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.


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.


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

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.


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.


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.


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.

Scarlet Divine’s Tightlacing Journal Part 1

As promised, this is the first installment from one of my best friends Scarlet Divine on her tightlacing journey. I thought it would be valuable to share someone else’s experience, especially for those of you endeavoring to try this yourselves.

Entry the first on beginning to tightlace. ❤

My goal is to work my way back to closing my 28″ corset fully and comfortably at a gradual pace. Now, Do Not misunderstand me! When I say gradually I mean that most people take about 3-6 months to get accustomed to a 4″ reduction, while wearing their corset for a minimum of a couple hours per day. Ava at Skirting The Issue wrote a great in depth article: How To Corset – A Step By Step Guide. My goal is to start wearing the corset I have every day. In the beginning it was easy enough for me to put it on for half an hour and take it off. It’s not uncomfortable to wear though it is a teeny bit inconvenient to bend over. Mostly I found that I’m always doing things- running errands, going out, driving (which is possible while wearing a corset, just tricky) or going to the movies with friends. I haven’t quite gotten comfortable enough to wear it for everyday activities but I’m sure I’ll get there.

For more exact numbers, here’s my January tally:
3rd-  ½ hr
5th- ½ hr
6th- ½ hr
7th- 1 hr
8th- 1 hr
9th- 20 mins
10th- 1 h 40 mins
11th-31st – 0 hours

A couple of things I learned the hard way: I am a huge suck during my period. I bloat so much and my cramps are so bad that I just want to curl into a ball and cry. And then I’m supposed to put a corset on my already aching back? I’m sure as I become more and more used to wearing a corset I won’t think twice about having one on, however as a newbie I was definitely hyper aware of during that week and couldn’t bear to wear it for very long. The week after that I came down with a chest cold and it hurts to cough up your lungs while also compressing them. Hence the lack of corset wearing towards the end of this month.

Yummy Yummy Inspiration ❤

The one thing that really surprised me: SO ITCHY. This comes from having dry skin and it’s super important to moisturize: I’ve read this fact so many times on informational corset websites but as someone who rarely even has to put moisturizer on my hands in the dead of winter it was certainly a wake up call. It was funny too because as soon as the corset came off my skin was fine and to the touch it didn’t feel dry at all. Still, my new mini goal is to start applying lotion after I get out of the shower, which is the best time because you’ve cleaned away any dirt and debris that might get clogged into pores while rubbing the lotion in and because the warm water relaxes skin (think of the way your pores expand) so it locks in moisture better.

On a side note, my other goals of eating healthier and losing some weight are going to help with the waist reduction quite a bit. I am very much aware of the fact I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been and while I’m not over what my weight category states is unhealthy I haven’t been playing a sport or taking a dance class. Working out just isn’t as fun for me as doing a group activity. However, I’ve dedicated myself to working out more often by working out with a friend, reporting my work outs to this friend when we can’t get together, and joining a dance class. More on that later.

Genetically my body is predispositioned to store fat in my stomach and thighs. Thank-you Mom and Dad. The down side of this is that any weight gain goes to my stomach first, which means I’m one of those unfortunate gals who looks like they’re pregnant anytime I put on five pounds. Enter the corset! Even if I’m only wearing it tightened at the halfway point, the 2″ reduction smooths out my torso beautifully.

So to sum it all up, January’s Stats look like this:
-Longest time corset was worn: 1 hour 40 mins
-# days in a row corset was worn: 6 days
-total time spent in corset: 5 ½ hours

Not terribly impressive perhaps but definitely something to work at and improve upon. I’m optimistic that February will be twice as good.

Stay Saucy,
Miss Scarlet

How to Corset – Step by Step in Great Detail

I like to keep things simple. I have a lot of corset Q&A type stuff on here, but if you really want to do this, from start to finish, this is going to make more sense to you as a beginner than going through all those articles. Go pee first, this might take a while to read.

