Category Archives: General Waist Training Information

Age and Corset Waist Training: a fascinating new fact

My June 29 New York Times had a fascinating article about the teenage brain, and I learned one more reason to advise that one be 18 yrs old as a minimum before starting corset waist training — or older.

Corset by Sharon for ROMANTASYThe Times’ opinion article “Why Teenagers Act Crazy” by Richard A. Friedman, professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College (wonder if he knows Dr. Oz?), reported on research that shows that the teenage brain is obsessed with fear and excess anxiety,  while  reasoning and executive control emanating from the prefrontal cortex do not develop until later, around age 25. That’s one reason teenagers are prone to accidents and injury — and in my opinion that fact signifies enhancement of the risk that teenagers may use poor judgment in pursuing waist training.

While we will make a corset for a Junior or Senior high school prom and have done so a number of times (witness the cute peacock blue and lace corset by Sharon, and red silk corset by Sue  worn by two high school women), we won’t make it excessively restrictive, and we generally don’t accept a waist-training coaching student who is under 21. That’s the age when the long bones in women at least, approach their maximum growth (tho it may take longer), and apparently, the age when reasoning becomes more sound.

mivasuejacblueConversely, I’m sometimes asked “am I too old for corsets, or to waist train?”

My general answer is, “Are you in generally good health,  specifically with no hypertension, high blood pressure, hernias repaired or otherwise, GERD disease, severe constipation, ankle swelling, or severe asthma?” Almost anyone without these substantial health challenges and in generally good health can wear a corset and pursue waist training in my experience.

In the end it is a highly individual matter as to how comfortable or fast the process of waist-reshaping will be, and that also depends upon the kind and fit of corset is being used for that purpose.

I started pursuing custom corsetry when I was 48 and I’m still going, tho albeit at a less frequent interval, with less tight-lacing. I turned a happy and generally healthy 70 years of age last fall and intend to corset and educate about them, for many years to come!

What’s painful to me is not my corset or any periodic waist-training I do pursue from time to time, but to see so many middle-aged and older women let go of their bodies, sense of sexiness and well-being, and give way to sloppy posture and formless clothing behind which to hide. Men, too, by the way. But I know how women suffer from poor body images far beyond men, and I know how great the grand majority of women of any age will look and feel if they venture out to try a fully-custom corset.

 

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Tips on How to Bear Up For Long Days of Training

Most programs of corset waist training involve working up to long days of corset wearing. After six or seven hours laced down a few inches, it can become tough, and sometimes almost unbearable.

While we are not one who believes in pain, we do believe in serious challenge and moderate to severe discomfort during training, in order to get the best results —  so long as that discomfort comes about by  gradual building up of hours before lacing tighter.

Recently Barbra, our waist-training student in our coaching program, switched to her own corset, from two weeks using a  “loaner” corset. She had found her original corset a bit too tough for the initial training weeks. The loaner corset had a 5″ waistline close from Barbra’s own starting waistline of 28.25″, but it was patterned for another, slightly larger client. thus it was a bit more comfy overall to wear.

Barbra’s first three nine-hour days back in her own corset were tough, because it was patterned more tightly top to bottom than her “loaner”  corset had been. She was a bit apprehensive about moving on to three days of 12 hrs. per day of continuous wear next scheduled on her program.

Here are seven tips we provided her and that might work for you when you reach the “tough” training stage — but let it be really tough before you choose to implement one of these:

From our former student Bret:

1. On a long wear day, I found it easier to put the corset on, lace to 1 inch over final stage and wait an hour or so before slowly pulling in that one inch.
2. Then, I reminded myself after about two hours my body would relax and become more comfortable.
3. Keep some Advil handy just in case the ribs get sore or you get a headache.
4.  Also, go easy on your meal sizes (cut back on calories that day, or divide your portions into even more per day than normal).
From our experience:
5. If during the day of wear it gets into ‘the excurciating’ level (not just tough or annoying) for you, then at that stage,  open the corset up by 1/2″ and try to go the full number of scheduled hours — then add 1/2 to 1 more hour that day to compensate.
6. Another approach would be to split the scheduled 12  hours into two parts, and add 1/2  to 1 hr. more that day, until you ease into your own corset at continuous wear.
Marines crop
7. A third approach would be to reduce by one hour or two hours the wear for that day, but add up to a full hour of floor exercises of the oblique and transverse muscles that day to compensate. The “Marines Crunch” is pictured here — a tough oblique muscle exercise but an effective one!
One might say: “pick your poison”…but stay in that corset, and stay the course. The process works, if you work it!
What ideas and tips do you have to help our student?

 

 

 

 

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The Pleasure Principle and Corset Waist Training

PLEASURE VS. PAIN – I often say that one should never corset waist train into pain. To the point of pain, yes. Into discomfort, yes. Into serious discomfort? Sometimes yes, depending on where you are along the continuum of training and corseting experience.

How do you judge that1.5 weeks.2 BEST? I ask my coaching students such as Barbra, seen here and now into her third week of training, to use and report to me on a Discomfort Scale of 1 to 10. That way we can adjust her overall program as indicated. The  “1” represents “piece of cake I could dance all night,” and the  “10” represents “the Big O,”  or — “Get Me Outta Here and I Mean NOW!”  I like students to remain at about a 5 to 7  on that scale when they think about their just-completed day of training.

