What if you don’t like corsets? (Or will I like them?)

Ms. Kiska, my present waist training student who is just about to conclude her three-month experiment and coaching in figure shaping, just wrote: “Unfortunately my corset feels like more of a nuisance than not.”

This is after almost 12 weeks of daily wearing her custom training corset, less one day per week, and after building up slowly in hours and tightness in lacing down so the process is comfy in general. She chose a well-fitting and extremely comfy training corset by Sheri, who patterns out over the rib cage more than others might, in order to allow for easier breathing and flexibility of movement. That’s why we recommend Sheri for waist training students who will have to work up to long hours of wear, and also for a second corset when you have dropped some fat and inches off your torso and waist to leave mainly muscle, and need to go more slowly and make sure it is comfy when you lace down to the next level. Sheri’s corsets are perfect for either person!

You’ll see Ms. K. in her underbust cotton corset by Sheri, pictured before she began waist training, so this corset doesn’t fit “the best”. That’s because she had to lace loosely and wear it loosely to begin training, to enhance her own comfort and let the corset gradually ‘breathe’ and accustom itself to her torso in return. In that manner you minimize the risk that you might damage your corset, altho with Sheri’s sturdy creations that is highly unlikely to begin with.

Of course to me, a 100 percent corset enthusiast, Ms. K’s message initially made me feel a bit sad. I had kept hope that over three months as she seasoned her new corset and got used to longer hours wearing it six days a week, it would become more comfortable and she would take a shine to it as well as to her shrinking waistline and improved posture.

Regarding the last two items, a shrinking waistline and improved posture, she did take a shine! But regarding the actual corset, and corset wear, she clearly did not.

Still, Ms. K. intends after formal training to keep up better nutrition choices she has learned, and some new exercises that target her waistline muscles to keep them toned and under control, but plans only occasionally to wear her training corset. We’ll soon share her simple but sound Maintenance Plan and final training results in the next blog.

As I thought about her reactions to a corset, I reflected on the incredible range of reasons that anyone might choose to wear a corset. I thought back on thousands and thousands of corsets clients I’ve served over my 27 years in the corset education and purveying/designing business. I also reflected on the 100 stories of why and how people who wrote to Lucy Williams, the young corset enthusiast from Canada, wore their corsets. Check out Lucy’s fascinating book collecting these stories, “Solaced,” available for Kindle on amazon.

If I have learned one thing in my 27 years focusing on this magical garment, it is that every individual reacts differently to wearing corsets (and to waist training). It is simply impossible to know how a specific person  will “take” to wearing a corset, and how one will find a corset useful in one’s life, if they take to corsets at all. Not everyone loves the garment!

Yesterday I tried corsets and corset muslins on my BFF Letha, pictured here wearing a muslin  of an overbust Victorian corset underneath her black outfit. She has decided she wants an overbust foundation corset to improve her posture and figure, plus  improve the fit of her clothing as she, like me, ages gracefully into her 70s. Letha loved the look and feel!

Within a few try-ons of a corset (her first ever!) and maybe 10 total minutes, she was strutting around the living room admiring herself in the mirror, laced down 5.5″ from her natural waist measurement. Yup. In about ten minutes! It stunned us both.

Obviously Letha is the type of client who is relatively plastic (“squishy”) in her midriff and can easily lace down. More importantly, she has no aversion to a relatively new feeling for her of wearing a body-fitting, closely structured garment on her torso. That was a bit surprising to me because her typical way of dressing is to wear flowing, artistic clothing.

Letha reminds me a bit of “Frankie” in the wonderful tv series “Frankie and Grace” if you have seen it? She’s experimental, adventurous, and cheerful, just the kind of personality I like and resonate with. I think she expected to like corsets–and she did! (If you haven’t seen the show, run, don’t walk, to rent the series. It’s a pure hoot, with wonderful actors Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda and a terrifically funny and heartwarming story line to boot).

