That post generated a lot of interest at the time, so I thought I might do a little update for you guys. I'll include some shopping links, what I've learned since, and even a few of my favorite corset outfit selfies, just to give you an idea of how to wear one without looking like you came from a Ren Fair.
First up, yes, I still wear a corset regularly, averaging about a week to ten days of every month, for around 8-10 hours a day. I try to put it on as soon as I feel the first tell-tale ache of impending uterine jerkiness, and it never fails to reduce (or eliminate almost entirely) my menstrual pain. Once or twice I've even staggered out of bed in the middle of the night to lace one on, the pain was so great, and was astounded to find a corset helps even when I'm in a full-on Cramp Fest O' Agony.
Beyond mere pain control, there are days when I just feel like wearing a corset. I can't explain why, but some days I crave the supportive swaddling of it, and - knock on wood - it doesn't cause my anxiety to spike anymore. (Initially there was a mild "trapped" feeling that triggered my agoraphobia.)
Some anxiety sufferers claim a corset feels like a comforting hug, and I'm *almost* to the point where I understand what they mean, but I've still never felt any calmer wearing one. More comfortable, yes, but calmer, no.
Of course corsets make you look better, shape-wise, but that's never been my motivation in wearing one. I wear it because it feels nice, and 95% of the time, the only ones who see me in these outfits are John and the cats.
Now, let's talk BUYING corsets.
My all-time favorite is still the one I mentioned a year and a half ago: this simple black underbust from Orchard Corset:
It's only $60 (less if you use a coupon code), good quality, and incredibly comfortable. And I'm not getting anything for saying that, promise.
I've since ordered a second of the exact same style in the next smaller size, since I'm able to comfortably lace up much tighter these days. The second one is made from a different material than my first: it feels sturdier and less soft - like a strong canvas compared to a soft brushed twill. Other than that the fit is the same, though, and I still highly recommend it for first-time corset wearers.
I also have this white mesh corset for wearing UNDER my clothes:
TrueCorset, though there are plenty of sites that have similar mesh styles. It's listed at $85, though I remember getting mine on sale for more like $70.
The mesh is extremely comfy, and wearing it under your clothes is a nice option if you don't want to advertise that you're wearing a corset.
Here are two outfits with me wearing that one:
Belt? No belt?
(This is my Dapper Day dress, btw.)
The corset is fairly smooth and seamless from the front, but the lacing still causes a bump in the lower back, even with the laces tucked under. A cardigan or over-shirt can help hide that.
I know I said I don't wear a corset for vanity's sake, but this is my favorite outfit on me in recent memory, and I definitely can NOT pull it off without the corset. Being tightly held in lets me wear slinkier stretch fabrics that would otherwise show all my bumps and rolls. (In fact, any of you who've met me in person know I don't look this thin IRL. It's not photoshop; just a corset and a good camera angle.)
That said, there are drawbacks to wearing a corset under your clothes:
First, you can't wear a quality corset against your bare skin, so for those outfits I'm wearing a thin tank top, then the corset, THEN the dress. That's a lot of layers, especially in Florida.
The second drawback to a corset-under-your-clothes is it's impossible to remove quickly or inconspicuously. Again, this may only be an issue for fellow agoraphobics, but I like to know I can get out of a corset anytime I want to, especially out in public.
My fourth and final corset is a custom brown suede underbust from Meschantes Corsetry on Etsy. I highly recommend these guys; their prices are insanely reasonable, with custom underbusts (meaning it's made to the exact measurements you send in) starting at just $160. There are tons of styles and fabrics to choose from on their website, too.
That said, I think I was too ambitious with the amount of waist reduction I asked for, because the hourglass shaping on mine is a little too severe for me to wear comfortably. Here's a less flattering shot to show you what I mean:
See how the waist nips in, while the top and bottom edges aren't very snug? (If not, just take my word for it. ;)) That's because the steel hourglass boning requires my waist to be smaller than I can tolerate; I'm built less like an hour glass and more like a tree trunk. Heh. If I wear an extra full skirt to pad out the bottom it looks ok, but otherwise the hip flare especially sticks out too far, which looks odd.
Again, totally my fault, since this was made to the measurements I sent in. It's still beautifully made and feels very high quality, so at some point I may try again with adjusted measurements.
So, as it stands, I wear my two black corsets most of the time. They go with almost everything, and dress up even the cheapest t-shirt dresses:
I have managed to wear a corset with jeans a few times, but dresses or skirts are easier and more comfortable, since you have to tuck the jeans underneath the bottom edge. (Or, if you want to make John bust a gut laughing, try buttoning the jeans OVER the corset.)
I know you can't see my feet in most of these, but I'm wearing either colorful Chucks or flat boots. I'm not really a heels girl anymore.
Which reminds me: let's talk safety.
When I wear my corset for 3+ days in a row I sometimes feel like my spine is less than happy, and so try to schedule my monthly chiropractic visit soon after. Just wearing it for a day every now and then, though? No problem. So use your best judgement, peeps, and pay attention to your body in a corset. If it ever starts to feel bad in any way, take the thing off. Also, never lace it so tightly that you can't fully expand your diaphragm with a deep breath. I trust none of you are interested in body modding or everyday tight-lacing, so this is really just common sense.
The corset barely restricts my movement at all; I can still tie my shoes, pick up Lily, and even comfortably walk on the treadmill desk. Funnily enough the only hard part is sitting on the couch - although now I know why antique furniture is so uncomfortable! You need a firm back and short seat with a corset, to support your torso. Otherwise you'll kind of topple over on a soft seat. No biggie, though; I just use a bunch of throw pillows behind my lower back.
It can be tempting to let the corset do your core muscles' work for you, and kind of slump forward onto it. Don't do that. Remember to pull your shoulders back, and check your posture every now and then. The corset will actually help you sit up straighter, which is a nice benefit, but make sure your neck angle isn't wonky, and try not to cross your legs when seated.
I do NOT recommend sleeping in your corset. (You may laugh, but people do it!) That said... I have slept in mine. Only two or three times, though, and only because my menstrual pain wouldn't allow me to sleep any other way. It's not comfortable, and your torso will feel the funkiest of funks when you wake up, but other than that I don't know of any health risks. So, again, use your best judgement.
I like this one for the color-blocking, and because the stiff skirt poofs out without a petticoat.
John likes it for... other reasons. In fact, I think this is his favorite. ;)
Eagle-eyed corset aficionados may notice that I don't tie my corset laces correctly. You're supposed to tuck all the excess up and under the criss-cross lacing in back. This can require a circus-act level of contortionism, though, and results in bumpy laces being smashed up against your lower spine. Blurg. So instead I do it the big No-No way, and tie the excess lacing around my waist. LIKE A REBEL.
Fortunately the black-on-black lacing barely shows.
Last selfie, and another new favorite dress:
I love this green! Why don't they make more emerald green dresses?
Well, I think that's everything, so you guys will have to tell me what I missed. Any questions? Hit me up in the comments, and I'll do my best, yo. I'm no expert by any stretch, but I can at least tell you about my own experiences.
And finally, for just about everything you could ever want to know about corsets, head over to Lucy's Corsetry's youtube channel. Lucy is a wellspring of information, with plenty of FAQs and guides for newbies. She also has zillions of video reviews, so be prepared to lose some serious time!