How to Wear a Corset

From the 16th century to the early 20th century, women have worn corsets, although corset-like garments have been traced as far back as 1600 BC. Although corsets had evolved their shapes and their purpose, they all were worn for the same intention: to morph the female body into a distinct silhouette. Because the ideal female body during those centuries was curvaceous, with a small waist, a voluminous chest, and child-bearing hips, corsets were made to create precisely this silhouette.

Now, of course, corsets are coming back in style and are usually worn as outer wear—to show off the colors and textures of your corset, of course! But the question is, how do we wear one safely, so that we still have that perfect hourglass silhouette, but are still not totally obliterating our insides.

To find the answer, you've come to the right place!

Pre-lace the corset before you start to put it on.

Make sure that your corset is loosely laced in the back so that you can step into it, or easily pull it around you in the case of a corset with front hooks. Most corsets come pre-laced, which makes it a little easier.

The lacing should be in “X” shapes and ideally meet in the middle so that you’re able to adjust the tightness once you put it on. (See illustration above.) If it turns out that you need to lace up your corset yourself, it might be easier to start at the top grommet (what the holes for the lacing are called) and lace downward.

After you've loosened the ties and stepped into the corset, pull it up and adjust it so that is centered and the front panel is flat against you. If your corset has front hooks that will make it easier: just fully unhook the front, creating as large of an opening as possible as you pull it on. Wrap your corset around your body while adjusting the front panel so that it stays in place. Make sure that the panel is flat, too!

For your front hook corset, start by fastening the third hook from the bottom, then the remaining hooks below it. Next, you can fasten the rest of the hooks from the top, working downward while you keep the it centered. Some hooks may come undone while you do this, so don’t get frustrated! This is normal; just refasten the hooks that may have come undone as you continue working.

Okay, you’re almost there! Your corset should hang loosely around your mid section. Now it's time to tighten the back laces. Start by tugging gently on the loops that are toward the middle of your back, so that you can begin tightening.

Take your time and tighten the laces gently until your corset is flush against your body and is able to remain so without you holding it in place. And be sure to monitor the placement of that center panel!

As you lace, make sure that you aren’t totally restricted. Your corset should still be tight, but you should still be able to breathe. Make sure the price of beauty isn't too high for your health, and don’t overdo it!

Now you just need to tie up the excess lacing with pretty bow in the back! If you would like to hide the excess, you can braid it under the laces, either from the top or from the bottom. It’s generally a bad idea to tie your laces into a knot, because then it makes it very difficult to undo it when you want to take your corset off.

That's it, you're done. Congratulations!

You just successfully put on a corset, and you're ready to rock your new style. No matter where you go, you’re going to look fabulous, so own it, girl!