So how will you know if you will ‘take’ to corsets? You won’t know for sure if you have never worn them or tried them on. But if you tend to like tight belts, panty hose, boned shapewear, fitted clothing like princess seams and well-fitted waistlines in pants and dresses, and tight jeans, you will likely take to corsets and to waist training as well. But then this guideline doesn’t explain Letha’s positive reaction, since she had never tried on a formal corset!

So keep your mind open to corsets, expect to like them, and if you can do so, try a fit sample corset on and lace it snugly (but not quickly!) to see if you like the feeling.

If you don’t have access to a try-on corset, then get a wide belt and belt down snugly or tightly. Try to keep the corset or belt on for more than five minutes! The more minutes you can wear a structured garment, the better you will be able to tell how you will react to the real thing. Stand up, sit down, walk around and if you can, eat a light meal to see how your stomach will feel while corseted.

Hopefully the real thing you finally choose, will be a well-fitting custom corset made especially for you, and not a dubiously-fitting readymade or over-the-counter OTC corset. You usually  can’t go wrong with custom, whereas you can easily go wrong with an uncomfy, non-individually fitted OTC choice.

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You’re in good company: “corsets are making a comeback” — yet they never left us since 1989!

I’m often asked, “can I wear my corset outside my dress?”, and how do I do that?

You can wear a corset and showcase it in any way that you like to dress! I just made a  collage of only a few of our thousands of ROMANTASY clients since 1990 who have chosen to showcase their corset. You can see hundreds more by clicking on our 27 theme galleries at http://www.romantasy.com under “Galleries” at the top! Consider just wearing a cute top with jeans and tossing on a custom cincher! Or how about a “hot look” with a corset over leather pants?

Remember: even if you are only ordering and wearing a corset for waist training, and even if it is a simple underbust style vs. a glam overbust style, you too, can showcase your corset.

The more ways you find to wear your training corset — the better your investment will pay off over time (not to mention, the more comfy your corset will become when worn!)

I was surprised and motivated to prepare this collage, by a web article saying that it’s difficult to “style a corset,” not to mention that once more (every few months it seems), “corsets are making a comeback.”

Actually, since about 1989 thanks to Madonna and Gaultier–they never went away!

When you purchase a custom corset–you support this comeback and cement it as a dressing option, so that we don’t ever again lose this wonderful crafting ability of our custom corsetieres! Even now some are leaving their trade and years of experience are disappearing. Why? Read on….

We recommend you skip those imported “wannabe” “OTC” or readymade cheap corsets sadly flooding the world and US marketplace (eye candy at best), and go for the Gold Standard: fully custom made.

Custom corsets are not that expensive considering — the years and years of very comfy wear and the pounds of pressure you want your investment to endure when lacing down with regular wear! In fact fully custom corsets are de rigueur for waist training purposes. We don’t want you to be penny wise and pound foolish.

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How to jazz up boring food–check out online Savory Spice Shop!

My present waist-training student Ms. K, has a big challenge on her hands regarding food.

First, she doesn’t eat a lot to begin with, nor is she beset with hunger pangs for the most part — so weight loss is not her goal for corset training. Shaping her waistline more in the hourglass manner is her goal Thus, the moderate to small amount of  food she normally eats, needs to count.

Second, for several reasons, she has limited time that is available to shop, stand, and cook. Food choices and dishes have to be made fast, or she has to rely on her partner to carry out her better nutrition plan for her corset training period. Lately she is considering participating in amazon’s home delivery fresh food program, just $15 per month plus Prime membership of $99 a year. That seems like one perfect solution for her.

Third, Ms. K reports being bored by food. Imagine that! How can that be, what with the wealth of fresh fruits and veggies that California enjoys year round not to mention beef, poultry, fresh fish, pork and eggs, organic or not, that are available in the stores, especially in urban areas like San Francisco–and from Safeway to Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Everyone is getting on the organic free-range band wagon, and more’s the better to my mind.

Fourth, she loves donuts and Doritos. Who among us doesn’t? Gratefully I have calmed those desires down by getting her to read The Dorito Effect! It’s an amazing,highly recommended book that will put you off eating flavored anything, esp. chips and dips. Eating natural foods is best of all, grilling and not frying, and of course, portion control (not Ms. K’s challenge, as said).

