Waist training - Basics

tight lacing corsets

Waist training is a vast subject and often as mis-understood as its sister term "tight lacing".  The two are inextricably linked although only one can be done without the other. 

First of all, proper waist training is not the same as #waisttraining in the sense of the modern trend made famous by the Kardashians and written about extensively in that context by glossy magazines and tabloids who love a band wagon (the more sensational the better), and who have now irreversibly and negatively influenced the internet with false information on the art and discipline of proper, corseted waist training.  So much so, that I and my colleagues in corseting were horrified to find an example of this widely disproven mis-information in the latest lingerie exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum in London.  It says something that this exhibit was sponsored by mass-manufacturing lingerie giant, Agent Provocateur.

Waist training is not done with a tubuluar elastic band around the torso a-la-Kardashian,  but a properly designed, well constructed, waist reducing, body modifying, steel boned corset, based on the archetypal Victorian and Edwardian hourglass aesthetic.  Nor can it be done successfully with any old corset; off the rack, cheap or a succession of smaller sized 'ready to wear' corsets.

In my mind there are a few points to bear in mind when considering when, how and why to train the waist.  Chief amongst these is the fact that you cannot waist train properly without a bespoke corset, made for you personally, to your measurements, for your body type, by a skilled corsetiere.

Waist training is therefore an expensive business.  It requires commitment, and a great deal of trust in your maker to understand your body and the best way to corset it for a prolonged period of time.

Do a Google search for 'waist training' and see how confused you get.  Even when written by those who know what they are talking about, the subject is often over thought, over intellectualised and over academiscised - it's easy to do and better to have too much information than not enough.  Some people like it that way, but I prefer a simpler approach, so I plan to discuss the following topics here as a point of information broken down into easy referenced sections for seekers and experienced trainers alike.  

  • What is waist training?
    • the mechanics of training your waist
    • body modification, fetish or both?
    • what waist training is not
    • discipline and purpose
    • other ways to achieve a dramatic look
  • Who does waist training and why?
    • motivations
    • vanity or dependancy - either, or, all?
    • men and women
    • is there a difference between waist training and tight lacing and if so, what is it?
  • How do I start waist training?
    • where to start
    • different methods
    • frequency
    • type of corset, underbust or overbust?
    • finding a skilled corsetiere - the difference between corset makers and technicians
  • Is waist training really complicated?
    • lifestyle
    • how to eat
    • effects
    • hygeine
  • Will I change shape permanently?
    • shape shifting
    • body types
    • weight distribution
    • natural physiology and what happens to the body while training and tight lacing
  • Why can't I wear an off the rack corset for waist training?
    • how the body works with a corset
    • how a corset fits
    • how the body responds to tight lacing
    • what it should look like
    • why can't i just buy a smaller sized corset?
  • What is 'wrong' with commercial corsetry companies?
    • the difference between factory made corsets and bespoke corsetry
    • the difference between standard sizing and made to measure sizing
    • production methods
    • comparison between RTW and bespoke corsetry on the body
  • Why do I need to go bespoke?
    • relationship between the waist trainer and corsetiere
    • skill of the corsetiere - as opposed to the corset maker.
    • how your training corset should feel and how it should make you feel
    • fitting
  • How long will it take and what are the benefits?
    • how long will it take to reduce waist circumference significantly?
    • how much is enough?
    • are the effects permanent?
    • what can I do whilst training?
  • How do you design and make a waist training corset?
    • patterning considerations
    • construction considerations
    • what the difference between ready to wear and bespoke looks like and why
    • strength and comfort
  • 'Fake' tightlacing - illusions of waist training
    • can I achieve a wasp waisted look without waist training?
    • why the waist looks smaller than it actually is
    • why extreme look corsetry isn't that extreme
    • ways to achieve maximum drama with maximum comfort
    • different types of corsetry for different effects
    • the effects of corsetting different types of body

I'll write on those topics over the next few weeks not necessarily in that order and some of them are interlinked and will be written about on the same page - my aim is to try to simplify the information that is already out there and add my own perspective as a technician who has fitted hundreds of bodies be they students or clients, casual wearers, experienced wearers and official tight lacing waist trainers!  In the meantime, here are a few articles to get you going:

What is the difference between Waist Training and #waisttraining?  
An article by me on a different blog.

Beginning a waist training journey
by Marianne Faulkner of Pop Antique and Dark Garden Corsetry,  for The Lingerie Addict

Corsetting the human body
articles on the website of the Long Island Stay Lacing Association (LISA)






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