Tightlacing 101, Part II:
Choosing a Corset with Modern June Cleaver

Friday, January 10, 2014

As I did last time, and because I'm a paranoid little law school student, I would like to preface this ENTIRE post by saying these are my thoughts + opinions + experiences with the tightlacing/corseting process. I am not a medical doctor. I am not advising you to begin tightlacing and I am not telling you that this process can’t hurt you, when done incorrectly, it absolutely can. Tightlacing is a lifestyle, not a hobby and it’s not something you do casually, it is a form of body modification. That being said…

So, this is my second post about tightlacing (the first, providing some general advice can be found here).  Now that you ladies know a little bit about the need to extend your morning routine, alter your diet and you've have had a tiny peek into daily wear, I think it's a good time to learn a little bit about choosing your first corset! The kind of corset you want is a personal preference. I prefer underbust corsets because I'd rather wear a bra, as I’m well-endowed and don't particularly want my boobs in my face any more than they are already are (seriously, haha). But overbust corsets are great too, again, totally a preference thing.  Also, you'll notice all my corsets are cream, I buy light colored corsets so when I wear light colored clothing, they don't show through.  Here are the corsets I own:

There is this little saying "Friends don't let friends buy Corset Story." The first corset I purchased was from Corsets Queen (aka Corset Story) and it's really cheap by corset standards both cost and quality wise, mine is literally falling apart. Helpful tip: tying your corset in the front puts unnecessary strain on it, if you do this, you'll be replacing them far more regularly. This corset is a total nightmare. When corset shopping, look out for something Lucy at Lucy's Corsetry (this woman is a tightlacing encyclopedia) calls the "floating corset."  You're buying something that's altering your body, why is there no model?  If you really want to start tightlacing and you don't have much money, W-A-I-T, I would highly advise against buying a cheap corset. Save your money until you can afford something better, you'll be a happier lady.

My second corset is from Meschantes Corsetry.  This company tends to get hit or miss ratings as far as customer service is concerned in the corset forums, but I decided to give them a shot, as I feel their corsets are very unique. My corset took approximately one month to receive.  Other than that, I really love the corset's qualities and I'm really happy with this corset; it's the one I wear most often.  It’s made of a soft cotton twill and I opted not to have the front busk (the little enclosures that are usually on the front of a corset) to reduce lines under clothing, a few of you have commented on my instagram asking if it's seamless and this is what it looks like. It’s annoying to slip on and off over your head but well worth it once you get it on (funny story: the first time I went to take it off, I was convinced I was stuck and almost had a panic attack. Oops.)

My third corset is the Morticia Corset by What Katie Did (again, mine is cream but most of their stock photos are black). This isn't just a corset, it’s like a work of art.  I almost cried taking it out of the box, the fabric is phenomenal, the quality is better than any corset I've ever seen and the fit is amazing, even if you order an off the rack, as opposed to custom, corset.  If you have a healthy amount of money to spend, I would recommend a corset from What Katie Did.  In addition, this corset is definitely the most drastic in terms of waist reduction and the most impressive in terms of quality that I've ever owned.  I haven't really begun seasoning this corset yet, but I can already tell it's going to be my favorite.

I wanted to give an "honorable mention" to the brand Orchard Corset.  I really wish this brand is where I'd started my tightlacing experience as opposed to suffering through the Corset Story corset.  For those of you on a budget, this company is a great place to start.  They have a huge variety of silhouettes and fabrics and I've heard amazing things about their quality, pricing and customer service.  I took the leap after my first two corsets and went with What Katie Did, because I'd been tightlacing for over a year and knew I was committed to the expense.  However, I'll still probably go back and buy one of these, just to experience the company and the fit of their corsets.
Below are photos of my in three (3) different corsets.  You'll notice the shape each gives my body is different, this is because one is made to be more of an "hourglass" corset and the other a "conical" corset.  Here's a little guide about corset shapes.  There's also a photo of me wearing my What Katie Did corset, it's not fully seasoned, but it will eventually provide the most dramatic shape of the three corsets I own.

Corset Story corset
Meschantes Corsetry
What Katie Did Morticia Corset
Last but not least, take a sewing tape measure and measure your natural waist, your corset should be 3-4 inches smaller than your natural waist.  For example, if your natural waist is 26 inches, your corset size should be 22 inches. I find this system to be motivational, as you won't be able to close your corset until you meet your goal, closing a corset is always something to look forward to.

Please let me know if you have any questions about anything related to tightlacing (I will be posting about seasoning your new corset next time.)  I would love feedback so I know if I should incorporate anything additional into my next post.  I want to make these as helpful and informative as possible.

