Your body will change shape instantly the moment you put on a proper corset training corset and tighten the laces. This is because the corset will displace the fat around your middle and hold your body in the shape of the constructed garment, so you can literally design your own body shape. However your body will return to its natural state once you take off the corset. Yes its a shame it can’t just stay put.
So what, if any are the permanent effects that can be achieved with a corset and how long do they take to make permanent?
The only permanent change you can make to your body using corset training is to the lower ribs, which will compress over time to follow the shape of your corset. For this you’ll need a conical corset rather than one with an hour glass shape as these types leave room for the ribcage. Click here for more details on corset training shapes. The above and below pictures are a little extreme as they are copies from historic drawings, but it gives you an idea of the corset training before and after effects. The bottom floating ribs are easily reshaped as they’re not attached at the front. But it will still take a good 6 months to make a significant difference.
If you plan on tight lacing to the extreme, your internal organs will be affected. The corset will restrict your waist, causing your organs to shift. This does place added pressure on your organs but this is similar to the pressure a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy. The female body is designed to take the added pressure and organ movement but if you plan on undertaking extreme tight lacing you should do so under your doctors supervision.
The fact that the corset training before and after effects are not permanent and your body shape is merely held in position until the corset is removed, does not mean that corset training won’t have some effect on your body shape over time. We are talking years though, rather than months. The ribs are a solid bone structure so are unlikely to fully revert back to their original position, soft tissue however, will tend to expand back to its original shape. You would be best advised to corset train as a way of maintaining a slender figure rather than obtaining it, ie someone who starts to tight lace as a young woman will keep her figure thin even as an older woman. Thats why in Victorian times women where corseted as children. The body would form around the corset shape allowing them to maintain the waist size of a young teen. If you do waist train down to a tiny size and maintain it for several years before stopping, you’ll probably remain a great deal thinner than you would have been for several years. However there are reports of it taking under a year for the body to return to its previous size as, just like after pregnancy, the torso seems to remember its natural state. This really does vary from one person to the next though. Corset training really is more a way of life than an alternative to the surgeons knife or a healthy lifestyle. It’s no quick fix and should be undertaken for the joy of tight lacing and with a ‘long term’ mindset.
Permanent Effects and Health
So we’re discusses how tight lacing won’t permanently change your shape in a matter of months -this is because it merely disperses the fat (moves it) and this will move back to its original location. Corset training can however have a permanent effect on your ribs, the lower ones in particular. This really does sound scarier than it is!
As it happens, your lower ribs are a fairly flexible set of bones as they’re attached at the back but the floating ones – as the name suggests – aren’t attached to anything at the front. So maintained pressure from a conical shaped corset will over time reshape them. Theres some debate over whether or not they eventually return to their normal shape if corset training is ceased completely, but as they’re bone this is unlikely unless there is a lot of internal pressure to push them back out. I don’t pretend to be a doctor so I can’t give you a ‘for sure’ answer.
As for the health issues associated with corset training, there is no substancial medical evidence to prove that even the extreme tight lacers of today like Cathie Jung, or those of the Victorian era,suffered negative health effects at the hands of the corsetier. A lot of the historic fatalities attributed to corsets were either laughable or can be put down to other health problems that the Victorians were unaware existed. I’m not saying you couldn’t crush yourself or do yourself a mischief if you tried hard enough, you can. And old or badly made corsets have been known to brake and cause steel bones to pierce the skin. But if your corset training responsibly you shouldn’t come to any harm. The internal organs are designed to be moved around to a degree in the woman’s body to accomodate a growing child, in fact they are put under similar or greater strain during a pregnancy.
It is all-important that you progress gradually with any waist reduction as a sudden extreme reduction can cause a large amount of discomfort to say the least!
I’d like to do away right now with the myth that corset training involves any kind of suffering, wearing a corset should feel comfortable, unrestrictive and it should be easy to almost forget you’re wearing it. So don’t force your body, work with it. It should feel supported and ‘hugged’ not like your fighting against a death grip!
