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How to Pick a Good Corset

Cheryl Mascarenhas Feb 17, 2020
When it comes to supporting and shaping the torso into a desired figure, a corset turns into a girl's best friend. This story brings to you the know-how of selecting a good corset.

Did You Know?

The word corset is derived from the Old French word corps and the diminutive of body, which itself is derived from corpus―Latin for body.
Constructed from flexible material, and stiffened with boning, a corset is garment worn to lend a fashionable silhouette to the female torso. While a corset is mostly used as a fashion accessory, it is also recommended for people suffering from scoliosis or having internal injuries, as a means to support, immobilize, and protect the torso and spine.
From being an essential piece of garment during the Victorian and Georgian times, the corset has, in fact, come a long way.
Most corsets can easily reduce your waist by 4-5 inches, creating the illusion of a narrow waist, which is the primary characteristic of the hourglass figure. Today, you have corsets that are designed to be used for a wide range of purposes, and hence, it becomes all the more essential that you choose one wisely.

Understand the Types of Corsets

Basically, there are three main types of corsets―under-bust, over-bust, and waist cincher―that are used to keep the body in shape. While the under-bust variety will finish anywhere under the bust, the over-bust varieties run from the hips and over the bust. A waist cincher, on the other hand, is meant to sit specifically on the waist.
Over-bust and Under-bust Corset

Consider the Style

When it comes to choosing the right corset, you need to understand your body type. You can choose from a variety of necklines―straight, sweetheart, plunge, and scoop―depending on your bust size. While a bustier frame can pull off a plunge neckline or even a sweetheart neckline, the straight necklines work well for women with small busts.
1. V neck over-bust corset | 2. Straight over-bust corset | 3. Under-bust corset | 4. Plunge neckline, over-bust corset | 5. Sweetheart over-bust corset | 6. Over-bust corset | 7. Over-bust with lace trims

Select the Fabric

Once you have decided on the style and type of corset you want, you would want to examine the fabric. Strong and long-lasting corsets should ideally be made from fabric like coutil, drill, or heavyweight canvas. You can also choose from satin, taffeta, brocade, and lace corsets if you want a more elaborate corset. Alternatively, you could look for leather corsets with a steel boning.


Unlike other garments that have their sizes determined by the bust size, corsets are sized as per the size of the waist. In most cases, a corset size that is 4-6 inches smaller than the natural measurement of your waist will fit you just right. However, if it doesn't, it is recommended that you get one custom-made. This is for a corset that cinches at the waist. However, if you wish to wear one for back support, then go for 3-4 inches smaller than your waist size.
Waist Measurement Corset Size
22 inch (55cm) 18 inch
24 inch (60cm) 20 inch
26 inch (65cm) 22 inch
28 inch (70cm) 24 inch
30 inch (75cm) 26 inch
32 inch (80cm) 28 inch
34 inch (85cm) 28/30 inch
36 inch (90cm) 30 inch
38 inch (95cm) 32 inch
40 inch (100cm) 34 inch
42 inch (105cm) 36 inch
44 inch (110cm) 38 inch

Fastening Styles

While most corsets lace-up at the back, the front of the corset can be hooked, clipped, zipped, or even laced-up. Do keep in mind though, that a corset with a steel-busk with clips to help secure the corset is way more reliable than one with hook and eye closure. Zipped corsets, on the other hand, can be reversed to give you two designs; however, these may not be strong enough for waist training.

Accessories and Trims

Corsets can be accessorized using laces, custom trims, removable garters, and matching thongs. Also, ensure to check for a modesty flap that prevents rope burns from the laces, and effectively hides any skin showing through the lace.

Comfort Matters

Before you make the purchase, you should, by all means, try out the corset. Ideally, if the corset can be comfortably tightened all the way up, you could consider buying a slightly smaller corset so that it can be laced tightly in case you are using it for waist training.
What looks pleasing to the eye need not always be comfortable; however, you should definitely invest in a corset that looks appealing as well as flatters your body.
Do not neglect your comfort level, which means you need to pay special attention to the fabric of the corset. Also remember, to try out the corset to ensure you can sit and stand comfortably without the lower trim of the corset boring into your skin.
Last but not the least, do not forget to ask for a custom-made corset if you want it specifically for waist training. Do remember to ask for cleaning details, as corsets, unlike regular garments do need special care to last for a long period of time.