Choosing Your Ideal Corset Style

Miss Deadly Red wears the Rosette pink Seirian Luxe

Image credit- Sally Sparrow Photography and Miss Deadly Red

I understand the struggle. You’ve fallen in love with a corset style and are eager to make it your own. But in the back of your mind, a niggling doubt; how is that going to sit on my full hips? What about my petite torso length? We’re always on hand to help with any questions you have but here is a quick quide to our standard size styles* and how to choose the best one for your needs.

*Naturally all our bespoke corsets are made through a consultation process which would deal with your unique build by starting from scratch with your figure as the canvas.

Petite Torso/ Short body

If you find that a lot of “OTR” (off the rack) corsetry digs in under your breasts or into your thighs when you sit down then the chances are that your torso is shorter than the industry standard. This can be the case even if you’re average height or above! It’s all about the spacing between your waist to bust and waist to hips. If you look at our individual corset listings we do put the most important corset lengths at the bottom of the longer description as you scroll down. You can use this to double check a style’s suitability for your exact figure but usually short bodied customers benefit from a waspie style like these

The Seirian and Seirian Luxe are ideal for the most petite frames as they measure just 5.5cm above the waist at the centre front, but the Adara and Eirlys are both still only 11.5cm above and below the waist at centre front and will be suitable for many figures.


Extra Curvy Hips/ Hourglass Figure

If you’ve been blessed with a full hourglass figure you may find that many standard size corsets are not roomy enough for comfort. Do remember that we are happy to tweak measurements on our corsets for a small fee if you really want a certain corset style but we have designed something especially for your needs! Our Vala Edwardian underbust is widely acclaimed as our most comfortable style yet thanks to the distinctive generous hip spring that takes the pressure off your curves and really makes your waistline pop! This style also features a dished rib shape to leave more room for your ribcage if you find that is typically a pressure point for you.

The Vala is waiting to smooth your curves in blissful comfort!

Long Torso

As a taller woman I know that sometimes things sitting at the wrong height can be uncomfortable and also unflattering! Our full underbust styles are cut cleverly to suit figures with an average to long torso. That’s not to say that our waspies aren’t suitable for you, but if you’re looking for greater coverage then these styles will be your friends!

The Perle Luxe, Perle in black mesh and Perle in ivory mesh all use the same base pattern which has a high hip (ideal for more movement) and a slightly higher length above the waist than our Vala. If you also want more hip coverage and room for generous curves then our Vala is the perfect choice for you!

Athletic/ Less Curvy Figures

It can be so annoying to find a corset that is comfortable and flattering at the waist but isn’t in contact with the hips or underbust! We can check over your natural measurements against our detailed sizing charts if you get in touch but don’t despair if they aren’t perfect for your sizing as we are happy to tweak the measurements on our patterns for a small fee! This will give you the style you want most with a close fit you will love. However many clients find that waspies will fit better than full underbusts without alterations as they don’t extend to the fuller parts of underbust and hips, so we can look over those sizes with you as well.

Looking For An Everyday Corset

Generally speaking, a less dramatic corset style tends to be a good everyday choice, our Perle or Adara shapes are ideal! However the Perle is made from polyester mesh which is quite delicate compared to traditional corsetry fabrics and can increase perspiration so is not the healthiest thing to wear against your skin consistently. But we are always happy to make a standard size corset in your custom choice of fabric for a small fee which will vary depending on the fabric choice. But our Perle made in a cotton coutil fabric would answer a lot of requirements for a regular use corset! Though not strictly an everyday corset you may also like to look at our Eirlys waspie, made in silk mesh which is an excellent lightweight choice for summer tightlacing!

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.


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.