Her first week of corseting was reported to be only a “2” or “3” on the scale, and that tipped me off that something was not quite right with her program. Come to find out she was measuring over the corset at the level I wrote down on her program (correct) then loosening up one more inch (incorrect). Basically she had had very little waist restriction at all for that first week, due to some miscommunication between us. Once we corrected that matter, off she went snugly laced down as intended, but only a suitable initial 1.5″ inches. This time it was an actual 1.5″ reduction, as she should have been. Today I’ll check on her number on that subjective scale, and adjust her training program again if need be.

A “training program” should  include three basic elements:  (1) wearing the corset and building up gradually to long consistent hours of wear six days a week, (2) corset-friendly nutrition and eating practices, and of course, (3) waist-targeted exercises.

FRONTP~1When it comes to exercise, I’ve heard it all from my students who generally grumble  or complain with the most negative of attitudes like that represented by our “exercise gremlins” seen left. A number of them anticipate pain before they enter a dedicated waist-training program for some months, but it’s quite to the contrary.

Pleasure seems to me to be a key principle to grasp and pursue if you seriously waist train to lose weight and/or re-shape your figure. Getting your mind wrapped around that point may be critical to your success. It’s a hard nut to crack, but an imperative element to boost your waist-training progress forward. And it doesn’t just end or begin with your normal hour workout at the gym. It has to be waist-targeted. How to get more of that kind of exercise,  when to get it, and what to do is often a topic of discussion with my students.

Regarding my Discomfort Scale and regarding exercise or any of the three elements of waist training, I have often said in the past, “don’t push yourself into the pain zone.” My main reason has always been that proper corseting is a precious, privileged practice, and a pleasure both physical, fashionable, and psychological  — and it should remain that way!You should nearly always look forward to lacing on your corset for the day’s period of wear, as well as look forward to your exercise period and some delicious, top quality snacks and modest meals as you train.

If you push your way into serious pain on any of the elements, pain beyond what your ego or motivation can tolerate, you risk associating pain with your corset — and that will never do.

Such an experience may linger in your mind and body, and work to dissuade you from joyfully approaching your corset and your next training day.  The negative idea or memory may allow you to find excuses to avoid this or that day’s exercise period, or just take one more day off a week from your corset wearing, or just eat one more slice of birthday cake — after all, it’s your birthday today, right?  Goals go out of the window and all of a sudden there is a reason to quit.

Even regarding exercise–the most dubiously “pleasurable” element of waist training–pleasure remains paramount as you design this element of your program and pursue it. I read my Dr. Oz column in the San Francisco Examiner, “Stick with pleasure when it comes to exercise,” and I now remain convinced!

Dr. Oz says that enjoyment, fun and happiness are top reasons regular exercises stick with it. A University of New Hampshire study recently found that people who remembers something pleasant about a past exercise session worked out 20 to 60 percent more often than folks who remember the negatives.

Bingo! I rest my case.

Dr. Oz suggests walking is the easiest way to get exercise and one more often associated with pleasure, but so is dancing, Zumba, walking with your dog (dog owners are 20 percent less likely to be obese than on-dog owners), playing outside, hula-hooping, gardening, jogging with a friend, visiting the arboretum and walking around examining the flowers…find something — and stick with it!

One example I added to my book “Corset Magic: How to Trim Your Waist and Figure”, was discovered one day I was sitting at my computer. Periodically I blow up my exercise ball and replace my chair with the ball at my computer. It trains my core, says my physical therapist, and I find it to position me sitting in a position that is very relaxing for my weak lower back.

That day I had put on my Aretha album and then came on her inimitable “Respect” song. Automatically I started bouncing up and down on my ball and by the end of the song when I stopped, I was breathless and my heart was racing! Wow, that had been so easy that I was stunned. These days I will often use the same technique and motivation to get moving and get  my blood churning in some good old-fashioned aerobic exercise .

Another idea? Just turn on Pharrell Williams “Happy” song from the Disney movie “Despicable Me II”. I dare you to sit still without at least tapping your foot. But don’t hold back — “Get up offa’ that thang” as James Brown says (another songster hero of mine) and start moving to the cut, and there you have it with a day’s aerobic exercise!

Better yet, check out this 24-hour YouTube video of Pharrell’s amazing song and watch for a few minutes as ordinary folk let the music hit their soul and their body follows:

That one song has inspired more movement and happiness to come into my life recently than I’ve allowed for a few years, and more’s the better!

Parrell’s song motivated me to ask my partner to compose a “Happy Tape” for me and I choose the top 15 songs that have always made me smile and automatically  “get up offa my thang.” So most mornings I start out with my cup of coffee, have breakfast, then start my tape fed thru my computer, and off I go dancing around the house for a few minutes to a few cuts. Even a few minutes is better than one, says Dr. Oz, and me, and it usually adds up to four or five cuts of shaking my bootie with KC and the Sunshine Band (and yes, that’s one of the cuts!).

So far so good: the neighbors haven’t yet asked me to turn the volume  down…

Any good, creative and unique ideas out there about how to get moving or target those obliques, to boost your corset training forward?

 

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Calculated Risks – an Initial Word About “Danger” in Corseting and/or Waist training

RISKY BUSINESS – LIFE!

We all take risks in life. Some risks are greater than others.

Years ago when I was in my early 50s I met a sky diver. After hearing how much he loved it, I decided I wanted to sky dive, too. I told my therapist girlfriend that I might have gone ’round the bend because I wanted to sky dive, had found a long-time dive center nearby where I was going to take classes, and was actually going do it.

