Monthly Archives: August 2008

So How Do Men Differ from Women as Corset Clients and Students?

Whether you are a ‘manly-man’ or a transgendered MTF, there are a few special concerns related to your body size and musculature that affect the corset you might order. It’s undeniable that compared to genetic women, men generally have more and stronger musculature than women, a shorter distance between the bottom floating rib (or ribs) and the pelvic bone, broader torsos and shoulders, and longer torsos.

As for the corset itself, sending in the widest rib cage measurement and not just the rib measurement under the chest (or where a woman’s underwire would rest) might be wise to fully inform your corsetiere. Also, decide where you wish to place your waistline depending on whether you want a female or male torso presentation when corseted. The woman’s waist is normally above her belly button, the male waist below. Anchor your vertical meausurements by placing a string around the waistline you desire to create with your corset which may or may not be the same as your narrowest part of your torso, and may or may not be where you normally wear your skirt or pants band.

Regarding vertical height, I’ve seen other corset sites recommend to men only a short cincher-style corset, that is, with a 9-10″ high front busk length. However, realize that if you don’t order the corset tall enough to rise to just under your chest swell, as you lace down, your upper ribs and flesh might or will push outward and become even more pronounced. That might be well and good for the ‘manly man’ desiring to create more of a Superman shape, but a real tragedy for the MTF who needs a narrowed torso to help create a more authentic female silhouette as well as better fit of female clothing.

Recently I saw the point made that men have less fat and flesh over the pelvic bone than do women, and thus, a corset made too tight on the bottom perimeter might lead to leg numbness and discomfort as the corset laces down. However, this is true for slim people in general, no matter the gender. This will not be a problem if the corset is properly measured and constructed to accommodate the precise dimensions of an accurate pelvic bone measurement. The operative word here is “accurate.” Jpg images as we request of our long distance clients, always help your expert corsetiere to verify that you have measured wisely and correctly as to that matter.

Can men train more or less effectively than women? What do you think?

I have a few pointers on that question based on my years observing my clients and my students in my waist training coaching program, both men, women, transsexual MTFs and crossdress MTF, of all ages and backgrounds. Men can be, and are traditionally thought to be, more linear and goal oriented than women, and so setting goals and pursuing them to conclusion might be something that will fall right into a natural process for men.  However, waist training is an endurance sport. It’s the marathon, not the 100 meter dash. Therefore, in many ways women are particularly equipped to waist train while men might tend to want to rush the process to reach their goal fast. Waist training is not about fast. It’s not about winning. Most likely Michael Phelps would not be very comfortable trying this type of corset “sport.” Waist training is about patiently enduring and focusing on the smallest of bodily signals, and gradually making progress.

Men aren’t that great at focusing on, much less admitting, bodily signals, especially those of discomfort or pain that indicate they should back off a particular practice. Yet tuning in to the body’s every message is precisely what is required for effective–and enjoyable–waist training. But women sometimes can go on and on about the most minor of matters, and turn into something of a complainer — and that won’t work either! For waist training, an ordinary amount of careful attention to the body is advisable, neither ignoring tweaks nor exaggerating them. Sometimes women in training need to just learn to bear up, grit their teeth, and carry on, but if they have borne children, then for obvious reasons moms above others may have the best shot at waist training success.

So can men or women waist train more effectively? I can’t say! We can surely educate ourselves as to what is required for any given sport or endeavor, and seek to make up for our deficits in order to accomplish our goals in that particular endeavor. Based on my experience, success in waist training is more a matter of keen motivation, setting waist training as one of one or two top life priorities for the training period, and being willing to take on a dedicated role as student rather than the eotist’s role as expert or teacher, that leads to the most sure success in waist training. Of course, a qualified, caring, and health-oriented coach can’t hurt!

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Three New Services to Help You Waist Train at Home

We’ve been asked so many questions about “how to” this or that aspect of waist training, that we recently reorganized, indexed, and expanded our FAQ page to be much more helpful by making the wealth of information there more readily accessible:  http://www.romantasyweb.com/cyboutique/faq.html

I also designed and just launched three waist-training Plans that may assist you train on your own, dealing with the three aspects of any sound program: corset wearing, nutrition, and exercise:

Three-month Waist Training Plan – Corset Wear

Three-month Waist Training Plan – Nutrition

Three-month Waist Training Plan – Exercise

Our second client for our Corset-Wearing Plan is now off and running with her own training program and we hope to post you on her results soon.

