I’m not sure. I think it’s cultural construct that gets in the way of people appreciating the silliness and truth in their humanity.
That’s why I made a shamelessly hungover, instructional vlog, demonstrating one of our simple, industry tips on corset care. Yet again I humble myself on the internet: for you. You’re welcome. And when better to demonstrate this particular corset care tip than after a ruckus night out?
…I probably could have done this better. Oh well, here goes:
For those of you who like contextual stories, read on (if not, skip to end).
There was once a girl in a stupid American Apparel dress. One day, she donned a corset an turned into a princess (kind of).
The princess wished very much to dance and be entertained, so she traveled to a far away land called Oakland, where the most zef minstrels in all of the world’s kingdoms were blowing fucking minds.
She danced and danced the night away, stomping around and having a blast at this strange festival of the celebration of large booty and …rats.
When the night was over and she had returned to her own dominion (studio apartment) she was very tired and extremely sweaty.
Her clothes smelled of all the wonders the Oakland had to offer, and so, the next day — though the princess had turned back into a normal, scrappy lady — she had to freshen her corset. Because adults take care of their nice things.
Caring for a sweaty, smelly, or even stained corset is easier than one might imagine. A simple brew of vodka and water (no, a cocktail spilled on you doesn’t count) will do wonders to freshen your garment and remove odor when dry cleaning is inconvenient. Watch the following video for details on how-to.
The underbust corset featured in this tale of an evening and it’s aftercare is Dark Garden’s black poplin corselette — of which I am a big fan. On long torso’d folk like myself, it acts like a wide waist belt: perfect to throw over any dress, jumpsuit, or pant/shirt outfit to amazing wasp-waist silhouette effects. Its smaller dimensions make it a great option for those with a shorter torso as well, for whom most underbust corsets are too long.
Simple tips like these can lengthen the life of your corset and make the experience of wearing them (for you and those smelling you) much more enjoyable. For more intensive (and sober) corset cleaning tips, refer to this article, written by Dark Garden pattern associate and stitcher, as well as very coherent corset blogger, Marianne. More for your bag of corset tricks — and happy (clean) corsetting!
Can I waist train while going through airport security?!?
Such inquiries are often blown off with responses such as:
It won’t kill you to take it off for a few minutes!
But for some people, it really is practically life or death — see my previous post on a woman who’s degenerative ligament deterioration makes it such that her corset is her exoskeleton. And, my! With what vivacious ferocity does she battle the world, enabled by her brace and unquenchable spirit!
Other responses I have seen are along the lines of:
My dear! I nearly forgot, so I tucked into the ladies powder room just before the security line and slipped off my naughty erotic bits and no one was the wiser!
Ok, so, I have an answer as to what happens to you when you go through security wearing a corset.
Firstly, let me say that for once I wasn’t attempting to cause trouble or make a scene. I was fat, sassy, and still a little buzzed from my vacation in New Orleans and simply forgot that I was wearing a cincher under my swampy clothes. I was carrying a parasol, wearing a big, floppy hat I’d seen the local teenage hookers wearing and simply had to have — I had enough wardrobe going on to worry about.
I walk up to the body scanner, put my arms above my head, try my best to be serious and not to strike a butt-flattering pose, and exit the booth. Granted, in the Big Easy, folk are a lot more easy going and accommodating, so when I blurted out:
Can I see my picture?!?!
They said sure, it’s right up there on the screen behind you. My expectations were frustrated.
Where as I might expected something a little more graphic and titillating, such as this:
And hopefully, with the corset, some sort of sexy action like this:
The image that appeared on the screen looked approximately like this:
The yellow square shows where metal might be on my body. The TSA agents laughed jovially at my disappointment, explaining that people complained about the graphic images, now that’s what it’s like. Hmmf. I explained that I wear a back brace, and the woman couldn’t care less. She wiped down my hands for explosive evidence and when I checked out, I was on my way.
There you have it. It may have been that NOLA has a prescription for relaxation, but it was not anything to worry about. Tightlacers and waist trainers every wear can relax: people wear back braces all the time and it’s really no big deal.
I did take it off on board though. I wanted to drink two tiny bottles of wine, watch the in-flight movie, and snooze in my partner’s lap in noodley comfort…
Sweeping the floor, doing the dishes, feeding the cat, and conditioning the leather; housekeeping tasks are dependent, of course, on the household!
I was in the midst of my evening household maintenance (and a glass of Malbec) when it occurred to me that I might share how it’s done.
Because one can really love leather. It’s the best stuff on earth. One wants to instinctively touch it, wear it, lick it… Ok, even if you don’t want to lick it, you must admit: it’s very compelling! It’s fashion forward, and yet, primal.
But how do you care for it? It’s not totally obvious. You can’t wash it: no, no, no. Heaven forbid you go out in the rain, like I did, and expose your second skin to the elements.
Well, there are things you can do to protect your garments, shoes, and CORSETS in the long run from wear: a little tender, loving, conditioning will do the trick.
Products used are Lexol Leather Conditioner and Lexol Ph Leather Cleaner, available at many shoe repair locations, or places that sell fine leather.
Although, I forgot to mention in the video that if you are using an unfamiliar brand of conditioner, especially on a light-colored leather, it’s best to test a hidden area (such as the back panel/modesty panel) before treating the whole corset, just in case!
And… do try to stay out of the rain.
