Sheer Silk Summer Corsets

Locking underbust corset made in sheer silk mesh

At Orchid we do try to keep setting aside little nuggets of time to invest in bringing you something new, or to brush up on a new skill. Recently we’ve been trying out a whole host of new practices, the loveliest of all being our new sheer silk summer corsets, made in 100% silk mesh that is breathable, healthy against the skin and as lightweight as you can possibly imagine. I’ve been trialing the first prototype, made with external seams and surface boning channels for the smoothest finish and greatest comfort while you’re wearing the corset. We used delicate flexible spiral steels for support, with a gold zip front to ensure a smooth profile under clothing, and supportive, solid steel bones at the centre front to flatten the stomach and give a sleek silhouette. This corset also has a discreet little overlapping tab, where a locking post can be fixed to turn the corset from sensual shapewear into part of your intimate play, ensnaring you by means of  a golden padlock passed through the zip tab. All hardware is totally removable to restore the corset to functional, glamorous underwear whenever you wish. A locking corset is just one of the ways we can make your everyday wear an integral part of your liaisons, just get in touch to discuss your ideas.

My experiences of wearing the corset have been really positive-  it’s breathable layers make this the most comfortable corset I’ve ever worn, to the extent that I could forget I was wearing it. Unlike our more rigidly built corsets, this fabric has a gentle degree of flex, allowing the corset to breathe with you and move with more grace and less inhibition. Normally I train with a 2 layer underbust (coutil and lining) which is still a very lightweight corset without much bulk, but the difference between the corsets worn under clothing is very noticable; that slight difference in thickness gives an even more distinctive silhouette, making the body appear reduced yet again.

I normally wear an hourglass cut, and decided to make this style with a wasp waist, to see how the material coped with the demands of the additional pressure. As I’ve never trained my ribs it was interesting to see that with a 4″ reduction, my ribs showed signs of following a straighter line than my usual hourglass curve. Whilst not a “true” severe wasp waist, it gave a good approximation of the smooth lines you would expect from that cut.

With regard to the corset playing a part in BDSM or sensual play with a lover- the locking feature is an obvious function, but a more interesting general use is that the mesh allows the wearer to still experience hot and cold sensations on the areas of the body covered by the corset. Clearly care needs to be taken with anything sharp or genuinely overheated that could damage the wearer and the fibres of the corset, but there is a great scope to utilise that sensitivity, where a regular corset would simply remove that skin from access.

The limitations of the corset are as you would probably expect from a sheer silk summer corset with slight give to the mesh, the waist reduction that can be attained with it has a cap. To ensure long life of the corset I’m recommending that a 4″ reduction is the maximum attempted. I would still consider this an occasional use corset, whether that’s just for the hotter months of the year, or for discreet shapewear under clothing on special events, but really, the corset is surprisingly sturdy for something that you can see straight through! Though only available in black for a 100% silk mesh corset, we can offer pure cotton mesh in black, nude and white. This can be teamed up with our beautiful coutil selections for intriguing designs and elegant finishing touches.

To discuss your sheer silk summer corset please get in touch.

Gilded Cages- New Corsetry Collection from Orchid

For several years, Orchid have been working behind the scenes on some seriously raunchy boudoir wear. We have created fully locking, restrictive S&M corsetry, that in most cases, can be stripped back to an unassuming training corset for daytime use, a knee-length hobble corset, a fully encompassing body corset as well as collars, cuffs, harnesses and hog-ties. All executed with our trademark essence of quality, in-depth craftsmanship and attention to detail.

“Gilded Cages” was born from the inspiration and technical challenges that these commissions raise, but combined with an obsession for pleasing textures against the fingertips, delicate and feminine design that enhances our finest features, and transforms the beautiful into the glorious. There is no more intimate garment than a corset designed to work alongside and play a part in your fetishes- imagine the thrill of donning your second skin in preparation for your encounters- restraint points just where you need them, cording to allow you more freedom of movement, subtle interplay between luxurious materials and elegant bondage.

This new range is here to inspire your own fantasies in silk satin. We invite you to come to us in confidence, to collaborate on something truly unique to you and your needs, and to stop making do with goods that were built for someone else’s ideals. After all, what could be more important than expressing your purest self?

