I thought I’d make a simple list for anyone who is starting corseting. Unless you’re lucky enough to be situated near a corset maker, as a beginner to corseting there is not a lot you can do except watch youtube video tutorials and try figuring things out for yourself. Here are a few things I discovered when I first began my journey, and I hope they may be useful to anyone who is starting out on their own corseting adventure!
- Underbusts are better. Waspies are best.
When I first started corseting I didn’t know how best to choose or measure the right corsets for my body. Buying Orchard Corset’s cs-201 mesh waspie was my favourite buy because it’s short, comfortable , lightweight and easy to wear under clothing in order to get used to wearing a corset more often. Wear this for six weeks to start, and only wear it comfortably snug – never tight – as your body adjusts slowly like it would slowly adjust to doing yoga (you are stretching the muscles on the waist, after all). Generally the rule for starters is to buy 4″ smaller than your current waist measurement, unless you think you may lose weight in which case about 6″ may last longer before you need to resize down.
- Underbust corsets are the next step.
These can come in all shapes and sizes so at this point it’s important to figure out what HIP SPRING you like – meaning whether you like your corset curve to have a straighter look, or a super curvy hourglass look. My sister prefers straighter so Orchard Corset and Timeless Trends are good corsets for her. I prefer a big hip spring, with small waist and big hips (My corsets are usually 36″22″36″ though I don’t close them all the way since my body fluxes so much) so Isabella Corsetry, Restyle.pl and my own brand Pearls & Arsenic are good for me.My black brocade / satin underbust is designed specifically for beginners, but I recommend the simple black underbusts of Orchard Corset or Restyle.Pl to newbies because they’re cheaper in price, which is important when you’re just starting out because there’s no point spending a lot on your first one or two corsets.
If you are like me and discover that you want the biggest hip spring on the ready-to-wear market, you can look into buying a What Katie Did Vamp underbust. It’s incredible, but really only for those who are ready for a really big curvy hip spring. (I wore it when I interviewed the actors and director of Jurassic World, but I’m not sure you can see it so well in the pictures – perhaps in the video of the interview? I’ll try and get more photos of it sometime soon.)
Important to know is the length of your torso from mid bust to top of the hip, because a corset that’s too long will interfere with sitting down.
I find on average that 13″ is long torso, 11″ average torso, and under 11″ short torso. So see which measurement you are before making a purchase, although not all companies list this measurement so you may have to email and enquire. All of my Pearls & Arsenic corsets are an average 11″ in underbust and 13″ in overbust, just for your reference.
- Overbusts – my favourite!
But they require the most experience to wear properly.
By now you should have become comfortable with your waspies/underbusts by wearing them for at least six weeks so they mould to your body and your body slowly gets used to them. You should know the length of your torso and what kind of hip spring you like/are comfortable with.
Some of my favourite overbusts are by Angela Friedman – I can never have enough of them because they’re as light as a feather, as well as my own brand of course, because I can tailor make things to be the most practical for me – such as the lace mesh overbust corset that is utterly gorgeous as well as practical for wearing stealth under clothing without a bra, or just wearing on its own for that matter, since the front coverage is designed to be modest.
For more information, my Pearls & Arsenic youtube channel will have more tutorials and reviews over the months ahead, as well as some little Vine comedy skits on corseting as well. You can comment there or here if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see a video about.
Until then, here’s the first part of my Corsets With Raven series. I’ll be making the rest of the series in the later half of this year since I’ve been a bit unwell with some unexpected food allergies, but I hope this is helpful until then!
Fabulously eccentric TV host, curvaceous model and founder of Hong Kong ’s first luxury corset brand, Pearls & Arsenic. I love sharing my passion for all things elegant and live with my Dearest Beloved and a fluffy Angora rabbit named Lord Pemberly III, who is a ridiculous snob. Find me on IG @RavenTao or FB : Raven Tao
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