Monday, April 15, 2019

Corset - The Ultimate in Shape Wear

Victorian Corset - Front Lacing 
Corset: The term itself comes from the Old French word for body, cors, and it was turned into a diminutive term by adding et to the end effectively meaning little body.  In modern fashion, few garments are as polarizing as the corset. Made to be tight, restrictive, and to reshape the body, some view it as an archaic form of clothing that is harmful and sexist. In reality, though, corsets can be empowering and as such have a devoted following of both wearers and admirers. Whatever side of the line you fall on, though, the corset is much more than just a [19th century] fad. (From the site Rebel Market) 

I received my first custom made corset over 20 years ago.  Before I had a spotted history with shapewear. I remember that both my mother and grandmother wore shaping garments that had garters that held up their nylon hosiery.  I do not remember these being complex garments and  believe these would be described as just your basic 1950's era girdle. 

Up until recently, I have been rather skinny, so during my early outings crossdressed, I typically only wore support pantyhose.  Sometimes to emulated my role models, a longline bra or the simple girdle. I remember well getting a new waist cincher and wearing it to a support group dinner. Typically, at the end of the meal, I was so uncomfortable I would promise, never again. That promise was short lived after seeing the photos of how it did shape the body into a beautiful feminine hourglass shape.  I was hooked – (pun intended).  

I had a love-hate relationship with the waist cincher. They do not last long and stretched out quickly. Not only that, but they continued to apply pressure all evening and by the end of most evenings, really uncomfortable.  There must be something better?  

Corset 2.0 - 2002
I tried several off-the-rack corsets during that period and found most to be poorly made and ill-fitting.  Most were play garment and not for real world wearing. This was well before the Spanx era.  

An online search yielded an individual in Kansas City that, based on a chart and your measurements, would make a custom fitting corset; not cheap.  Any Crowder of Wasp Creations made my first corset about 1998. It was an industrial strength garment made for what I call cotton tent material, heavily boned with meal spiral bands, a front metal busk (hooks) and adjustable lacing in the back.   

This was not a pretty garment. It was designed to do it's purpose and hide in plain sight.  I was amazed by its strength. Plus, Any's engineering and attention to design/construction details was amazing.    

I really goofed with Corset 1.0. The measurements I provided must have been my fantasy “Want-To-Be” shape.  Amy made exactly what I ordered.  I was never able to get that corset on, much less lace it.  Lesson learned - Be realistic when taking measurements.  

It took me while to contact Amy again and admit how much of a total disaster my original measurements were. Amy suggested coming in for a custom fitting as many of her customers did. However, I was not traveling as much back then, so that was not a good option.     

We had many phone conversations and she had the pattern for the original to start. About  6 week later "Corset 2.0" arrived.  

Stay tuned – Tomorrow Corset 2.0.


  1. Last night, to celebrate 25 years on the air, TCM played the original cut of "Gone With the Wind". My memories of prior viewings of theis classie were focused on the war but, for some reason, what I seemed to experinec watching the movie end to end (4 hours) was that it is the perfect chic flick.

    There are a few scenes in the movie showing Vivian Leigh, and the other ladies, in their undergarments, focusing on their corsets. After she has a baby they show her being laced into her corset and being told that the best that she could now get her waist down to was 20" and that after childbirth she would never again achieve an 18.5: waist.
    A very timely post.

  2. As a corset enthusiast, might I recommend: thedailywaist.com
    As a young 'perv' I recall my mothers assortment of 'satin bottom' style girdles from the '50's. So nice and sensual. (Yup! I did try them on-- Yummy!) This style is hard to find, but sometimes on ETSY, & Secrets In Lace.
    On a subconscious level, this type of garment (among others) conveys both to the wearer and the observer feelings of being bound, restricted and sexually frustrated, unable to achieve the freedom of 'release'..... ;-)

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