Snowblack Corsets

With each new corset maker I try out, I get closer and closer to finding The One. Not being a rich person this has been a bit of a tedious journey, full of bumps in the road that have all taught me things that mean a lot more when you’ve experienced them than if you had just read about them. So I guess there’s that.

But I just got my new every day corset from Snowblack Corsets, and you’ll have to excuse me while I go nuts for a moment here.

Ahem. Excuse me. The thing is, I haven’t had a proper corset for everyday wear for years. That sounds insane, I know. Basically I wore my first one until it fell to pieces, then bought another standard one thinking it would be the same (it wasn’t), tried to get a custom one in gold that turned out not to have a suitable shape for me at all, and since then just didn’t want to pay for something basic and plain while just a little more money gets you all kinds of lace and feathers and beads and… all of a sudden I had a ton of “show” corsets, but no real reliable workhorse. Well, that moment has finally come.

The first thing you realize when you contact Marta is that her service is impeccable. I was used to waiting a month and then some for replies about a commission, but she responded immediately. And it wasn’t a fluke. She continued to stay in touch with me as needed and respond to my every message with lightning speed, never to leave me wondering if she had taken off with my money and disappeared. And she’s extremely friendly too, of course.

Now I also have to mention that she offers options that you really don’t see that often when ordering a corset. The hardware can be had in gold or black apart from the traditional silver, and the corset can be designed to close all the way or leave a gap (some people prefer this as it frees up their spine). You can even choose a different color of lining. You can tell that a lot of care and detail goes into these.

On the day it shipped, she sent me a message to let me know AND refunded part of the shipping fee I’d paid because it turned out to be less than expected. There’s that stellar service again.

The package had a tracking number so that I could waste hours obsessively clicking the refresh button to see if it was any closer. So on the day it arrived I was expecting it. What I wasn’t expecting was for it to come in a storage bag, and include an underbusk and stiff modesty panel laced into the gap. I’ve never had any of these things before because they’ve always been extra, and here they were included in the already super insanely affordable price (many similar off the rack corsets cost more)! These things offer huge advantages to make wearing your corset a whole lot less annoying. No more shirt or skin to get in the way of the busk or modesty panel that bunches up! YAY!

Now for the corset itself. Usually when I get a new corset my reaction is “It’s amazing! Except maybe…..” Not here. No “excepts.” No “if onlys.” While I was worried the 7 inch length might come up a little (ahem) short, it’s actually the perfect length on me. My ribs are encased enough to give me the wasp shape I desire. It goes low enough AND has a stiff enough busk to not let any tummy escape from the pressure, but is short enough to allow me plenty of movement and not push up my boobs in the most unflattering way. If I’m going to sleep in a corset, it will be this one. It also feels very strong, something that can handle the wear and tear I’ll put it through, that can be worn every day instead of saved only for special events. That stiff busk also means this is going to be nearly invisible under clothes instead of showing the dreaded bottom ridge.

It’s perfect. Holy shit I have found something perfect that I can afford. It IS possible! Now keep in mind I really want to post some pictures of my own corset, but I can’t mar this thing up with a crap selfie. Give me a few days and I’ll update.

Jupiter Moon 3, Breaking in a Corset, & Learning from My Mistakes

Over time, as you wear a corset it changes. The way it looked and felt when you first put it on is not how it’s going to stay as it seasons and conforms to your body, and goes through normal wear and tear. In the year since I got my powder blue corset from Jupiter Moon 3, the changes have been significant. You learn from these things.

Now I understand that Jupiter Moon 3 corsets are not intended for daily wear. They’re show-pieces. So for me to wear mine every day is going to be much more than what it was made for, and to see a good amount of wear and tear is to be expected. Some threads holding down the lace have torn, I’ve lost a few beads, and some of the sequins dangle by a loose thread. There are a couple weird folds in the fabric at the waist. And one of the bones over the right hip has twisted. This is annoying, but I can deal with it because these are the expected limitations of the corset.

What frustrates me the most though is through no-one’s fault but my own. I didn’t take the time to properly break it in. I was way too excited and went too tight too soon. As a result I have a twisted bone at the very back so that it bows out at the waist and the sides refuse to sit parallel. The corset is still completely comfortable, but this is damage that would need to be repaired. There’s no way to lace now where this isn’t an issue anymore. More than the twisted bone bothering me though, I’m mad at myself. I paid good money for that thing. I should have taken much better care of it.