Now as for time scale, a waist reduction can be affected by a lot of factors, the main one being fat mass which can mean after the initial inch loss (which will be substancial as fat is extremely squashy) you won’t be able to get down to those smaller sizes without difficulty. Also if your loosing weight and tight lacing, your weight loss and the speed at which you loose will mean a dramatically different inch reduction to say someone who remains the same overal weight. Muscle will also play a part as this doesn’t squash so easily. A lean person will progress slower as a result.
Generally the first 4 inches or so are the easiest to loose and can be done so in a matter of months, but it becomes increasingly difficult after that. Sometimes a half inch can take a year for example. If your going that small – 20 inches and below (this also depends on your frame) then it’s a good idea to let your doctor know what your doing so he can monitor your health.
A common misassumption it that corset training for just a few months can permanently reduce your waist size. Unless your using it as a weight loss aid then no, it can’t, sorry. However, if worn for a number of years yes the corset can keep you thinner than you naturally would have been, had you not worn a corset during this time. We all get bigger round the middle naturally as we age, unless somethings there to physically stop us. But even after waist training for years, you’ll find that just an hour uncorseted will result in some waist expansion.
A few words on eating and drinking in your corset. You have to be careful how you ‘fill the tank’ while corset training. Those of you who’ve been tight lacing for a while now will no doubt have your own regimes but the less experienced would-be waist trainers will probably be unaware of just how much wearing this restrictive garment will affect your eating habits. I wanted to point out to you the problems you’ll encounter if you try to eat the same sized meals as before.
Wearing a corset while eating makes it easy to suddenly find yourself feeling bloated and uncomfortable with little warning. (If this happens then loosen yor corset a little but this shouldn’t become a common practice). With your stomach compressed you’ll feel comfortably full after only eating a little over half what you normally would. You should stop at this point, don’t eat until you feel bloated, its not good for your body. This is why corset training is associated with weight loss as, indeed, it is very similar to having a gastric band operation! So the best thing to do while corset training is to separate meals into smaller ones, try having four mini meals, which will also help you avoid snacking between meals. You also need to be weary of cold drinks as a cold beverage will fool your stomach into thinking its emptier than it is. The cold numbs your stomach and tricks it into feeling like you have more room to spare. Please try not to use this to finish meals as you really will regret it later when your innereds warm up! It’s fine to leave food on your plate, especially if your using corset training in conjunction with diet and exercise to loose weight. Would you rather it went in the bin or on your hips? However, don’t under eat either! Tightening your corset isn’t a substitute for lunch. You need to be more sensible rather than less when it comes to food intake and tight lacing.
If your planning on loosing weight by donning a corset and changing nothing else about your lifestyle then you will loose some weight, but its not the smartest move. Corset training will leave you unable to eat as much at mealtimes (unless you take the corset off but that defeats the object lol). Because you can’t eat as much its important that what you do put into your body is going to give you the nutrition you need. A healthy diet and exercise plan are key to any weight loss, but corset training can further improve your results. It becomes impossible to binge eat without feeling seriously sick and bloated so you’ll find wearing your corset a disincentive to eat large amounts. You’ll also feel less hungry on account of your stomach being compressed and you’ll feel full quicker and thus satisfied. Smaller meals will also lead to your stomach shrinking – yes it does this. If you eat large meals your stomach stretches over time to accomodate your eating habits. Thats why when you cut down your food intake you still feel hungry after you’ve eaten a sensible amount of food, you need to wait for your stomach to shrink to match your new meal size. This often triggers people to abandon their diet. Tight lacing will combat this feeling and allow you to cut down on your food without feeling unsatisfied.
Hallelujah! I hear you cry. But you still need to eat the right sorts of food and start exercising more regularly. Being in a corset may make you less inclined to be active if your not used to the restrictive nature of the garment. Remember you shouldn’t exercise in your corset, take it off when your doing anything overly energetic!
Tight-lacers love the individuality of customising the body, a lot of modern corset training is practised because the wearer wants to follow their own idea of beauty rather than the reasons of old when corset training was practised to conform to society in the Victorian era. This is by far the biggest change that has taken place within the practise of waist training. Today its about empowering women (and men) rather than constraining them! So I’d like to point out that you should be corset training for you and not your peers, boyfriend, job etc.
