Category Archives: Custom Corsets Suitable for Waist Training

Beware of branding – a trap for the unwary readymade (“OTC”) corset purchaser

My New York Times Magazine from 5/21 has a terrific section called “First Words.” Normally I go first to that article because I like words. I believe they should be carefully crafted in writing, and also carefully and deliberately spoken. Those two beliefs are likely why I don’t cotton much to social media with its rapid-fire modality…but I do like blogs, that permit more thoughtful comments.

This weeks  NYT’s article is about branding, storytelling, commercialism, and the “scam economy”. The author says, “More and more, we fully expect things to fall short of their advertising,” says the author—and more’s the pity! We’ve become accustomed to hype, super-branding, and false claims.

I believe that some reasons these negatives run rampant include our own failure to exercise caution, think for ourselves, and embrace patience. We don’t often bother to ask “on what do you base your conclusion?” or “how do you know that?” It’s not always a pretty habit to others. Sometimes I drive my partner crazy. He  is one talented man who can fix anything and understands machines the way I understand corsets and corset waist training. So I am inclined to ask that question more times than not when a machine has broken down or is giving me fits and I’ve asked for his help.

We must look behind every commercial claim if we want to avoid being victimized. I hate to think that we have to be suspicious under every circumstance, but perhaps we should start out that way, or at least, start out with great caution before we purchase any product or service.

I’m particularly peeved with the way “wannabe” readymade (“OTC”) corsets are flooding our US marketplace, and how they are advertised. Somehow calling something  a “waist trainer” or “for waist training” makes it so in some folks’ minds. As the NYT article says, “We are now expected to favor the story over reality, to accept that saying a thing makes it so.”

That’s why it pays to look behind the story on every website, and behind the claims of every corset maker. I’ve known some corset makers who aren’t willing to pay their dues, or put in their journeyperson time to hone their skills and up their quality before they overprice their products or enter the marketplace or sub marketplace. You never know how a web advertised and pictured corset holds up over time — unless the corset maker has paid her dues, has countless recommendations of those who wear their corset in the manner you intend to wear yours, and who can recommend the quality of the product as tested over time. You don’t know if you can properly or easily train in the corset you are buying–unless you talk to someone experienced, and one who won’t “oversell” the product or sell you a style that just won’t work for your purposes.

Take a look at the ‘eye candy’ pink corset pictured here. It’s cute, perhaps. But look at the strange shape of the waistline on this model, the wrinkling of fabric  at the midriff (that will or can uncomfortably pinch over time with tighter lacing or long wear), and the overbust embellished style that is tough to train in because it limits body flexibility (compared to the recommended underbust style). Furthermore, the ruffles are hard to disguise underneath clothing if the corset is for foundation wear on a daily basis. Your belly might be squished out from under a too-short readymade corset, or you may encounter muffin top. The too-short bottom pictured here on the model wearing a custom muslin (interim corset) was corrected and lowered in the final fully custom corset. Those problem issues can be avoided in the main when you order a custom corset.

Talking directly to some customers is always a good bet. Taking time to examine the length of experience in business making corsets, and the number of corsets made in that particular style by your chosen corset maker, is always wise. Just because some burlesque queen on the web looks stunning in a gorgeously-embellished corset, isn’t sufficient information when it comes to purchasing a quality, durable and comfortable training corset.

As a related matter, I’m saddened when I learn that some custom corset maker has gone out of business, or gone overseas to find a sweat shop to make readymade corsets to sell. I’m gobsmacked every time someone emails me and rather than purchase a ROMANTASY custom corset, tells me they have already found a readymade corset and want to start waist training now. The reason usually has to do with being penny wise and pound foolish: making a quick purchase according to brief social media recommendations or buying a particular “brand” or unthinkingly believing a claim that the corset is “for waist training,” or because the maker has quick shipping practices so that the corset enthusiast can quick! — start to lose weight before he loses motivation.

But corseting and waist training are marathons, not sprints. You don’t get anywhere rushing around before you do your homework, especially when it comes to ordering a training corset. A Halloween corset for maybe two hours of continuous costume wear? Well now, 0k! Go for the OTC cheap “wannabe” corset!

I’m even more saddened and frankly, disappointed, when I learn that some qualified custom corset maker has agreed to assist an overseas readymade manufacturer “improve” his corset product. To my mind, that is extremely detrimental to the art and craft of custom corset making, and it jeopardizes the existence of same. I’m aware that not everyone shares my opinion, even among otherwise responsible corset enthusiasts. Still, I know many accomplished corset enthusiasts who share my opinion.

