Corsets are pieces of clothing that are used to shape and train the waistline by cinching and constricting the waist. They are typically constructed with lacings and rigid, boned fabric to provide a secure fit. Corsets can be used to shape the waist and to improve posture, as well as to provide a fashionable look.
In this article, we will take a closer look at how corsets are used to create the perfect waistline.
Definition of a corset
A corset is a tight-fitting garment designed to shape and support the torso while providing an aesthetically pleasing silhouette. Historically, it was constructed of multiple layers of fabric, usually cotton and linen, held in place with laces and busks, made from whalebone, wood or other stiff materials. Although there are modern versions composed of elasticized fabrics or spring steel boning, the traditional corset is still popular. The resultant shape is narrow and hourglass in appearance.
Corsets have gone through many changes in style through the centuries and have been regarded as both romantic pieces of lingerie as well as objects for fashion statements.
History of Corsets
The history of corsets stretches back centuries, where they were originally used as a part of a woman’s wardrobe to shape their waist and create a more desirable silhouette. At the time, corsets and the use of whalebone were considered to be a fashion statement, and in some cases were even seen as a status symbol.
As the years passed, corsets evolved and became more popular, and their purpose shifted from a fashion statement to a fashion necessity. Today, corsets are still a popular item in the fashion industry and many people use them to shape their waist and enhance their overall figure.
Origins of the corset
The corset has been a mainstay in fashion for hundreds of years. It was first popularised in 16th century Europe, and was initially designed to hold up the voluminous dresses worn by nobility and wealthy society women. This early form of the corset, known as a ‘stays’, was rigidly structured and could restrict movement of the wearer. Despite its construction, these garments were not initially intended to give women an hourglass figure. Instead, they were meant to offer extra support for the wearer’s body frame whilst carrying out day-to-day activities or courtly events.
The real birth of the corset as we know it today began during the 19th century. This form was heavily boned with steel elements at its base, helping to establish a woman’s feminine hourglass shape. Steel structures were eventually replaced with flexible materials such as whalebone making it more comfortable yet still able to achieve a woman’s desired figure through cinching or tightening at waist or bustlines. Elaborately embroidered designs – made by experienced hands – helped send this once utilitarian garment into high fashion status being donned by royalty and appearing on Parisian runways during this era.
Evolution of the corset
The corset has been around for centuries, evolving with the times to stay relevant and stylish. Since its first documented appearance in the 1500s, the initial silhouette – an hourglass shape – remained largely unchanged until the 1800s.
At this point, as fashion changed and women’s roles altered, so did the corset. Its silhouette morphed from an hourglass to more of a tall rectangle shape – a direct effect of the shift in healthier living styles that saw women stop wearing petticoats and multiple layers of clothing under their corsets. This period also saw corsetry becoming a requirement for certain dressing occasions rather than part of everyday life.
The Edwardian period, beginning in 1901 through to 1910, saw something of a resurgence in more exaggerated bust lines and by 1913 some in-vogue silhouettes were thought to require up to 12lbs (5kg) or more of weight being laced tightly into place each day!
It wasn’t until after WWII that technology allowed for lighter fabrics and wider range of sizes to be used for modern corsets. In addition, with the world embracing new values on body acceptance and self-love we now see couture corsetry being used as both shapewear and statement pieces reflecting individual fashion preferences.
Benefits of Wearing a Corset
Corsets can be a great way to improve your posture, flatten your stomach and enhance your curves. When you wear a corset, it can help give you an hourglass figure, by pulling in your waist and pushing up your bust. Wearing a corset can also be a great way to stay slim and trim, as it compresses your waist and helps to reduce bloating.
Let’s explore the other benefits of wearing a corset:
One of the main benefits of wearing a corset is posture correction. A quality-made corset can help to instantly correct your posture and, with regular wear, can actually train your spine and core muscles to maintain a improved posture over time.
Corsets pull in and compress the waist, shoulders, back, and chest which gives the wearer an instantly straightened spine and better upper body alignment. Corset wearers may find they stay in their improved postural position even when not wearing the corset after just a few weeks of regular use.
In addition to better posture, studies have shown that improved core strength gained from greater muscle engagement while wearing a corset can also reduce lower back pain in the long term.
Apart from its ability to help create a slimmer and curvier figure, wearing a corset can dramatically improve your overall confidence in yourself. Many people feel limited by their own body shapes, particularly those who are struggling to lose more weight in certain parts of the body. When you put on a corset that fits well and helps you achieve the figure you desire, this will give you an instant confidence boost – allowing you to feel sexy, strong and beautiful in your own skin.
The physical support provided by the garment also adds an extra layer of mental security, providing comfort and reassurance that can be lacking from regular clothing or lingerie. Improving your posture is another key benefit of wearing a well-fitted corset; it will not only help you stand taller but carry yourself with more poise and charm.