So beside customising your body what other uses does the humble corset have? There are actually medical benefits to a tight laced corset. Medical corsets are used for back pain and spine deformaties. If your looking into them for this reason you should ask your doctor to direct you to a specialist. But a much more likely reason for you my readers to be waist training is to loose weight. Corset training is great for helping to reduce your weight. Obviously it needs to be in addition to exercise and a sensible diet but you’ll find you physically can’t eat as much while wearing one. We’ll go into the ins and outs (yes I know, bad pun) of eating and diet in next weeks posts.
You can easily use the ‘rabbit ears’ method of lacing your corset training corset to make getting into your corset unassisted supper easy. It involves lacing the corset in the traditional criss crossed method until you get to the waist line, then leaving two big loops of lace (the loops represent the rabbit ears) then continuing to the bottom where you tie them off and cut off the excess. You need to leave the loops long enough to completely loosen the corset to the point where you can put it on/take it off easily. You then pull the loops to tighten the corset and tie them in a bow. The knot at the bottom of the corset never gets untied, unless you want to change or replace the laces. Here’s a diagram of the lacing for rabbit ears, if you have a waist tape on your corset training corset make the loops at this point.
You can then easily loop the rabbit ears over a door handle if you need an extra hand while tight lacing. You then just walk away from the door, using your body weight to tighten the corset. I posted some photos of my friend using the door handle method back in 2011 – check out the post of her first corset training corset lacing here
Here’s one of the photos to illustrate how easy it is to loop the ‘rabbit ears’ over a pair of door handles.
Corset Pattern Piece Numbers
Another important thing to look for when choosing your corset pattern is the number of pattern pieces it has. This may not be obvious to the novice corset maker but the more pieces the better the shape and the stronger the corset.
Imagine the corset as a three-dimensional and fairly ridged shape, like the cubes and pyramids you played with in kindergarden. To follow the curves of the body closely it needs as many sides as possible. This allows for more comfort and a better fit.
As well as a better shape, more pieces also makes for a stronger garment. Corset bones are normally placed at the seams; either one bone next to the seam or two with the seam running down between them. Thus the more seams the more bones and the more bones the stronger the corset structure. A plus size corset especially should have at least 5 or 6 pieces per side (the corset pattern will normally make up just one side, when you make a corset you cut two lots of materials – flipping the pattern over in between). A corset training corset will often have 8 or more pieces per side if its custom made by a specialist maker who designs for serious tight lacers.
There are even more corset pattern shapes to choose from than lengths (on hips, over hips etc, see last few posts for more details). Below are examples of the main ones, the top line shows those commonly used for corset training, the second row are the more exotic but also more problematic corset styles that I don’t recommend for waist training, they’re included for educational purposes.
The waist cincher has been covered in the previous posts – this is the same as a ‘waspie’ or short underbust and is for active wear. The two main types you’ll have to choose between are the hour glass and the conical shape.
The hour glass corset pattern is named after – you guessed it – the hour glass, the ones filled with sand, as its wide at both the top and bottom but goes in dramatically in the middle. The important thing to note here is that this pattern allows for the ribs, you should have little or n trouble taking full lung-fulls of air while waist training in this style. The conical corset however, squashes the ribs which are forced into an upside-down cone shape that tapers down to the waist. This style will restrict lung capacity and over time corset training with a conical corset is said to change the shape of the ribs permanently. A lot of tight-lacers consider this the proper corseted body shape.
… The two main types of underbust for corset training in are the ‘on the hips’ and the ‘over the hips’ styles. This refers to the bottom edge and how low it goes over the stomach area. A pattern that reaches down over the hips will give more support to the stomach and may feel more comfortable as the stress placed on the body is more evenly distributed, but it will also be more restrictive and allow less movement and bending than a corset pattern that sits on the hip bones or just above.
A ‘waspie’ corset or ‘waist cincher’ is simply an above the hips corset that sits a lot higher above the hips than a standard underbust. These are great if you lead an active life or have a job that involves a lot of bending and moving around. However, they obviously provide the least support to the torso and the concentrated pressure on the waist area makes them more likely to become uncomfortable after a few hours wear. They will often also come up lower around the bust area which again makes them great for active wear while corset training.