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Corsets from Paris

A friend sent me an e-article from The Sydney Morning Herald on May 17, 2008, revealing that a private fitting appointment with the House of Cadolle, a well known corsetiere in Paris: I lack the time and four-figure sums for a fitting at the House of Cadolle’s appointment-only couture lingerie salon, costs a four-figure sum. That means it’s more than $1000, and our Corset Fitting Salon at Romantasy is only $100, and takess 3 educational hours with refreshments and plenty of time to design the perfect corset. I’ve seen one of Mme. Cadolle’s creations in person by a client who ordered it custom, and while extremely well-finished, they do not seem to be of tight-lacing quality suitable for waist training. Be sure you know what is required!

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Post from early spring 2008: No, It Doesn’t Have to Take Years to Waist Train

I was surfing various corset comments and videos on YouTube today, excitedly waiting for our first ROMANTASY slide show (“Mood Indigo”) to pop up, when I heard a young woman speak about starting waist training and her “research” on the topic. It’s a popular topic today, as are the $100 corsets she touted as “great” for her purpose.

I seriously doubt that. Even if there are some steel-boned corsets to be found at that price, it’s not fair to a talented corsetiere (and you would have to be exceedingly talented and well-experienced to make a good waist-training corset) to underpay such skill and artistry which should be respected and adequately reimbursed at the very least. Same case can be made for teachers and ballerinas and others in our lopsided society where too often we hear of CEOs who run their companies into the ground yet take home millions in stock options as they exit the door.

 Just because corsets are ubiquitous doesn’t mean they are suitable for serious waist-training purposes. Nor was this YouTube speaker’s comment correct that it takes “months and months” for permanent change to come about in one’s figure. What that kind of change requires is a sound and systematic approach (health first) coupled with waist- specific nutrition and exercise plus good genetics and super motivation for a period as short as three months over which we have by now successfully coached about 15 students. We recommend moving from shorter to longer hours of continuous wear at a moderate level then dropping back to shorter hours at a slightly tighter level and building up. There are certainly other methods but this one gives you a regular sense of routine you and your body can rely on and grow to trust:  nothing dramatic, nothing that scary or challenging until you are well into the program and ready to “kick it up a notch” as Chef Emeril says, and change can and does happen in a few short months.

And it’s only common sense that whether waist and weight loss stay with you or not depends upon whether you immediately take off your corset and go pig out on Krispy Kremes or not — or opt to continue a healthy lifestyle doing what we call “maintenance” corseting — a topic for another post. My main point today being, take everything you hear and see on YouTube and elsewhere with a grain of salt, keep researching, and be sure you are seeing the whole picture and not one based upon a simplistic, inexperieced viewpoint or shallow research.

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Musing about Corset Prices

Musing again about clients and their reaction to corset prices, I realized that folks either like to pay enormous amounts for “brand” label “haute couture” corsets (just learned from a NYC designer with whom I was e-chatting, that one cannot use “haute” unless one makes fashions in Paris! A-hem! We are well advised now…), or they like to buy really cheap ones. It’s the middle level corset prices that seem to flummox clients, and escape their understanding of value.

I also learned that some American designers who purchase their corset construction in Paris for US “haute couture” clients, may pay in the neighborhood of $10,000 wholesale, and may then almost double the retail cost.

Amazing what this says about what people value, and the dubious wisdom of shopping for clothing on the basis of “brand” or even price. Sometimes you do not even “get what you pay for” as the old adage goes, especially not if you rely willy-nilly on web or store representations, or even “eye candy corsets” without doing some pre-education about what it is you are actually buying.

