I was making my morning steel cut oats and cafe presse coffee (yummie! Try it if you have never used a glass coffee press) and listening to my normal morning news show GMA, when my attention was caught by the above phrase in a commercial for the retail store, TJ Maax. Now isn’t that a classic example of the “gotta have it, gotta spend money NOW, gotta move on to the next season’s fashions” mentality?
The commentator was encouraging us to go out and buy the “latest.” Which reminded me that the purpose of fashion is to sell clothing and thus, “they” change styles every season to make us want something new, and feel like we will look out of date if we don’t.
Appreciating corsets requires a mentality and approach that is 180 degrees opposite the above viewpoint.
Obtaining the proper corset requires patience and advance education, in order for you to select the proper corset business, corsetiere, style, fit, and feeling on your body, plus know what silhouette the corset will create. Yes, various styles and even individual differences between corsetieres and the fabrics and finding they choose will result in a different silhouette! That’s why we post images of the basic silhouettes you can see to the upper left (all worn by me), and ask clients what they prefer (or what feels best if they come to us for a personal try-on and fitting). Check it out on this page:
While seasons for clothing seem to change every four months with new lines coming out of Paris and Milan, or visible at your local Target store, a good custom corset from ROMANTASY will typically take about two months to produce, and easily can take up to four or more months to produce. That’s because we don’t job out any part of corsetmaking and the corsetiere you choose is the same person who will lovingly hand-craft your order in a small home workshop. Some of our team members work only part-time on corsetmaking, and all of them have their own private clientele as well as our clientele. A good corsetiere is very much in demand for the discerning client, and others have placed orders before you, so there is always a production line in effect during most times of the year. Sometimes family or personal health emergencies call them away even from part-time work, and that’s why we ask for our clients understanding and patience which we promise to reward with top quality and satisfaction for many years to come.
Many corsetieres working today also work alone, don’t employ assistants, and don’t have secretaries to source and order materials. But no matter how long it takes, your corset will surely NOT be out of date when you receive it.
How long will a good corset last? I’m often asked that question. The answer — like answers to most questions involving corsetry — is: “it depends.”
Infuriating answer, right? Especially so for those seeking easy, quick answers (which are not compatible with corseting and good quality).
The rule of thumb we like to use is that if you wear a tight-lacing corset 23.5/7 and lace down about 4″, then it will most likely wear out in about a year more or less. What do I mean by “wear out”? Based on information we have gathered over our 22 years in business, most likely bones will begin to push downward and cut through threads securing a binding over the raw bottom edge and this might happen at the top as well. If you sneeze precipitously especially in a well-worn tightly laced corset, you may split a seam, and/or pop off a stud on the busk. Been there–done that!
Don’t panic. If you are a ROMANTASY client, we refurbish well worn corsets at cost plus a bit and you can likely get yet another year of wear or more out of it, even 23.5/7! If you wear your corset on a more moderate basis, then a corset should likely last without need for refurbishment for 2 to 10 years or more!
We do find that:
–men are harder on their corsets than women,
–those with active life styles who have to bend over, tend to wear their corset down faster and pop studs off more easily (try not to bend forward at the waistline but bend or go downward to the floor by using your thighs and holding the torso straight)
–lighter weight fabrics tend to rub and wear and fray more rapidly than proper fabrics. You may read what famous corsetier Mr. Garrod has to say about that matter: http://www.romantasyweb.com/cyboutique/corset/construction.shtml#How_to_Shop_for_Your_Own_Fabric
–lighter weight corsets (perhaps with two layers rather than three or four layers of fabric; perhaps with single boning rather than double) tend to wear faster than heavier weight corsets
— stainless steel and spoon busks last longer without damage than does the standard spring-steel busk
–re-inforcing features such as 1/2″ wide boning in place of 3/8″ boning, or the heavier weight 3/8″ boning last longer without damage
If you have some ideas about how to extend the life of a good custom corset, please pass them on and we’ll publish them here, or just send us a blog comment to add.