The last issue is something that I can’t really tell if it’s my fault or not. But the hips are most definitely too small. The bottom edge digs in and creates a reverse muffin-top instead of lying smooth. Even worse, whether because of this or the twisted bones, the hips now appear to be square instead of rounded. I don’t think anyone else would pay it much notice, but it’s a silhouette I don’t like. All in all I think this corset looked a hell of a lot better when it was new, while I feel that if these faults of mine and perhaps the maker had been avoided it should look better than it did, because it would retain its integrity and pretty silhouette while being worn at a more extreme reduction. Based on this, I feel it’s better to order a corset with hips about an inch larger than your actual size, so it can accommodate the increase in size that happens when your waist decreases, and you get a nice smooth flare instead of any digging.IMG_2109

So keeping all of these flaws in mind, I went ahead and purchased a second one. It’s the same corset-bra combo, but I ordered it with larger hips and I was absolutely determined to be kind to the corset and break it in properly this time. I wore it only 2-3 hours at a time, a couple times a day, at a very light reduction for two weeks. I let the corset tell me how tight is the limit instead of forcing it further just because my body could handle it and I was curious. After each seasoning session I carefully examined it for wear, to make sure nothing was becoming more stressed than it should.

What I find interesting is that even at that light reduction, the curves looked far more impressive than they do with the blue one. I wonder if this is because of the lace creating an illusion, or maybe it’s because of the shape of the hips. I’m really not sure. But the hips of the green corset are still lying completely smooth, and they’re rounded. The shape is absolutely perfect. And I’m managing to keep the grommets completely parallel, which is really the ultimate achievement beyond just not damaging it in any way. I feel unbelievably awesome about this.

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A couple observations beyond this – the bra is way too small, as you may be able to tell from the above photo. I’m not angry about this though, because the label is correct to my size (I think they’re purchased and recovered, not made from scratch). The corsetiere didn’t make any kind of actual mistake here. And while it makes my boobs kind of flat, I can still get it on, and I suppose it being a little overly snug and secure is better than too big and gaping and revealing more than you intend to. The feather trim is a bit crushed and wonky from shipping, and I expected that too, but now I have to figure out a way to fix it. I’m thinking steaming and Elnet hairspray. I’ll have to try that and see. I won’t be wearing this under any clothing because of the feathers, but I’m truly surprised by how well this corset goes with my dresses. I was honestly not expecting that. I’d been wearing it over my clothes for the sake of the feathers and easy access while I put it on and removed it twice a day during the break-in process, and one night I actually forgot I was wearing it. When I got home I saw that it went amazingly well with the cherry-print dress I had on, and the next day it even went beautifully with my deep purple dress. I’m thrilled about this because it means I’ll get a lot more use out of it than I ever intended.

So right now this second corset is absolutely my favorite. I’m in love. I’m going to wear it whenever I can. I’m going to be kind to it. And I’m going to carry this experience with me moving forward.

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Corseting – Just Why?

I’m very proud of the shape I’ve been able to achieve over the years, but unless I’m going to a special event where I feel it will be appreciated, I tend to somewhat hide it. I just don’t really want to get stared at with those confused looks, and while my company is incredibly accepting of all types of people, I fear it will be perceived in a negative way. There tends to be an assumption that corsets are worn as a ridiculous way to look skinny. But that’s really not what it’s about at all. It’s about a lot of things, but that is definitely not one of them.

Corsets just can’t be about being skinny. If your waist is disproportionately smaller than the rest of you, it actually makes your hips, bust, and shoulders look larger in comparison. The effect can be quite striking. So really, this is about curves. And if you lace quite tightly, it’s about unnatural curves. On purpose. Because to me and to many other tightlacers, this is a form of body modification not unlike ear stretching, though involving gorgeous unique creations by highly skilled artists. It takes time, and while some people will choose to go to a certain point and no further, others choose to see how far their bodies will allow them to go. It’s in this way that corsets really get you acquainted with your body in a way that virtually nothing else can, and really help you to connect with it. You’ll become hyper-aware of your body inside the corset, and discover things about yourself such as asymmetries, how malleable you are, what sensations you enjoy and don’t enjoy, how your organs function, and possible medical issues, among many other things. Most of all wearing a tight corset on a regular basis teaches you how very unique we all are, and that this is beautiful in itself. There’s something very earthy and zen about all this.