I found one solution for “boring” that I hope she will soon try!

Two weekends ago my partner and I enjoyed a leisurely long weekend away in Sonoma, a lovely small touristy town an hour from San Francisco. It’s a town that thrives on history, touristing, wine tasting, and shopping. One of the hotel guests where we stayed, recommended that we walk across the street next to Whole Foods (which is one block from the square) and visit the Savory Spice Shop. She raved about their Truffle Salt, so we decided to follow her recommendations.

We were stunned!

There you can both smell and sample each bottle of freshly ground single and mixed spices before you purchase. You can buy two sizes of bottles, but we opted for the larger, normal size you get for McCormicks at Safeway et al., and walked away with five new spices I had never tried before in my life. Sadly, there are not many of these retail stores, and none in San Francisco, but of course they are online!

We must have spent an hour smelling both familiar and mysterious spices. There are for example, at least five different cinnamons to enjoy and I still don’t know which is my favorite. No more huge bottles of generic Costco “cinnamon” for us!

They grind and mix each spice fresh each week. I used two of the ones we purchased, put a perfect sear on fresh salmon (Gordon Ramsey would be proud!) and made the best salmon ever last night, and a few days ago, made the best round pot roast. I use one spice on my scrambled egg in the morning for more flavor and am making a buffalo meatloaf using a few of the new spices for this evening’s dinner.

I never knew how wonderful fresh spices make foods taste, even “boring” steamed veggies or grilled veggies or pot roasts! Wow. Check them out!

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The words we use count — for a lot!

“The TVA (transverse abdominus) exercise is ok, but my real exercise comes from the gym and PT when I sweat.”

So opines my present coaching student, Ms. K.

I reminded her again as I have before, that words count.

If she sees the TVA as a minor, unimportant form of exercise, compared to her regular gym routine, then she will be likely to skip it, or not give it 100 percent effort to see if it helps pull in the lower belly, improve posture, and contribute to her reaching her figure-trimming goals. The TVA will do all of the above, when employed in a  comprehensive waist-training program.

You’ll see where the TVA is located in the two diagrams in this blog. It goes across the front of the lower torso, above and below the belly button. There are several exercises that involve this important muscle and they are simple, fast and effective, do-able while lying down (easier to locate the muscle) or standing up while in line at the post office, bank or elsewhere.

Words count for a lot in order to adjust your mindset so that you have the very best chance possible, to reach your figure-reshaping goals during formal waist training. How you think about your overall training, or any element of it including exercise, choosing more corset-friendly foods, changing some of your eating habits and patterns, trying new things, learning to endure longer hours of corseting in a more and more comfortable manner — all these elements can be influenced to a greater or less extent, by how and what you think about each one.

A positive mindset, even using “self talk” with positive words, can:

  • create positive expectations that you will reach your goals
  • make it easier to “stomach” the modest changes that are required during corset training
  • push you gently in the right direction, and
  • counter any negative old habits or negative comments you might receive from others who learn of your corseting efforts.

It’s unimportant if my student or reader agrees with me about words setting positive expectations and making their adventure easier and them more likely to reach their goals — so long as they go ahead, follow my advice, and incorporate positivity and positive self talk into their three-month program no matter their belief.

I’m experimenting now with tapping. It’s a process you can learn about online or on Dr. Mercola’s website. I’m uncertain, even dubious, about its efficacy.  It’s said to help with everything from work stress, to personal relationships, to physical challenges and pain. However I decided to give it a one month, consistent try to find out. It can’t hurt me, and it has the possibility in my mind, of helping my particular issue at hand.

My BFF Jeanette suggested that one thing I say to myself during the three or four rounds of tapping each day (twice a day), is: “I’m unsure if this will work or not, but I have an open mind and will give it a good try…” and then continue as the procedure proscribes. Because I believe in the effectiveness of positivity, I will try it. That’s the least I can do to help myself in every way possible with my present goal.

How about you? Will you try positivity, and the TVA? You can read more about it online or in my new waist training book.


