Monthly Archives: August 2014

Corseting, Waist-Training, Privacy Needs, and Men

090830 Brett 1901 rear cropCorseting and waist training are most typically associated with privacy needs and concerns of my clients, despite the ubiquity in the media of images of movie stars in corset gowns, sexy burlesque stars, or lingerie models. There are many reasons for that, not the least of which is the negative stereotype that still abounds in the unthinking public mind.

Even when corseting is pursued for the most admirable of purposes of improving one’s health and posture, clients often hesitate to discuss their adventure with anyone else, fearing disapproval — especially by the media who more times than not, reflects the general uneducated popular opinion at best, or at worst, fans the flames of prejudice and inaccuracy about corsets.

Hesitancy to ‘go public ‘ sometimes renders corset waist training a lonely pursuit until the client finds an inroad into the friendly  corset enthusiast community, something I try to help my clients achieve.Scoop under bosom up to high back web

I was disappointed yet again by a media approach when a reporter for a press agency sent me the following very brief email request:

“I’m a journalist from an international press agency based in ______ England. We write news and feature stories for newspapers, magazines and broadcasters in the UK and around the world. I am looking for a case study fro a new feature and was wondering if you could help.I am looking for a man who regularly wears a corset for a feature piece and I was wondering if you knew anybody who would be willing to talk to me about this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.”
I was first taken aback at the lack of focus of her inquiry, and I continued taken aback at the absence of information she provided about her own credentials, information that generally establishes a platform of credibility on which to base a request. Most notable however, was her apparent lack of understanding that corseting is not only a private pursuit for most,  but moreso a  highly individually-differentiated kind of adventure, especially for the male or transwoman corset enthusiast.
As part of my response to her, I said:back view

“Please understand that but for a few people, men in general be they transsexual, transgendered, or manly men, are very private and don’t like to be identified with corseting or men’s stays. Can you guarantee anonymity? Do you need pictures? Are the interviews in person somewhere, or by Skype or phone?

“Media credibility has not generally been good as you may imagine, regarding presenting accurate information and a non-sensational approach to corseting by men or women.

“Witness for example, the producer of a ’20/20′ fall 2012 tv show, who could not bring herself to answer three questions from me as to what the title of the upcoming corseting segment in an hour-long show would be, in which I had a small interview (which by the way, took about 8 hrs. of my time gratis, for a 1/2-minute quote by me which was almost, but not quite, presented in a correct context). The title of the show (I finally learned it in a magazine two days before the program aired), was outrageous, suggesting that corseting for health purposes is “extreme.” The corset segment was coupled with segments on a woman who had had 20 breast augmentations,  a man who had had 200 surgeries to look like the Ken Doll, and a father who offered $200,000 for the man who could “turn his gay daughter straight.”

I continued:mivasherimen.1

“Please know that there are myriad reasons that a man — or woman for that matter — chooses to corset. I would need to know what you mean by “corsets regularly,” and also of the below 15 categories of men or transwomen to interview, which do you prefer? These categories are representative but perhaps not exhaustive and of course, some men corset for multiple  reasons:Back view models

–manly man who loves to maintain his good posture and low body fat, and who adores the physical challenge akin to running the Iron Man competition (physical motivation)
–older man who wants to fit into his business  clothes and is having a hard time because of expanding girth (may love our “CorVest” pictured above and right, from a back view)
–young man who loves it for the fashion/popularity image, motivated by style and ego
–fetish man who loves the power it gives and is into the S&M lifestyle
–crossdresser (straight, might be married, wife does or does not know) who is most sincere in presenting an acceptable, moderate female image and who might go out crossdressed or not
–crossdresser who has a sexual fetish for lingerie and all things frilly and stereotypically feminine, never goes out in public as a woman, wears lingerie stealth style
–man who has a frotage or pressure need or fetish; wears it for the feeling of compression
–man who has worn it every day each week in the past, but stopped for some reason
–man who wears it now every day or week
–man who has back problems and wears it to correct posture and provide pain relief

–man who needs it to support some physical performance such as required of his job, or recreation (playing golf, for example)Tim Curry 3 corset closeup
–transsexual man who performs on stage (regularly) in “drag” and wants a ‘costume’ corset (not necessarily for tight lacing or of good quality)
–transsexual man who does not perform but wants it to create an authentic female shape and perhaps, move ribs inward over time and lose waistline so she passes more easily into a female role
–man who wants to lose weight primarily (has high blood pressure and health issues)
–submissive man who wears it to please his dominatrix wife or professional mistress
–man into the Goth style such as Tim Curry in the famed movie ‘Rocky Horror Show’
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The above very quickly summarizes at least some of the types or motivations of men and transwomen corset enthusiast clients I have served, and whom I find it a pleasure to serve, over my past 24 yrs. in this specialty business of custom corsetry.