I just ran across a wholesale corsetmaker website that advertises to retailers to buy their “made to measure” corsets, “individually constructed and hand made.” They do that in China. Or Thailand. Or Pakistan which is flooding our markets with these inferior, readymade styles. But it misleads the consumer who easily can expect a kind of “custom” or couture garment, rather than one based on standard patterns which more than likely won’t fit well, as one of my e-correspondents recently found out. Her readymade corset began to press down on her anterior femoral nerve on the pelvic bone and caused first discomfort, then leg numbness. Not good, and possibly dangerous! Her readymade style while certainly neat enough, was not the suitable fit for serious waist training or even for long hours of fashion wear, and my client wanted to waist train. Now she is back to ground zero, contemplating an order with ROMANTASY.

Another client with one lovely, fine waist-training “Bella” corset by Sharon McCoy Morgan, was stunned to realize that this spring in response to a worsening US economy, we lowered that retail price by $65 as well lowered our retail price by $10 on our little fashion cincher, the “Simple Pleasures”. Plus we launched a new team member, Jill, with a full custom underbust corset at $195 (base prices quoted in cotton, or satin for the cincher). This client is planning a new “Bella” order at the great new price! We wanted to point out these great values at ROMANTASY, launched to keep us in the “corset game” and responsive to the budget challenges most of us more ordinary folk face. Check them out here:

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

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

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

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Powerful Food Industries, and What They Push

I ran across the 2006 book “What to Eat” by Marion Nestle. She makes a lot of sense when it comes to nutrition, at least from what I read from her book blurb. She points her finger right at one major problem for those of us who want to eat well and live long.

“This conflict begins with dietary advice, much of which is hard to interpret. What, for example, does it really mean to ‘Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups’ as advised by theDietary Guidelines for Americans issued in 2005? Or to “know your fats” as advised by the 2005 version of the pyramid food guide? As I explained in Food Politics, government agencies cannot issue unambiguous dietary advice to eat this but not that without offending powerful industries. This is too bad, because nutrition is not ‘mission impossible.'”

 

Powerful industries. Again they pop up. I remember one key lesson I learned in my college Poli Sci class, namely that we are a government of interest groups. I would likely re-phrase that to say we are a government of industry interest groups. Of course that’s not always bad, but there are foods to be pushed on us and profits to be made, and this we must always consider when our well-being is at stake.

Consider what else Nestle says: “Single nutrients and foods are easier to talk about than messy dietary patterns. And they are much easier to study. But you are better off paying attention to your overall dietary pattern than worrying about whether any one single food is better for you than another.Her above point is exactly why I’m hesitant to rush right out and eschew my beloved Splenda, or any other product that pops up on the latest news that is going to cause cancer or diabetes.

On a June 9, 2006 podcast by NPR, Nestle said another noteworthy thing, namely that organic junk foods are still junk foods. Thus, when we (meaning me, because I do!) choose to eat Activia yogurt, I’ve got to realize it includes high fructose syrup that adds unnecessary calories and turns a healthy food into dessert. Is it still healthy? If I control my sugar calories and exercise and eat my veggies, most likely so.

Seems like for most things in life, healthy nutrition comes down to common sense, due diligence in looking out for oneself, and moderation!

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Sucralose by any other name, is it lethal?

I was caught off guard by an article published on the internet in May, 2005, and sent to me by my current waist-training student. The article contained comments by James Bowen, M.D., about sucralose, and the brand name we know as Splenda. I might even say, the brand name I know and love….errrr….until recently. Now I feel the jury has walked out for further deliberations, and that I need to post a comment and invite your assistance in better understanding the chemistry of sucralose that Dr. Bowen claims is so dangerous, and any post-2005 research that may be out there. Don’t hesitate to send it on plus what you know about Splenda, as I re-think my recommendation in my Corset Magic book and waist-training program, of foods and drinks containing this product.

Apparently sucralose is a chlorocarbon employed as a biocide in bleach, disinfectants, insecticide, WWI poison gas, and hydrocholoric acid. Natural sugar is a hydrocarbon built around 12 carbon atoms. Salt which contains chlorine, is safe because it isn’t a chlorocarbon.

Dr. Bowen explains that cholorocarbons are never nutritiona;ly compatible with metabolic processes and functioning and that they can affect the liver and kidneys. He cites test animals that came up with swollen livers and calicified kidneys, and mentions his concerns about the brain and nervous system that could also be affected. 