She replied: “Ann, you are not crazy. There are many risks in life. You are minimizing risk by taking the necessary pre-jump classes at an experienced jump center, and making an informed decision. Thus, you are taking a risk yes, but a calculated risk in life. “

And so I did. And so I jumped. The first time I jumped attached to the front of my instructor.  I loved it so much I went back for another, longer class then jumped by myself. That is, “by myself” — after going out of the plane with the instructor holding onto my sleeve until I pulled my rib cord — just to be sure I had not passed out. I got myself down without incident and felt quite exhilarated by the experience.

I’ve always been glad for that experience.  In great part that is because I live life as some do not: I don’t want to look back on my deathbed and regret what I did not do in terms of taking calculated risks– risks attendant to enjoying life and paying attention to my overall good health.

What does this have to do with corseting and waist-training to improve one’s posture and perhaps lose some weight or trim down a bit? Quite a bit. It also has to do with life and making those inevitable choices in our activities of daily living. Corseting is one of those choices entailing some kind and some level of risk.

But nearly everything we do contains some risk. Even stepping out of our front door and across the street entails risk, or getting behind the wheel of thousands of pounds of steel and wheels on freeways with irresponsible folks whizzing by talking on cell phones and zipping in and out. I see it every day around San Francisco. We all take risks of greater or lesser inherent danger. If we are smart and don’t want to live the life of a hermit or recluse, we get as much information as we can to reduce those risks. We don’t pursue something that will surely or probably result in damage to us or others.  We seek responsible, experienced sources of information and guidance. We do our homework first. In other words, we take “calculated risks.”

Recently I heard that some online commentator on corsetry apparently claimed that her girlfriend of unspecified age was a corset fan. She was “slightly obese” , yet she was said to be 50 lbs. overweight. I imagine that most of us would consider that quite a bit overweight and not very “slight” at all.

Her girlfriend with an unspecified health history, corseted with an unspecified corset for an unspecified time, waist trained in some unspecified manner for an unspecified length of time, had some kind of unspecified waist-training guidance or advice by some unspecified person or source (her mom was a corsetmaker, and most likely did contribute at least some experienced advice to her daughter and likely made the offending corset), her liver ruptured, and the girl died. At the ER room or later, “corset training was determined to be THE (emphasis added) culprit.” No other culprit was listed, not even the 50 lbs of overweight.

Curiously, even with that pronouncement by an unspecified doctor of unspecified qualifications and no specified knowledge about corseting practices, “no charges were pressed since no one was directly at fault .”

According to this writer (if my informant is correct about the online posting),  her friend’s corseting practices caused pressure on her liver which ruptured, and corseting is more dangerous to women’s organs than pregnancy because internal organs move in unspecified and unpredictable kinds of ways.

I am awaiting response from several medical consultants to ROMANTASY on the above matters based on their experience, research, education, and the probability of these claims. Anything is life is “possible,” but reason should compel us to look for probabilities if not medical certainties,  in order to determine where to spend our money and effort in calculating our risks and choosing and pursuing  activities in which to engage.

First, let me express compassion for the online commentator, who is obviously in a state of deep and understandable grief over losing her beloved friend.

Sometimes deep grief can cause great anger and irrational  striking out in the search any possible cause for our loss. Sometimes we grab onto any easy explanation, rather than let emotions subside and examine the facts and weight of authority. We might glom onto the exceptional circumstance to find reason for our loss, and extrapolate that to everyone. This could be one of those times.

Second, I’ve never heard of such a death attributed directly or indirectly to corseting practices  in modern times, at least over the past 25 years. Not in all my 25 year of personal corseting and occasional waist training,  nor in my 24 years of studying corseting, waist training, and purveying corsets plus coaching about 30 students in the practice, have I heard of such a result.

As one experienced European tight-lacer told me, any health problem that exists pre-corseting, will exist and possibly be affected post-corseting. But “affect” does not necessarily and in all cases, mean negative affect.

Witness a letter that came in today from a client coming back to order her second corset and continue with her self-motivated waist training. I set it forth below in whole because it is in the nature of what I typically hear back from my clients and students, and what I have personally experienced.

Above all, I hope that discussions online and in real time about corseting and waist training will remain factual, not merely opinionated and possibly ill-founded or based in mere possibilities, disregarding the inherent risks in just living. I hope that facts and calm heads will prevail, but expect it will not always be so even if corseting is more ubiquitous today with more enthusiasts than have existed for some time after the corset’s near-demise around the time of World War I.