Whether or not I will hear from this reporter again remains to be seen, as does the open question of whether or not I can be or will be willing to be, the proper resource for her eventual purposes.Best2 Lisa Rae models Sue's underbust sm
 

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Common Sense and Patience…again!

Angie in Jill best of dayWhile we can’t take credit for Jasmine’s inspirational progress in figure shaping and waist training since we met her in early March of this year, we do know that regular corseting each day has contributed to her progress. Today we met with her to plan her third training corset to add to her growing wardrobe, offering chances to tweak the measurements a tad bit on the new one, add a lovely purple palate to her corset wardrobe, and offer  more options  in her corset wardrobe from which to choose each day as she trains.

A consummate marathoner for years with healthy nutrition habits well in place,  Jasmine intuitively understands the drill needed with corsets.

The bottom line is: don’t rush, take wee steps as you move forward, challenge yourself but become very comfy and versed at a particular level of restriction before taking a gentle step down, and continue without break (save one day per week) –whether or not you see results. Believing in results is more important than seeing them — believe it or not!

We verified results today. On March 2 she measured as follows: rib cage 29, snug waist 25.5, pelvis 31, derriere 35

On May 31 she measured: rib cage 28 (-1), snug waist 23.75 (-1.75), pelvis 30 (-1), derriere 33.5 (-1.5)

Today she measured:  rib cage 27.75 (-.25), snug waist 23.5 (-.25), pelvis 30 (same), derriere 33.5 (same).

In sum Jasmine has reduced her weight from 118 lbs to 103-105 lbs, and lost two inches in her already-slim waistline in 5.5 months of corset training. Excellent progress for someone her slim size and shape.

When we first met and measured her in March of this year, she purchased the gorgeous paisley and satin underbust Vic by Jill pictured above left (close of 19″), then came back in May to be remeasured for an underbust Edwardian in peach satin (close of 17.5″).  Today she ordered a second, tighter Vic (close of 17.5″). She can now wear the first paisley Vic comfortably laced down to 21″ under the corset for 10 hours or so. She uses 1/2″ increments in lacing down when she is ready to lace down after putting in long hours of comfy wear at one level. She, plans to change to 1/4″ increments when she reaches 20″, to further close down this trainer.

Today we showed her the subtle difference between Jill’s more hourglassy silhouette and Sheri’s waspie silhouette Angie in Sheri bestpictured right as she modeled my denim corset by Sheri. The difference is not dramatic, but important. Sheri’s slightly curvier patterning might be the best fourth choice to help Jasmine reach downward into the 18 and 17″ waist measurements, yet retain and perhaps add a bit more breathing room in her ribs.

Some clients love to sample the wealth of silhouettes, styling and construction techniques out there, while others develop a taste for one corsetiere and want to stick with him or her. That is fine and up to the corset enthusiast to choose. But we like to offer options at ROMANTASY, as our experience shows that having choices and even the slightest of differences in one’s corset wardrobe, can provide variety and make training an adventure and somewhat easier. What Jasmine chooses next, as ever, is up to her.

With hips at 33.5″ and  snug natural waist (pre corseting) at 23.5″, Jasmine now has a natural 10″ hip spring–the quintessential hourglass shape, even  before corseting.

By lacing down just 2.5″ as she now does (what you see actually shows a 1.5″ reduction since a corset adds approximately an inch to your measurements), her figure becomes noteworthy!

We’re happy to showcase our dedicated corset enthusiast clients, and hope to show you more images of Jasmine’s progress over the coming months and years of happy corseting.

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One can’t help but be amused, again!

Upside down overbust corsetOne can’t help but be amused at the goofs seen from time to time in marketing and/or fashion photos, or in public concerning the corset-wearing enthusiast. These examples are too good not to be shared!

I was sorting out my files lately and ran across this denim corset shown on a model for an advertisement from a transgender magazine. It reminded me of at least three other incidents I have personally observed of overbust styles being worn upside down. One occurred in a lady’s bathroom of a SoCal “S&M” conference I was attending.

On that occasion while washing my hands, I noticed a young lady beside me at the sink. She was wearing a gorgeous red leather overbust style corset, but it was clearly worn upside down! The bust cups gaped away from her hips as pictured on the denim-clad model here, and it was more than obvious.

“Honey” I began as gently as I could, “that’s a gorgeous corset, however, I wonder if it might fit a bit better in the bodice if you tried it the other way on, bottom side up? I’m happy to help re-lace you.” (In the worst way I wanted to take her picture, but I refrained out of a sense of decency.)

You can imagine the strange look I received from her as she gathered up her things and huffed out the door.

It’s more common to see underbust corset styles worn upside down, some by new clients of mine. Below is an advertisement for an article on corsets that I found in an English magazine a number of years ago. How anyone on the editorial staff could let this photo of a peach coutil upside-down corset slide by into publication, is beyond me.