However, he does not say what causes ingested chlorocarbon to reach the stage of poisoning, and what research exists to show any direct connection to liver damange, or the cancer, birth defects, and immune system destruction he fears.

I’ll keep you posted on what I learn and ultimately conclude about Splenda, but for now I will most likely cut down my consumption of it.

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Can We Talk? (About Some Delicate Matters)

Can we talk? One of my clients recently pressed me to comment a bit about some more delicate matters concerning elimination and the wearing of corsets, especially as foundation and waist-training garments. I address these matters in more depth in my book, Corset Magic, but let me summarize some relevant considerations.

She also well may be speaking about how to deal with the logistics of moving aside various items of clothing such as pantyhose, panties, girdles, blouses, or pants, when corseted. It’s tough to pull down any item of clothing on top of which you have laced down a corset, especially when it is tight laced. If you can reach the lowest one or two busk clips, possibly unclipping them will permit the bottom half of your corset to open up sufficiently to not be a problem. When I am wearing my corset over pants or a skirt, invariably I end up entirely removing it, cursing myself that once again I have tried something that just doesn’t work well, except to create more frustration. Then I have to re-lace it on. Thus, it’s always wise to plan more time spent in the bathroom, rather than less, when you are corseting. As for stockings, likewise it’s tough to pull down pantyhose, and if I do, I never get them fully stuffed up under the corset’s bottom edge, thus leave them half way there. I find stayups much more convenient. Men may have a much easier time of all these matters due to little niceties of the standard shorts design, however if they wear bikinis, welcome to the club!

Next,  there is the matter of the “corset bladder.” When you lace down, you also press down on flesh and internal organs, including the bladder, shrinking its size a bit (of course, as concerning other phycical changes while corseting, there is limited research period, and no research on bladders or kidneys to my knowledge). Most likley as we advise, you will be drinking more water to ensure normal processing of food and waste products through and out your body. Thus, with a smaller bladder and the same or more water, you will find you need to go to the bathroom more frequently. For my nurse student Christine, it was a bit tough because she was often called upon to put in 18-hr shifts on the ward, and when she left, she had to arrange coverage, which also raised questions in her nurse colleagues. There’s not much to do about that matter however, except expect it, bear up, and accommodate those things you need to, to manage your daily affairs.

Finally, regarding elimination of solid wastes, my research reveals that often the corset provides a support, rather than a hinderance. This seems to be the same kind of mechanical support that opera singer clients of mine tell me that the corset provides. For them, corseting provides the kind of support against which they can push to expel more air when singing, not less, and thereby achieve more volume and a better tone. Some might find that surprising, but consider putting your feet on your coffee table and pushing back on the couch on which you are sitting. I think you will get the point.

As for functioning of the body while waist training or corseting, you must be alert to any developing constipation. Remember too, that what you come into training with in terms of physical challenges, will remain and likely be exacerbated. This is of course a complex topic I have been investigating and writing about for five years and thus, requires far more than a quick blog comment to be precise. However, a few brief points must suffice. I recommend increasing  your water intake as well as upping your fiber intake from 25-25 gms. per day, to 40-60 gms. per day with an increase in daily intake of potassium, magnesium and calcium, which are all effected by substantially-increased fiber intake. As for kind of fiber, I’ve found only one reputable comment on that matter, and as a result have recently become convinced that fiber has to be about equally divided between soluble fiber, the kind found for example, in oat bran, Benefiber, and vegetables, and insoluble fiber, found for example, in wheat bran, oat bran and other grains. If the equal division does not work, then concentrate on soluble fiber for a week or two, and then reverse the process if that doesn’t work well, and see what portion works best for you to diminish constipation. I’ll comment further about fiber later.

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Corset as Sexual, Not Health, Symbol

Recently I’ve corresponded with a potential new corset client, a delightful, curvy lady aged 68 who is pursuing competitive ballroom dancing despite having suffered a ruptured disc some years ago. She loves dancing, and in her costumed photos looks immensely pleased with herself, as well she should. She came to me because one of her instructors suggested she wear a corset, tho she has not explained exactly why to me. I surmise it is partly as figure and back support.