Tell us what makes you tick

 

Our gratitude and thanks to the people who made this everything that it is- and without whom it may never have happened

Darren Athersmith

Miss Miranda

Missy Fatale

Waifs and Strays

Nelson Bespoke

Last but not least, my incredible partner, who helped make garters at the last minute when time was tight, chauffeured models, kept us fed and watered during the shoot and went in search of “tit tape” in the name of the cause.

Choosing Your First Waist Training Corset

Rear view of a gold silk dupion waist training corset

As you plan your first steps with waist training, the most exciting decision is surely the styling of the corset that will mark the beginning of your journey- what colours, what textures, what shape will you choose? Here’s a short guide to some of the things you should start to consider before we let our heads run away with the beautiful possibilities.

One of the most important where we are concerned is which cut would you like? When we ask this, we are usually referring to two main distinctive shapes that hold within them a world of variation- “hourglass” and “wasp waist”.

Hourglass is a term used to describe a cut that largely follows the natural shape of the ribs down from the underbust, till at perhaps half way down to the waist, where it nips in to your reduced waist size. Some people consider this the “beginners choice” because it can be worn comfortably without extended training, and it has the least impact on your ribs. I often recommend this style to individuals with a small “waist to hip ratio” as it can be used to make the waist reduction seem more dramatic than it truly is.  An hourglass produces a softer, curvier silhouette, which, to my eyes, focuses attention on the waist point when nicely balanced.

A wasp waist is what most people think of when they envision a true Victorian corset, it carries a severe, almost diagonal or conical line between underbust and waist. This tapers the lower floating ribs into an elongated shape through wear, and these changes are permanent. Training a wasp waist is achieved steadily over time, and we make various adjustments in a corset design to accommodate it. I always think that this style gives the most definition to the hips, as the hips usually retain a natural curve and fullness in comparison to the severe lines above the waist.

~NB– this is usually the stage at which beginners ask us if the waist reduction they choose will be a permanent effect. The answer is no- your body shape may change during the course of training through various causes (diet changes, the need for a regular exercise regime etc) but do not expect your waist to retain its corseted shape permanently.

The next most important consideration is your lifestyle needs. Most frequently, we are asked to make our corsets as light as possible to remain discreet beneath work-wear and daily attire, certain styles may be more suited to this than others, and depending on your figure type and your choice of clothing some styles may be entirely ruled out. This area will also affect your colour scheme for the corset, for instance, if you wear a white shirt to work every day, a flesh tone corset will likely be essential. You may want the corset to function as smart outer wear for weekends and evenings as well as underwear for the daytime, you may wear clinging clothing that will affect our choices of fixings- all objectives can be accommodated, so make us aware of what you need.

Last but not least, what is your body type? Do you carry your curves in your hips? do you want additional support in this area? perhaps you have a post natal tum that you’d like to control, or you have a “sway back” or curved spine that requires more fluid support. Some styles of corset provide more specified target areas, for instance a tapered panel to flatten the stomach, or low sways on the hips to keep the lower half of the figure smooth and sleek. If you’ve worn “off the rack” corsets up until now don’t forget to talk to us about what did and didn’t work for you with what you’ve tried so far. Up to date pictures of you wearing said corsets, showing problem areas or features that you’ve liked will be helpful beyond measure. The last client who took the time to do this responded to my feedback by saying “you’ve just told me more about my corset than even I knew!”

When it comes to design, the world is at our feet, we can create the most elaborate and beautiful waist training corsets that are still utterly practical, but these corner stones will help us to keep the styling specific to you and your needs. After all, it’s no good giving you an exquisitely made corset that could have been created for just anyone!

 

Waist Training And Weight Loss

Rust silk Tulipa training corset.

Waist training and the decision to focus on a diet or weight loss program can often go hand in hand, but there are a few questions that are probably going through your mind. If you choose to start training with a bespoke corset, you are investing in an item made with painstaking care to measurements that might not be representative of your size a little way down the line. So lets look at the next stages carefully together. There are ways around most problems in life, so here are some points you might want to consider as you look at your options.

