About Training Corsets

So many corsets online bare the label ‘waist training’, with vastly differing prices and styles. The waters have been muddied even further by the arrival of those stretchy latex trainers that are everywhere right now. How is a complete beginner meant to know where to start?

This info sheet is designed to give you a brief overview on what to look for, and an in-depth look at the training corsets we at The Little Blue Gem stock and sell.


WHAT IS WAIST TRAINING? WHAT IS TIGHT LACING?

The term ‘waist training’ refers to the modification of the body through the daily wear of a tightly laced corset. Over time, this process can alter the distribution of fat pads in the waist, and gently reshape the torso even when the corset is not worn. By necessity, all waist trainers are also tight lacers.

Tight Lacing is a term used by the corsetry community to mean the wearing of a corset cinched tightly to produce a dramatic curve of the waist. Specifically, many corset wearers consider any reduction of 4″ or more below your natural waist measurement to be tight lacing. Many tight lacers do not waist train, and simply enjoy the look and feel of a tightly laced corset when worn on special occasions.

However, the term waist training has recently been co-opted by the diet and beauty industries to mean reshaping the waist through the use of corsets or other ‘training’ garments, along with weight loss. As a result, many people in the corsetry and tight lacing community have taken to using the term ‘corset training’ instead. It is this term that we at The Little Blue Gem prefer for these specialised garments, and why we simply use ‘training corsets’ as a broad term.

You can read more about corset training and tight lacing in our Beginner’s Guide to Corsets.


WHAT MAKES A GOOD TRAINING CORSET?

In order to be suitable for training and/or tight lacing, a corset needs some specific features. As a basic guideline:

  • It should be boned with steel, or something of equivalent strength. Plastic bones will warp and even break, steel is a must. However, there are some interesting innovations happening in corset construction – specifically, some designers have started using carbon fibre as a boning material, and this appears to work as well as, if not better than, steel. Better quality corsets often have more bones – the best corsets will generally have 1 bone per inch of waist measurement.
  • It should be cut with a curvy pattern, with the waist smaller than your natural waist but the ribs and hips as close to your natural measurements as possible. This ensures that your ribs and hips are comfortable and not overly compressed. The waist is, in most people, vastly more soft and pliable than these other two areas. For beginners, you should choose a corset with a waist measurement 2-4″ smaller than your natural waist, but the ribs/hips matching. More experienced trainers can look at larger reductions.
  • It should be sized by waist size, NOT by fashion/dress sizes, ever. A garment sized in standard dress sizes will most likely not be cut with a very curvy pattern, and while it may cinch your waist a little bit, it will not be able to do much more as it would be too small for your ribs and hips. We’ve never found a corset in dress sizes that was suitable for waist training – not even steel ones.
  • It should be made will strong, sturdy materials and construction methods that will withstand long term wear. Because corset training requires daily wear, the corset needs to be able to withstand it. All training corsets should therefore be made with high quality fabric, including at least one layer of corsetry strength material such as coutil, broche, or other stretch resistant material.
  • It should have a waist tape. This is a strip of stretch resistant, usually cotton, tape sewn inside the corset’s layers, helping to reinforce the waist. The waist is the area of the corset under the most stress, so a waist tape helps to prolong the life of the corset, and maximise its ability to cinch.
  • It should have high quality grommets that will not pull out of the fabric, and steel bones either side of the grommets for strength.

In addition, good training corsets will not come cheap. The time they take to make and the price of the materials that go into them is reflected in the price. If you find a corset that promises to be a training garment for, as an example, £30, it is never going to be the same quality as pricier ones… and probably isn’t actually suitable for training at all.

£60-£70 is very cheap for a good training corset. Higher quality training corsets can be much more than this. Custom pieces can run into the hundreds!

Our Beginner’s Guide to Corsets has a more in depth list of what to look for.


BRANDS

THE LITTLE BLUE GEM / HANDMADE

Our training corsets are made to a high standard from high quality materials, and are always steel boned. All of our basic range is cut to give a 2-4″ cinch straight away, and are great for beginners. Our advanced range is cut for a 4-6″ cinch.

We promise that our training corsets –

  • will always be made with high quality materials and construction methods, including having a waist tape and at least one strength layer of coutil or broche
  • will always be boned with steel
  • will always be cut with beautifully curvy patterns
  • will only use high quality lacing grommets or loops

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CORSET STORY

If you check out Corset Story’s products on their own website, Corsets-UK, you’ll find that they say their waist training corsets can cinch your waist by 6-7″. However, The Little Blue Gem does not recommend this, and instead recommends them for beginning trainers, or customers who simply want a good quality but affordable steel corset.

Why is this?

It is my professional opinion, as both a maker and wearer of corsets, that Corset Story’s training products are simply not curvy enough to cinch your waist this much. They are very nicely made corsets, but no amount of squeezing in the world will give you a 6″ cinch if the rest of the corset simply isn’t big enough for your body.

While the waist is fairly pliable, the ribs and hips are less so. Ultimately, all these areas of the torso have a limit to how much you can compress them – the waist the most, the ribs slightly, the even less so (or not at all, on smaller bodies). This means that a corset needs enough room to accommodate the wearer’s ribs and hips, but a waist cut smaller than the wearer’s natural waist, in order to actually cinch the waist comfortably. Corset Story corsets are not this curvy – they will reach the limit of your ribs and hips, and you won’t be able to cinch any further.

Howeverless-curvy training corsets like this can be great for certain wearers!

Those with less pliable waists may find the less dramatic shape more comfortable, whilst still generating some curve – for example male wearers, and both very thing or very muscular people in general.

If you have a typical ‘apple’ body type – that is, with a waist larger than your bust and hip measurements – you may find that more dramatically curved corsets reach the limit of your waist first. This means that it may not even fit your rib and hips snugly at all, causing it to gape around those areas. In this case, a more gently curved cut may fit you better and be far more comfortable, at least initially.

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