What interests me most about our correspondence, however, is not only the support benefits of the corset for dancers who have experienced prior back injuries, or how she loves the way her first readymade corset trims her waistline. It’s the conflict she feels about that corset and discussing it openly with her instructor or her friends.

Together we mused on that fact. While she owned up to being rather shy, truly there was no need for shyness in asking her instructor a few questions on my behalf that I suggested might be interesting for him to answer regarding the reasons for his recommendation. After all, he had recommended the corset to her.

Obviously there were subsconsious resistances going on. She agreed with me that in part this is because her principal perspective on corsets is that they are private matters of foundation wear. This more traditional viewpoint on corsetry is that a proper lady would not discuss her lingerie in public, thus, she should not discuss her corsets. The health aspect of the corset was of lesser importance to my client, who also told me she would never consider wearing a corset outside her clothing to show off as part of a fashion ensemble.

In reply I forwarded her a photo of one of my dance instructors when I took formal rhumba lessons a year ago, modeling my little black cincher and looking quite saucy. In fact, everyone in my dance class wanted to try it on, since I wore one over a full skirt to every single dance lesson and received many admiring comments.

The truth remains that because the corset, worn as foundation garment, as support garment, as waist training adjunct, or as fashion accessory, sexualizes the body of the wearer and makes her curves visible. if one feels uneasy with sexuality, or even perhaps holds a less-than-positive body image, then to discuss corsetry and waist training openingly may well feel like one is “flaunting” their sexuality. I suspect that is why some of my waist-training students can’t find anyone to be their Waist Training Buddy that I ask them to  designate. The Buddy is a great adjunct and encouragement to effective waist training, but quite often I provide one of my former students to serve in that important role.

I do hope for the day when we can take our subsconscious fears in hand, improve our body image, and step over or around our Puritanical heritage and the Victorian view of corsets solely as foundation wear. That they are–and so much more!

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The “Perfect” Pill Solution to Obesity?

I was reminded by yesterday’s news that there’s a constant partner lurking in the background to work hand-in-hand with this year’s recession to defeat waist-training with corsetry–medicine!  Doctors take an oath to “first, do no harm,” but what’s their definition of “harm?”

Did you hear about the drugs discovered at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA, that make mice run longer and farther, even “couch potato” mice? Pop a pill and presto, chango! You are a jock or jockess in the making. Down a drug–scales drop and clothes dangle. That should please the fashion industry no end, an industry that must be going crazy trying to find new angles to push fads and fazes to sell more clothes.

To be fair, the crucial benefit of the new drug might be to the bed-ridden, so I’ll give it that. But will doctors and drug companies limit prescriptions and sales exclusively to that group? Drug companies, whom I recently learned make more money than any other business or industry in this country (no, not banks as I originally thought before January of this year, and no, not even the oil industry!)?

Sure, closing sales is the name of the game in a competitive, capitalistic economy. But I turn away clients seeking “quick fixes,” clients whom I believe would clearly be wasting a lot of time and money to opt for this or that style of corset they first want. I advise some seeking initial information that corseting would not serve their purposes because it is either too expensive for their goals of only one or two wearings, or might exaccerbate a serious health problem they report. I lose sales, more than I should considering the present economy, but at the very least, I sleep well.

Two weeks ago I turned away a client having a chronic (but not disabling) back problem. She was also challenged by serious budget limitations, so she wanted to order my cheapest corset.  After she tried on a sample, then another more expensive one, I quickly realized that ultimately her first choice wouldn’t work to give her the strong yet gentle back support she needed. I sent her home to think about my suggestion that she needed to select the second style and corsetiere from our many options, and save her money for a future purchase. I was fortunate enough to have her return three weeks later with her deposit money in hand, to accept my suggestion and place the order I recommended.

Should doctors take even less care to think through the consequences of their research and marketing promotions, and to whom they sell their products, especially now during the trial phase of this “quick fix” pill? Isn’t now the time to lock in a particular kind of business model and ethic that confirms the client’s welfare and best interests–if not first and foremost in the equation, at least of equal importance to making money?

It’s a rhetorical question, of course. What do you think?

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