Corsets have a bad reputation for being unhealthy and causing various health risks. In fact, this undergarment that has a history of centuries are not as evil as what the modern society believe.
Following are top 5 myths about corsets.
1. A pair of ribs should be removed to wear a corset effectively
There is no evidence that anyone removed ribs in order to wear corsets. Especially back in the Victorian era there was no facilities to carry out that type of complicated surgery. This myth was re-ignited by the urban legend that the recording artist Cher have had her lower ribs removed. But it is just simply an urban legend. If you are still not convinced remember until 1860s the scientists did not discover the germs and did not know the importance of a sterile operating room.
2. Wearing a corset permanently reshapes the ribs
This is true in selected cases. If a pre-adolescent girl wears a corset her ribs can be permanently reshaped. That is why young girls under the age of 18 are highly discouraged to wear corsets. But when an adult woman wear corsets the lowest ribs which are also called floating ribs are moved in. But when you remove the corset the floating ribs pop back out. But if you wear the corsets very tightly for extended periods of times, you may notice a dramatic change of your body shape but gradually if will return to its former shape when you discontinue rigorous corset training.
3. Early corsets had broken bones
This is indeed a Victorian myth. Back in the day the corsets were made of whale bones. Hence there were endless times where bones were broken. Not the human bones. The whale bones of the corset.
4. Corsets misshape liver and cause cancer
This is completely false. There is no report that corsets caused cancer or a misshaped internal organs. However depending on how tight you wear the corset your internal organs may shift a little bit. But they never caused anyone health issues. Nevertheless corsets are not recommended for daily use.
The experience of wearing a corset can be different to each individual. You may buy a well-fitted, high quality corset. But if you tight lace it and go for a very large waste reduction, it will definitely be painful. Hence, you can wear a corset and be comfortable if you choose the right corset and wear it properly.
Rarely wears lipstick is a blog that originates from UK in the year 2002 and is written by a vintage loving feminist named Lori Smith. Here we are going to talk about her guide to corsets and one should note that her blogs have a splash of feminism and a hint of style in them.
According to Lori, a corset is a garment that has a divided opinion. Some consider it as a symbol of sexual objectification and physical oppression while others see it as an illustration of sexual power of the person wearing it. Although the 21st century does not mandate corset wearing, there are still some who enjoy the aesthetics of a corset. Some of us may think that corsets are not for us but when you really look at the market, there are many different kinds and even those that are meant to make you look a few pounds lesser are not as uncomfortable as you may think.
In addition to aesthetics, there is a lot more to take into consideration when purchasing a corset as compared to purchasing any other garment. Before going into those details, Lori briefly explains the three main types of corsets: bustier, fashion and steel boned. Bustier corsets are more like corset style tops that contain plastic boning and have decorating lacing at the rear. Sometimes these are disappointing because the boning can get out of shape and hence does not offer any support in the bust area. The fashion corset has more of the plastic boning and is made like a classic corset including a front busk fastening as well as back lacing. In her blog ‘Rarely wears lipstick’, Lori suggests that steel boned corsets are the best of its kind because they offer bust support, waist reduction and posture correction.
Coming to the point of what one should look for when buying a corset, four important points are: boning, busk, lacing and of course, the price. Plastic boning in a corset bends easily and after a number of wears, it stays bent in a permanent shape. Hence in the future, is does not really provide body sculpting but still has proven to be comfortable for many. Steel boning comes in flat type and spiral type. This type of boning is guaranteed to keep its shape for a longer term and as a result, hold you in place every time you wear it. Steel boned corsets may be uncomfortable at first but if you take some effort in finding one that suits your figure, you will definitely see the benefits of it. Moving on, the front of your corset should have busk as a fastener; hooks and eye closures will not do. Some corsets have absolutely no front opening but are very difficult to get in and out of. Lastly, buy corsets that can tighten laces from the waist because this is the only way to even out the gap at the back of your corset.
One may think that tightening up your body with lacing, boning and fabric may be harmful in the long term. Surprisingly, there are many physical and mental benefits that corset wearing provides to the body.
If you have been born disabled or have gone through a terrible accident that has damaged the shape of your body, wearing a corset can help correct your posture and minimize any back pain that may arise as a result of injury, autoimmune disorders or neurological disorders. Corsets are also helpful to patients who suffer scoliosis because it prevents the worsening of the curvature of their body when they don’t any existing brace. Some experienced corset manufacturers have designed corrective corsets that actually reduce the curve when worn for a longer term.
Furthermore, corsets have also proved reduced migraine and headache intensity and over time, could even completely stop them from occurring because the proper posture that corset wearing leads to can take the stress off neck and shoulders. Lumbar support to prevent potential back injuries during work is one other reason why corsets are made use of; especially during work that involves long hours on the feet, in front of the computer or work that requires heavy lifting. For example, plumbers, mechanics, nurses and medical assistants working long hours are one’s who require corset wearing to protect back pains. Moving on, patients with connective tissue disorders such as hyper mobility may experience injury and chronic pain as a result of body weakness and hyperextension in joints. These patients can brace their torso with the help of a corset and also use it to prevent spontaneous movements that can cause sprains.