We established yesterday that you need to slowly ease your body into long periods of corset training. The example given was 2hrs a week but this is a lot slower than most people take it. Its really a case of listening to your body and easing up if you begin to feel uncomfortable. Don’t rush and do concentrate on comfort. If you don’t enjoy being in your corset you won’t want to put it on every morning.
So how long should you build up to? Again it depends on the individual and what feels right for their body. I’d say 8hrs it the minimum if you plan to constrain your waist over time, this is a good time period for maintaining too. Most people naturally progress to more though and it is not uncommon for serious corset training to reach 23 hours a day with an hour uncorseted for exercise and bathing. 23/7 corset training normally involves wearing a different corset at night, often the one you recently grew out of, to maintain tiny waist size from expanding during the night. I don’t advise doing this until you’ve been tight lacing for several months and then only if it feels right.
I’m asked a lot how long you need to tight lace to start physically reducing your waist line and how fast you can start squeezing the inches away.
Corset Training isn’t supposed to be a quick fix (although it does instantly slim your figure when you don a corset) it’s meant to be a way of life. Thats not to say you can only waist train if you plan to eat, sleep and work in your corset. It does mean that you have to enjoy wearing a corset for long periods and it does mean you need to reduce your waist slowly and sensibly.
That said we can go into the hows and how longs in more detail:-
When you start off make sure you get a well fitting corset and brake it in by wearing it for a few hours a day for a week or so ideally. You then need to build up the hours slowly, it needs to be gradual enough for your body to almost ‘not notice’ the change. You’ll feel very restricted and uncomfortable if you go straight for an 8 hour stint. But move up an hour a week from 2 to 8hrs and you’ll almost forget your wearing it.
Exciting new development! I now have my very own facebook page for Corset Making and two shiny groups for making corsets and corset training!
But why have I got three? Well the page is to keep you all updated with gossip and images as and when things are made, as well as give a bit more detail on technique. And with two groups we now have somewhere to chat and build an interactive community – if your more of a maker join the Corset Making group and if your just interested in tight-lacing check out the Corset Training Group. If your into both, hey, join both! Check them out by clicking any of the images.
So we now have our own facebook groups for both Corset Makers and Corset Tight-Lacers!
Hi this is Angela, and I had a few questions about corset training. What if I wanted to corset train my body but I am over weight. Would I still end up with a smaller waist or would i need to lose the weight I want to lose before I corset train. I remember when I was younger I wore a corset everyday for 2 years. My body started shaping like an hour glass. I was thinner also. Once I took it off with in time and over the years of gaining weight my shape is still hour glass but not as it was before… How could i go back to how i was. Is this harmful to the body?
Hi Angela, no I don’t think its harmful, as long as its done gradually. Obviously if you want to get back down to the size you were at before and you have put on weight since then you will have to loose it again. You may want to loose the weight first then corset train your waist smaller as otherwise you’ll get through corsets faster – if your getting thinner all over you’ll end up with the gap at the laces closing sooner than someone with a stable weight and need to buy progressively smaller corsets at a faster rate. Which can prove very costly if your not making your own! But besides the cost there is no reason you can’t combine tight lacing and weight loss, the two go hand in hand as wearing a corset restricts the amount of food you can comfortably eat and so corset training often results in weight loss anyway because of this.
The chemise is as old as the corset and has always been worn underneath it to protect both the skin and the corset like a barrier that minimises the amount of sweat penetrating the corset and also provides a breathable washable layer to keep the skin clean.
But unless you are a new romantic, the chemise may seem a little out-of-date for the modern girl, in fact it’s over 200 years out of date! So what are the modern day alternatives for today’s tight-lacers?
Well I tend to don a vest top, the stretchy kind that hug your body. But they’re not always high in cotton content which allows skin to breath and soaks up sweat. Synthetic fabrics will repel moisture holding sweat against the skin, not good! But now it seems there’s an alternative bamboo based fabric. I’ve seen it on a couple of corset makers websites being used to make undergarments for corsets. It’s 100% natural and has a stretch to it so it forms a second skin with 0 creases.
More about this wonder fabric when I get hold of some!
What is squish factor? Well I’ve heard a few people talk about corset sizing in terms of this amusing word ‘squish’. Maybe I just picked up on it because I declared ‘squish’ my favourite word a few years back – it has a certain ring to it don’t you think?
