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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

254117_219365518093005_138451082851116_829163_4519441_n

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 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

More Corset Questions and Troubleshooting

Corsets can be a much more complex issue than they first seem, and to prove that I’ve written another article of questions people may have. This time I’m focusing on questions likely to be asked by those who have already made the decision to get into serious corset-wearing.

IMG_7884
1. How can I lace up by myself?
Basically you pull the puller loops until you feel sudden resistance, then work the Xs in the laces from top to middle and bottom to middle. Then pull the puller loops again and tie off into a bow. For some people this is a bit difficult, and really it’s just an issue of dexterity and practice. You just have to keep at it. What many tightlacers do to help however is to hook the laces onto a hook or doorknob and walk forward to keep the tension as they work the laces. Shorter corsets with fewer grommets are more prone to slipping open as soon as you let go, so this helps especially in this case.

2. How can I hide the bottom ridge under clothes?
Besides making sure the corset is custom and so fits you perfectly, the easiest thing you can do here is to wear your underwear over the corset, which also makes it much easier to go to the bathroom. But sometimes this isn’t enough. Spanx are great, as are light girdles and garter belts. I’ve also found that folding a liner over and wearing it around the hips is very comfortable and effective. But while this will improve the situation, it’s very hard to solve it completely. You’ll have to expect that to a certain extent your bottom ridge will often show.

3. How can I keep my lacing guard from bunching up when I put my corset on?
I feel you there, it’s really hard. Boned guards are best, but another thing I did try that worked like a charm was to put the guard (provided it’s separate from the corset and UNboned, for washing) under the liner. This helps to hold it in place, and provides a smooth surface for the back edges to slide over.

4. Is custom really necessary?
This depends on how tight you’re trying to go. For a reduction of 4 inches or less, it’s generally not, unless you are taller or shorter than average, and/or otherwise vary a fair bit from standard proportions. Once you go smaller than the four inches a standard corset offers, your proportions will be too extreme for this and you will need to buy custom, or made to measure at the very least. Buying a smaller standard corset won’t be good enough, as I learned the hard way, because the hip and rib measurements are just as important as the waist. If the top and bottom of your corset are too small to close, the waist won’t close either and you’ll have wasted your money. Also, the smaller you go the more comfort will be an issue, and eventually even a small seam or wrinkle in your clothing underneath can be very painful. Custom is definitely the best way to make sure that you get the comfort you need.

5. How often do I have to wear my corset? Do I really have to sleep in it?
Again, this depends on how small you want to go. The smaller you go, the more you’ll have to wear it. If you just want 2-3 inches to enhance your shape on a night out, then you won’t need to wear it any more than that. To get anything smaller than what you get upon first putting it on, you’ll need to wear it more, though you’ll have to slowly ramp the time up while your body adjusts so you can stay comfortable. In my own experience, 8-12 hours a day is sufficient for anything up to 6 or 7 inches, and 23 hours a day, including sleeping, will be necessary for any reduction smaller than that, keeping in mind that everybody’s different. Although once you get used to your corset you may find that you’re actually more comfortable wearing it than not, so in this case there’s nothing wrong with wearing it all the time, even if you have very modest goals.

Waist

6. What would you recommend for a first corset?
You need to start as basic as possible, because if you only have one, you’ll need to be able to wear it with everything. I tell everyone that the ideal first corset is a plain black underbust. No matter how many corsets you may one day own, this one will always be your most important one, your corset LBD. Underbusts are much more comfortable and give you more ease of movement than overbusts, and they’re more discreet under clothes. Over clothes, the style and color can be worn with everything. The only exception I would say is if you plan on wearing it exclusively under your clothes, then nude or champagne would be a good substitute, particularly if your clothes are light. With your further purchases you can get gradually more fancy.

