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Corsets – Everything You Need to Know About

What’s exactly a corset?
Corsets are usually designed from strong but flexible fabrics like leather, satin or cotton. Their special construction includes steel boning (flexible steel rods) which give the garment enough strength to tuck in the body and accentuate the waist, hips and highlight the bustline. They are usually fitted with a front busk (two steel stays, one with loops) which is used to tighten the garment. Lacing at the back enables to fasten it well. Available in overbust and underbust versions, corsets can be worn under your clothes or over them for more style impact.

Do corsets have standard dress sizes?
No, they don’t. You need to remember that corsets are sized by the waist so the actual size number will depend on your measurements in that particular spot. Normally, you’ll want a corset which is slightly smaller than your waist to achieve the much-desired hourglass silhouette with beautifully accentuated female curves. The best idea is to have one custom-made as it’ll fit perfectly, but if it’s not an option for you, take some time to try on a few pieces before you make up your mind.

Why wear corsets? Aren’t they old-fashioned?
A corset is a style preference and some women wear it as a fashion statement. You can’t deny the effect they have on your appearance! There’s probably no other garment which can conjure such curves and a flattering silhouette like the corset in fact. Other situations in which you might be tempted to wear it are weddings or costume and fancy dress events. Some women wear corsets for health reasons – the back and lumbar support they give can’t be overrated.

Is the steel boning really important?
If you take waist training and a defined hourglass silhouette seriously, then yes, it is important. Steel boning is firm and strong enough to shape the body into the desired curve, and good-quality corsets always have it. There are also corsets with plastic boning available but don’t rely on them for a nipped-in look. They mainly serve fashion purposes and might tear at the seams if you try to tighten them.

How can you tell a bustier from a corset?
It’s easy to confuse bustiers with corsets, but the main difference is mainly in their function. A corset is used to define and cinch the waist whereas a bustier is designed primarily to boost and lift your breasts. It’s generally a garment which comprises a bra and a shape section for the midriff, and it’s often fitted with an eye-and-hook closure. A corset has a more rigid construction and is tightened with a combination of a front steel busk and laces at the back. It’ll also give you a nipped-in shape that a bustier won’t.

Is a bustier a good idea under a wedding gown?
It definitely is. A bustier can work miracles under a dress or a wedding bra. It’s an „all-in-one” undergarment which consists of a bra and a body shaper so you can expect a good bust lift, some extra support under a heavy wedding gown and a more defined waist. It also chimes in beautifully with the retro wedding trend and looks oh-so-sexy when the right time comes. Check out a wide selection of satin and lace bustiers to complement your bridal look with a beautiful piece.

I’m tempted to buy an overbust corset. Is there anything I should know before I decide?
Well, there are pros and cons as always. Generally, overbust corsets are harder to fit, and they are also harder to move around. Unfortunately, they allow for less lung capacity so you might feel light-headed sometimes if you tighten it too much. Last but not least, they can cost you more, too. On the good side, an overbust corset gives great support to the girls, which is important, especially if you’re endowed with a big bust. It’ll also give you better posture support and might correct the back curve.

What bustier would be a good idea to wear under clothes?
If you plan to wear it under clothes, the first thing to take into account is a smooth finish. Avoid bustiers with too much padding or boning because these might be seen under body-fitted clothes. Such a bustier might also cause you to take on an unnatural shape when you actually want something defined but smooth. As for the closure, your best bet will be a bustier with an eye-and-hook fastening which lies flat against the back.

How do you care for a corset? Can I just throw it into the washing machine?
No, you can’t. Instead, you should take it to a professional dry cleaner to take proper care for it. If there are any individual stains on it, you can attempt to spot clean it with a mild detergent, though. Remember to air it after each wearing – just place it the lined side up and center it over a chair or a hanger. Make sure it’s dry before you put it back into the lingerie drawer. Between cleanings, you can use a fabric freshener, but do it only on the inside.

I have a large bust. What corset would my silhouette benefit from?
Definitely go for an overbust version. It’ll be more comfortable than the underbust corset or even a regular bra. Overbust corsets provide perfect support to the girls from the waist up. They distribute the weight evenly and ease the pain of bra straps cutting into your skin. Opt for a sweetheart style with gussets at the bust which will provide you with a beautiful shape and good support. The extra benefit you’ll get by wearing a corset is extra back support which is a vital thing for ladies with a large chest.

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