Euphrates X is a San Francisco native with a world perspective, acquired from a young adulthood of agressive globe trotting. She is an Expert Fitter at Dark Garden Unique Corsetry in Hayes Valley, as well as their resident Tightlacing Liaison.
What is waist training? It is the practice of wearing a corset everyday with the intention of reducing one’s natural waistline slowly over a period of time.
How long have you been waist training? Since November 2012. I started wearing it simply often — not a regimented amount of hours — every day and not super tight, about a half of an inch looser than I thought I needed. In the beginning, it’s important to be comfortable, so your body accepts the changes gracefully! Gradually I found that I wanted to wear it more and more, lace tighter, until I felt lonely if I left the house with out it.
Has it worked? I started as a corset size 22″ and now I’m a 19″ (as of April 2013) and I’ve lost 2 solid inches off my natural waist line.
Did you change your diet? Not intentionally, but the corset naturally suppresses my appetite to some degree.
Do you ever take your corset off? Yes. I tend to wear my corset all day and take it off when I get cozy for bed. Some people corset 23/7, but I rarely sleep in my corset because I already am enjoying fairly rapid results with moderate training. Also, I want my corsets to last twice as long!
Does it feel tight? After about 10 minutes, the intensity fades and I feel like I’m wearing normal clothes.
What’s the best corset for waist training? A waist-cincher with steel bones in very strong fabric like poplin (which is a cotton-poly blend) because you’ll beat the hell out of it and usually it’s the most cost effective (remember: you’ll shrink out of it and it probably won’t be in resalable condition by the time you do. If you do choose to sleep in your corsets, you can use your old corset that’s a size bigger as your “sleeper corset” once you move on to a new, tighter one for day wear). That being said, I love the way corsets look and often wear them on the outside of my clothes, and so as a fashion victim I always prefer silks and wools. Silk brocade can be fairly strong — consult with your corsetiere on fabric strength vs. beauty if fashion is your jam.
Not all corsets are created equal. Make sure the shape of the corset you choose is appropriate for waist training. Dark Garden makes excellent ones with ample waist curve, but wherever you buy from, watch to make sure the silhouette doesn’t look like inverted parentheses: ) ( You won’t be able to wear this corset long as it will press into and rub against your ribs and hips uncomfortably and furthermore, won’t do much of anything to train your waist. The construction of these are often shoddy and while they can be cute for occasional wear, not appropriate for serious waist trainers. Look for a corset that allows room for the ribs, nips in at the waist, and again allows for the hips. Exercise extreme caution when ordering off the internet.
How many corsets do you own? Currently, I own eight legitimate steel boned corsets. A 22″ silver and black striped cincher, a 20″ black cincher with customized fabrics (silk, wool, and leather detailing), a 20″ red silk and black mesh risqué waspie, a 20″ black poplin corselette, a 20″ greyscale snake skin leather corselette with black leather piping, a 19.5″ black and white mini star wool cincher with spiral steels, leather bone casings and bindings, a 19″ black glove leather cincher with decorative triple lacing in the front, and a custom 18″ high back, under bust corset with a Dollymop bottom — all by Dark Garden. I find it very encouraging to consistent waist training to have an array of styles, sizes, constructions and colors in their corset wardrobe, so one will always have something they’d like to wear — no matter the occasion or body fluctuation.
This all sounds expensive. Body mods usually are.
If you are on a budget, you can try to get your first corset second hand like I did — often people change sizes and want their corsets to live on in the world. You can search online forums for this, schmooze with people at costumed events and faires, or come the the rummage sale that happens at Dark Garden every summer.
But remember, unless you are only looking for very moderate results, you will eventually need to invest in a built-to-order and/or custom corset down the line.
Are you afraid of any medical repercussions? Assuming a properly made corset that fits comfortably is being worn responsibly, there are no known negative side effects to modern day corseting and none that I’ve experienced thus far.
In the Victorian era, corseting infants from near-birth and a lack of medical/anatomical understanding in addition to squalor-shit-poor conditions for living and a generally minuscule life expectancy all in conjunction created some issues in public health, but that’s not the way of the world anymore. In the case of an emergency, cut the laces to remove the corset, if reachable. Safety scissors are good for this.
What are other benefits to daily corseting? Better posture, improved confidence, more wardrobe flexibility/inspiration, and never a bad body angle in photos. In addition to curving the waist, corsets also flatten the tummy. A waist-cincher will enhance your bust line while you wear it.
Do men wear corsets? Yes, all the time. It’s a great look! They also can achieve impressive waist training results.
I’ll be posting on hot topics in the corseting world, as well as more info and experience on waist training. Comment below with more questions if you have them. Thanks!