Prepare to corset. Learn everything you can, make sure you have no medical issues that will be aggravated by the corset, and turn at least 18, generally the legal age for body modification and so you know your skeleton is mostly done growing. Yes, mods can be done at an earlier age with parental consent, and this is not something you get done in a studio that requires you to sign a contract so who’s to stop you? My sense of responsibility, that’s what. I started at 20, and for me it was the perfect age. Young enough to be pliable, but old enough to be responsible and no longer really developing. As far as how old you can be? I won’t put a number on that, even Cathie Jung was about 45, but just make sure you’re healthy. As long as your body can handle it I don’t care if you’re old enough to have seen them the first time around. People enjoy things they remember.

Learning everything you can refers to, well, everything. Go nuts with this and have fun. Learn about how corsets are constructed, how they affect your body, how to wear corsets responsibly, all the different types of corsets out there, and just take the opportunity to appreciate some cultural and fashion history. Saving up for a proper corset takes time, and wearing one is something to be taken seriously, so you really shouldn’t jump into it right away, and you’ll need something to do while you save up anyway. For financial reasons I waited years before getting my first one, and read anything I could get my hands on in the meantime. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford one right NOW, at least give yourself a good couple weeks of study in the most important parts, such as the physiological aspects, how to care for your body and your corset, and how to know you’re getting a proper one.

Select your corset. If you’re a lady I really recommend buying from a place like this, which is excellent. They’re especially affordable, and if you’re going to be tightlacing you don’t want to spend a ton of money on something you’ll only be wearing for a few months. All you really need is something sturdy that does its job and doesn’t hurt. These corsets have a lot more curve to them than Timeless Trends, too. These will also help you to get used to wearing a corset and prepare your body for the next step, if you decide to take it. I’ve worn many like this, and I give you my seal of approval.

As for design, get a black underbust if you have any intention of wearing it over your clothes. Something like this one to the left over here.

Corset from Aether Angels

If you don’t like black and/or you’ll only be wearing it under your clothes, consider something like this on the right.

Josephine Underbust by Isabella Corsetry

If you are a gentleman or biologically male, don’t wear a corset designed for a biologically female body. For off-the-rack corsets, check out Timeless Trends (link) and Dracula Clothing (link). Both have them for men wanting to maintain a masculine shape. It’s not much yet, but it’s a start!

The other option is to order one custom from a corsetiere who knows how to create corsets suited for male body types, whether you are trying to maintain a masculine or feminine physique. And you may want to let them know which one it is that you’re after, because getting it wrong would be pretty unfortunate. They should be able to do both. In particular I recommend Contour Corsets. They really know what they’re doing and used to have a separate site just for men called The Dandy Corset Company. That site doesn’t seem to be around anymore, but Contour Corsets still is.

Be patient. An off the rack corset can take a few weeks to arrive, custom can be easily over 2 months. Maybe you should study some more.

Make sure it’s properly laced. A corset should not be laced like a shoe. NOT be laced like a shoe, you hear me? Why do I keep seeing corsets laced like shoes! The laces should not cross between the panels but create a series of Xs completely over and completely under the panels. This lessens the friction and allows the panels to meet at the back when that’s finally ready to happen. Most corsets unfortunately will come improperly laced, and you should fix this. The very best way involves a tip where instead of creating your bunny ears from top to bottom, you cross them over and make them go from bottom to top before continuing down the back of the corset. This gives you more laces at the waist instead of a gap, which greatly helps keep the tension in the waist. Here’s a video, because I’m sure that reading that just didn’t make any sense.

It’s also helpful to take the very bottom of each end of the laces and cross it over to the grommet on the other side as the final step, so that they cross over each other. This also helps you to keep the tension.

Prepare your body. Go do your thing in the bathroom, it will get a bit tricky later and you don’t want anything bulking up your insides. Then moisturize well and put on a liner. In the beginning at least, a liner doesn’t have to be much more than a tank top. The best ones I’ve bought feel like a bathing suit. They’re super smooth and stretchy and awesome. Some people also buy bathing suit material and make their own. That’s not really necessary. Just tuck the straps of the tank top in or cut them off. But you need something. I always see girls with skin showing from behind their laces and I know they’re not wearing a liner, and that’s gross. You really can’t put a corset in the washing machine, so this is how you keep it clean. It also makes it slide along your skin much more comfortably. I can’t imagine not wearing a liner. A corset worn without one is pretty uncomfortable.