If you are new to the corset and waist-training scene, you’ll have to make up your own mind about the issue, but I fervently hope you will come down on the side most times of supporting custom corsetry.

 

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What if you don’t like corsets? (Or will I like them?)

Ms. Kiska, my present waist training student who is just about to conclude her three-month experiment and coaching in figure shaping, just wrote: “Unfortunately my corset feels like more of a nuisance than not.”

This is after almost 12 weeks of daily wearing her custom training corset, less one day per week, and after building up slowly in hours and tightness in lacing down so the process is comfy in general. She chose a well-fitting and extremely comfy training corset by Sheri, who patterns out over the rib cage more than others might, in order to allow for easier breathing and flexibility of movement. That’s why we recommend Sheri for waist training students who will have to work up to long hours of wear, and also for a second corset when you have dropped some fat and inches off your torso and waist to leave mainly muscle, and need to go more slowly and make sure it is comfy when you lace down to the next level. Sheri’s corsets are perfect for either person!

You’ll see Ms. K. in her underbust cotton corset by Sheri, pictured before she began waist training, so this corset doesn’t fit “the best”. That’s because she had to lace loosely and wear it loosely to begin training, to enhance her own comfort and let the corset gradually ‘breathe’ and accustom itself to her torso in return. In that manner you minimize the risk that you might damage your corset, altho with Sheri’s sturdy creations that is highly unlikely to begin with.

Of course to me, a 100 percent corset enthusiast, Ms. K’s message initially made me feel a bit sad. I had kept hope that over three months as she seasoned her new corset and got used to longer hours wearing it six days a week, it would become more comfortable and she would take a shine to it as well as to her shrinking waistline and improved posture.

Regarding the last two items, a shrinking waistline and improved posture, she did take a shine! But regarding the actual corset, and corset wear, she clearly did not.

Still, Ms. K. intends after formal training to keep up better nutrition choices she has learned, and some new exercises that target her waistline muscles to keep them toned and under control, but plans only occasionally to wear her training corset. We’ll soon share her simple but sound Maintenance Plan and final training results in the next blog.

As I thought about her reactions to a corset, I reflected on the incredible range of reasons that anyone might choose to wear a corset. I thought back on thousands and thousands of corsets clients I’ve served over my 27 years in the corset education and purveying/designing business. I also reflected on the 100 stories of why and how people who wrote to Lucy Williams, the young corset enthusiast from Canada, wore their corsets. Check out Lucy’s fascinating book collecting these stories, “Solaced,” available for Kindle on amazon.

If I have learned one thing in my 27 years focusing on this magical garment, it is that every individual reacts differently to wearing corsets (and to waist training). It is simply impossible to know how a specific person  will “take” to wearing a corset, and how one will find a corset useful in one’s life, if they take to corsets at all. Not everyone loves the garment!

Yesterday I tried corsets and corset muslins on my BFF Letha, pictured here wearing a muslin  of an overbust Victorian corset underneath her black outfit. She has decided she wants an overbust foundation corset to improve her posture and figure, plus  improve the fit of her clothing as she, like me, ages gracefully into her 70s. Letha loved the look and feel!

Within a few try-ons of a corset (her first ever!) and maybe 10 total minutes, she was strutting around the living room admiring herself in the mirror, laced down 5.5″ from her natural waist measurement. Yup. In about ten minutes! It stunned us both.

Obviously Letha is the type of client who is relatively plastic (“squishy”) in her midriff and can easily lace down. More importantly, she has no aversion to a relatively new feeling for her of wearing a body-fitting, closely structured garment on her torso. That was a bit surprising to me because her typical way of dressing is to wear flowing, artistic clothing.

Letha reminds me a bit of “Frankie” in the wonderful tv series “Frankie and Grace” if you have seen it? She’s experimental, adventurous, and cheerful, just the kind of personality I like and resonate with. I think she expected to like corsets–and she did! (If you haven’t seen the show, run, don’t walk, to rent the series. It’s a pure hoot, with wonderful actors Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda and a terrifically funny and heartwarming story line to boot).

So how will you know if you will ‘take’ to corsets? You won’t know for sure if you have never worn them or tried them on. But if you tend to like tight belts, panty hose, boned shapewear, fitted clothing like princess seams and well-fitted waistlines in pants and dresses, and tight jeans, you will likely take to corsets and to waist training as well. But then this guideline doesn’t explain Letha’s positive reaction, since she had never tried on a formal corset!

