Your Guide to Buying a Corset

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Your Guide to Buying a Corset
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Your Guide to Buying a Corset

A corset is a tightly fitting undergarment worn by women who wish to shape and support their body. The corset enhances the figure and creates a more curvaceous look, while tucking in the stomach. The corset is known for its firmness and the stiffness of the materials inserted into it. Traditionally, whalebone was used to strengthen the corset and women required help to pull the laces to tighten the garment. Modern corsets are worn as fashionable items either beneath clothing or displayed as a top layer.

However, corsets are not merely designed for fashionable reasons. The strong support offered by the corset makes it suitable for people with back problems, so medical corsets are also available. Corsets are available from lingerie shops and department stores. It is also possible to buy a wide range of both fashion and medical corsets from online retailers, such as eBay, by shopping from the comfort of home.

Structure of Corsets

Although there are many corset styles available, their basic structure is the same. They have decorative outer material that gives the corset a fashionable look. Each corset also has support inside, such as strong steel bones or more flexible plastic. Flat steel bones are used in the back of the corset because they do not bend and can keep the back straight, while flexible spiral bones are inserted in places other than the back. The corsets vary by their bust, hip, and waist style depending on how high or low they reach. Traditional corsets have hooks in the front for fastening and laces in the back to adjust the tightness.

Corset Bust Styles

The underbust corset is similar to the traditional corset in shape, but it ends just below the bra line, so it can be worn with any kind of bra. This is a good corset for someone who is new to the corsetry world, but would like to create an enticing hourglass shape. The half-bust corset covers the lower half of the breasts, and so lifts the bust and offers it some definition. On the other hand, overbust corsets cover most of the bust.

Corset Hip Styles

The short hip corset ends just above the hip bones and allows the hips the freedom to move. Only a small part of the corset extends over the hip bone area for better support. Historically, this style was seen in riding corsets. The long hip corset helps to keep the tummy in and looks great with fitted skirts and long dresses, but it is too restrictive for casual wear. The mid-hip corset covers the top part of the hips and extends slightly over the hip bone. This style is the best for daily corset wear because it offers mobility and support, combining the short and long hip corsets.

Corset Waist Styles

The hourglass waist style originates from the Victorian era. It is the most comfortable to wear because it does not put too much pressure on the lower ribs, and therefore allows the wearer to breathe freely. Hourglass corsets should not be laced too tightly otherwise they become uncomfortable to wear. The wasp waist corset from the Edwardian era is more difficult to wear than the hourglass style. In this corset, the upper body narrows smoothly into the waist and the hips flare out. The stem waist corset is for advanced corset wearers, as it pressurises the lower ribs significantly. In the stem waist structure, the waist area is kept straight for a particular length, and this provides an equal circumference around the body.

Types of Corset

There are a variety of corsets, each designed for a particular purpose. These range from medical corsets to high fashion corsets.

Medical Corsets

Medical corsets, known as orthopaedic corsets, are designed for people who have internal injuries, or back and spinal problems. For instance, women can wear medical corsets after pregnancy in order to straighten their spine, direct the uterus back to its place, and support lymphatic drainage to prevent fluid collection and swelling. Medical corsets are worn under clothes and they are typically not decorative.

Fashion Corsets

Fashion corsets are worn for their appearance and they commonly do not have steel bones for support nor do they reduce the waist significantly. Plastic or acrylic bones are used instead because they are more flexible and keep the corset’s form. Fashion corsets are usually meant to be worn as outer garments and therefore they have a lot of embellishments and are made of rich fabrics. Adorned corsets can be worn on nights out, while the more plain designs can be fit for formal events and can be paired with elegant skirts or trousers.

Corset Tops

Corset tops are fashionable outer garments and they are available in a range of designs, of which many have been inspired by the past. The corset top range starts from the Victorian style and can have designs from the 1920s when burlesque reigned, and the 1950s when pin-up style bodice corsets were produced. When worn with a jacket, plain corset tops create an elegant formal outfit. There are also corset tops styled for clubs and punk concerts that come in PVC or leather.

Corset Dresses

Corset dresses are a step forward from corset tops as they feature a skirt that is attached to the bodice. They are good for styling because they come as a simple one-piece outfit.

Bridal Corsets

Bridal corsets are some of the most elegant corsets available. When they belong to the overbust type, they are meant to be worn as an outer garment without an additional top and should be paired with a skirt. The bridal corset helps a woman to look her best on her wedding day. It can cinch the waist about four or five inches and offer support. Bridal corsets are available in white, cream, and ivory tones.

Fetish Corsets

Fetish corsets are not meant to be very comfortable and they are not worn daily. Their most important aspect is their appearance, as they should stand out. Fetish corsets have steel boning throughout their length and restrict the freedom of movement. Fetish corsets are often black and embellished, or made of leather or PVC.

Corsets and Waist Reduction

If a corset is worn for the purpose of reducing the size of the waist then it must be done carefully. Cinching the waist takes time and patience and should be done with care in order to avoid injuries. It is best get expert medical advice before undertaking serious waist reduction using a corset. It is possible to reduce the waist size by 6 to 7 inches by redistributing the body mass. Waist cinchers have steel bones that offer good support, but may feel uncomfortable for the novice wearer.

Sizing for Corsets

Corsets should be close fitting. For waist reduction, choose a corset that is 4 inches smaller than the natural waist measurement. If the waist is over 34 inches, choose a corset 5 to 6 inches smaller. The natural waist measurement should be taken at the narrowest part. The following table provides information on which size of corset to choose.

Waist (inches)

Corset (inches)

UK Dress Size

22

18

6

24

20

8

26

22

10

28

24

12

30

26

14

32

28

16

34

28

18

36

30

20

38

32

22

40

34

24

42

36

26

44

38

28

The corresponding UK dress size in the table is given as a guideline because the waist measurement should be used. Different manufacturers may use different sizes, so it is best to check the exact measurements of the corset.

Buying Corsets From eBay

When buying a corset from eBay, start by browsing the wide selection of corsets by typing "corset" in the search box on the main page. If you already know which corset you would like, then you can specify your search terms, for example, "black satin fashion corset" or "leather fetish corset". After the initial search, you can sort the list by price or other categories.

As the size of the corset is important, look for the sizing details in the item listing. Examine the photos to identify the features of the corset. The seller should provide details of the postage and packaging costs, payment methods, and his or her refunds policy. You may want to find a local seller and arrange to collect the item in person. If the information that you need is not provided in the item listing then contact the seller directly using the "Ask a question" link.

Conclusion

Corsets are designed to shape and support the body with the aid of steel or plastic boning. Corsets can fit under the bust, cover half, or all of it. The hem of the corset can reach to the top of the hip, sit in the middle of it, or far above the hip bone for a more restrictive garment. Corsets give the waist an hourglass, wasp, or stem shape. The latter is the most difficult to wear and requires some practice. Serious corset wearers who want to make their waists smaller can reduce their measurements by 6 to 7 inches, but this should be done with care.

Corsets can be both outerwear and underwear. Medical corsets help people with back problems or internal injuries and are not meant to be seen. On the other hand, fashion corsets are suitable for dressing up, and can be worn in more formal settings if they are not too decorative and are paired with a jacket. When buying a corset, ensure that the sizing is correct so that there is maximum support with minimal discomfort. eBay has a wide selection of corsets for all occasions.

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