Prepare the corset. Undo the busk, and loosen the laces enough that it’s very easy to put around your body. Most people find doing up the busk to be very tricky and I get asked to help a lot. But the biggest tip is to start from the second or third prong, work down, and then come back and do the top. This prevents the top from acting like a hinge and swinging the rest of it wide open out of reach. It also tends to keep coming undone if you do it that way.

Lace yourself up. It’s very important to be gentle here. When you hit that wall of resistance, stop, even if you feel you could go smaller. Generally this has to do with breaking it in, described below. But if this is your first corset you also need to train your body. If it hurts you’re doing it wrong. It’s completely normal to only be able to wear it for about 20-30 minutes the first time. Your body isn’t used to it yet. Take it off, take a break, and try again later.

The way to actually lace it up is to pull the bunny ears (those big loops at the waist) until you hit that wall of resistance. You can go  past if it you and your corset are both more experienced. I can’t tell you how much, when you get there you’ll know. Then grab the over-Xs taking out the slack from top to middle and then bottom to middle. Pull the bunny ears again. Repeat if necessary. Tie the bunny ears in a bow. Then you can you can tuck the dangly bits under the bottom of the corset under your Xs to keep them out of the way. A lot of experienced girls will hook their laces around a doorknob in order to keep the tension while they work the laces. It’s funny to watch but it works. In the old days some people even had a hook in the wall for this purpose.

It’s important to make sure that the grommets in the back are as parallel as possible otherwise you’re not only putting uneven pressure on the corset, but you’ll actually condition it to sit crooked. Stop to lift your arms up and wiggle a couple times while you lace to stretch your torso out and keep your body properly positioned inside the corset. Also take a few moments to tug at the bottom of the liner to make sure it stays smooth under there, because any wrinkles can be uncomfortable or painful. Don’t get discouraged if all this is hard at first. It’s like learning to put on a bra. It’s tricky as hell for a few days or a week and then it becomes second nature. And believe me when I say it will take less time to do than to read.

Break it in: Being patient again. I hate this part. I’m really bad at it. But it’s very important not just to give your body time to adjust, but to give your corset time to adjust as well so you don’t put excessive stress on it and weaken or even damage it. If I was not terrible at this I would go by the rule of 2. Two inches of reduction, twice a day, two hours each time, for two weeks. This is just easy for me to remember. Everybody will tell you a different way to break it in, but what it all comes down to is GO SLOW, be kind to the corset, and wait until it feels like it’s really part of you before you go and start trying to see how tight you can go. Even if you can lace like Scarlet O’Hara, the corset needs to get to know you a bit first. Come on, it’s a lady.

Dress to hide it, or dress to show it off. This depends on where you’ll be going, and how brave you are. The office is not the most appropriate place to be donning what your boss might incorrectly assume is fetish wear. That is of course unless you work in a fetish shop or something of the like, in which case you might get yourself a nice promotion. Generally, things that hide tummys are things that hide tiny waists. Empire waist tops and dresses are the best, things like roomier sweaters are great too. If you don’t have a huge reduction you should be fine with something a little more form-fitting and/or adding a wide belt. It will be enough to show off your figure without scaring anybody.

I wore this to work today. The corset is very small, but you can barely tell. Vintage clothes of the New Look era are perfectly suited to corsets.

I wore this to work today. The corset is very small, but you can barely tell. Vintage clothes of the New Look era are perfectly suited to corsets.

If you want to show it off, there aren’t a lot of rules. If you’re keeping it underneath your clothing then a wiggle dress is going to be about the hottest thing you can put on. You can also put it on top of just about anything, it does wonders pulling an outfit together. Just make sure that whatever you’re putting it over doesn’t have a lot of bulk. No excessive fabric, no folds, no beads, no zippers or buttons, you get the idea. You want this area to be smooth. if it’s not smooth you’re gonna have a bad time. I also recommend wearing heels. Not super high ones, but heels in general will correct the change of posture the corset creates, making you stand more naturally and keeping you a bit more comfortable.

