I’ve done a poor job of sharing my OOTDs, so let me “catch up” all at once with this post. These are from the past couple weeks, and it shows a great sample of the way I incorporate a corset into my professional wardrobe. The only exception here is the image that shows the corset on the outside of my Pikes Peak Ascent t-shirt, which was just worn on the weekend at home.
Asked by Anonymous
I really, really appreciate this question! Other people’s waist training goals really aren’t any of my business, but I can, regardless of anything else, admire the diligence of those that work toward ever-smaller corset sizes.
For me, though, the goal is subjective and the numbers are just a side note. Up until recently, my hope was to be able to achieve a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.5 externally which would have put my waist circumference at about 19” as measured outside of the corset. And perhaps one day I’ll reach that milestone, but it is not the primary focus of my waist training journey.
So, then, what do I am for? Simply put, personal fulfillment. My choice to wear corsets has enhanced my existence in ways I never thought possible:
If/when I hit a point where I am not feeling that I gain more than I lose by lacing up my corset (whether physical, mental, or social), then I am not corseting in line with my goals. Examples of taking corseting too far (for me, specifically) are: corseting interfering with my athletic endeavors, feeling ill due to a bad reaction between food intake and corset reduction, just plain not enjoying it, or my figure being interpreted as excessive or off-putting by certain close family members or colleagues (you better believe I care about their interpretation). In these situations, I’ll opt to unlace or lace more loosely, because I’m apt to lose something (i.e. sleep, respect, strength) by insisting on tight-lacing when it might not be necessary.
It really comes down to this: If it doesn’t enhance my existence, I don’t lace. If it improves my experience of life, I lace. And those parameters are fluid for a reason - because the human condition brings with it wildly varying conditions and situations. So, for me, adopting the mindset that corseting should always do me good allows me to adapt readily and still maintain my waist training regimen in a way that brings me closer to my goals.
Can you imagine acrobatics in a corset? Neither can I. Still, there are some incredibly interesting photos out there of turn-of-the-century female circus acts who are clearly laced up (at least for the camera).
Photographed above: Emily Schadel, trapeze artist
(Scarlet Butterfly wearing a Wyte Phantom corset in one of her acts)
(Jennifer Garside of Wyte Phantom, modelling one of her own corsets)
Just curious though, we have stuff like spiral steel boning now which is way more flexible than flat steel. Would an acrobat’s corset be boned any differently back then? What would they use instead? Or was baleen/whalebone fairly flexible already?
While I couldn’t find the exact date that the original photo of Emily Schadel was taken, it was part of a collection of images between 1875 - 1940, and spiral steels definitely existed by 1890.
While at the Symington museum collections in England a couple of weeks ago, I was allowed to touch baleen and also the flat steel bones used in earlier corsets (bones of mild steel started being used in the 1830s/40s if I recall correctly). The flat bones were still remarkably thin and flexible, but I imagine they could bend/kink more easily.
One of the things that surprised me most about the antique corsets is how incredibly light they were. To modern standards they might have been called ‘flimsy’ but they were still constructed beautifully - and many came with a 12-month guarantee.
All of these things make me giddy. Also slightly envious, but even more ambitious!
Asked by Anonymous
Before I explain, let me say “NO”. All of my ribs are quite real.
That is a brilliant question, though, considering I used the term “false ribs” in this post about my modest waist training results! But it’s important to know that both “true” and “false” ribs are strictly anatomic descriptions. Simply put: a true (also referred to as “fixed”) rib connects directly to the sternum (1st through 7th sets of ribs); and a false rib is either connected to the sternum by way of cartilage of the ribs above (8th through 10th sets of ribs) or can be further defined as a “floating” rib, meaning that it is only connected at the spine (11th and 12th sets of ribs).
Let’s take a look at a rather helpful diagram shared by Cristobal Carrasco via Wikimedia Commons. You’ll see the true ribs in red, the false ribs in green and blue, and the floating ribs (specifically) in blue.
This doesn’t look like the same ribcage! The majority of the change that I’ve seen in my past few years of waist training have been in regards to the contours and prominence of my false ribs. Even my underbust measurement is smaller than it once was. It’s also worth noting that the photo of my incredibly pale midsection was taken immediately after unlacing at a point in time when I had only been wearing corsets for about 6 months. The “now” picture happens to be a post-workout representation of what it looks like when I’ve had my corset off for several hours.
The outcome of years of waist training are, for me, not nearly as dramatic as those of some others, but I believe it’s important to show that “results may vary”. Sometimes the reward of diligent waist training isn’t a dramatically smaller uncorsetted waist. Sometimes it’s the ability to accept higher corsetted reductions without trouble; better poster both in and out of a corset; an enhanced self-image; or the discovery of a true passion. But I doubt that there is anyone who has given waist training in a propoer steel-boned corset a good, honest try who has not experienced some positive change. It may not always be visible, but the ways in which our corsets can change us for the better have the potential to be profound.
So, what about you? How has regular (or occasional) corset wear improved your existence?
Asked by Anonymous
You are right, it is different for every body! But I’m happy to share my preference (by the way, thanks for asking). I haven’t had the chance to experience a wide variety of OTR underbusts, but there are at least a few I can compare. Between the Orchard Corset CS-411 and/or CS-426 (they have basically the same shape through the ribs) and the Isabella Corsetry Josephine underbust, I would say that the Orchard Corset styles are more effective at rib training. And this simply comes down to the silhouettes. As you mentioned, the Josephine does indeed cup the ribs. This effect can be more or less visible depending on the body type and size it is presented in, but it is an hourglass shape, meaning that it curves around the hips and ribs to make reduction a bit more comfortable. I love the Josephine for creating a more dramatic visual effect and achieving a smaller waist. But the CS-426 (or CS-411) have a more conical shape through the rib cage, which them quite well-suited for rib training. It’s worth noting that most corsets will press your rib cage into a more tapered shape, but less curve between the waist and underbust just mean that the process might be a bit more aggressive (okay, “aggressive” sounds harsh - “dramatic”, maybe?).
This is yesterday’s corset OOTD. I’m rather far behind (I had a couple weeks there when I took some snapshots but never published them). With the weather being so cold and dreary here (rain/snow this morning) it should be a good weekend to play “catch up” on some blogging.
In any case, this picture features a self-made wool jacquard dress with a ridiculous bow tied around the waist, which is defined by a Josephine underbust by Isabella Corsetry.
What do you think about this #orchardcorset prototype #corset ? The mesh corset takes on a lattice look in this sample!
I think it looks very intriguing ! Goes the shape like ? You can’t fully see from that angle.
You are right. I’m making a point of getting some better all-around photos of it this weekend, now that it’s properly seasoned. Also, these won’t be silly bathroom selfies!
Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I’ve used contacts in lieu of glasses, but perhaps one of these days I’ll finally rest up enough to get rid of the bags beneath my eyes. Also: this is an OOTD from a week or so back. :)