Upside downOver the years a few clients have called me in quite a disgruntled state, convinced that their beautiful new corset was Blue BR upside downimproperly made, or made for someone else. Or they tell me their muslin doesn’t fit. When I review pictures I ask them to send if they cannot drop by in person, I found that their corset was on upside down.

It’s even happened to an experienced corset enthusiast with about ten corsets in his wardrobe — on one occasion he still put his corset on upside down. Note right, the ivory elastic garter clips or receiver hooks peeking out the upper edge of a peacock blue dragon silk BR Creations corset. Then observe the same corset worn properly right side up, pictured left.

How can that happen  you ask, especially with an overbust style corset?

Start with basic lack of knowledge and ignorance of the newbie corset enthusiast, model, photographer, and/or dresser. Or, consider the effects of inattention while dressing. Continue with supreme lack of concern, and perhaps, the outsized ego of those who think they always know best. English corset

Can you always tell what is right side up in a corset, by observing the front busk? Normally the metal clip of the busk is on the right and goes over the stud on the left, similar to how a womena’s blouse buttons.

However, that is not always the case. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve seen a Jean Paul Gaultier corset with the busk installed in the opposite fashion, clip on the left and stud on the right.  Today I found the proof, and include the advertisement below for your review–and puzzlement. Who knows if it was done intentionally by this great French couturier and corsetiere, or not?

Two of my Romantasy team corsetieres have done that inadvertently, one on a personal corset of mine!

Gaultier corset busk wrongIt makes no functional or fit difference how the busk is installed, but is a bit disconcerting to put on such a corset, and for the discerning corset eye, to see it worn in public.  More to the point of today’s blog theme, such a backwards busk might cause you to put your corset on upside down!

For sure, mistakes occur in corset wear. You may make them, or observe them being made.

If there is one thing I learned from my school-teacher mom, it’s that education is a life-long process. If you don’t think so, prepare for some possibly embarassing mistakes. The important thing is to learn, and correct those mistakes as soon as you know.

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Amazing Post Note:

No sooner had I published this blog than I went to my inbox email and the first message contained this, from a lady who had asked us yesterday if we could repair some bent boning in a new corset not by ROMANTASY. I had advised her to go back to her original corsetiere for any information and repairs, as that person knows best the construction techniques and expected fit. Here is what the corset client said today after she did what we recommended:

“(I went back to my corsetiere to discuss the bones bowing out and discovered that) I put the corset on upside down, also seems its more of a common mistake than people might think. Thank you for your input in this matter.”

 

 

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More on comfort, corseting and an active life style

Today I heard from my Australian client Emilie who had this to say:Emilie.2

      “I’m 36, I wear my original corset every day, as of now with my new corset (second, tighter corset pictured right)…during the week. When I work I’m wearing my first corset so that’s for about 8 hours then when I get home, I shower and put on my new corset and wear that one for a few hours before getting ready for bed. On the weekends I pretty much wear my new second corset most of the day and at night when I go out, then take it off before going to sleep…often times I’m out late though so I’ll have my corset on for a very long time…and it’s always still comfortable!
    “I haven’t changed my eating habits too much, just can’t eat quite as much when I’m wearing my corset. I haven’t had any digestive problems at all so I haven’t had to change anything I eat…I wouldn’t exactly say that what I eat is the healthiest either…I think the key, at least for me, is just eating less not necessarily going on a diet.
    “I’m quite active since I work as a stable hand with horses and doing property maintenance …so I don’t exercise outside of work, my work is exercise enough! I find wearing my corset really helps with back support and it has never gotten in the way of my moving or being really active…which I think would surprise people unfamiliar with corsets, since I think most of them think of corsets as being super duper restrictive where you can’t move or breathe.”
In late January of this year Emilie ordered her second corset by our corsetiere, Sheri, to whom she is devoted. It’s pictured above, sporting the cute candy-striped binding with a simple ivory  cotton fabric.  She simply will not order from any other corsetiere, having determined that Sheri’s corsets are supremely comfy for her body and lifestyle. She is preparing her third order now, six months later, to have it ready in two months when she is ready to transfer to a slightly tighter corset. We are discussing the proper close of her third corset, tho she prefers 20″ which I believe to be too much. It becomes in some ways tougher to lace down as you lose fat over time and develop tougher muscle, so the going may be slower.
We noted the following changes in Emilie’s measurements in six shorts months of regular corseting:
January:
–rib cage 33
–waist 32 (corset ordered to close 6.5″ down to 25.5″ under corset)
–derriere 41
August:
–rib cage 31.75 (loss of 1.25 inches)
–waist  28 (loss of 4 inches)
–derriere 38 (loss of 3 inches)
Emilie is deservedly proud of her accomplishments to improve her health, figure and posture thru regular corseting. You may not want to wear yours as often as she does after your initial figure shaping efforts, but results can be accomplished in a fairly short time with a bit of effort, as Emilie’s case proves. Way to go, Emilie!

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