Live: Eating, sitting, pooping, getting drunk, and the cycle method. You can still eat plenty, but you may have to make some slight adjustments. Eat less food more often, and avoid carbs and gassy things. They’ll suck.

You can also still sit in a corset, I’m doing that right now, but because you’re not able to bend at the waist you’ll be more comfortable with a higher chair, and you’ll probably find yourself standing and leaning on things a lot more than you used to. Even without a higher chair you’ll actually feel taller as your torso is being propped right up. It’s important to note here that if you have painful shoes you’ll want to sit, but the corset will make you want to stand, and once again it will suck. Dress like a responsible person unless you’re a masochist or otherwise going to be attending a fetish ball.

Now, they say that the rumor that if you drink a lot and then take the corset off that you’ll get suddenly drunk is a myth. It’s not, at least not for everyone. If you want to drink don’t keep it so tight (and try to avoid carbonated drinks or that air will have a tendency to get trapped in your chest). That alcohol will stay higher in your digestive system, not accomplishing much, and then you’ll get hammered when you take it off before bed and it all suddenly goes down. Of course, you may decide this is fine with you.

Pooping is a challenge when you’re in a corset too. Wow, it sounds like I’m describing a whole lot of unpleasantness! Don’t let this scare you, none of it is that bad. It’s just a series of small adjustments. First things first – make sure your laces don’t dangle into the toilet. Tuck them up under the corset or hold them in front of you. Because you can’t bend at the waist, you’ll find yourself wishing you had longer arms when you’re about done. If you just can’t manoever enough, push from the front instead of pulling from the back. You know what I mean. You may also find that your…routine is a touch different than what it used to be, if you lace quite tightly. Just make sure you’re not constipated, because this could indicate a pinched colon. Ease up on that shit, it will all work itself out.

The cycle method is something I’ve been doing from day one, but I didn’t know it was actually a thing. A lot of corset wearers intend to lace it and leave it. I’ve been made fun of for tampering with my laces on a pretty much constant basis. But your body changes throughout the day and throughout the month. It doesn’t actually make a lot of sense to ignore this and keep the same level of tightness all the time. For example when you eat it’s going to feel a lot more tight if you’re eating a regular meal instead of a very small one. So the cycle method allows for this, and all you have to know is that you should be comfortable all the time. If it starts to feel tight, loosen it. If it starts to feel loose, tighten it. Do what you need to do. The time spent in the corset is more important than how tight it is, and this will keep you comfortable allowing you to wear it for longer periods. It’s also just plain nature. As Fran from Contour Corsets described in her article (I think she’s the one who formally invented the cycle method. You can read more about it here.), it’s like the seasons. Some days are colder and some days are warmer, but in the end it will still become summer. It’s physically healthy and mentally zen.

Tightlacing: Even more patience. By following the cycle method, wearing your corset every day or other day, and not forcing anything, you will find that over time the same comfort level will translate to a smaller and smaller corseted waist. You don’t even actually have to do this too consciously. Just be wrapped in that firm hug as often as you can and it will happen. For me it took 3 months to close a 20 inch corset from a natural waist of 26 inches, and it’s been years now trying to get actually comfortable with that all day, due to a huge ton of long-term inconsistency on my part (I blame many things). So I am actually still training. Consistency and loving it are key. Don’t think about the number, just do what feels good and chill. If you don’t want to tightlace, don’t. You don’t have to wear it every day, and you don’t have to wear it any tighter than it takes to get rid of the big gaps on the top and bottom. If you do, keep in mind that the smaller you go the longer things will take, and the more time you’ll have to wear it. Every day or other day for 8-12 hours at a time is fine for about 6 inches. If you want to get to 10+ you may find you have to sleep in it, and so forth.

