Corsets: 5 Tips for first-time buyers

Corsets: 5 Tips for first-time buyers

Corsets: 5 Tips for first-time buyers

Never owned a corset? Always fancied trying one but confused as to how it works? Well here are some tips on buying a corset for the first time, either for you or somebody else.


1) Fit

Typically, a woman’s steel boned corset size will be 4 inches less than her natural waist measurement, so if you’ve naturally a 28 inch waist, a 24 inch corset would be suitable. The only exception to this rule is our “Instant Shape” range which is available in dress sizes. Dress sizes do vary remarkably between brands so we recommend that you check your waist measurement even when purchasing an Instant Shape, after all, these are still tight fitting garments so finding the right size if especially important We list all measurements on each of our designs to make sizing 100% clear.

If you're buying for yourself, measure honestly. A good corset shouldn’t leave you with any unsightly bumps or bulges. It should feel great when it’s on, supporting you without squashing you, so don’t be tempted to go for a size too small for vanity’s sake. It won’t flatter you like one that really fits!

If you are buying for a loved one, it is wise that you consult with the person you’re buying it for before making the purchase. If you don't want to spoil the surprise, her best friend should be your source of information.

2) Comfort

A corset constructed from a good pattern is more comfortable than you may realise. Wearing one for the first time can be a new sensation but lots of our customers quickly relate to this feeling, we often receive feedback about how supported and confident our customers feel when wearing their corsets, due to the quality of our garments there is also a growing trend that women are replacing their bras for corsets as they find them that much more comfortable.

Regardless of the finishing fabric used in a corsets construction, a good corset should always have a breathable twill lining, this is the only fabric which will be against your skin while wearing your corset….unless you have opted to wear yours over the top of a blouse or shirt.

For added comfort on our Waist Taming and “Expert Waist Training” corsets you will also find the additional or “Hip Gores” or “Hip Panels”. Gores and Panels are 2 different solutions to ensure additional flair at the bottom of your corset, this gives the corset more room to fit comfortably over the top of the hips.

3) Quality

Although in these penny-pinching times it may be tempting to shop around for a bargain, it is

worth considering that a well-made corset is a great investment. Not only will an item of quality last longer, it will also be more comfortable (see above).

A good corset will be made of strong, sturdy fabrics, and the layer closest to your skin should be made of natural (rather than man-made) fibres. There are a lot of inexpensive corsets available online, the main differences between Corset Story garments and these “Sub £20” corsets are detailed here:

  • Corset Story use multiple layers of fusing and lining to ensure strength, a lot of very cheap corsets will be made from a single layer of fabric and will tear when you tension
  • We have developed our patterns over many years to create, what we think is. “The Best Fitting Off the Rack” corset available.
  • All Corset Story garments are made with Spiral Steel Boning, this allows the corset to mold perfectly to your body regardless of how the corset needs to adapt to your body shape. Cheaper corsets will often be made using plastic boning or Flat Steels. Plastic boning is fine until you heat it up too much with body heat. Then the boning will warp permanently. Some people prefer flat steel boning as it makes their corset feels more rigid. However as you cinch the waist of a corset constructed with flat steels the bust and hip ends of the bone will naturally pull away from your body.
  • All Corset Story corsets also come complete with a modesty panel. This allows you to hide or show off you back, depending on your preference.
  • All of our corsets have suspender loops and loops for bra straps as standard

If you need to save money our advice is to check out the Corset Story Sale section (under Offers on our website), sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook to get access to Corset of the Day deals as they happen.

4) Type

There are two main types of corset, Underbust and Overbust. Overbust corsets suit most body types, and anyone can wear an Underbust. However, if your bra cup size is DD or greater, you might like the extra support provided by an Overbust it is worth consider a Waist Taming or an Expert Waist Training corset.

An Underbust corset classically would be more practical for wearing on a day to day basis. Underbusts are not as heavy as their Overbust counterparts and allow a little more flexibility.

5) Function

Corsets are extremely versatile. They have been fashionable for hundreds of years and are used for waist reduction, worn as outwear & loved by ladies who like to dress up.

If you are looking for an alternative to Shapewear to be worn underneath clothing then try to find a design which doesn’t feature trims, bows or embellishments. The sleeker the design, the easier it will be to disguise underneath your everyday wear.

Instant Shape & Waist Taming corsets tend to be designed as outwear, these corsets come in a host of different fabrics, looks and styles, often boasting sleeves and other features to complete your look

And of course, if you are looking to “Dress Up” you have probably already seen the designs you like ;)


Once you’ve picked the perfect corset, have fun! A great corset doesn’t just give you a more flattering outline; it adds drama and panache to whatever you’re wearing, and gives you more confidence while you’re wearing it. They are great fun to wear, and if they're gifts, you get to watch the wearer have fun. It's a win-win.