But “zen” only begins to cover it. Corsets are capable of performing a version of deep pressure therapy, and can be extremely comforting, especially to those with anxiety issues. You’re wrapped in a firm hug for as long as you want to be, and you feel protected. It’s comforting and calming. You can learn more about these effects here.

I also especially love the fact that this takes dedication. It’s something to be proud of, not just the shape itself but the time that it took to achieve it. It’s the fact that I’ve been disciplined enough to make it this far, that I’ve really earned this. It’s about the journey. Even when I don’t find a tightlacer’s shape aesthetically pleasing to me, I still deeply respect the dedication it took to get there, as much as their strength in doing something they love even while it goes so far against the norm. Because even as far as body modification goes, this is a minority interest. You need to really be comfortable with yourself and your decisions go against the grain like that, because there’s nothing quite like hearing a stranger tell you that you’re killing yourself and you look disgusting. I love this enough and I’m secure enough with my choice to do it that I feel a lot more sorry for the person saying it than for myself. They must be miserable, closed-minded people, and they’re missing out on what could be a very positive experience for them.

While it’s clear that wearing corsets is not for everyone, I can’t help but feel that everyone should at least give it a chance, because so many people have found this to be such a positive influence in their lives. And if more people did try it, maybe I wouldn’t be so uncomfortable getting stared at.

Scarlet Divine’s Tightlacing Journal Part 4

I fell off the wagon this April. I could feel myself trailing off. I spent the entire month thinking “I can start up again tomorrow. It’s not too late.” The problem was/is I always seem to think about what I want to wear, what I wish I was wearing or what I want to accomplish that day while I’m already out the door and either at work or out with no way to run home and grab a corset. For example, I left my corsets at my parents’ place and between work and social commitments I ended up sleeping at the BF’s for the week .. which means that even when I wanted to and was thinking about it I couldn’t wear my corsets. Bad Scarlet!

April Tally:

5th – 10 hours
6th – 6 hours
7th – 40 mins

However, falling off the wagon doesn’t mean giving up. It means getting back on. This month I’m moving in with the BF and two room mates which means going home to just one place with all my stuff will lend itself wonderfully to having corsets on hand. There will be no excuse not to put them on in the morning.

April Stats:

-Longest time corset was worn: 10 hours
(Down two hours from March)
-# days in a row corset was worn: 3 days
(down three days from my current record of 6 in March and January)
-total time spent in corset: 16 hours and 40 mins
(March was 59 hours and 35 mins. Oh, the shame.)

My next big hurdle will be wearing my corset under my clothes. I currently own one sweater that doesn’t overheat me with my corset underneath and with summer coming I don’t always want to wear my corsets over my dresses … especially since I currently own two and matching my outfits to them seriously diminishes my wardrobe choices.

But it’s May! Which means my outfit conundrums will have to wait for the next Tight Lacing Report. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to read this article written by the Vancouver burlesque star and tightlacer Little Miss Risk. She makes an important distinction between tightlacing and waist training and I’ve found my own journey to happiness has also been helped by corsets.

Saucily yours,
Miss Scarlet

Scarlet Divine’s Tightlacing Journal Pt. 3

I realized when the end of February rolled around and I took stock of my corseting habits that I seem to start really strong in the beginning of the month, forget about wearing it midway through and then remember at the end of the month that this is a thing I’m supposed to be doing and try to get a few more days worth of wearing my corsets in. So this month I’m officially initiating a Mid-Month Check In. Which is really just a fancy smancy way of saying that on the 15th I’m going to tally up my hours so far so that I can re-motivate myself to wear my corset throughout the month, not just in the beginning and end.

This month I’m kicking ass when it comes to hours as well as firsts. I slept in my corset for the first time. It took me a couple hours to fall asleep and I kept waking up everytime I’d go to roll over and suddenly realize I was bound where my pajamas are usually quite loose. But I was very excited to have accomplished my first night.

I wore my corset to work for the first time! I’ve gotten a few quizzical looks – especially when I’m in the bathroom adjusting my laces, but so far no one has said anything. I’ve been wearing sweaters that belt in the front so the corset is partially covered or long sleeved t-like sweaters that cover my corsets completely. My work is kept fairly cold (I think they want us to generate our own heat by working faster) so the extra layers have felt really comfortable.