Start all over again! It’s been a few months and now you can close your corset. Now here’s the fun part. Time for custom, baby! You may be hesitant because of the cost, as I was. But you just don’t move backward in the corset world. Steel people never wear plastic again, and custom people never wear off the rack again, generally speaking. This corset may be a lot more expensive than your last one, but it’s going to feel amazing to wear, you get to design it yourself, and it’s going to take you to body proportions you’ve never imagined you could achieve.

And now you’re addicted. Happy lacing!

Jupiter Moon 3 Corsets

One fun and scary thing about custom corsets is you never know exactly what you’re going to get. Each one is completely unique, made just for you and a combination of your design specifications and the corset maker’s interpretation of your ideas. I recently had the great pleasure of trying Jupiter Moon 3 for the first time. As far as my own experience goes, I think she’s the best yet.

So I guess I’ll start from the beginning. I’m off standard corsets, but I’m no designer. I have zero talent for it, though ordering custom does require you to be able to pull some sort of idea out of your ass so the corset maker knows what to do. My idea took months to refine, and I’m sure my friends are still making fun of me for how much I agonized over every last detail. But you must understand, my money needs to go a long way, and I am very, very fussy when it comes to my corsets. I can find fault with absolutely anything.

The design I finally settled on was powder blue satin with black lace over the hips and f-hole shaped appliques over the front and back with a matching bra. This underbust + bra arrangement is absolutely genius by the way. For the price of the bra your corset can now be worn as both an underbust and overbust, and you have a sexy fancy new bra too. Once I had finalized my design I came across this, which happened to be just so similar it became my inspiration, even after the fact. This is what I aspired my corset to be.

You’re drooling now, aren’t you? Anyway, the process took a while because Jennifer, the lady behind Jupiter Moon 3, is a very busy lady indeed. I let her know that it was imperative that I have my corset by mid-August so I would have time to break it in before Toronto Fan Expo, and that as long as that happened I was happy. I got exactly what I asked for. I admit I had started to worry, but she shipped express to make sure I had it, and got a tracking number too just in case. I’m extremely grateful.

What I got was not what had been in my head, but it is definitely what I had described, and it is just so completely gorgeous. This is the kind of corset you fantasize about. This is the kind of corset you get married in. I want to wear it every day for the rest of my life. Because it works under clothes, I think I will. I’m sitting around on my couch in it right now with my hair in rollers, just because. The lace at the sides contours over the top of the hips and around the waist, connecting to the appliques in front and back. The appliques most definitely don’t look just like f-holes, but I image that would be pretty damn hard to find, and they resemble the example images I sent so exactly I wonder if those aren’t the ones she got for me. They even have little sequins in them for a bit of sparkle. Because I had decided not to get lace trim at the top, the bra creates a perfect overbust effect when worn with it. It’s exactly what I had hoped for.

Another thing I noticed – even before I opened the package because it was smaller than I expected – was that the corset is VERY light. Typical corsets have a few layers of heavy coutil and spiral steel bones, which have some heft to them. In fact if you never saw this corset on a person you might assume it was plastic just to hold it. It’s really pretty amazing. But the bones are indeed steel, flat, not spiral, and there are 3 layers of fabric in the design. The lining is super soft cotton. This would make a fantastic summer corset. And despite this it absolutely is capable of giving me the exact shape I need with the right amount of reduction.

The busk in front has a very soft curve to it almost reminiscent of a spoon busk, or maybe it’s just the perfect amount of flexible, that my tummy is held in while I still get waist compression from the front, which is rare since most busks are super straight and rigid, so I find this such a bonus. The bones at the back don’t buckle EVEN when I bend over with the laces untied, and the fabric doesn’t bubble either. You read that right, I can bend over – at the waist. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not so flexible it flops around giving you no support. But when I really need to I can bed just enough to get my business done in the bathroom and get out of a car. And what a difference that makes when you wear a corset every day. It’s strong and it fits and it lets me move and holy crap it’s so damn comfortable. I’m super impressed.

Would I recommend Jupiter Moon 3? Yes. Jupiter Moon 3 shows every sign of being everything I’ve been looking for. I will definitely be ordering from her again, as soon as I can afford it, and I’ll be doing it with confidence. I think I may have found The One.