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Corsets 101 How To Wear & Care For it

Posted by Shannon Marshall on

Tracing back as far as the 18th century, women have had a love/hate relationship with corsets for over 400 years. And while the purpose of wearing a corset has changed from practical to erotic, we can’t help but wish we still had a lady’s maid to help us put our new corset on.

While women wear corsets for a variety of reasons, waist training, back support, even as an undergarment, we’re going assume that you want to wear a corset for our favorite reason. Seduction! Hands down, a great fitting corset makes a woman feel empowered, sexy, and ready to take over the world.

A proper fitting corset will feel and look so good that you will want to wear it over and over, so it’s important that you know how to get it on (and off!) properly and how to care for and clean it.

The first steps are to undo the front or side closures and loosen all the lacing in the back. If you’ve ordered online and are doing you’re first fitting yourself, open your laces all the way. If you’ve had a corset fitting at Indulgence, chances are you should only have to loosen it to the width of your palm or so. If there is a privacy panel on your corset, that’s a great guide as well, open the laces the width of the privacy panel.

Now you are ready to put your corset on. A new corset, just like a new pair of shoes, needs to be broken in properly, meaning the more you wear it, the better and more comfortable the fit will be. Make sure your corset is right side up, garter loops should be at the bottom of the corset and the manufacturer tag should be at the back. This may seem like common sense, but every other day we have someone put one on upside down at our store.

Fasten your clasps. Each corset is a little different when it comes to front or side fastenings. Some have what’s called a front metal busk. We recommend starting in the middle, line up your center fastening and clip each side together. You should be able to ‘thumb’ the others over and when everything is lined up, the corset is fastened securely. Don’t be discouraged if the first few times you do this it feels clumsy or awkward. It gets WAY easier with practice. We always say, third time’s the charm

Zip up corsets are pretty self-explanatory, just make sure your laces are loose enough that you don’t pinch your skin! Hook and eye closures are probably the most time consuming. We find there is a fine balance in having the laces loose enough so you don’t put too much strain on the hooks, but not too loose or the hooks won’t hold and you’ll be fastening them over and over again.

Now that you are all clipped in, you are ready to tighten and tie your corset. Remember the importance of breaking in a corset. You never want to go too tight too soon. Most corsets have laces that tie in the center. Often called 'Bunny Ears' or 'Rabbit Ears', this is the easiest type of lacing to work with and if you have one that ties only at the top or bottom of the corset, you may want to pick up some extra ribbon and re thread it. You can always come by Indulgence and we’re happy re thread it for you.

Begin by slowly and gently tugging the laces in a downward motion. The goal is to get a nice even panel, the sides should be even and parallel to each other. Once you have taken most of the slack out of the laces, you can start tightening individual X’s in the lacing. Hold the excess laces firm in your non dominant hand, and pluck each X with your index finger and thumb of your dominant hand. We find it’s easiest to start at the bottom and work your way up. Essentially, you are going to ‘walk’ your fingers up each X of the laces to tug out any slack. Periodically, you will have to give an even gentle pull on the excess laces to remove any slack. Once the desired level of tightness is achieved, tie the excess laces into a pretty bow, and ta-da! You’re laced up.

If your corset comes with a privacy panel, you will now need to straighten that out, no doubt it’s bunched up a bit. This is really simple, first, grab the bottom right corner and give it a gentle consistent downward pull. Then do the same to the top right hand corner. You may have to repeat both steps, but that’s all there is to it.

As you move around and get comfortable in your new corset, you may feel like it’s ready to be tightened again. As long as it feels good and there is no strain on the boning, fasteners, or fabric, go ahead!

A corset should not bite into your sides, pinch you, or be uncomfortable in any way. You should feel wrapped up securely but it is strangely comfortable. You should be able to breathe easily.

Cleaning and Storage

Many corsets will have cleaning instructions on them, and it’s certainly safe to follow the manufacturer’s directions, we recommend only doing a full washing on your corset if you’ve spilled something on it or sweated quite a bit in it. We prefer taking a damp cloth and wiping down the area that came in contact with your underarms making sure there are no deodorant marks on it and then airing it out.

We like to store our corsets folded over, flat in a drawer. If your corset has lots of delicate embellishments on it, slip it inside an old pillowcase to protect it. If your corset comes with a matching panty, remember to store those with it as well.

Stay tuned for more corset advice, like choosing the right style for your body type, and waist training.