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Waist circumference – a special danger to older women

coverMockupsharpenednoquote_heather_v002Just found this article reporting on research by a Professor Chen at the U. of Arizona:

“For the study, Chen and her colleagues reviewed data on nearly 162,000 women aged 50 to 79 who took part in the Woman’s Health Initiative, a major study on postmenopausal women by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. At the start of the study, the researchers measured the height, weight and waist size of all the participants and recorded other lifestyle data. During 11 years of follow-up, more than 18,000 women died. The researchers found that being overweight or slightly obese didn’t affect life span. Class II or class III obesity increased the odds of early death by around 10 percent. Higher waist circumference was consistently tied to higher death rates during the study.”

Gaining weight as we age is not necessarily a bad thing, and a bit of it “might be helpful”. However, gaining too much or losing too much for that matter, are both things of concern. But an expanding waistline is the key danger signal that indicates that some nutritional habit change in three items — food choice, portions consumed, and how we eat — is advisable.

Corset waist training, or even casual but somewhat regular or periodic wear of a well-fitting, comfy custom corset, can help us maintain good posture, control the quantity of food we can comfortably consume and eventually change our portion preferences and diminish or even disappear, hunger (one of the two main causes of failure of diets; the other is stress).

We love to coach students for three months in our program of support. Nothing is off limits, options are opened up as to better food choices, some insight work is available, and long-term email/phone support is happily offered after the program is complete.

Starting in January, I have been coaching one of my BFFs and she doing the same for me. We check in  every two to four days, have set concrete three-month goals (some related to physical health/strength, some related to food, and even some related to improving our personal relationships). The regular contact makes us accountable to each other, and keeps us in touch with a good friend whose opinion and support we have valued for over 25 years. It’s a win-win situation and after two months, we each note that we are developing a healthier routine, and looking forward to our brief email chats.

Do you need a formal coach as Romantasy offers? Not really —  as shown above.

But you do need accurate, fact-based, and detailed information on bodily functions, minimum qualities for a comfy custom training corset, specific exercises that boost your progress, and many other items (reviewed by professionals in each field), then it’s likely contained in my Corset Waist Training primer book. The book is in pdf format and available online (published Dec. 2016)  and we think it can help.

We’re always happy to entertain questions via email as well.


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Sugar Addendum

My partner and I have been in the process of downsizing and simplifying our life, which is a very complex, detailed and difficult process indeed! I do hope “simple” and easy is at the end.

Yesterday he handed me a collection of some small, very old honey packets called “Honey Sauce” we got some time ago from Col. Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant. Accustomed as I am these days–but not when we collected these–of reading labels, here is what I learned about the contents of each 2″ x 1″ packet:

Ingredients:  High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, honey, fructose, caramel color, molasses, water, citric acid, natural and artificial flavor, and malic acid. (NB I photoed this packet and tried to upload it here, but I got a “not permitted for security reasons” notice when I tried. Now how the heck did KFC do that?)

In other words, each small packet contains SIX different kinds of sugar — and to make matters worse, honey is the fourth item in the list!

I ask you now, why does honey of “Honey  Sauce” need MORE sugar, and even MORE AND MORE, not to mention color, water and flavors added of any kind to plain old honey?

Plain and simple organic honey is just delicious (local is the best for tamping down blossom allergies) and it’s a white sugar substitute that I can live with in moderate quantities, just as I can live with chopped or mashed dates or bananas used to sweeten, or Truvia or Stevia to cook with.

I’m now going to toss these packets where they belong — O>U>T!!!

Our  recent Sf Examiner newspaper just had a column by Drs. Oz and Roizen that pointed to research that “now shows” that high-fat sugar-packed diets create similar impulses as does marijuana, by stimulating our body’s endocannabinoid system to make us very hungry!

Not a good thing if you are on a corset waist-training process. You want to minimize your hunger p0angs in every way possible to make your journey comfy, easy and effective in the long run. Now I know one reason how they say that eating sugar makes you want to eat even more sugar. The easiest way to control your sugar intake is to avoid sugar to begin with. That may take a little time (a few weeks or months) and effort (perhaps some headaches or nausea in the early stages) but going Cold Turkey makes more sense to me personally, and it is what I advise my waist-training students to do for three short months of their adventure.