Do you have any other questions about tightlacing?
Already started the process or purchased your first corset, which did you choose?


  1. Oh love the link to all the different kinds/shapes of corsets. So interesting. I'd love to learn more about waist cincher, and i probably do some research on it on my own. So cool. Keep the posts coming. :]

    1. I found that as I was writing the post and thought it was such an informative little chart! I don't think a lot of people know there are different corsets aimed for different shapes! Another great alternative if you're looking for something minor like a waist cincher, if a good garter belt or "girdle". I'm seriously in love with this one:
      Let me know if you have any questions, ma'am!

  2. What's the difference between a steel boned corset and a regular one? and how can you tell the difference?

    1. Well, what do you mean by "regular corset"? Before I launch into an explanation, I just want to be sure I know what you mean haha. : )

  3. After stumbling across your Instagram page a few months back, I was immediately drawn to the idea of buying a corset for myself. I did some heavy research for a month or so to make sure I would be getting my money's worth. I finally purchased the exact Orchard corset pictured above and I am so in love with it! It's great for a beginner like me.
    I kind of rambled, but I want you to know that I think you and Katie are the bee's fucking knees. Thanks for always sharing your tips!

    1. Well I'm glad to hear I'm inspiring the sort of people that take the initiative to do research about corsets, the process, etc. I get a little worried that people won't do their research and someone will hurt themselves or end up with a poor quality corset. But, I'm so happy you've had a good experience and found something you enjoy!

      And as a reader of OUR blog, you know we're ramblers, so we don't mind at all haha. And what a phenomenal compliment, we'll take the bees fucking knees over anything else, any day! <3

  4. This was such an interesting and titillating article! I have always been a fan of corsets, but never really knew the extent of tightlacing and what it could do for you body. Thano you so much for all your expertise! You are gorgeous!


    1. Aww, thank you so much, Carolyn! I'm just trying to get correct+helpful information out there to those who are interested. Also, thank you for the sweet compliment! Love all our sweet readers!

  5. You look so good!! I just placed an order for my first corset on Orchard Corset! I got a black one in the shorter length.

    I've been thinking about doing this since last year but you inspired me to go through with it :D I always get lost in youtube videos and blogs .. I'm so excited now!

    I watched one video and someone had said it's really itchy. Did that happen to you?

    1. Thank you, sweet lady! I'm so excited for you! I'm absolutely certain that Orchard Corset will serve you well until you can close it or you decide to upgrade! What an awesome choice!

      And I know what you mean! I used to spend hours watching this youtube channel:
      Basically anything you're questioning or any corset you're considering buying, she's got an answer and she's done a review. She's a genius haha. And it's so sweet of you to say I inspired you, you'll love it, it's definitely a choice that inspires.... patience.

      And well, I see WHY they could say it would be itchy. Always wear a tank top (also called a corset liner) under your corset to prevent your body's oils from damaging your corset and it becoming icky (because they're dry clean only and that's a total nuisance.) But, I could see how if someone wasn't properly moisturizing their torso in the winter, when dry skin is already a problem, that corset + tank top rubbing on their skin would DEFINITELY be itchy haha. Use lotion, problem solved. :)

  6. wow, thanks for sharing. both posts about corseting are so interesting and i can't wait to learn more.
    a friend of mine is into historic fashion, she sews dresses from almost all decades but barock-roccoco-1900 are kind of her faves. she started making her own corsets for her special needs last year ... but she just wears them, going out as one of her alter egos from another ... she already gave me a little sneak peak into the world of corseting.

    me as a lover of the fashion of the 40 to early 60s love to see how great and more original a mid century silhoutte looks, if someone wears a corset. i suppose, most vintage lovers forget, that the tiny waisted ladies on the fashion photographs from back then were still wearing corsets or waist cinchers.

    i won't start corseting myself. it just wouldn't work for me ... but i can't wait to read more posts about it.
    also i can't wait to see some more outfit photos. your vintage style is so fantastic as well.

    1. That's really awesome, I could see how people would find it a good outlet to express themselves outside of their day-to-day! A woman actually wrote a book about what it's like to be interested in Victorian corsetry that I've been wanting to read for a while:

      And exactly! A lot oft the silhouette from photos back then had some help from corsets. It didn't take me long after getting into this sort of fashion before I started researching corsetry.

      And thank you!!! We've been toying around with the idea of more outfit posts, we're a little indecisive about what we want to do! But, I'm sure they're coming! <3

  7. So sweet! I started with a waist cincher just before the holiday..not the best time to start waist training! I started with a few corsets all from true corset (mostly because I'm a Bernie Dexter fan/slave and she models most of their pieces). They are well constructed but very quickly I started looking at custom pieces... I tend to have to modify all of my clothes as it is being REALLY busty and wearing a full corsets does not create a natural look especially in an off the rack piece.
    I definitely would also recommend waiting to get a custom fit piece!