So keep your mind open to corsets, expect to like them, and if you can do so, try a fit sample corset on and lace it snugly (but not quickly!) to see if you like the feeling.

If you don’t have access to a try-on corset, then get a wide belt and belt down snugly or tightly. Try to keep the corset or belt on for more than five minutes! The more minutes you can wear a structured garment, the better you will be able to tell how you will react to the real thing. Stand up, sit down, walk around and if you can, eat a light meal to see how your stomach will feel while corseted.

Hopefully the real thing you finally choose, will be a well-fitting custom corset made especially for you, and not a dubiously-fitting readymade or over-the-counter OTC corset. You usually  can’t go wrong with custom, whereas you can easily go wrong with an uncomfy, non-individually fitted OTC choice.

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Hollywood Starlet Emma Watson Misses the Magic of Custom corsets (sigh…)

dancing-lynnIsn’t it just precious how the new media and Hollywood starlettes refuse to know the facts and mindlessly repeat antiquated prejudice against the corset?

Yawn…

Emma Watson to be featured in a remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 2017, gave up on corsets so she could remain mobile for her movie role.

Mobility?dancin

How can she NOT know (or for that matter, fashion reporters not know) YET IN 2016, THAT CUSTOM CORSETS, well seasoned and properly fit — permit almost perfect torso mobility. One would not want to precipitously bend and bend again at the precise waistline: that will tend to weaken the busk and snap it. Other than that there is almost no limit to torso mobility.

For best mobility, choose spiral steels for your boning, get the right fit, take your time in getting used to wearing it and lace down slowly, and lo! You like many of our clients and me, can go dancing the night away from ballroom to hip hop, wearing your corset — with nary a rip in sight and nary a cramp in torso.

There are even times that you might get the perfectly mobile corset by choosed wisely and well from pre-made corsets. CHECK OUT OUR HUGE WINTER INVENTORY SALE TO SEE IF SOMETHING MIGHT WORK FOR YOU (AMAZING PRICES!)

It’s clear that mobility while corseted is fact–and has been for eons. See the description of author Sarah Chrisman who rides a Victorian bicycle miles while snugly corseted, in Victorian Secrets (published 2013).

Who can answer why folks continue to spout such nonsense about the corset?

Best I can come up with, is our Puritanical reversion against sex and sexuality, plus woman’s body revealed (not to mention self determination when she chooses to wear a corset and how tightly she chooses to lace; no one is in charge of that other than herself!).

HAPPY WARM CORSETED SEASON TO ALL!

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How to sum up corset waist training: the key principles to keep in mind

I’m sometimes asked what are the key points that lead to success in waist training. From my fall Primer on  ‘how to’ reduce your waistlineCorset by Sheri for ROMANTASY book in progress, here they are:

FIVE CONCLUDING POINTS:

1. Be conscious of, and respect, your body. Listen to its messages and heed them. Your body will tell you when you have reached your limit.

2. Be moderate and do nothing to excess. Always stop training or take off your corset just short of serious distress, leaving yourself looking forward to the next opportunity you have to corset. (A pretty but simple corset like the one pictured here by Sheri, will make you look forward to corseting each day!)

3. Persevere. Change comes through ordinary, slow progress. There are no Corset Body Shaping Goddesses, and no miracles. Do not let naysayers stop you in your path.

4. Treat yourself at least as well as you treat others. No one will do it for you. Eat right, exercise, drink water, move, and never give up on these positive practices.

5.  Learn as much as you can about corseting. This will help you fully understand what is happening to you as you progress. Then you will be able to adjust your eating plan and lifestyle to stay healthy and still corset over time.

It takes common sense–not all that common these days to quote someone famous!

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I Don’t Want to Hear It Anymore: “I don’t have TIME to shop, eat well, cook, waist train (you name it!)”

“The Lies Busy People Tell Themselves” said it all to me: we waste a lot of time worrying that we “don” have time” to do what we know we must: primarily take care of ourselves, and then take care of our families and loved ones–or corset waist train! I’ll never say that again after readying Laura Vanderkams’s article in the NYT Style section this Sunday! I recommend it to you.

The writer did a lot of time-keeping on herself and checked with others. She found she, and they, had a lot of time to do things she valued, despite being a very busy mother and professional. So …

Why do we lie to ourselves about not having enough time to do the things we find important in life and value?

           o    She says it’s because negative experiences (of being stressed out, late for an important project, working 90 hrs per week occasionally) stick in our minds. The good times are easily forgotten .

          o    We all like to see ourselves as hard working, not laggards. Thus, we tend to believe and repeat to others, that we are “over worked” and out of time.

         o   Professionals tend to overestimate the hours spent on work.

          o   We choose a high number of hours to say we’ve worked (and think we have) to justify our periodic stressed-out state and feeling, which is not all the time no matter what we imagine.