The pro’s and con’s of waist training during weight loss

Many people choose to make a corset part of their diet because of the encouragement it offers to see your smoothly cinched waist in the mirror, and your sleek lines under clothing. Even things like watching the gap at the back of your corset slowly closing as time goes by can make your achievements more noticeable. It’s a boost to see the new figure that a corset unveils for you, and certain elements of the corset’s best use can be used in conjunction with healthy eating and moderate exercise to support you in your goals.

Comfortable use of the corset for long periods of time usually involves adjusting your diet to involve smaller, more regular meals without altering from a healthy calorie count. You can read more about this in the waist training section of this post. Some corset wearers also find that a snugly laced corset helps them to regulate their appetite at times, though I would never advise that you treat a corset as a substitute for food, or rely on it to reduce your calorie intake further than your doctor or dietician states.

The cons? Mostly, the in-depth process that we go through in order to provide you with a glove fitting garment. Though provisions can be made to accommodate gradual reductions, dramatic weight loss will inevitably leave you with a corset that won’t fit you forever. This is expensive, and in the case of very fast changes in your size, the length of time taken to create your corset may mean that you have already changed shape and size once it arrives with you. This is something we try to avoid at all costs.

Solutions

A typical waist training corset would probably have a built-in gap of about 2″. This means that all over the corset, it is 2″ smaller than your stated measurements, and this gap leaves room for your weight to fluctuate over time. All sorts of things can affect your size, menstruation and dehydration being the most common, and having a gap allows you to tighten the corset further when needed. If you have decided that you are going to make a corset a part of your diet then we can increase this gap to 3″ or in cases of more dramatic weight loss, 4″. This is the equivalent of around 2 dress sizes, so you can see that there is scope for you to train with the corset for quite some time. Ideally, we would leave as small a gap as possible, because the breadth of the gap can distort where the side seam of your corset is designed to lie, and can also feel a little uncomfortable in those initial stages, but as a temporary measure, it works!

If your weight loss goals wouldn’t be properly served by the 3-4″ gap you might like to look at either investing in a more budget friendly piece, like a ribbon corset, or perhaps looking into a well made “off the rack” or ready-made corset. I wouldn’t often recommend waist training with a ready-made piece as small discrepancies in fit can feel quite drastic by the end of a long day in the corset, and quality construction becomes even more vital when you are wearing your corset for 100+ hours per week. But this said, when you are seeing regular change in your shape and size, this is a more affordable way to meet your needs.

Continuous boning in close up on an Orchid waist training Corset

When is the right time in my weight loss program to start waist training?

This is likely to depend on a few factors – how much weight are you planning to lose? over what timescale? Do you feel that waist training is something that you want to play a big part in your plan?

Something to think about- many diets have the most noticeable effects in the early stages. If this is the point at which you’re providing measurements for a custom order, then by the time your corset has been made and shipped to you, you could be a different shape entirely. Equally, we do not always lose weight evenly through our bodies! many women find that the bust or hips is the first place to show a result, so even if your corset order is due to be placed a few months into your diet, it’s a good idea to take regular measurements, noting where the loss is most noticeable, and if the rate at which your measurements change slows down.

Another thing to consider is the length of time your corset order will take to arrive with you. We operate on a waiting list system, so if your order was placed on the first of January, we might be ready to ship mid to late February. There could also be international shipping times to consider as well, so planning your corset at a middle or late stage in your diet could be advisable.

For most cases where a client is budgeting for one corset to take them through their period of weight loss we will recommend that you hold on until the 3-4″ gap will meet your needs, leaving the initial month as a time of recording your results to show us any trends in your new shape and to allow the initial period of high activity to pass. Throughout that month we can still discuss your order, talking about your preferred fabrics and styles. You may also want a boned mock-up to give you a physical impression of the changes you’re expecting to see in your figure.

Bridal Corsets

We speak to a lot of brides, and the most frequent thing to be brought up in their first email is that they’re losing weight for the wedding. Sometimes this is a modest “toning up” exercise, and sometimes this is the catalyst for a long-term goal. Whatever you’re planning, the main thing to focus on is your deadline, and who else is relying on your corset being finished to complete their work for you. The most typical example is that your dressmaker will need the corset completed so that they can begin their fittings for your dress- for a ready-made dress the alterations usually need to start a minimum of 1 month before the big day, for a custom-made dress, this could be considerably longer. Your dress makers needs will dictate (to an extent) our best step going forward, maybe such changes as whether we opt for an overbust or underbust, and the point at which we will need to look at your current and predicted sizes.

