I’ve always had a thing for corsets. What I find most appealing is anyone can wear them on any occasion, formal or other and the wide verity of textiles available. They’re versatile in that manner. They’re sexy and feminine without being slutty, which is, as it turns out, a common misconception. There’s nothing slutty about corsets—they simply enhance your natural form. Some people take corset wearing too far for my taste. I’m not into tightlacing or achieving a wasp waist silhouette…that’s just weird. I’m not going to bore you with a history of corset…that’s what Wiki is for. In the interest of time, I’ve Wiki’ed a few useful terms for you. See below.

On to the good stuff.

I have two types of corsets in my arsenal: Genuine corsets made by a real corsetiere and fashion corsets. Unless you plan on investing a small fortune or adding to a growing collection, than I’d suggest sticking to the fashion corsets. Quality amongst fashion corset manufacturers vary however Fredrick’s of Hollywood’s are durable and sexy. Victoria Secret’s corsets are at the bottom of my list because of they poor construction around the eyelets and weak boning. Another benefit to purchasing your corsets from Frederick’s is the sales staff is actually taught how to lace corsets the old fashion way and you can return to the store and be refitted at any time.

What to look for:
The eyelets should be reinforced either with metal, leather, or extra padding to prevent strain on the surrounding fabric.

Off the rack, the lacing should be at least three extra feet. Some manufactures short cut this detail assuming you won't have the corset properly fitted which means boning and other critical areas aren’t meant to be durable. These corsets are strictly for the bedroom...you'll get about three washes out of them.

The lacing on fashion corsets should resemble tiny tubular shoelaces with little give. If the lacing is too elastic it'll stretch, fray, and eventually fall apart. If there is ribbon being used then good luck.

On the back of a standard fashion corset, there should be at least twelve eyelets no more than a half inch apart. This will minimize gapping. If the corset has an hook and eye front busk, there should be at least fifteen hooks no more than half inch apart reinforced with velvet, leather, or brushed felt. These rules don't apply to high-end haute couture and/or leather corsets because they’re constructed on a level unto themselves.

Boning should be rigid yet bendable. If it doesn’t return to an upright position when bent then it’s won’t give you the support you’re looking for and you run the chance of it cutting into you. Not good! 

Most fashion corsets won’t have a back panel (the black piece under the lacing in the picture below). That’s not a problem as the corset probably wasn’t meant for heavy usage. I like back panels especially if I’m wearing the corset with jeans or as an undergarment. They’re also handy to have between fittings.
Sturdy material such as damask, silk doupioni, silk brocade, and coutil, and woven cotton. Satin is fine however it won't last as long.

Before you buy:
Measure your waist, and deduct two inches to obtain the best size. Corsets featuring metal spirals and steel busks will reduce your waist by a few inches. Have the sales person re-measure you. If you get the feeling they don’t know what they’re doing then try JCPenny’s or Sears, they normally have competent Ladies to measure you. Note your measurements and say thank you. I've found that Victoria Secret’s staff members have difficulty measuring curvy gals, just keep that in mind.

Lacing your corset:
The initial lacing is a two person affair but you can have a go at it alone. For your comfort it is crucial to lace up your corset properly. Lacing should criss cross from top to bottom, leaving two big loops at the waist, tying up the loose ends at the bottom then tighten it up above and below, leaving your waist to last, to ensure the corset sits comfortably on her bust and hips. When you’ve finished gently tightening the corset around your waist, secure the laces with a knot. Click here for an example.

Real corsetieres can lace from top and below simultaneously, leaving a clipped knot in the center of your back. I wouldn’t trust a sales person with this method because it takes several hours of practice to master this skill. The extra lacing can be clipped shorter, tucked nearly inside the corset, or left hanging freely. If you decide to self-fit, please take care when pulling or tightening. Pulling too hard can damage the eyelets, laces,  and boning. Caring for your corset is very simple. Just follow the manufactures instructions. I wash mine fashion corsets with baby detergent and lay flat to dry--my "real" corsets are cleaned by a corsetiere. 

Back View With Panel and Metal Eyelets

No Paneling with Metal Eyelets, Tied Properly

How much do they cost?:
"Real" corsets run from 350.00 to 1000's of dollars. Fashion corsets range from 40.00 and up. I wouldn't suggest paying more than 100.00 for a well built fashion corset unless it meets the standards listed above. Most likely you'll pay around 60.00 for a really good one that'll last. Frederick's corsets are reasonably priced and they're always running specials. I believe my favorite one is on sale right now for 39.00...too bad I already have every color.

NOTE: These corsets aren't meant for Kink roleplaying such as suspension and bondage, however they can be used for the fluffy scenes. Seriously, don't muck around! Spring for real gear if you're into the heavy stuff.

My links arranged according to cost: 
Frederick's of Hollywood
Lingerie Diva
Classy Cosets
Corset Design
Paloma Soledad

My Favorites:


This is the one I’m getting as soon as Greg gives me the thumbs up. He’s still a little shell-shocked over my last shoe adventure. I'm guessing fifteenth pairs was the limit. :-)


(corsetry): In corsetry, a bone is one of the rigid parts of a corset that forms its frame and gives it rigidity. The purpose of the boning in a corset varies slightly from era to era. Generally, the cinching/shaping properties of corsetry puts strain onto the fabric from which the corset is made. The boning supports the desired shape and prevents wrinkling of the corset fabric. Bones, and the substances used for the purpose, are often generically called boning.

A busk (also spelled busque) is the rigid element of a corset placed at the centre front. In stays, the corsets worn between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, the busk was intended to keep the front of the corset straight and upright. It was made of wood, ivory, or bone slipped into a pocket and tied in place with a lace called the busk point.

An overbust corset encloses the torso, extending from just under the arms to the hips. An underbust corset begins just under the breasts and extends down to the hips. Some corsets extend over the hips.

A corselet or corselette is a type of foundation garment, sharing elements of both brassieres and girdles. It may incorporate lace in front or in back….think of the long thigh length girdles your grandma used to wear.

A torsolette (also known as a basque or corset top) is a short corselette, covering the chest to the waist line….aka a bustier.

Please let me know if you have any questions.