0:00 – 0:40 Intro
0:41 – 1:44 BE PREPARED – on Boy Scouts and Materials Needed
1:45 – 2:14 About My Custom Leather Corset
2:15 – 3:04 Applying the Conditioner
3:05 – 3:42 Why it’s Good to Condition
3:43 – 4:38 Getting Soaked and Buffing Off
4:39 – 5:36 Seeing the Results of Conditioning and Final Thoughts
By popular demand! Thorough video instruction on how to replace the lacing of your corset with new lacing, change out the color of your corset laces color, or simply change how your corset is laced so that the ties are in the middle of the back. Enjoy!
0:00 – 0:14 Introduction
0:15 – 0:27 Why one might re-lace a corset
0:28 – 0:42 Supplies needed
0:43 – 1:10 Calculating ribbon length needed to lace your corset
1:11 – 2:08 Measuring and cutting your ribbon
2:09 – 3:27 Marking grommets at the waist tape (where the finger pulls will be)
3:28 – 6:20 Lacing technique for top half of corset
6:21 – 8:05 Creating the middle finger pulls
8:06 – 10:35 Lacing Technique for bottom half of corset
10:36 – 12:00 Tying off
12:01 – 12:32 Evening up and outro
Now that your corset is all laced up, get in and out with my previous vlog.
1. Don’t be competitive — with yourself or with others. Nobody likes a self righteous jerk, especially when it comes to body issues, and if you make yourself your worst enemy, then who will be left? Don’t focus too much on always besting previous measurements or you’ll drive yourself insane with angst. Remember that the body has natural cycles!
2. Take it easy — slow and steady integration of the corset into your lifestyle will make it more likely to be a long term fixture, as opposed to a temporary obsession. Easing into tight lacing slowly will be much better for the lifeline of the garment as well.
In the beginning of your training, wear the corset for a couple hours, not very tight, and increase gradually from there. Think to yourself: I have all the time in the world. The body accepts change much more gracefully when it’s relaxed, so stressing overlacing in the beginning will only do more harm than good — to both your body and the garment.
3. Take it off — I understand that there are people out there who love their corsets so much, they never want to part with them, even to sleep, but there are at least two daily occasions in which you absolutely must remove your corset: to shower, and to exercise. Yes, if one wears a corset everyday, think about it: it creates a midsection encased and supported in steel. Conditioning the core muscle group is necessary, lest it begin to atrophy over time. Though her extreme figure is lovely, I wouldn’t want to wind up as frail as this young lady, would you?
4. Be patient. Everybody’s different, and every body is different. Progress of reshaping the body with waist training is highly dependent on: core density of the individual, distance between the top of the pelvic bone and the rib cage, flexibility of the cartilage, quality and shape of the garments used, and consistency of wear. However, one might expect to train for six months before noticing any difference without a corset, in many cases more. Be patient with yourself and realize that non-surgical body modifications are a serious time commitment. Ask yourself: am I in it for the long-haul?
5. Prepare for attention. Whether you wear it loud and proud or layer it under clothes in a manner you think is stealth, it’s likely that at some point, you will be approached and point blank confronted about your corset. Sometimes friendly, sometimes sleazy, sometimes envious, and sometimes indignant — I’m sure I have not yet heard it all. My advice is to put your best foot forward and show ’em what a real lady is like. To me, that is curt, polite, and no nonsense.
A question to prepare for is: “Why do you wear a corset?” Whether you choose to answer the inquirer is your choice, but it’s an answer to a commonly asked question worth articulating in your mind, anyway.
6. Be discerning. The corset creates proportions and curves which awaken certain… instinctual desires in some. If you work in a professional environment, be careful to protect yourself against untoward advances, and be sure to make it clear when they are unwanted. Refresh yourself on harassment policies and collect evidence when you can. Harassment is terrible to bear, but difficult to prove.
7. Vodka water. A great way to freshen up your garments without investing the time and money in dry cleaning is to give them a quick mist with vodka-water (50/50) in a spray bottle! I wouldn’t recommend wetting silk, but cotton, or cotton-poly lining responds wonderfully to this treatment. Great for ridding of body odor, deodorant stains, or sweatiness. Make sure to let air dry completely (hang over a chair or a shower curtain rod, for example) before wearing or storing.
If your corset is leather, Lexol is a good brand of leather conditioner.
8. Invest in quality garments. As I mentioned earlier, one’s progress is in part determined by the quality, fit, and curvature of the corset applied. Corsets shaped like flared tubes: ) ( will only make one look tubular and not closer to attaining the coveted hourglass figure. Search for a well constructed under bust garment that fits well –in that it applies pressure evenly over the entirety of the torso, as opposed to rubbing or flaring at the ribs or the hips — that nips in at the waist. The goal of waist training is waist reduction, after all.
9. Develop a corset wardrobe. As Sparklewren put it on an Etsy listing: all regular-wear items sustain wear-and-tear eventually. In the Victorian era, if a corset lasted a year this was considered a wonderful selling point. Treat your corset well, and understand that as an item of use it will not remain pristine forever.
True fact. While we wish for our lovely investments to last forever, the simple fact is that a garment is simply a mere network of fibers, and under constant stress, can’t. However, we can extend the lifeline of our corsets by giving those networks of fibers and seams a break by alternating wear.
If you sleep in your corset, its a good practice to have a sleeper corset in a larger, broken in size (your first corset, perhaps). If you are primarily a day-wearer, having a variety of sizes, styles, and waist curves is a great way to extend the life of your garments and always have something you want to wear.
A corset wardrobe is something you can build over time. You don’t have to collect them all at once — though it’s difficult for some of us to restrain ourselves…
10. Enjoy the ride. Corset training truly is about the love of the journey. Remember above all else to listen to your body, have fun, and be good to yourself!