It’s not an unchangeable foible of us human beings. We can acknowledge this tendency now we know about it — and choose not to feel guilty that we “may” be neglecting our families, our health, and things that make life worth living! Most likely we are not and most likely we can find a little time. There’s no more excuse that you “don’t have time to corset waist train” and don’t have time on Sunday to shop for veggies and fruits and healthy light meats and “don’t have time to cook and prepare big pot of soup or lean roast and grilled veggies” which will last a few days during your busy work week.

You clearly DO HAVE TIME. If you value and have set corset waist training as a major priority in your life — and if you are focused on  improving your health first, your figure second, and your waistline size third (forget about dieting and the BMI or weight!), you have no supporter in me.

But you have a great supporter for moving forward in common sense ways toward health. I’ll encourage you to the max to try this fun and fascinating step toward health first: corset waist training.  Nearly everyone can do it!Snatch's corset

Chablis with plaqueCorsets are not just for Hollywood starlets who have just had a baby and want their figures back, and not just for social media stars who have impossibly curvy in-shape bodies already. Corsets and waist training are for us local, normal folks of any age and stage of life, any waistline size even up to 60″ waistlines and above, men, women, transwomen, lesbians, portly businessmen, classy socialites, club kids (as they say in England), Goth and steampunk devotees, tattoo artists, entertainers, drag queens, cross dressers and more–those of us who want to live long and prosper!

Here on the right is our drag queen corset client Snatch, from a few years back. Lovely white satin Victorian corset! She be styling on stage for sure! Left is our long-time lovely female impersonater/model and corseted client Chablis, looking fine. Check out Cheryl Shepard (crossdresser) modeling her BR Creations brown brocade classic hourglass corset for ROMANTASY, making a lovely hourgalss shape. Note Ms. Ana, our superb body builder tatooed corset lover from Arizona, in a dripping-lace black 1901 corset by True Grace (a treasure and non-duplicatable now since Mr. Garrod has passed)–she’s our adviser on all things physical and exercise in her realm.FCM - Men  Cheryl in BR05100

Burlesque cincherHere’s our Goth girl in a corset by Sheri, and young fetish model Somi Vichi in a leather corset by Sharon for ROMANTASY.  And below is Brian, one of our favorite men models in his amazingly tight-laced hot pink silk  corset by Sheri, one that has lasted him since 2005 for routine almost daily tight-lacing altho it’s about on its last leg now, some 11 years later. Talk about quality!Chinese silk Underbust by SheriCorsets and waist training are for anyone who has patience, and respect for the talents required by competent corsetmakers to create durable, comfortable, structured garments that will hold up to 60 to 90 pounds of waistline pressure and not rip, bend over, squench up, push up, dig in, wrinkle, and otherwise self-destruct in a few months of wear.

At ROMANTASY Somi BOB.3we welcome everyone! We’ll give you great advice on how to choose between real options we offer in terms of figure silhouettes created, corset styles, corsetmakers on our team of three, fabric and design options and more. It’s simple to order.

And we operate in old fashioned, personalized way. Give me a call: 415 587-3863 from 9 am to 6 pm PST and leave a message if I don’t pick up the phone. Consider ROMANTASY’s awesome 26 years plus experience comparing and contrasting various corsets, field testing each one, and educating about the differences. Opt for education first if you aren’t quite sure, and send me email: inquiry@romantasy.com for my personal attention!

 

 

 

 

 

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Maintenance After Waist Training Starts with Planning, Right Thinking, and maybe our *New* “KEWL KORSET”

I’m working this week to encourage my waist-training coaching program student to submit her draft for a Maintenance Plan applying after she completes her formal three-month program this weekend. I’m so proud of her! I have been training right along with her, because I find that coaching anyone requires me to walk the walk, and re-set my own figure, and address my own demons when it comes to aging, spreading out, nutrition and exercise!