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     “I’ve really been loving my corset! (Ed note: delivered mid February 2014 two months ago) I’ve attached some Front emiliephotos. So far I’ve lost about 13 pounds and I’m getting close to being able to completely close the corset
      “I think a lot of my weight loss has to do with the corset, although I will say I’ve been pretty stressed the last couple weeks and haven’t really been eating much. I have struggled with a binge eating disorder for most my life and I put a lot of pressure on myself as far as body image. I’m finding wearing the corset though really frees my mind. I like the way I look in the corset and I haven’t been obsessing about my weight. This is huge for me so I think in that way the corset has had a significant effect on my weight loss and bringing piece of mind. I also really love the support it gives. Also I have problems with my posture and pain in my tailbone from sitting. I have found when I wear the corset I still tend to slump my shoulders a bit but I can sit now without pain in my tailbone, which is amazing!!
     “I’ve been wearing my corset all day from morning until I go to bed at night. Although just last week I went back to a previous job I had, which is working as a stable hand, and I don’t want to get my corset dirty. I’m thinking though I might wear it at work anyway. I really need the back support, especially since I have had some back injuries from the manual labour. After I take a shower from work though I put on my corset and wear it until I go to bed, which is about 5 to 6 hours. I’m thinking though, like I said, I might just start wearing it to work anyway…or else I’ll probably wear it to bed if I don’t wear it at work so I can get in more hours.
     “I measured my natural waist, which is high and on the bottom of my ribs, without the corset and it’s down (in under a year)  to 29 inches, I think before it was 33 inches, and my squishy waist right above my belly button, where the corset waist is, is down to 30.5 inches, before it was 34 inches. With the corset on my waist is 28.5 inches. (Ed note: this is a very moderate and sensible 2.5″ reduction!)
     “I really would like to stick with Sheri for my next corset. It so comfortable and perfect for me. I would like the back raised two inches though for the toothpaste, and I think it would help more with my posture. I also think the bottom could be lowered about a half inch to an inch…I realised the picture with the skirt didn’t really show where the bottom fell. When I sit down, there’s a little bit of pooch that sticks out on the bottom.
     “I would like to order pretty much the exact same corset from Sheri, only with some minor adjustments and obviously sized down. My middle is still pretty squishy, but at least not as squishy as it was. I think once I get to my third corset I might want to look into a prettier corset, I’m pretty focused right now on my corset being “a work horse”.
     “I’m ready to order my next corset now so it arrives by the time I’m ready for it. What else do you need from me to order?
     “I really am so happy to have discovered corseting…I can’t imagine not wearing one now. Kind regards, E.”
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Using a Corset Waist-Training Comfort-Challenge Scale and the similar Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion during Exercise

I was interested to learn about the Borg Scale of perceived exertion in my SF Examiner April 17, “Learn to be an 8 when it comes to exercise” by Renee Prosen. This Scale helps communication between health professionals, Mirrorgraphicpersonal trainers and exercisers, to enhance understanding of how hard the person exercising, is working during exercise.

The exerciser judges her amount of exertion, with 1-3 meaning she could go on forever, 4-6 meaning she feels like the muslin is doing something but there’s no reason to stop, 7-8 meaning she is really ready to stop, and 9-10 meaning how hard you would work if a car fell on your dog and you were trying to lift it off.

Honestly–that’s what the article said!

For students enrolled in my three-month waist-training coaching program, I also use a similar perceived scale, The Comfort-Discomfort Scale.

It  determines how challenging the three basic elements of any corset waist-training program are to the trainee. Of course, those elements are corset wearing, waist-targeted exercising, and corset-friendly eating and nutrition practices.

And of course “perceived” means it is a highly subjective scale, but that is fine. I am one who believes that if a student perceives they are in pain, that’s not a good place for them to be because then they may well develop an antipathy toward their corset. They may find an excuse not to complete their waist training program, fearing how they will feel during the next day. They begin to associate pain with the corset, and that just won’t work.

Here’s how our scale works. A 1 our scale means training is a piece of cake, while 10 means the trainee is in (has just entered) real pain and has reached what I call “the Big O”, or, “I WANT OUT OF THIS THING!” stage.

I ask my students to keep themselves training at a level of 6 or 7 daily, at any one time of continuous wear of the corset for that day’s wearing schedule. I want them to feel challenged and even uncomfortable bordering on real pain, but not into it. I want them to feel like they have truly accomplished something when they take their corset off or rest after waist-targeted floor exercises that day.

Of course, perceived comfort/discomfort can differ from hour to hour, minute to minute, or day to day based on a variety of factors and on individual reactions. A person who has a so-called high tolerance of pain could well say he is at a “4” when another person at the same level of restriction and size and experience, could say she was at a level of 9. The important point is how the student feels.Suelacingtongue

Here corsetiere Sue Nice appears to be in about an “8” on the Comfort/Discomfort  scale as she tries to lace on her front-laced corset! I always chuckled to see this picture taken at a ROMANTASY boutique fashion show some years ago.

Can the scale slide in perception over time? Most assuredly it will. The more one becomes used to wearing a rigidly structured and tight garment, the less discomfort will be felt. A “9” today, may be next week’s “6”.

But again, it doesn’t matter. The point is, a scale allows my student to tell me more about how t hey are feeling and lets me adjust their program and elements accordingly, so they always live on the edge of discomfort or even pain, but don’t step into it.

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Now THAT’S value!!!! How much a corset costs, is coutil really necessary for strength, and how long will a corset last?

I’m often asked  “How long will a corset last?”  and “What kind of fabric is stronger for good corsets?” As with any question I receive, my answer is always: “That depends.”

Frustrating answer, isn’t it? I know. But corset questions deserve thoughtful, fact-based discussions that recognize nuances, sometimes not the case in these days of growing numbers of “corset conversation groups” and other rapid-fire online discussions, often among BR LeeAnnthe IT-oriented younger generation of corset enthusiasts. To those of us in the aging-gracefully older corset generation, it often seems that peer opinion that can’t be based on literally decades of experience making and wearing custom corsets, becomes more important than historical fact, to our younger colleagues.

Today I had a detailed conversation with a long-time, dear friend, supporter, and client from Oregon, Leeann. Leeann is 6 feet tall, typically weighs about 200 lbs., and has corseted regularly and seriously for over 15 years. She is a transgendered MTF.  By now she owns eight or more corsets by various makers on our ROMANTASY team, including the two-layer, Chinese polysilk red-and-black corset by the former indominable and respected Elder Queen of Corsets, Ruth Johnson, pictured here.

