you want πŸ™‚

      • Teijazan says:

        Thank you so much for your response! I am definitely going to be getting a custom… Now I am just nervous about who from. I don’t have an enormous amount of money to spend but after reading your articles I’m terribly nervous about choosing who to buy from =\ I don’t trust reviews anymore either lol I know you get this question constantly but do you have a suggestion for a good quality first time custom that won’t send me to the poorhouse? Lol thank you so much I really do appreciate it greatly πŸ™‚

      • Ava Strange says:

        My two recommendations are Orchid Corsetry and Jupiter Moon 3. Orchid does an hourglass shape, not compressing the ribs at all, and her corsets are amazingly strong and comfortable, and all embellishments are included in the price (at least last time I checked). Great customer service too, so if you like that shape definitely give her a look. Jupiter Moon 3 makes corsets that are more for show than for daily wear, but they are strong enough for high reductions and I prefer a wasp shape, so hers have been my more recent preference. Check out https://avastrange.com/2013/08/25/jupiter-moon-3-breaking-in-a-corset-learning-from-my-mistakes/ to read my most recent experience. If you order from her and your goal is daily wear consider asking for a strong fabric and double boning. Both will be able to discuss in detail what your best options are πŸ™‚ You can definitely trust the reviews on Lucy Corsetry if these don’t seem quite right for you, she really knows her stuff!

      • Teijazan says:

        Thank you so so much I’m very grateful for the advice πŸ™‚ I did read about your experiences with her corsets and found them very helpful!

  5. I don’t know if I agree… I can’t speak from personal experience, because I do not tightlace yet, but I have seen people who have reduced their waists by a lot, and it doesn’t last just one hour. I wish I could share some pictures, but since I don’t own them, I can’t. Sure, they usually train for more than 10 hours a day, but they do achieve significant reduction. I’m sure their waists would return if they stopped corsetting altogether, but as long s they maintain their use, they keep the reduction.

    I do agree that the person has to enjoy wearing corsets, though. Otherwise it would just be hell for them.

    • Ava Strange says:

      That really is the point though, that they have to wear a corset far too long for the reduction to be worth it unless they actually enjoy corsets themselves. Wearing corsets for no other reason than to reduce your waist would be pointless and miserable, and I feel to approach it from this angle is frustratingly naive.

  6. tarprojets says:

    I started a healthy diet and exercice a couple months ago. I also started wearing a waist trainer about a month ago. My goal is not to have a smaller waist but to sort of help mold my body. So I was wondering if you think that for the results to be long lasting I have to keep wearing it forever or just at the begining. As I exercice regularly I tought it wouldn’t be necessary to keep wearing every day for the rest of my life. Thank you πŸ™‚

  7. BabsieH says:

    I have tightlaced for almost 20 years and my uncorseted waist is now 10-inches less than it was at the start.
    With the corset in place and fully laced, my waist is only 20-inches for everyday wear, and a little less for special occasions.
    After some days without the corset, if I am sick for example, it relaxes to about 23-inches. That is 10-inches less than my waist before I started training with corsets.
    I am convinced that my ribs and organs have moved gradually over the years to preserve the small waist and my husband has been captivated all this time!

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