I also learned the hard way why people advise you not to drink pop or anything carbonated while wearing a corset. I hit an afternoon slump so I bought myself a coke but after drinking only half of it I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to relieve the pressure in my stomach by burping as quietly as I could. Talk about embarrassing. Having gone without pop for a full week now I find that the compression of the corset causes me to burp a lot more than usual anyways, even if I’m only drinking water.

Time for the tally! Hours this month:
March 4th – 6h 15 mins
March 5th – 10 hours
March 6th – 7 1/2 hours
March 7th – 1h 20 mins
March 8th – 12 hours
March 9th – 8 1/2 hours
March 11th – 2 hours
March 13th – 8 hours
March 23rd – 4 hours

My goal for April is to be more uniform/standard when it comes to hours wearing my corsets. For example, instead of wearing it 12 hours one day and 2 hours the next I’d like to try for a solid 8 hours every day. There’s still that ten day gap in the middle of the month where I fell off the corset bandwagon but checking in at the fifteenth did have me wearing my corset for longer duration into the month. I’m going to keep working to shorten any gaps there are, not only days worn but in space at the back.

March Stats:
-Longest time corset was worn: 12 hours
(up from 7 and a half hours in February)
-# days in a row corset was worn: 6
(up from 0 days in a row in February and the same as January)
-total time spent in corset: 59 hours and 35 mins
(Up from 16 hours and 20 mins in February!)

Stay Saucy,
Miss Scarlet

Scarlet Divine’s Tightlacing Journal Part 2

I shorted Tightlacing Progress Report to TPR #2 : How’s that for a snappy title?

I originally ordered two corsets about a year and a half ago from Timeless Trends. They’re a great boutique that sells off the rack corsets for really decent prices. I’d been wearing them as decoration on and off since then. Last September I put my mind to it and wore my corset every day for two weeks. I found that I forgot about it after half an hour but became hyper aware of it around hour two. At first a couple hours made my back ache a little bit – not enough to be concerned about but it was definitely a relief to get out of it and slouch. But at the end of week two I wore my corset for a whole eight hours on a Saturday! I was really surprised to realize that when I took it off it not only didn’t hurt at all but I could have worn it for a few hours more. The feeling was akin to taking my bra off at the end of the day – sometimes it’s a huge relief and sometimes the difference is negligible.

I’d like to mention that the reason I could wear these corsets as both decoration and for tightlacing is because they’re made with real steel boning, so they’re strong enough to resist the pressure put on them as the corset is tightened. The Bones of a Corset –> rods of steel placed around the corset so that your body molds to the corsets’ shape and not the other way around. I can hardly imagine they used to be made with whale bones! (Note from Ava Strange: Whale bone does not actually refer to the bones of a whale but to baleen, the substance in a whale’s mouth that filters their food.)

Now for the check-in.
1st – 2 hrs 20 mins
3rd – 2 hrs
5th – 4 hrs 15 mins
6th – 45 mins
8th – 7 hrs 30 mins!!
28th – 4 hrs 15 mins

Ohhhhh god … I slept in my corset for the first time this month. Feb. 8th, 11 pm to 6:30 am. I woke up with a killer stomach ache! I didn’t sleep very well … I kept waking up in the middle of the night and tossing and turning in between. However I did pull in 7 1/2 hours which is fab. I’m hoping this sleeping with it on thing gets easier quickly because it’s a lot more convenient than trying to hide my corset at work or squirming in the uncomfortable work chairs. It’s hard enough to sit right in those things in the first place.

February Stats:
-Longest time corset was worn: 7 1/2 hours
(up from 1 hour and 40 mins in January)
-# days in a row corset was worn: 0 – I was super sporadic this month
(down from 6 days in a row in January)
-total time spent in corset: 16 hours and 20 mins
(Up from 5 1/2 hours in January!)

One of the funniest parts of this journey has been the realization that I prefer to read and write about corsets and tightlacing while I’m wearing a corset. Maybe because I’m quite literally bound to it? This amuses me. Besides always looking for more engaging sites on the interwebs I’ve also been reading “Corsets: A Modern Guide”by Velda Lauder. It’s interesting but not very in depth and I’m curious as to where the author found some of her information from. The highlight is that there is a gorgeous picture every other page and they range from corset fetish models to burlesque performers, fashion catwalks, historical paintings and figures as well as famous corset wearing celebrities. These pictures are serving as fuel to up my corset wearing hours for March. 🙂

Stay Saucy,
Miss Scarlet

Check out more of Scarlet Divine’s adventures at http://missscarletpresents.blogspot.ca/

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.