In late 2012 I received back into my historical corset collection, Leeann’s well-used  underbust “Bella” 8-panel Victorian in geometric-patterned gold Chinese polysilk,  pictured below. The silk is from the higher quality Chinese silk line, from two lines on the market today. It was made custom for Leeann in the fall of 2006, by our ROMANTASY team member, Sharon McCoy Morgan.  See: http://romantasyweb.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=R&Category_Code=Sharon+McCoy+Morgan

The corset is bonded and lined in heavy twill with a standard spring steel busk and no underflap or “fly”.   The last bone on the very inside gap along the grommets, is 1/2″ wide while all other boning is the normal 3/8″ wide, double, spring steel inner boning.  This is a ‘standard’ production Bella Victorian corset in 8-panels  that Sharon produces for clients desiring to waist train. (Her 12-panel Vic has four more steel bones and is therefore, a bit tougher and more figure-constricting over time, plus has a slightly better overall fit).

The silhouette created on Leeann’s body is more akin to the ice-cream cone than to the hourglass or wasp:  http://romantasyweb.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=R&Product_Code=Basic+Figure+Silhouettes&Category_Code=cgi

According to Leeann, this is her favorite corseted-body silhouette and ‘feel’ when she wears a corset. Not once in six steady years of wear did she ever feel a pinch or a need to loosen this particular corset up, even after indulging occasionally in a 6 – oz. steak-and-potato dinner while remaining laced down 5″ from her snug natural waist of 37-38″.

We delivered this corset to Leeann in the fall of 2006. I interviewed Leeann to learn the details of wear, in order to prepare me with facts that might be more helpful than I have been able to be, in answering the questions, “How long will a good, waist-training quality custom corset last?” and, “Is coutil fabric really necessary for durability and quality in a waist-training corset?”

From September of 2006 til September of 2012 Leeann wore this corset at a 4corset as foundation.5 to 5″ reduction for 46 hour-weekends (taking only one  hour off per day for a shower). She wore it 2.5 times more frequently during this period than only one other “workhorse” corset she was field testing by another maker on our team at the same time. In total she estimates she put in about 8,700 hours of wear of this single corset, in six years. She wore it as a foundation corset underneath her clothing (allowing clothing to rub on and possibly damage the outer corset fabric. Note that she also wears the waist pulls around her waist, contributing to rubbing on the surface of the fabric. We advise lacing from the back and tying the bow in the back to protect your fabric.) She paid $ 395 for the corset in 2006.

Realize that with a waist reduction of 4″, from 60 to 90 pounds of pressure is exerted by any client on the midriff of a corset, per research I have uncovered. Consider the strength of the genetic male musculature and possible additional stress on thread, fabric, lining, bonding, and seam lines  that Leeann exerted on this corset over its lifetime.Back view

In six years we made two repairs to the corset. In June of 2009 Leeann sneezed while tightly laced. Remember that she is 6′ tall and 200 lbs. A side seam split, which Sharon promptly repaired for $35, and Leeann continued her wearing practice. In September of 2010 she popped a stud off the front busk and we replaced the entire busk for which repair she paid $100.

In sum, for six years of wear, Leeann paid $530 for about 8700 hours of tight-laced wear in this single corset. Thus, Leeann paid 6.1 cents -per-hour of wear, or $1.40 per 23-hour day of wear, for this corset.

You  may decide for yourself if she got good value for her investment or not. She believes she did.

You may view the condition of the corset Leeann returned to our collection in two closeup images. Note that in front, two studs have popped off the top two clips (Leeann installed the industrial hook and eye at the top), one bone has broken on the side front (her right side, left side in the image), the fabric has rubbed raw in several spots,  the binding fabric has rubbed off in the back at the top, and there is other evidence of hard wear and fabric soiling. (Note that broken bones can be easily replaced, as can the busk, and seams less easily repaired but they can be, at much less than the cost of a brand new corset. At ROMANTASY we are happy to entertain these kinds of refurbishment requests to help each of our clients get the maximum use and thus, value, out of their investment).

Together we decided not to repair the corset again, but consign it as a teaching garment into the ROMANTASY collection.Front view

Based on my long experience purveying corsets over 24-years on January 14 this month, corsets made in various heavier fabrics including these Chinese polysilks and our favored heavier cotton-backed satin, my ultimate conclusion about the necessity of coutil to line a corset or for outer fabric, is that it might be nice and “au courrant” among some, and it might on the fabric’s surface wear a bit better than satin or silk does, but coutil definitely is not necessary for waist training quality corsetry.

For a detailed discussion and images about various fabrics on the market for corsetry, and how to shop for your own fabric if you choose to do so, with some very wise words from Sharon and Mr. Garrod, our esteemed former corsetier from England, please see:

http://romantasyweb.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=R&Product_Code=Fabrics&Category_Code=cgi

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Don’t cha just love it? The Tongue Patch

For a New Year’s chuckle you might want to bing “The Tongue Patch” — another “miracle” surgery being done by plastic surgeons, at least by one SoCal surgeon. What won’t folks do in our “quick fix” society in order to lose weight?

Tonight the ABC news had a brief item on Dr. Nikolas Chugay who sews in a patch on the tongue such that the person experiences pain when eating solid food but not liquid food — and therefor doesn’t eat. The patch is removed a month later or so. From the two ladies interviewed by ABC, it sounded a bit as if they were talking with a mouthful of marbles, certain to be noticed by others with whom they socialize.