Hopefully this post will help you to understand some of the practicalities to be thought through for this process- If it sounds scary, don’t worry! We are always on hand and happy to talk to you about your options. Why not drop us a line to discuss your plans?

 

Waist Training And Seasoning Your Corset

At Orchid, we have the honour of introducing many newcomers to waist training. This is the usual term for the discipline of gradual waist reduction through regular wear of a tightlacing corset. Perhaps you have started this exploration with intentions to taper the ribcage to a wasp waisted silhouette, to encourage better posture and to enjoy the secure, snug sensation of being tightly cinched. Many reasons and effects can draw an individual to this practise. In our Shropshire studio we create more training corsets than any other form, so I feel confident that our clients are in safe hands for this exciting process. Here, we’d like to share a little with you about some important care techniques for your new corset as well as some tips for a safe and healthy approach to waist training whatever your lifestyle.

Seasoning Your Corset

Your corset is a unique garment that perfects and enhances the figure, through cut, fit and construction of unique finesse. It’s an extremely exciting moment when your first custom corset arrives through your door, swathed in tissue paper. It’s waiting to be tried on, and drawn in to reveal a curve and sweep to your waist that you didn’t know was there…

But you need to rein in the understandable excitement at this point, and make sure that your next step protects the life of your new treasure and investment, and also your long-term health. You may have heard about seasoning or breaking in your corset (a practise of gently wearing the corset in until it is closed at its optimum or intended reduction) and now is the time to practise the theory.

It’s essential that for the first few weeks of owning your corset you only lace it very loosely at the back. Don’t try to experience the full extent of the reduction until you have accustomed yourself to wearing the piece, feeling the pressure of a couple of inches cinch and no more. Two hours or so is plenty to wear this in each day, and after a fortnight of this careful lacing process you can gradually start to bring your corset in to its intended snug fit. The first few wears should not be a battle to close the gap, it’ll all happen in time, and taking this precaution will prevent stress on the fibres of your corset, and the stitching that maintains it’s contours. Corset wearing is about many things, but impatience is not one of them!

Why is it necessary to take these careful precautions with a traditionally constructed corset, made with the very best quality materials? Well, when your Orchid corset arrives at your door it has been made to flow around your precise body measurements but has not yet moulded itself to your shape. This occurs through the pressure and heat of the body over time. The spiral steels that fit your curves smoothly will return to their original shape when the corset is removed, but the fabric and stitching will be gradually taking on your form during wear, and finding its correct tension. Forcing the corset to close too early can result in weakening the overall structure and, occasionally and sadly, breakages.

To hear the words of a regular corset wearer on the matter I recommend you watch this video by Lucy’s corsetry, which covers her own experience with undue care at the early stages of corset wear.

I think this paced and steady introduction is also an ideal approach for beginning your journey with waist training. It prepares the wearer for slow and regular progress whilst avoiding the pitfall that so many would-be tightlacers experience. Going too fast, too soon can result in you being given a negative impression of the whole affair, and finding reasons not to persist with their efforts.

Waist Training

Once you’ve reached the status of a regular tightlacer, I think it’s easy to become fixated on continual, inflexible lacing habits. The fact that it is described as “a discipline” means that some people get the impression that we must lace as tightly as we can, for as long as we can bear. Whilst some people may embrace the challenge that this offers, it doesn’t really fit in with most modern lifestyles. We do not always have the ability to control our diets to optimum effect, we may feel unwell one day or need to be more active, with much bending from the waist and rushing around in the summer heat. All these things affect how you feel in the corset laced to your optimum degree, or even if you want to wear it at all. It’s important that you don’t feel that you have let down your hard endeavours by needing to loosen your lacing after lunch, or that it “doesn’t count” if you didn’t reach the number of hours you intended to one day. It’s true that you must persevere to reach your goals, but your body is an organic machine and does not behave predictably!

