How to Fit a Corset

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Corsets provide a little rib-crushing, figure-flattering satisfaction. However, before you pop one on, you need to make sure it fits you. There are several different ways to wear a corset--as a foundation garment under a formal dress, as an eye-popping addition to an outfit, or alone. Since these all require different fits, you should take up with your seamstress on how you want it fit.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric tape measure
  • Thin slip

Start by measuring your natural waistline. You should be standing up to take this measurement. Your natural waistline is not where most people wear their pants. Your natural waist is where the sides of your abdomen dip inwards above your hips but below your breasts. Write down this measurement, then take the measurement again, write it down and take it again. Use the middle measurement.

Hold your arms out parallel to the floor and have your friend or seamstress measure around the biggest part of your chest.

Measure around your hips, about where you think your corset will end. Make sure you are able to sit down comfortably, without moving the measuring tape.

Submit your measurements to whoever is making your corset and be ready to pick it up when it's finished.

Get the corset and arrange some time to try it on. Find a helpful friend and a doorway to get the right fit.

Hold onto the door frame while your friend laces up your corset, pulling as she goes. When she gets to the bottom of the corset, have her hold the laces firmly in one hand and go through and re-tighten all the lacing, until you get the desired reduction.

Tips & Warnings

  • A standard fit is a waist reduction of 4 inches. This means that when the corset is on and laced completely tight, your waist will be 4 inches smaller than it normally is. Going any higher than that is not recommended. You may be able to go up to a 5- to 6-inch reduction if you are used to wearing steel-boned corsets, you are genetically female with a waist of 30 inches or more, or genetically male with a waist of 36 inches or more. You should only do it if your abdomen squishes. If you are going to wear your corset over clothing, you should go with a 3-inch reduction or smaller. You may also get a corset without an extreme or noticeably smaller reduction for wear under a dress, or comfort for long wear. This is termed as a "fashion fit" and is used for minor silhouette changes and adjustments.
  • If you are inexperienced with wearing corsets, wear yours looser at first, so that you can breath normally. If your abdomen is very muscular, reduction of more than 4 inches would be very uncomfortable and difficult to breathe in.

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