What is A Corset? A Comprehensive Guide to Corsets

The word “corset” means different things to different people. For some it’s an instrument of torture, for others it’s a fashion statement. But what really is a corset? This article will explain what it is and what you need to know before you purchase one.

A corset is a garment that is designed to restrict the waist by compressing the stomach contents and pushing the lower ribs down while leaving the chest unfettered.

Fashion designers originally designed them as a way to control the shape of the body and give it a more pear-shaped, hourglass figure.

Despite being one of the most popular undergarments in history, people considered what historical corsets did to a woman’s body as painful.

Women who wore corsets then often felt intense pain because of how it would compress their ribcage and organs. Some women also experienced breathing difficulties due to their constricting nature.

Nowadays, corsets are back with a vengeance. Fashion designers offer a diverse range of styles that range from one-strap lingerie-style pieces to vintage reproductions that look just like pieces from your grandma’s wardrobe.

History of Corsets

Corsets have been around for a very long time. They first appeared in the 16th century and were worn by both men and women. However, people didn’t refer to them as corsets until the 18th century when they became an important part of fashion and a necessity in female society.

Women wanted to wear them because they thought them to be more graceful and fashionable. Women also saw corset-wearing as a way to avoid social stigma, because they considered corsets a symbol of wealth and privilege.

In the 19th century, people still wore corsets, but they were less constricting and more comfortable. It wasn’t until the 20th century that corsets became outlawed in many countries for being one of the most restrictive pieces of clothing ever created.

People still wear corsets today for both fashion and medical purposes. But thanks to innovations, fashion designers have updated them with modern materials and stitching methods to make them more comfortable.

What Is a Corset Made Of?

Fashion designers commonly made corsets from a sheer fabric called coutil. But nowadays, they use a variety of fabrics, which typically include cotton, silk, lace, or latex. Some corsets are also made of brocade, leather, plastic, or rope.

The most common method of making a corset involves sewing panels of fabric together to form the desired shape, then using measures like stitching, boning, and grommet placement to adjust the fit. Designers then stiffen the corset with whalebone, steel, wood, or plastic to help shape the body.

However, the materials used in corsets have changed over time. This is because they are no longer just for fashion purposes, but also for medical purposes.

For instance, people who struggle with breathing or who suffer from scoliosis often wear steel-boned corsets to improve their health.

Types of Corset

what is a corset

Underbust Corset

Underbust corsets are a type of corset that sits right under the breasts. This makes the wearer look more attractive by pushing up their breasts and making them appear perkier.

The length then extends to the hipbone to accentuate certain physical features. Underbust corsets also come in many different styles and shapes to suit an individual’s preferences.

You can wear underbust corsets with a bra or without one. They’re also more versatile because you can easily wear them as underwear or overwear to suit any occasion. But the most important thing is that you know your measurements so you can purchase the right size.

SEE: Purpose Of Underwear

Overbust Corset

This type of corset covers the breasts and stops just below the hipline. Overbust corsets provide maximum support for your breasts while helping you achieve a slimmer waistline.

They also do not require a bra since they act as bras themselves. You can wear overbust corsets if you want to create the full illusion of having an hourglass figure. They’re also perfect for wearing under form-fitting clothing such as evening gowns or ball gowns.

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What Is a Corset Used For?

The purpose of a corset is to change the figure of the wearer. People wear them for both fashion and medical purposes.

One of the benefits of wearing corsets is that they can make your waist look smaller. They also give you an hourglass shape which many people find attractive.

People also wear corsets for medical reasons, such as if they have back problems or experience pain in their lower abdomen. A doctor might recommend a corset if a patient is recovering from an injury or had surgery on the back or stomach.

What Is a Corset Cover?

A corset cover is a garment worn over a corset to protect it from sweat, oils, and other substances that could damage the garment. People also use it to help flatten out the torso, create curves in the hips, or give the bust some lift.

The purpose of a corset cover can also be to protect the modesty of the wearer. Corset covers exist in many shapes and sizes and come in various materials, such as lace, velvet, silk, or cotton. Some corset covers also have matching sleeves for extra coverage.

You can wear this garment for fashion purposes, and you can also wear it to protect your corset from damage or bodily fluids. No matter what the reason may be, it’s important to make sure that you protect your corsets to preserve their longevity.

What Is a Corset Busk?

A corset busk is a small metal piece that serves as the front closure of a corset. Corsets makers make them with various materials, including wood, ivory, or steel. The purpose of a busk is generally to help tighten the corset and also to prevent it from opening in the front.