Women with genetic deformities and those who are not appreciative of their figure often wear corsets to feminize their figures to make themselves look more appealing. In addition, women claim that wearing corsets helps minimize menstrual cramps. Corsets mimic the foetal position which women often get into in order to minimize their pain. Corsets apply pressure on the same organs, hence reducing uterine contractions that cause the pain, while keeping the lady’s posture erect. Another important corset wearing benefit is that of weight loss. They do not allow too much expansion of the stomach, thus reducing appetite and controlling food portions.
Men who require full time back support wear corsets and these are often custom made so that they do not have to be concerned about feminizing effects of off-the-rack corsets designed for women. Surprisingly, singers also wear corsets as a resistance against the diaphragm with which they push, and this helps them produce higher and more powerful notes. Moreover, sportsmen/women who take part in horse-riding and motorcycling also wear corsets to hold their kidneys in place and also to prevent retroperitoneal organs from being bruised.
A woman of average build is one that has less than 10” distance between waist and hips, less than 8” from waist to bust and is not an athletic. For this average woman, the corset size she should buy is one that has a waist size that is 5” smaller than her actual waist size but the bust and hips should be the same size as her actual size. It is also important to keep in mind the length of the corset because only the right amount of space between your waist and bust will keep you comfortably supported. Similarly, the perfect distance between your waist and hip is required to avoid rubbing on your hip bones and poking between your thighs.
After wearing a corset regularly for some time and carefully watching your diet, you may have shed a few pounds and may need to get rid of your old corset and size down your corset size to fit your altered figure. So how would you know when it is time to size down your corset? Three signs to look out for are as follows: when it has been about a month since you have been easily able to close your corset every time you wear it, when your menstrual cycles does not affect the ability to close your corset easily, and when you are able to put your arm through your corset when it is closed or you can easily breathe in your tummy away from your corset.
So what can you do with your old corset that is now too big for you? One option is to sew it to make it smaller but finding a corsetiere who is willing to do that will be quite a challenge. Another surprising option is to transform your old corset into a pillow. Although the corset will undergo a lot of trauma while you sleep on it, because you no longer require the old corset, you don’t have to worry about getting any oil on it or wearing it away.
If you have taken good care of your corset throughout its life and it is still in good condition, you can sell it second hand or even trade it for a smaller sized corset. Many ecommerce websites sell second hand corsets and if you have a corset that is 2-3 decades old, it will qualify as a vintage item for which you could get a higher price. On the other hand, if your corset is in poor condition and cannot be resold the only option is to harvest it into parts that can be used for your new corset. If hardware such as busk and bones are not rusted, they can be reused in mock-ups and future completed corsets.
Investing in a corset may be quite heavy on the pockets of many. For this reason, you would want to take good care of it to make sure it lasts longer. During and immediately after you are done wearing your corset, there are a few things you could keep in mind to reduce wear and tear and the need for costly methods of cleaning your corset.
One of the more obvious and basic advice for corset care is to have a layer of clothing between the corset and your skin. Your sweat and natural oils that rub off your body will absorb into this intermediate lining of cloth. As a result the sweat that reaches your corset is much less, hence less wear and tear and less frequent cleaning required. The cloth you choose to wear under your corset should be soft, breathable, lightweight and convenient to wash. However, sometimes wearing a lining may not be practical and it all depends on your outfit. A waist clincher would anyway require a lining whereas a corset could be worn as a top in itself. Sometimes with hot weather conditions, if the corset is worn as a foundation piece, wearing an added layer in between would be too uncomfortable.
Moving on, many corset wearers make the mistake of tying their corset laces around their waist. By doing this, the fabric of the corset is abraded. If you do not like dangling laces, separate the bow at the waist into opposite directions and tuck the ends of your lace at the bottom of the corset. On this note, always remember to take your laces off when removing your corset before straight away heading on to unfasten the busk.
Once you have taken your corset out, lay it on a hanger or over the back of a chair to get some fresh air and allow it to breathe and relax. The fibres will get back into shape and the fresh air will remove all the bad odour from your corset. If you’re training your body into a better shape and need several consecutive days of corset wearing, it is advisable to invest in two corsets and alternate them every day. Just like all your other lingerie, your corset will also wear out faster if you don’t give it a break in between. This is because when your corset is being worn, the fabric and lacing are all under a lot of stress. Also, if you have sweat too much while wearing your corset, you could gently wipe it off with a wet cloth to remove sweat and natural oils from it.
If a long duration has passed since you last cleaned your corset, do not just put it into the washing machine. The only way to clean your corset is to dry clean it because it is made of steel boning which will begin to rust if put in water. Airing your corset out regularly means less frequent dry cleaning required. So keep these tips in mind if you want to prolong the life of your corset.