Walking that walk  the past three months for me has involved enrolling in a vigorous exercise program three days a week (one day of yoga and two of aerobic exercise for a total of 1.5 hrs. of exercise each time). It also has involved going off refined sugar three weeks ago on June 14, as I’ve blogged about recently. Today I can confirm that I have dropped 5.4 lbs in three weeks and taken 1/2″ off my hips and off my waistline, simply by eschewing sugar and desserts. I’m not being a martinet, since I eat a teensy bit of organic honey from time to time, and occasionally, at least some added sugar in Bisquick, for example. I’m now convinced that for me at least, avoiding refined sugar is a must.

I have come to believe firmly that right thinking and  maintenance are the two keys to successful waist training, not the actual process of dedicated waist training and wearing a corset, if you want to reshape your figure and re-start your own health program.Kewl Korset scroll

Chapter 10 in my Corset Magic book is devoted to maintenance which is mentioned in some introductory commentary which I set forth below. I’d love to hear from you about how you maintain you waistline after dedicated corset waist training, what works for you, and what you would recommend for others? Most likely it will involve periodic corseting (Jill’s flexible “Kewl Korset” pictured right is perfect for a maintenance corset).  I’ll be back to share Dorothy’s ideas later.

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Life-long habits (and excuses) take longer than three months to change. I used to think three months of corset waist-training was enough, but it’s clearly not. It’s enough to jump-start healthier new habits. It’s enough to show positive results 99.9% of the time, results that motivate and encourage us.

But motivate us to do what? Fall right back into what we were doing before, that got us here to begin with?
Without one doubt, some positive changes we make during training will stick around, but some form of waistline-maintenance and periodic checks and measures must be implemented during training and must continue a lifetime afterward, if we want a lifetime of positive results.

If we don’t get a handle on what it was both practically in the real world, and emotionally or spiritually in our individual psychological world, that got us to where we aren’t happy with our weight or shape and want to change, then the benefits of waist training won’t last.

We have to embark on waist training with corsets along with more self-introspection and self-honesty to identify behaviors that have defeated our goals in the past and threaten our progress today. This is an internal process that sometimes takes professional skills of a therapist or counselor, and there are many good ones out there who are well-educated on the issues surrounding food and overeating today.

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I think a lot about what makes corset waist training 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 that success in waist training does not depend upon food choices that we eat, or the influence of profit-motivated large food corporations (see, for example, Marian Nestle’s What to Eat, North Point Press, New York 2006 and Michelle Simon’s Appetite for Profit: How the food industry undermines our health and how to fight back, Nation Books, New York 2006; see particularly the “Anti-Glossary” at the back of Simon’s book).

Success in waist training does not depend on how many steps we walk each day or how many hours we spend at the gym. Success does not even depend on how long we wear our corsets or how tightly we lace them!.

The foundation of success is about correcting our thinking process and thoughts which are normally misguided when it comes to corset waist training.

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

Corset waist training is not deprivation! It is fun. It is effective. It is fashionable and it is unique. Not many folks in the world will accept the challenge and take the chance to try a new adventure in life with certain rewards coming to those who exercise a modicum of dedication and common sense. And not many will persevere with maintenance planning and implementation strategy to ensure that positive changes remain permanent.

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More on Corset Durability

HOW LONG DOES A CUSTOM CORSET LAST?  The answer has a lot to do with care.

Corset by Sue for ROMANTASYWe like to say that a custom corset is strong yes, but it is not a Mac Truck! To get the best value for your investment of some hundreds of dollars, you best treat the garment with respect as a start.

Here’s a gorgeous corset by our former team member Sue Nice, delivered to our client Megan in early December, 2006. Owner Megan is an entertainer who wears the corset regularly to perform. The corset is almost nine years old and she returned it to us but not for repair; the corset is in great shape and obviously, has been well treated. She wanted us to add some pizzazz (see the silver braid trims and bow added). Here is what she told us about her perspective on corsets and care:

“A corset is a key piece of apparel. Not only is it highly functional, but its appearance matters to your overall aesthetic as well. It can create a sophistication of appearance that no other garment I know of can. You look complete. That’s why I see it as a key feature of my vampire look. You look composed and controlled.

“Now, vampires, in the old folklore, were blood maddened beasts with a hunger for the vitality of the living via blood, so what better contrast could there be between such a creature – a beast, really – and the refinement/ poise of a corseted figure? Vampire fiction sprang during the Victorian period, noted for corsetry, when everyone and everything was to be controlled in some way. Just as the vampire is a metaphor for losing control simply to survive, the corset is a symbol of that controlled nature.

“Not only does it look good, and have plenty of health benefits (my bad back loves my corset), but corsets can symbolize so much. With so many benefits, why abuse it? If it does so much for you, why can’t you do even a little for it?”

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