But when it comes to choosing your corset size this is an accurate term to use. Some women (and men) squish more than others believe it or not. It’s all down to fat and muscle. While it’s true you’ll never get uber tiny if you have a lot of those pesky pounds lingering on your waist line, you’ll find you can condense fat a lot easier than muscle and will get a bigger initial reduction than someone with no ‘meat on her bones’. Which is always nice to know. The best way to check your squish factor is to go try on some corsets in a shop and make a mental note of the waist size your comfortable lacing down to.
Last night I helped a friend into her first corset training corset and showed her the over the door handles method for tightening her corset alone. This is a great method for beginners because it’s like having a second pair of hands holding the laces taught while you pull at the crossed laces up and down the corset to get an even tightness top and bottom. Here are a couple of photos we took.
So we’ve discussed getting your body used to a corset gradually by building up the hours you spend in it day by day. But really this is only part of the process. The other two areas of body management you need to pay attention to while corset training are diet and exercise.
Yes every other magazine, advert and doctor goes on about the importance of diet and exercise but your about to become (or are already) a tight-lacer. These areas are too important to let slide.
Diet does not automatically mean under eating, it does mean eating sensibly. Wearing a tight corset also means eating differently. You can’t eat a big meal in a corset it’ll make you feel ill! You’ll be eating smaller meals more often and never eat until your uncomfortably full. In certain parts of the world – the med I believe – it’s customary to eat until your 90% full. This is a good rule to follow. I don’t need to remind you its important to eat your greens etc but you must make sure you eat enough roughage as squeezing your insides will make processing food that much slower for your intestines. Yes not very glamourous but you’ll thank me later.
Exercise is the other big corner stone of the happy tight-lacer. A mixture of cardio and core strengthening exercises are recommended to combat the undesirable effects of corset training. I go for a jog in the mornings and do the boat position when I get back before my morning shower. But fit it in where it suits you. A keep fit class, swimming or a home fitness DVD three times a week all work well to get your heart beating fast and you breathing heavily. The point of which is to expand your lung capacity as well as keeping you fit. Wearing a corset will alter the shape of your bottom ribs so you’ll benefit from expanding the intake of the top part of your lungs. If you don’t think you’ll stick to an exercise regime then going to a class or exercising with a friend will help stop you ducking out, even programming reminders into your phone so it tells you to ‘get your butt outta bed and onto that treadmill now’ can work.
Core muscle exercises are also important (core means the big inner tummy muscles) as wearing a corset takes the strain off them – great for back pain but it weakens the muscles. There are some great tummy exercise videos out there but try to steer clear of crunches they can do a lot of damage especially if you’ve had children. I like the boat, it’s quick and simple and I get to lay on the floor
To do the boat position you lay on the floor arms by your sides, pull in and tighten your tummy muscles and holding them in you lift your head shoulders and feet off the ground a few inches and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat a few times. Work up to 30seconds 3-5 times. Easy and quick.
A big change occurring in any part of your day to day life, be it exercise, diet, or strapping yourself into a corset, will be easiest to stick to if you do it gradually. We’re creatures of habit and a big sudden change is more likely to be abandoned after a short period of time. Get up and run 5 miles after years of no exercise. How likely are you to do it again the next morning? How about the next? Unlikely right? Your body would need to build up to it starting with a jog round the block today building up to the 5 miles in 6 months or so. Well it’s the same with corset training. Your body won’t take kindly to you suddenly putting a corset on for a whole day and night. Even if you manage to get through the day your likely to be extremely relieved it’s over and unlikely to gladly don your training corset again after your shower. At which point you’ll probably decide corset training isn’t for you and lament buying your expensive waist training corset. Anyone would feel that way if their body was forced to suddenly constrict like that without an adjustment period. You need to start off wearing your corset only a few hours a day. The rule should be if you don’t feel good take it off. The moment you feel restricted take it off and resist forcing yourself to wait a bit longer. And don’t feel guilty about it either, your insuring you don’t make a psychological link between your corset and discomfort. Instead you’ll find yourself looking forward to putting it on which in turn will mean you stick with it. Waist training is a long term commitment. Force your body smaller at your peril. On Friday we’re going to look into diet, exercise and the physical effect of tight-lacing on the body.