“This Season’s Fashions”, and Corset Damage

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to sell clothing and thus, “they” change styles every season to make us want something new, and feel like we will look out of date if we don’t.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:

http://www.romantasyweb.com/Styles/FigureSilhouettes.html

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.

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4 Comments

Filed under General Waist Training Information, Quality Corsetry

4 responses to ““This Season’s Fashions”, and Corset Damage

  1. Nakia

    I’m in the process of reading your blog from beginning to end. First and foremost – THANKS – for the care & concern that you place into what you do. If only everyone used your model of business. I aspire to be a corseter for life. I love the look & of course am interested in the waist reduction that it produces. I know nothing about corset making (except for the little I’ve learned from your website) but I was wondering after a corset has lived its life, could any of the metal pieces be recycled as far as being used in a new corset?

    • Hello Nakia,
      Thanks ever for your patience, dedication to information first, and nice comments! Making corsets is a true art and craft, and takes many many tries to get patterning, fit, and quality just right. There’s no one that truly teaches this skill — it is that practice makes perfect, and joining in the corset enthusiast community, meeting friendly folks, and always giving more than you take from anyone! Yes, parts of a corset can be recycled, but not always. It depends if rust has appeared (from washing) on the busk or boning, or if the boning has bent too preciptiously over years of lacing and thus weakened. For practice corsets I can see no problem cannabalizing an old, tired, or ill fitting corset! Let’s keep in touch: you never know when I may be in a position to add a corsetiere to our wonderful ROMANTASY team! And Happy Season! (we also hope you let others know about our blog and informative website).

  2. Nakia

    I truly appreciate the reply. Maybe I used the wrong terminology. When I said I wanted to be a corseter for life, I meant I wanted to wear them. I truly wish I had the talent to make them. However, I think the art & sewing genes somehow missed me. I live in Atlanta & I am starting a “Visit to San Francisco” savings so that I can come out & be fitted & hopefully meet you in person. One question, how many corsets should a beginner purchase? I just need to know what to budget for my actual corset(s) purchase. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Thanks…

    • Hi Nakia, I see! You were declaring yourself a lifelong corset enthusiast! Join the small but growing crowd! Corsets aren’t for everyone for sure, but for those who appreciate history, fine quality, attention to detail, exquisite construction and fit, and the warmth of a tight embrace — well, those would surely fall in love with corsets! Do you know I’ll be in Peachtree City late Dec. to visit my mom! Should you be able to journey there, we might be able to meet! I’ll tell you more on email about our selections, options, and team of the Fab Four Corsetieres!

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