Fran Blanche from Contour Corsets promotes what I feel is a very healthy and sensible approach to tightlacing. You can read about her Cycle Method which talks about understanding that you will likely need more flexibility in your approach to waist training than simply tightening it in the morning and releasing it before bed. Reading this helped me to understand that I wasn’t bad at tightlacing- I just couldn’t expect the corset to accommodate me, my meal and the strains of the day without feeling additional pressure. Once I realised this, I found that my occasional grudging feelings towards the corset going on in the morning were not a problem. I understood that a day of less consistent wear did not mean going back to step one, and I was able to simply take it at my pace, at the level that running a bustling business allows.

Other important points for those considering waist training.

The most important first step when considering starting waist training is to consult your GP. Your doctor may have advice for you about managing other underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure with your intended schedule. It is vital that you take these assurances before beginning to plan your corsets with your couturiere.

Your diet makes a big difference to how you experience wearing your training corset. Our typical western way of consuming food is not very conducive to 23/7 or extended corset wear, we tend to have a “feast and famine” approach, taking a large meal, then after hours of nothing, eating another hearty meal. Consider that this food takes 6-8 hours to be digested properly, and you can see why you may experience discomfort and additional pressure within the corset that could easily be dispensed with by eating small amounts, more regularly. The types of food and drink that you consume will also contribute to your comfort and ease of wear. Fizzy drinks and carbohydrates that expand in the stomach, or sit there heavily such as pasta should be taken in smaller quantities, self-regulation will help you to find the best limits for your body. There is absolutely no need to reduce your healthy daily calorie intake just to alter your quantities and balance your meals.

Something that many tightlacers who are just starting out can forget is to keep their core muscle strength up. This is absolutely vital for those working on a 23/7 routine, and making time in your day for a few simple exercises will take care of strength in your abdomen and back. Pilates targets these areas well, as do many traditional warm-up exercises that can be done in your own home without gym subscriptions or pricey equipment.

Protecting the skin is an essential part of training. If you tightlace daily for long hours your skin is given very little chance to breathe, and trapped moisture can cause problems. Always endeavour to have a corset liner made of natural fibres underneath, as although your corset can’t be washed, a liner or camisole can, and should be changed every single day. This forms a barrier against perspiration from the lining of your corset and protects the tender skin of the waist from any chafing. We stock the very lightest and breathable silk corset liners for just this purpose, just drop us a line to learn more about how they can contribute to your training regimen. Keeping up a moisturising routine is also important, but make sure that the creams have fully absorbed before beginning to dress.

Another way to protect your skin from prolonged contact with perspiration is to change your corset for bed, should you be continuing to train at night-time. Many of our clients find that their lacing at night uses less reduction than their typical daytime corset would provide, so a ribbon corset, which is lighter and with more ventilation than our regular construction methods, makes a great alternative. Ribbon corsets fit into the “waspie” part of the spectrum, meaning that they typically cover 3″ above and below the waist at the sides, with longer front and back edges. Ribbon corsets are also unique in that their main construction is created from diagonal and horizontal strips of ribbon, using fewer steel bones to create their shaping. The added flexibility at the sides from the shorter length means that movement during sleep is less inhibited, and should therefore prove more comfortable.

The same corset should never be worn two days running if it can be helped, as you may have read in our care of your corset section, we recommend that you air out your corset overnight to ensure that it’s fresh for your next wear, and alternating your corsets regularly will not only prevent excessive wear on one piece but will make certain that before you put it back on, all perspiration has dried. You can also gently wipe the lining of your corset with a well wrung out cloth after wear to help the process and save a few trips to the dry cleaners.

We hope that these tips help you to enjoy your corset for even longer, and to progress with your training enjoyably. Waist training is not a practise to be treated with trepidation but it is something to treat with attention, care and respect. You need to listen to your body’s warnings if you are moving quickly through the waist sizes- cramps, discomfort and other pain should not be ignored, it may be that your chosen corset style needs further fine tuning, or that it’s time to take a step back for a while. If you’re having persistent problems don’t hesitate to contact your corsetiere for support, we don’t have all the answers but we might just have a new insight for you.

If we have not dealt with a subject that is of interest to you, please let us know, we’ll be happy to illuminate you.