Types of Corsets
Corsets are available in a variety of shapes and styles, each offering different benefits. Some corsets are designed to slim and smooth your waist while others can provide a more dramatic hourglass shape. The type of corset you choose will depend on how you want to shape your body.
Let’s take a look at the different types of corsets available:
Underbust corsets are a classic style of corset that encloses the torso from the bust to the waist. Generally handcrafted from heavy duty fabrics such as cotton canvas, twill and coutil, underbust corsets get their name from being designed to fit just below the bust on the wearer.
These corsets come in a variety of styles and shapes; for example, some underbust corsets are designed to highlight your natural curves with hourglass silhouettes, while others provide minimal compression yet maintain excellent structure with slightly more straight silhouettes. Underbusts cover up to 3/4 of your rib cage and leave your bust exposed, so this type of corset is ideal if you don’t wish to have your top covered or want to wear it over different kinds of tops. Underbusts can also be worn in everyday life as an alternative waist-training garment due to their comfy fit and versatile style.
The term overbust corset refers to any type of corset or foundation garments that covers the bust, or chest area. Overbust corsets are designed to lift the bust and provide support while also creating an overall slimming effect. They can be worn as functional garments or as a fashion statement.
Overbust corsets often feature lace or boning panels at the breast and bottom, helping to accentuate the curves of your body while providing support. They may also feature straps or cords in the back for adjustable sizing. Depending on your desired look, they may be made from a variety of fabrics such as brocade, satin, cotton twill and leather.
Overbust corsets offer more coverage than their underbust counterparts and are often used to recreate vintage looks.
Waist training corset
Waist training corsets are specially designed to help reduce the waistline while providing back support and improved overall posture. Popular amongst modern fashion lovers, waist training corsets can be worn regularly or just on special occasions under clothing. They vary in styles and degree of tightness, allowing you to choose which type fit your needs best.
Waist training corsets offer a more gradual approach than more traditional steel-boned corsets since they are typically made with flexible fabric that shapes to the wearer’s body over time. This makes them much more comfortable because they move with you and break in as you wear them. Waist training corsets come in several different types—including underbust, overbust, and even plus-size waist trainers—so it’s easy to find the perfect fit for your style and desired effect. These can be worn for a period of up to eight hours per day for a significant time before changes become visible due to the gradual process of “training” the waist line down.
Disadvantages of Wearing a Corset
Corsets are often used to shape and squeeze in your waist for an hourglass figure. However, wearing a corset does come with some drawbacks. It can be difficult to move around freely, it can cause a decrease in your lung function, and it can cause pain in your lower back.
Let’s explore the cons of wearing a corset and how to avoid them:
Reduced lung capacity
The major drawback of wearing a corset is its possible negative impact on a person’s health. A concern for many people who wear corsets is that it has a restrictive effect on their ability to breathe. This is due to the fact that when the corset is laced tightly and worn for long periods, it compresses the ribcage and lungs, thereby reducing lung capacity and air intake.
In addition, historical reports indicate that some women felt faint or even passed out after wearing one for hours on end. Women should therefore not wear them while engaging in activities requiring intense physical exertion.
Inability to exercise
One of the major disadvantages of wearing a corset is that it makes exercising difficult to impossible. The tightly laced garment does not allow for full range of motion and can make activities like running, jumping and even walking uncomfortable. Additionally, many people find it difficult to breathe correctly when wearing a corset due to restricted movement of the diaphragm. This can lead to a decrease in endurance while exercising or physical activities.
In order to make some physical activities easier while wearing a corset, it’s important to make sure that you have adjusted the garment correctly and that it fits properly as trying to exercise in an improperly fitting corset can damage both your body and clothing. There are also some more relaxed styles of corsets designed for comfortable wear during exercise sessions though these are usually not as effective at providing the shape desired compared with more tightly laced traditional garments.
Wearing a corset can also limit range of motion. With the tight lacing and rigid boning, you are limited in movement by the amount of room that is available for your body to move within the corset – this especially applies to activities that require a wide range of motion such as heavy lifting or stretching.
The boning cuts away at your body’s natural movement due to the restricted angle and space that your bones can assume while laced into a corset. This wearing of tight-lacing devices can eventually cause pressure points and poor posture, as well as digging and pinching on areas within the body when it’s tightly secured.
In conclusion, corsets can shape the waist to some degree, but they are best used in conjunction with other measures like diet and exercise. Additionally, corsets should always be worn in moderation and not as an aid for weight loss. While wearing a corset may provide immediate waist reduction results, these effects are not likely to last unless backed up by a balanced lifestyle.
For those looking for more permanent waist reduction and improved posture, surgery may be an option, but this should always be discussed with an experienced surgeon first.