I guess that’s one way to lose weight, up to 18-20 pounds in one month the surgeon reports.

You can visit Dr. Chugay’s website and read that costs for a lap band surgery  is around $14-15,000 and $18-35,000 for gastric bypass compared to the Tongue Patch at only $2000. http://www.drchugay.com/innovation/weight-loss-tongue-patch-surgery Apparently according to the news report, the technique comes from Latin America.

For $2000 ROMANTASY can custom fit a fashionable, fun, beautiful underbust corset in gorgeous silk brocade, including a personal consultation of three hours, for $500 tops. You can wear this comfy corset underneath your clothing, or even out over a glamorous Red Carpet ensemble to get twice your money’s worth. If you gain weight from bad habits re-established after corseting, you merely put that corset back on and enjoy the benefits of portion reduction and diminishment of hunger in a few short days or week, and down your waistline will go once more.

So … you can get four such corsets from ROMANTASY for the price of one tiny Tongue Patch — corsets that don’t cause pain and that will last you 10 to 20 years with proper wear and care. Corsets in the past have taken up to 50 pounds off of one of our clients in three months of proper waist training under our tutelage. More to the point, one client lost 6.5″ in his waistline in four months of training by simply reading our book on the topic and applying the techniques detailed therein.

Yes, we’re not talking one month. But in a general lifetime of 60 or so years, is three months that much more onerous than one month to dedicate to a chosen weight loss strategy? And how “rapid” a result do we really need, at what cost involving cutting and/or suturing?

The surgeon reports that he is “excited about bringing this procedure to Southern California and is thrilled to offer a solution to the eternal search for rapid weight loss techniques.” There is not much information in the news report (nor on the website) about side effects or long term results, leading one to need to conduct more research to get a full and fair idea about the process.

Leaving me to wonder at what other dubious quick fix may become the next latest craze in our rush for results?

(A final point for clarification,  since another plastic surgeon also from SoCal took exception to some questions I raised in another blog after hearing a very brief news report on a different technique he used for weight loss. I am NOT challenging this surgeon’s qualifications to do the procedure or any procedure, nor ‘besmirching’ his reputation as the former surgeon erroneously concluded. I am merely raising questions about the wisdom of folks wanting instantaneous results ,and choosing an option that involves sewing and surgery, versus choosing a time-honored fashionable approach to appetite and hunger control, leading to figure slimming thru corsetry)

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“Custom” vs. “Readymade” corsets suitable for waist training

It’s important prior to ordering a corset for any serious student of waist training, to recognize  the difference between a “custom” and a “readymade” corset (which is sometimes also called a “standard-sized”) corset. The two are entirely different critters.

Why is it important to know the difference, and ask in advance of ordering a training corset, what the corsetiere means by either term?

Because we’ve found corsetieres on the web offering “custom” corsets, that are truly not that by any reasonable definition we know. The client merely sends in a snug natural waist measurement. Sometimes a person tell us the corset was marketed as “custom”, and the client is sorely disappointed at the upper or lower perimiter fit which was not made to their individual measurements. Or the so-called “custom” corset is too short or too tall for their height.

“Custom” to us, means fully custom, that is, that the pattern is drafted one-up for you according to your individual torso measurements and most likely, about 8 to 10 of those or more will be requested and used for your corset.

“Readymade” or “standard-sizing” means that the corset has certain pre-set measurements that go with different set waistlines, and normally the corset maker will ask for only a snug waist measurement. The upper and lower perimeters, and the vertical height of your corset will normally be set and not variable by you. Thus,  measurements may or may not accurately reflect your individual torso shape and  may or may not be comfy to wear for the long continuous hours you will need to eventually put in for effective waist training.

ROMANTASY offers only two standard-sized corsets viewed in our “Simple Pleasures” cincher and “Simple Pleasures” Victorian, found on this webpage:

http://romantasyweb.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=R&Category_Code=csp

The cinch was recently reviewed on December 6 by our corset enthusiast friend Lucy (bishonrancher) of lucycorsets.com. We highly recommend her YouTube videos which are generally spot on in terms of educational, fact-based corset information regarding product, service, and theory. However, we had not made our cincher facts clear in terms of information provided to her, and she thought they came from our fully-custom corset line, The Basic Line of corsets. They do not. They are presented on our navigation button as this line of corsets: “Corsets-Standard Patterns”. But both lines are about equivalently priced as Lucy correctly notes.

Because we chose to organize our business to offer real options and choices to clients (we never force a client to order a corset made by one maker or in one style/fabric only), it’s somewhat easy for a newcomer to the ROMANTASY website to get confused. Still, we prefer to offer corsets in that fashion, and work personally with our clients and email inquirants to focus in on what it is they precisely need so no mistakes are made in terms of definitions, options, and ultimate goals/budget needs. It’s our duty and pleasure to help you understand the options before you order.

In summary, below is a guide to how ROMANTASY organizes our corset options and offerings.

We offer three major categories of corsets on our website. First, we have three lines of fully custom (8-10 or more measurements) corsets, motivated by our desire  to offer a variety of well-fitting fully custom styles and price points. They include:
The Basic Line  (an alternate to the standard patterned  Simple Pleasures cincher or Vic, and about the same price in a similar two-layer corset, also single boned like the Simple Pleasures, but fully custom using 8 measurements)
The Fundamental Line and
The Elegant Line.

