Comfort is of utmost importance to those who desire to indulge in the art of tight lacing. If a lady does not feel good when wearing her stays, then the incentive to continue dissipates. In view of this, here are a few meaningful considerations:
Of course, the most important aspect is fit.
In the case of a short corset, the steels of the garment must be kept clear of your hipbone.
Garments that cover the bust, even slightly, should not be too tight at that point; the best solution is to have a laced adjustment at that point. Of course, the length covering the bust is important as well--a half an inch can make all the difference between agony and comfort
Regarding laces and lacing: The lacings should be flat and not round (use nylon rather than cotton for longer life). When you don your garment, the laces should be loose and the busk should close easily--no exertion should be required; all the firmness should be acquired by lace-tightening. When removing the garment, the laces should be very loose before unclasping the busks.
A good corset will allow for a give of about one inch before it "settles down". The end result of lacing should be even laces all the way up and down. Not only does this produce more comfort, but prolongs the life of the stays.
For comfort and protection, the best item to wear under your corset is a seamless elastic tube made of Lycra or similar elastic fabric. Of course, you must have a clean one for every new corseted day! While many like the idea of pretty lingerie underneath, be aware that corset pressure will tend to stretch and/or rip delicate fabrics (the tube, however, will shrink to accommodate your ever-smaller stays!)
With this tube underneath, one need not be too concerned about an insert under the laces, which reputable manufacturers provide with their corsets. If you insist on wearing nothing underneath, then these inserts will prevent the skin from being pinched as the lacings are tightened. It is important to apply moisturizing oils or lotions to the skin at every possible opportunity, followed by corn starch powder, especially if one has a tendency to perspire excessively. If a lingerie bodice or chemise is used, it should be front-opening. When donned, the top buttons should be left open to the waist until the corset is snug, then closed. This will offer some minimal protection against tearing, as well as define a smoother fit, without wrinkles (which could cause discomfort).
As you are lacing down little by little, it is advisable to wiggle and stretch your body extravagantly after each tug-in; this allows for better adjustment of the body to the garment and makes the next tug-in easier, particularly with a corset you have worn before. It also feels good!
If possible, a different corset should be worn alternately. In this manner, the strain on the garment will be relaxed and it will spring back to a more firm shape, providing the firmness and contour you expect without the discomfort of newness. During storage the stays should be hung over a rail or chair--do NOT roll them tightly and put them away!
Night corsets, if worn, may be about one or two inches larger than the day corset. Usually, the best way the handle this is to wear an older corset to bed, instead of your presently used one.
This allows the waist to remain in place while getting a good night's sleep. When pursuing a waist reduction regimen, use your last progression corset fully laced closed. Why "waist" a perfectly good garment?
The secret of tight lacing is that it can be done in relative comfort - and you can concentrate on the enjoyment of feeling hugged all the day through!