Monthly Archives: January 2013

How much is enough, when it comes to lacing down?

Just how much waistline restriction to order in a new corset presents a challenge to be sure! What I’m talking about is, how many inches or half-inches below your snug natural waist size, should the corset close down to once you get it entirely laced closed top to bottom?

Without doubt parts of that answer have to do with your experience in corseting, how much discomfort you can bear, your waist measurement, the style of the corset and more. However, based on 23 years in this speciality business fitting custom corsetry on most likely over 8000 clients more or less, some wonder why it is that there is no precise answer as to how tightly they can ultimately lace in a corset they have ordered?

There’s simply no easy answer and the ubiqutous “four inches” you read about on many websites is not even a good “rule of thumb”–not even for corset newbies. It’s far better to discuss your needs with a knowledgeable corsetiere or educator who will take your individual situation, measurements, and goals into consideration in coming up with advice.

If I advise too much restriction when the corset closes down in back after a period of seasoning and getting used to wearing it, then the problem seen below will or may likely result: bowing out at the waistline of the boning in the center back. Ouch! I’ve even made that mistake in one of my personal corsets, a favored pink broche corset by Ruth Johnson, still one of my treasures! Sadly I chose to wear that one when brand new, to a Bridal Faire where ROMANTASY had a display. Since I had to staff  the booth all day and could not leave to change corsets or clothes, I had to bear up as those pesky bones torqued and began a day of digging in. I had not practiced enough, I had chosen a corset with too much of a back gap, I had eaten too much breakfast, I had plumped up in the recent past — whatever reason it was and even tho I was an experienced corset wearer, I had a huge problem! It was a sad lesson learned.

mivatechtwistingbonescloseRecently a client who is a tight lacer and received a sterling, well-made new corset, wrote about the same problem, pictured here. When I told her about my own experience and suggested this might be the cause of the problem, she replied:

Here are the pictures of the back of the corset. Based on what you said below I think I figured out the issue. First, my corset is an 18″ isn’t it? I had it closed to about 21.5″ and there’s still 2-2.5″ gap in the back. I vaguely recall a debate between getting the 20″ or 18″…the 18’s I have at home were from a period when I was over-thin, a good 10-15 lbs lighter. That’s probably why I was able to wear them without this issue cropping up. I hadn’t actually trained down to 20″ then on to 18″, which I’m guessing is the better way to do it in this case to preserve the boning and fabric. As you should be able to see, the boning lies flat at top and bottom, only bowing in the middle. I’ll see if I can find a comfortable middle ground that leaves the top and bottom edges more open until I get the waist whittled down a bit. Is my assessment about right, or completely off?”
As an aside, I’m not quite sure why my client wasn’t wearing the smooth, boned back protector in this picture, because that pads the back and makes corset-wearing more comfortable, and I see that perhaps to show off the problem, she pulled the lacing cords around front. However, we advise not to tie a corset in front as the cording will eventually wear away the surface fabric.
mivatechtwistingwaistlinebonesOf course she was right. I had had a similar client, absolutely sure that he could tolerate five inches when laced closed in back of his new corset, who once he put on and wore his corset for a few times, called me in evident and great distress. He was convinced that I had mis-advised him and he excoriated me roundly. Perhaps I should have put my foot down when he ordered, but I didn’t in face of his protests. At least  he couldn’t say I hadn’t warned him, since at that time of order,  I had advised a maximum close of four inches.
The best advice I can give is trust your experienced corsetmaker to use his or her best judgment on your behalf, and if you must err, err on the side of caution and perhaps 1/2″ to 1″ less tight than you might think. It’s a matter of not wanting your eyes to be bigger than your tummy — so to speak! I’ll always attempt to give you my best opinion based on my 23 years in business, neither exaggerating the possibilities but also not promising perfection. Corset and corset-wearing is a living, breathing (so to speak) work-in-process and results are always highly individual.
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The Shape of Things to Come in 2013: it’s not corsets, it’s not food choices or portions, and it’s not exercise — it’s our thoughts!!

Will it be another year of fad diets fading fast and quick fixes that aren’t quick and don’t fix much, if we don’t go about figure shaping with intelligence, a bit of discipline and dedication, and with a focus on health?

I was watching the tv show “The Chew” before Xmas and chuckled to learn about fad diets from the 30s, 40, 50s and later, including one that involved eating more sugar! That some of us try those one-item diets truly amazes me, because I believe we are better than believing in such extreme nonsense. Why we delude ourselves time after time and buy into such nonsense, well, I leave it up to my readers to educate me as to the underlying psychology of that!

One reads time and again and I heard it on “The Chew”, that it helps to wear tight clothing while cooking or eating. Of course it does! That’s clear indication that corset waist-training works, yet the public remains dubious and of course, the medical profession refuses to endorse or promote anything that takes money away from the drug companies or exposes them to real or imagined risks of liability and litigation. The media promotes the idea of corset waist-training as “extreme” (witness the Oct. 12 “20/20” program title that involved our appearance on one segment about corset waist training) and feeds into the Puritanical (at least in America)public’s vague discomfort with the sexuality of corsets to begin with.

Will 2013 bring some sense about our international search for svelte and health? Will it bring acceptance of wearing a fun and fashionable corset costing from $200 to $600 to make remarkable changes for the better in one’s posture if not weight and waistline inches, versus cutting and hacking our bodies away with bariatric surgery than even so, doesn’t always work? Witness singer/tv host Carney Wilson some years after a tummy bypass going back for gastric banding — virtually the same thing as corseting for portion and hunger control.Horizontal meet open bottom edge.2

A renown surgeon at UC Med Center this fall gave a lecture that gave me the answer to  my question about how it is that corseting controls hunger, which tends to defeat most of us determined to slim down. Gastric bypass surgery cuts back the source of signals to the hypothalmus that triggers grehlin, the hormone related to causing hunger, and hunger disappears, the doctor said. I concluded that his is precisely the reason or one of them, that corseting works as well. Too bad he can’t endorse corset waist training rather than his $10,000-25,000 surgical procedures.

I think a lot about what makes corset waist training work and not 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 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 or wearing our corsets. It’s about correcting our thinking process, which is normally screwed up when it comes to waist training.

I noted one screwy way of thinking and stopped it early on with one former student, who told me she was going to indulge in fat foods the week before commencing training so she didn’t feel deprived during the three months.

Corset waist training is not deprivation!  It is fun! It is effective! It is fashionable! It is unique! And it’s certainly not justification to pig out the week before.

Heather, my most recent student, was challenged by “free” food offered daily by her employer. I had her design and post at her desk a sign (seen in an earlier blog) that “Free food is NOT FREE!!”. All that free food was packing on the pounds and working contrary to her waist-training goals. She had to change the way she saw that food as pleasurable and good, to  not good, bad, 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 train, include:

1. 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 and survive the days that might come upon you 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, so 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 don’t put more in the bowl than that!

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

I’m interested in hearing from you what mental approaches you believe work along with corsets, to trim down. The mind after all, is a very powerful weapon but it can be used for good or for ill. Let’s hope we all use it for good in this auspicious New Year!

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