Cincher in floral print webSecond, we offer two standard-sized corsets in eight sizes, the “Simple Pleasures” cinch which is pictured here, and the Victorian, under our Corsets-Standard Pattern button. They are made when ordered from a copyright pattern, and take the normal production time  as for a custom corset:   http://romantasyweb.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=R&Category_Code=csp

Third, we offer ready-to ship instock consignment/models’ samples corsets on our page, Corsets-In Stock. On this page we list  a few, brand new (not worn at all) Simple Pleasures cinchers  that are immediately ready to ship, but our supply is limited.

Thus, for the most part, in order to receive a Simple Pleasures standard-sized corset or cinch, they are technically not a “readymade” corset.

Can all three categories of ROMANTASY corsets serve for waist training? Most likely not. We recommend corsets from the Fundamental and Elegant Lines for training purposes because of the strength in boning, fabric and other components of construction and finish. If you have more questions, please let us know, as we want you to get the right corset for your primary wearing purposes, as well as one that fits into your budget.

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“Right Corset Mind”

Although some would say that anyone loving corsets and corset waist training is not in his or her right mind, I think that is precisely what it takes to be successful:  a “right corset mind”! By that I mean holding your goals in the forefront of your mind no matter what, and not letting minor distractions become a grand excuse to fail.

The thought came to me after an e-conversation with our corset client/friend, Michie, who said: “I’ve been stressed lately. When I am stressed, I don’t lace up because I get these twinges.  I am trying to be better about the tie that I am giving my corset.  I will get back to wearing it everyday at the normal level if it kills me LOL.”

Her stress did not deal with a health emergency, job loss, death of a parent, loss of job, or impending move. It dealt with her son’s disrespectful and irresponsible behavior.

Of course we know that wearing a corset when stressed or not, will not “kill” Michie, but we do feel for her!  Beloved ABC-tv reporter Robin Roberts says: “Everyone has something,” and we say that most assuredly, everyone has stress of all kinds sooner or later.

Stress can waylay our progress in training –perhaps moreso than for any other reason or cause for taking your corset off, including illness, holidays, and seasonable allergies or colds. Stress serves as a distraction from your goals, causing you to focus on something else, rather than where you want to go and why you are wearing a corset to begin with. Similarly, stress, along with hunger, have been the two major things said by many doctors to defeat attempts to diet.

Going off one’s training program is never lethal, however. What concerns me, is if stress is not used for a temporary respite from corseting, but is used to provide an excuse to quit the program and practice altogether.

As for waist-training program elements, I request not perfection (impossible~), but that my coaching students strive to implement 95% of the elements and achieve 95% of their goals as well, each week. Going off the program for a few days is fine since you can (and should) renew your efforts the next day or two and do more than what is required for that day, to make up for the loss.

But sometimes students have used a setback or some stress to relieve themselves of their original commitment to follow all the way through a three-month program, or the program they have set for themselves. In Michie’s case, training involves a one- to two-year goal.

Frankly, I don’t have any worries about Michie, because I know she is in this for the “long run” as we’ve discussed many, many times. She is clear about her long term goals of permanent weight reduction, improvement in posture and health, and a slimmer figure. Going off her program for even a week or two is not going to wreak havoc with her regime.

Yes, it may be a tiny bit more difficult two weeks later when she puts her corset back on, so perhaps she should back off a bit in the amount she laces down, or wear it a shorter period of time than normal. If the delay amounts to a month and then three months, accordingly it will become more difficult the more time that passes without wearing her corset. (The same thing happens when after training some months or years later, we pursue regular  “maintenance corseting” or a periodic two-month “mini training program” to get back into good posture and appetite/portion control).

A fascinating fact is that at least two of my coaching students have faced major life stressors during a rigorous three-month training program, went hell-bent forward with their program concentrating hard on their end goal, and succeeded in reaching their goals. Both of them reported that they actually felt that keeping to the corset wearing and training program helped them survive the stress. According to them, the program provided continuing daily discipline and boundaries in their life when everything else seemed swirling out of control. One student lost her job midstream corset waist training, and the other was served with divorce papers (yes, due to her hubby’s distaste for her improving figure and distaste for her taking control of her life by corseting; sound like a poor ego and major control issues to you??).

So don’t assume that mid-stream stress you will inevitably encounter during waist training, inevitably means you have to quit your program or quit corseting all together. Quitting after minor or even a major stress most likely demonstrates that you really didn’t make a firm commitment to yourself and your health before you began. If that commitment has not been one of one or two top priorities in your life before you began, and for a specific period in your life, then corseting will go by the wayside no matter what distracts you.

While major illnesses or health emergencies may surely justify quitting because of physical danger in lacing down, stress is the least of the justifications to altogether quit corset waist training, to my mind.

What do you think?

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“The Corset Diet” — and other troubling approaches to figure reshaping

I was amused on October 9 to catch a “pop news” segment on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ regarding Dr. Alexander Sinclair, a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, who introduced his “corset diet” to the world.  GMA says it’s a “new fad” and their station doctor dissed the process as dangerous. “Seems like torture” said one tv commentator, and the reporter, Abby Boudreau,  appeared extremely happy to take off a heavy, pretty clearly non-custom-made neopreme or rubber, stretchy “corset” that the doctor uses.

When I first published my book in 2000, it was titled “The Corset Diet.” Soon thereafter I thought about that title, and decided to change it, because truly, figure reshaping on a reasonable, permanent basis, is not a “diet” at all. It’s a health-conscious lifestyle choice to improve posture, to reshape your body and figure, and also to lose weight if you want to (no, you don’t have to lose weight yet you can drop waistline inches with the process), and it doesn’t happen in one day or even one week.