A busk consists of two pieces: a flat front piece and a back piece that is contoured to fit against the natural shape of a woman’s torso. The front busk is often longer than the back to protect the fabric from tearing while someone is wearing it.

Busks are usually between 6 and 9 inches long, with the average size being 7 inches. They vary in width depending on their material. The average thickness is about 3/8ths of an inch. The narrower the busk, the more difficult it will be to put on and take off your corset.

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What Is a Corset Top?

A corset top is a type of lingerie that provides the same shaping and support as a traditional corset. Fashion designers often make these tops with polyester, nylon, or lace, to make them more comfortable and easy to care for.

Corset tops come in all shapes and styles, meaning you can find one that will suit your needs and preferences. Designers also design some to be tied around the waist or at the neckline to create different silhouette styles.

Corset tops are also versatile. This means you can wear them as an undergarment or outerwear to create different looks. You can also wear these tops with anything from jeans to skirts to dresses for any occasion.

What Is a Corset Belt?

A corset belt is a fashion accessory that wraps around the waist to provide support to the lower back or abdomen. By placing the belt just below your rib cage, you can create a more dramatic hourglass shape that is similar to that created by wearing a full-length corset.

In addition, corset belts are an accessory that can do a lot of things. You can wear them if your clothes are too big on the waist and you want to make them more form-fitting. You can also wear them as underclothes to create a slimmer appearance.

The best way to determine your size is by measuring your rib cage just below your bust. A size small will fit most people who have a 24-inch rib cage, a medium will fit most with 30 inches, etc.

What Is a Corset Tummy Tuck?

A corset tummy tuck is a type of tummy tuck done by surgeons to suck in the abdomen and tighten up loose skin so it’s not as noticeable. People use it for both cosmetic and medical reasons.

The procedure tightens the skin over the stomach by removing any excess fat or skin. It’s a quick and simple procedure, with little downtime, often done as an outpatient surgery.

This is a great option if you have had a lot of weight lost or gained over time, if you just gave birth or if the muscles in your stomach have weakened over time, which is causing your stomach to droop.

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How to Wear a Corset

what is a corset
  • Arrange all of your hair in a top bun so you have enough space to wear the garment.
  • Put on the corset whilst unbuttoned.
  • Turn it to the front and put both hands in the armholes.
  • Lean over to tighten the laces at the back.
  • Lace these closures together in a crossed “X” pattern.
  • Close the laces enough to make them comfy but not too tight (you can easily tighten or loosen them later on).
  • Adjust the lower waist strap to eliminate any pressure on the abdomen while sitting or standing.

Wearing a corset can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure you don’t over-tighten it to avoid compressing your ribs.


corset belt

Is wearing a corset bad for me?

No, it is not. The practice of wearing a corset is not bad, but it can be unhealthy if you wear it excessively or with the wrong intentions.

You can wear corsets for many reasons, for example, to get more curves in your figure and to make your waist look smaller. You can also wear a corset if your doctor recommends it to deal with an illness or injury.

Can a corset make me look slimmer?

Yes, it can. The primary purpose of a corset is to slim your waistline, hence giving you a slimmer and more attractive appearance.

However, corsets are available in many sizes and shapes, so it’s important to choose a corset that’s best suited for your body type. You can even have your corset adjusted to fit your daily schedule and needs perfectly.

What will a corset do to my body?

A corset will compress your midsection and make your breasts appear larger to create an hourglass figure.

Corsets can help you achieve a slimmer appearance by reducing your waistline and flattening your stomach. Medical corsets also have health benefits such as aiding in digestion, reducing back pain, or improving posture.

Can I wear a corset over clothes?

Yes, you can. You can wear a corset as both underwear and outerwear to create different looks.

Corsets are very versatile, meaning it’s not necessary to wear one under an outfit. You can as well layer your corset with tops or gowns to suit any occasion.


Corsets, like other types of shapewear, are designed to help create a smoother silhouette. They do this by smoothing the wearer’s figure and drawing in the waistline.

You can also wear corsets for medical purposes. For instance, some corsets add stability and support to the ribcage, thereby helping the wearer maintain a more upright posture.

However, it is important to note that everyone’s experience with wearing a corset will be different. The level of compression may vary depending on your size and build.

A general rule is that corsets should not be worn for extended periods of time without taking breaks to stretch and move around. It’s also recommended that you wear a fashion corset properly and sparingly to avoid damaging your organs.

Thanks for reading.

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