Ms. K, my present student who is just completing her second week of training, opines that this request regarding diminishing if not omitting white added sugar, is part of the “extremity” of waist training and what I request. Note that I do not ‘require’ anything of my students; I might stress heavily facts that I know are sound from my own experience , from 27 years in the corset business, and from 16 yrs in the coaching business in figure shaping. But the choice is hers to make.

Just because life is complex and there are many motivators, many temptations, and many components to cause or address obesity or over weight, those things do not obviate the fact that we also have choices to make. Some choices are way better to honor our body and tend to improve our health over the long run. Which choices will you make?






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Getting Conscious – The Importance to Waist Training

Chicken sweet pot green beans cauliBeing conscious of many things, is critical to ease your way into waist training, and to make the next few weeks and months, or even a lifetime of corseting, as comfy and easy as possible.

On Weds. Ms. K, my student now completing her second week in our three-month coaching program, wrote:

“Re: the rice bowl I ate for dinner: I took a picture of the label, but I’m afraid to send it to you. High on calories, high salt, low fiber, high sugar, decent protein. You would disapprove; I’ll stick with the gluten-free pesto dish.” (Not that I recommend gluten-free anything if you don’t have a distinct allergy or Chrohn’s disease to begin with).

I replied in part by congratulating her for her new practice of reading labels to learn more, then advised her to make the rice bowl at home and switch to brown and mixed rices and legumes. I also advised to take her day off corseting or when she feels best, cook up a large batch of mixed rice and store it in the fridge for a week. Then cut up any veggie assortment, sprinkle liberally with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper and put in an over at 400 degrees for 45 min to an hour. Mix those into rice warmed over with a bit of water sprinkled on top to soften it, and create her own homemade rice bowl that is yummie.

Cooking larger batches of food might seem to take more time than popping a prefab rice bowl in the microwave, but in actuality, it likely does not. Consider the time and cost it takes to drive to the store, stand in line, buy the bowl, and heat it up…the amount of time required likely turns out to be about the same, but you can get and prepare a lot more healthy food to store in the fridge and thus, minimize shopping and cooking in the long run, as described below.

Ms. K has been somewhat challenged in making a few  of the moderate number of nutritional changes that we strongly recommend that students adopt during formal, dedicated corset waist training.  To start with, she leads a busy professional life. She is challenged by a health problem that limits the amount of time and energy she can spend shopping for good food and preparing it. Her personal energy often goes into doctor’s or physical therapist’s appointment.Before starting her journey I had advised her to learn to check all labels. Before beginning her training, her practice and tendency in order to shortcut the above, was to buy prepared foods, one of them being this ‘rice bowl’.

During the first two weeks I ask each student for occasional food reports for at least two weeks, to derive an understanding of the calorie intake and implementation of new strategies by my students. I do that throughout the three months so I can find ways to present healthy alternatives and encourage the student to develop new food habits and tastes.

Ms. K feels that many of my suggestions resulted in “bland” food. The reverse is the truth: brown rice has a nutty flavor that far exceeds the “blandness” of white rice. Ms. K will never know that, or about the pleasures of the natural taste of veggies and fruits unadorned by chemical preservatives and other additives, unless she cleans her palate and practices gradually, to allow new flavors to develop.  (N.B. beware the ingredient of “natural flavors”–they are still created in a lab! Read the excellent, easy-read book The Dorito Effect for some stunning facts such as that one.) First Bite author (another highly recommended book) points out that we have to give our taste buds time to adjust and search out and realize the new flavors of unadorned foods, but the reward is well worth it. You may have to  intially trust the above experts to see if it works fro you, or trust my advice based on my own experience plus 16 yrs of coaching students and their feedback on how their taste buds improved as did pleasure in a wider variety of natural foods after corset waist chicken and two squashtraining.

Have you noted any change in the flavors you enjoy, once you started waist training, and what did you have to adjust in your food shopping, prep and eating in order to make the process more comfy and enjoyable?


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