However, it DOES happen in months, if you work the process and go about it in a common sense way, respecting and paying attention to your body’s messages and adjusting your program as indicated as you move forward.

I did find some similarities of my approach and process with Dr. Sinclair’s approach, namely that it’s best to start by wearing a corset 2 to 3 hrs. per day and take one day off per week. Apparently his program includes two days off and 3 to 5 hrs of daily wear. The tv program did not say how long a client needs to “corset diet”, or how tightly the corset needs to be on how many days and how to move up or down in restriction.

Even more curious and somewhat troubling was to learn via a phone call to his office by a client, that the doctor apparently charges only $150 for the corset, and my client was told that his advice is ‘free’. While I have not verified this report, I wonder how  a medical doctor of repute can afford to give away his advice and guidance for free, unless the “corset diet” is some kind of loss leader for his plastic surgery practice, or there is not much advice or guidance offered while the patient diets? More facts are surely needed before one can seriously evaluate his program. Of course, the popular media never has or takes time to elaborate or give sufficient facts about any “pop news” item upon which can rely with confidence to evaluate it.

On a side note, it’s curious too, how ABC can come up with this report and again stress the dangerousness of the process, while at the same time exactly one year ago on October 12, ABC’s “20/20″ reporter Deborah Roberts did not find the process dangerous at all. In fact, she reported favorably on her two-week experiment wearing one of Jill Hoverman for ROMANTASY’s training corsets! See: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/10/10/my-life-in-a-corset-squeezing-into-a-new-dieting-strategy/ Could it be the right hand does not knoweth what the left hand doeth?

This made me reflect upon what makes corset waist training work vs. fad dieting, and I thought I would share a new “Introduction” section I added early this year to my book which addresses the question. I also include inspirational pictures of Heather, my 2012 waist-training student, below right, and client Heidi who trained by herself using our general advice, below left. Both trained in corsets produced by Jill on our team, but we recommend both Sheri and Sharon for your consideration, since each corsetiere has her own specializations that can benefit your waist-training efforts, which differences we explain more fully on our Elegant Line webpage where we personally introduce each talented lady:  http://romantasyweb.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=R&Category_Code=ccel

“CORSET MAGIC: a Fun Guide to Trim Your Waist and Figure” Heather uncorseted back view after training (end Dec. 2012)
© Ann Grogan 2013 (7.1.13)

http://romantasyweb.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=R&Product_Code=book01&Category_Code=moc

INTRODUCTION (new section)

I think a lot about what makes corset waist training work for my students in the three-month coaching program I sponsor, and for others who try the process on their own. Lately I’ve concluded that it’s not food choices, it’s not portions we eat, it’s not even how many steps we walk each day or how many hours we spend at the gym. It doesn’t even really have to do with wearing our corsets. It’s about correcting our thinking process and thoughts which are normally misguided when it comes to corset waist training.
I noted one misguided way of thinking and stopped it early on with a former student, Gigi, who told me she was going to indulge in fatty foods the week before commencing training so that she didn’t feel deprived during the three months she would pursue the process.
Corset waist training is not deprivation!  It is fun. It is effective. It is fashionable and it is unique. Not many folks in the world will accept the challenge and take the chance to try a new adventure in life with certain rewards coming to those exercising a modicum of dedication and common sense. How wonderful to be unique in life and do something different rather than follow the beaten path.
But corset waist training is certainly not justification to pig out the week before it begins!
Heather is the most recent student who graduated from my coaching program at the end of 2012. She is a graphic artist who was initially challenged by “free” food offered daily at the workplace by her employer. The food certainly wasn’t healthy but was quite abundant, and Heather always indulged.
Early in her program I assigned Heather the task of designing and posting in an obvious place at her desk, a sign you’ll see here, one that said: “Free food is NOT free!”Clearly, “free” food was packing on the pounds, and Heather’s continuing practice of mindless food indulgence ran contrary to her waist-training goals. To reach her goals she had to change the way she thought about that “free” food from pleasurable and good to not good and contrary to what she truly valued and wanted to accomplish.
Six other mental or strategical approaches that don’t involve corset-wearing, exercise, or food–-ones that can assist you successfully waist train—include:

Corsets by Jill model Heidi  flyer1. Setting aside corset waist training as the top priority in one’s life for three months. It just can’t take second seat to anything except perhaps family or work obligations—and most of the time those kinds of obligations become excuses to quit rather than re-arrange one’s schedule to serve those needs yet keep on target.

2. Grasping the idea that three months is an incredibly short period of time to bear down in order to survive the days that surely will arrive when you want out of the corset or off the exercise program.

3. Re-arranging your thinking to value more a svelte figure, than that second helping or weekly pizza.

4. Choosing high quality over quantity—and doing it every time when it comes to eating.

5. Understanding that it is the first bite of food that tastes the very best; the second and third bites go way down in terms of giving pleasure. Why fill up on a huge bowl of ice cream, instead of savor the first two or three bites of very high-quality ice cream and put just that much in your bowl to begin with?

6. Deciding not to find excuses to quit, and by not letting falling off “the wagon” provide one such excuse.

On this auspicious occasion of the New Year of 2013, I wish you right thinking–-and success in your waist-training adventure. I expect that you will realize the figure of your dreams!

— Ann Grogan, January 2, 2013

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