Corsets have been a constant fixture in women's clothing for hundreds of years in one form or another, and they remain popular even today. Having recently been featured in high fashion magazines and haute couture runways, the corset has officially become fashionable. Though fashion does come and go, the corset will always be worshipped by its loyal devotees.
Corsets are a wonderful way to exaggerate curves, and can be worn under or over an outfit. With so many exciting new designs, a beautiful corset should not be hidden away. Faced with seemingly endless choices of corsets and corset suppliers, it is hard to know where to begin.
Firstly you need to determine what your corset it for- a performance, a photo shoot, waist training, for a lover, etc? A good corset should be considered as an investment, as they are generally designed to last. It is very important to know what to look for in your corset, and so the wonderful corsetiere company Violet Wilde have very kindly offered to share some tips when shopping for a corset that is just right for you.
Let's begin with boning. For those who are perhaps looking to wear a corset once for a special occasion, plastic boning is probably best for you. It is the cheapest option and very light, though it does not compress the body as a good corset should. It is not a good choice for those with a genuine interest in corsetry. For performance and stage costumes, you may prefer flexible spiral steel boning. These corsets are hardwearing and will allow for more movement. Finally, for those who have a genuine interest in corsetry, and for those who wish to waist train, you will need full steel boning which supports the posture and compresses the body successfully. Full steels are used in all of Violet Wilde's designs in order to achieve the best fit and compression.
Moving on to the shape of the corset; Violet Wilde have made some suggestions in order you to find the corset that will suit your body type perfectly. Beginning with the Sweetheart shape- an over-bust corset which is the most wearable and popular of corsets as it suits almost all body types. It has a heart shaped top line which is ultra feminine. For the more voluptuous lady, choose a more extreme sweetheart- one that curves higher over the bust, for more support and coverage. For the petite lady- a less exaggerated sweetheart will enhance your assets.
The Edwardian shape has a relatively straight top line. It is a more traditional style that works best for petite frames and males. For the busty ladies- beware, if worn as outerwear the Edwardian doesn't provide much coverage or support. The waspie, or waist-cincher is a great starter corset as it provides support and compression without having to consider the bust size. It can be worn under or over clothing. While Violet Wilde recommend a bespoke fit for all corset, if you are going to buy a ready-made corset, the waspie is much more likely to fit better than an over-bust corset.
Finally, the under-bust, it is similar to the waspie, though the top is extended to follow the bra wire. This is perfect as an undergarment or for a burlesque performance. An under-bust corset works well for curvaceous ladies as it compresses the body whilst allowing you to wear a bra.
When shopping for a corset, bespoke is best as it is more comfortable and provides a more effective fit. If you cannot get one, consider fit factors such as waist to bust difference, and the length of the centre busk. If you are shorter, the busk length may be too long which will cause discomfort when sitting. Always look for eyelets which have smooth washers on the reverse to avoid discomfort and skin damage. A sign of a good corset will mean that the eyelets sit directly between two strips of boning, ensuring they do not work loose after wearing. Corsets should ideally have three layers- the outer decorative layer, the strong cotiule middle layer, and a good lining. If the outer layer and lining are particularly thin, it is recommended that the middle layer is doubled. A corset should never stretch; it defeats the point of corsetry. And finally, a good corset should have a strong steel busk down the centre. A zip, lacing, or hooks and eyes will not work for tight lacing.
To begin your hunt for the perfect corset, visit Violet Wilde. Not only do they offer quality, and original corsets with beautiful designs, they also offer an excellent service.
Photos: Corset and Epaulettes: Violet Wilde (www.facebook.com/VioletWildeBespokeCorsets) | Photographer: Black Orchard Photography (www.facebook.com/blackorchardphotography) | Hair: Alison Clegg, Jane Ling | Makeup: Skaii Blue, Charli Butterfield | Models (in photo order): Dani California, Em Brulee & Rachel Steele