7. What is a corset liner?
Unfortunately what many people don’t realize is that you always need to wear something under your corset. I can’t stress enough how important it is. Corsets can’t be washed, or the steel will rust and the whole thing could warp. Wearing something underneath keeps it clean. It also protects your skin from chaffing, and reduces friction when lacing. A corset liner comes in when you want to wear your corset under your clothes, and/or when you’re reducing enough that any creases in the fabric underneath would cause pain. For comfort’s sake you need to keep whatever’s against your skin as smooth as possible. Corset liners are made of spandex, so they’re smooth and stretchy, and they’re made to your corseted proportions, so there won’t be any creasing to dig into your skin. I never realized what a difference they could make until I got a few myself, so I strongly recommend them for anyone who wears a corset more than once a week. You can get them many places custom corsets are sold, or if you’re handy with sewing you can fairly easily make your own. Heavenly Corsets even offers a set that includes 4 liners with your corset purchase.

254117_219365518093005_138451082851116_829163_4519441_n

8. Help, my skin is really itchy!
This happens when you wear your corset tighter and more often, as this can cause your skin to dry out. Make sure to apply lots of lotion before you put it on, and powder your skin with cornstarch (many websites will tell you to use talc, however this is a possible carcinogenic). When you itch, don’t try to scratch through the corset, or you could damage the fabric. Just take it off, scratch if you need to, apply more lotion, and put on a clean liner.

9. Are you supposed to wear it with the back closed, or with a space?
This is a bit of a debate, and I’ve heard both sides of the issue. Most tightlacers say closed is definitely best, as it makes the corset much more solid. Others like the springiness in a corset with a gap, and argue that it leaves your spine free of any pressure from the steels. I can relate to both sides.

10. Can a corset help me lose weight?
A corset in itself will not cause you to lose weight, but yes it can be a helpful tool in conjunction with proper diet and exercise. The most immediate effect is a few inches off your waist and a smoothed torso, and the confidence this brings, which is very motivating. Further it acts like an external lap band, making you feel full faster. And because your digestive tract will be pushed upwards, you’ll have less tolerance for greasy, gassy foods, and foods that are hard to digest.

11. What waist size should I try to achieve as a tightlacer?
There are many different methods of determining what a good waist size is, but the biggest thing to stress here is that proportion is infinitely more important than the number. A 20 inch waist could look freakish and shocking on one girl, and completely forgettable on another. Some people use charts (See below), some decide on a percentage of their hip measurements for a desirable waist-hip ratio, and others try to match up with the measurement of their upper thigh. In the end, only you will know what’s right for you.

This image doesn’t really fit on the page, and there’s always more to it. Click to see more.

12. How should a corset be laced?
One thing I always look for when browsing corset sites is how they are laced. A corset should NOT be laced like a shoe, with the laces passing between the back panels. This prevents the corset from closing completely and causes unnecessary friction. Instead what you should see is a row of Xs, completely under, completely over, so that when the corset is closed you see nothing but the ones on top. And the laces should NEVER, EVER be tied at the bottom or top of a corset. You are trying to draw in the waist, not the hips! I find it hard to take any corset laced this way at all seriously.

One of my own corsets, displaying the reverse bunny ears technique. It's great for keeping tension at the waist.

This is right. One of my own corsets, displaying the reverse bunny ears technique. It’s great for keeping tension at the waist.

IMG_1119

How a properly laced corset looks when closed, showing rows of Xs.

13. What’s the proper way of measuring your corseted waist?
There has been some debate about this as well. The true waist measurement is the one taken under the corset, but figuring this out can be hard to achieve, and is definitely not the measurement on display, so it’s more of a personal goal. The measurement taken over the corset includes a good deal of bulk from the garment itself, but is the one that best represents your appearance. So what is there to do? My preferred method is taking the waist measurement of the corset itself and adding the number of inches you have left in the gap, if any. It’s simple, and a good middle ground. Either way, just make sure you’re telling the truth. We can tell when you’re lying 😉

Did I miss anything? Tell me in the comments!