    I already feel like getting into and out of my corset is a freaking workout (I've actually gotten out of breath and sweating! :-P). I can't imagine but will probably soon be attempting a clean front corset as well.

    As side from eating lightly and the other things you mentioned any other ideas about waist training daily tips? I think I read that someone else recommended sleeping in it!?

    Anyway...you are such a doll! Keep writing! <3

    1. You know Bernie Dexter actually models for What Kate Did quite often as well? ;) I'm quite busty for my size as well, but even a custom corset can't offset the whole idea what you're pushing things up and if you've got a lot to push up... welllll... haha.

      Oh, I was there in the beginning with my regular front busk enclosure corsets but, I figured out some tricks after a while and putting them on now is pretty painless and taking them of is no trouble at all. But a front enclosure-less corset is a WHOLE different game haha. You'll really get a work out!

      As far as daily tips are concerned, I'll be writing another post about it soon, but a couple include when you're first starting, pick a corset and stick with it. It takes almost 2 weeks to properly season a corset if you're wearing it regularly, so if you're not sticking with the same one... that can cause the time before you start seeing results to increase.

      Sleeping in and then wearing a corset all day is referred to as wearing it 23 hours a day, (the one hour off accounts for showering haha) I even know someone that ONLY wears hers at night. Basically, sleeping in your corset is a preference thing and it's just not for me.

      I'm sure you've also figured out a lot of clothing that fit before you started corseting don't fit now, which is something else I usually try to warn people about because I think it's something no one expects.

      I'll have to sit down and think of some more things as I prepare to write my next post, but you'll have to let me know if you think of any other specific questions. <3

      And thank you so much, ma'am, keep reading!

  8. Do you size down when buying clothes? How does wearing your corset affect the way an outfit you wore pre - tightlacing days fits now? What do you wear if you don't feel like dressing up?

    1. You actually typically will size UP when buying clothing, particularity if it has no stretch. I think it is common that people think they'll be sizing down because you're cinching your waist but it's misleading, it's important to remember that your clothes have to have room for you AND the corset. Over time though, you'll en up back in your regular size.

      There are some dresses I actually can't wear now when I'm corseted, as they were a little snug when I started and there just isn't any stretch and therefore, not room for the both of us. However, anything with a little stretch looks better in my opinion, I think having your curves accentuated is flattering on anyone.

      And I actually dress up every day. I feel comfortable tightlaced, petticoated and in a dress and don't look at it as something I do or don't FEEL like doing certain days. My lazy days consist of a cardigan,looser corset, dress and slightly smaller petticoat with ballet flats. I gave up on pants a long time ago, I'm only 4'11" so I never really found a pair I liked, they make me feel uncomfortable and un-confident.

  9. First I'd like to say just how much I enjoy your blog! Great job ladies!! Also, I was wondering what type of bra you wear with your corsets? I can't seem to find a good one to wear with mine.

  10. I know it's different for everyone but how long does it usually take before you can close your corset?

  11. Well, Irma, there really isn't a good answer to this question. I wish there was! There are so many contributing factors.

    Some people buy their corset only an inch smaller than their natural waist and some buy their corset 4 inches smaller. Some people sleep in their corsets, some do not. Also, it would depend on how many hours daily, and how often a person is wearing their corset. If I was given a "what if" scenario, I might be able to help you with an approximate "close time" but it really IS different per person. Here are some links that might help you:



  12. After knowing what you know about your first and second corset which one would you buy first If you could go back...I'm considering meschantes for my first one but after reading your blog and reading about your second corset by what Katie did corsets. Would you say to go with What Katie did corest? For the price

  13. Amy-jane Mimi SmithOctober 19, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    what kind of corset would be better for everyday wear UNDERNEATH clothes??? :)

  14. I'm unsure about what you mean, as EVERY corset is made to be worn UNDERNEATH clothing. But you must wear a tank top or corset liner under every corset to protect it from your body's natural oils so you wear 3 layers: Tank top, corset, your clothing. I never wear my corset on top of my clothing. Every corset I own and that I mentioned above is meant to be worn underneath.

    I hope this helps! xoxo

  15. Thank you! This was so helpful! I've been really interested in corset training for a while and this gave me a direction to go in. I really love What Katie Did corsets! They are a dream! I may be owning one soon. How do you wash them? Do they hold up well? Do they show under fitted clothing?


  16. I've been drooling over a WKD Morticia corset for years but I've got a short torso. Do you find it sits too low when you are sitting down?