What is a corset, Anyway?
A corset is a structured, boned garment which is can temporarily alter the shape of your body, support your posture, or both.
Depending on how a particular corset was designed, it could do one or more of the following:
- Reduce your waist, flatten your stomach, and smooth out your silhouette
- Emphasize your curves and create a pronounced hourglass shape
- Flatten your chest and straighten your hips to create a straighter profile
- Support and correct your posture, especially near the lower and mid-back
- Help relieve some back or shoulder issues caused by slouching or hunching over
Some people also use corsets to help with ligament laxity (such as with EDS) or spinal curvature, or as a support garment for recovering from some kinds of rib injuries, though this should ONLY ever be done with the knowledge and supervision of your physician.
What makes a corset different from…
- Regular clothes? In a word, that would be the boning, or the rigid ribs that give a corset its structure. Without the boning, all the fabric would just scrunch up into the smallest part of your torso, instead of remaining upright and shaping your body. In many ways, the quality of boning determines the quality of your corset.
- That bustier you bought at the lingerie store? The skinny, squishable plastic featherboning in most lingerie bustiers (confusingly called “corsets” by some manufacturers) will kink on you before you know it, meaning it will form sharp bends that will stab straight into your soft bits. Ouch! A real corset is meant to be worn for an extended period (a whole day, if need be) without any discomfort or physical damage — to you or to itself! If you can just fold the boning in half, it’s not a real corset. All our boning comes with a warranty against kinking or poking out under normal use; if that ever happens, we’ll fix or replace it at no charge.
- Chest binders, wraps, or elastic support garments? Binders, fabric bandages, or wide elastic bands are often used by trans men, non-binary people, cross-dressers, and other people trying to de-emphasize their body curves. Unfortunately, these can cause a host of problems ranging from painful (pinching under the arms) to potentially dangerous (bruising, compressed nerves, and reduced blood flow), some of which can even cause long-term health issues. A properly boned corset shell distributes the compression over the entire length of the boning, so you don’t get the acute spot constriction of a binder. Think of it like this: if you have a neck injury, you’d be put in a stiff, self-supporting neck brace; no one would EVER wind and pull tight strips of cloth around your neck, because that would be really dangerous.
What if I need a corset for an unusual <size, shape, curvature, purpose, etc>?
Even off-the-rack Felix & Kitty corsets are made for a very inclusive range of sizes AND different body shapes, which aren’t the same thing as sizes. So if you have a hard-to-fit feature (extra-long or -short torso, AA- or G-cup bust, nonexistent or fabulous hips, or any variation you can think of), we’ve got you covered.
Then there’s the wide world of custom corsets. To date, we’ve made corsets for people who want to run marathons, create the illusion of breasts and hips, visually remove the existence of same, live in wheelchairs, replace bras, hold prosthetics, brace their backs, lift weights, andshow-jump horses. We’ve made discipline corsets for immobilizing, suspension corsets with attachments for harnesses, and compression therapy corsets for people suffering from anxiety. That’s not even the full list! Basically, if you can imagine it and describe/draw/show us pictures of it, chances are good that we can make it happen.
Corset Styles – Underbust
The top edge of an underbust corset sits right about the level where your chest turns into your abdomen. If you wear bras, it ends just about at bra band level.
This style is your best bet if you want:
- To maximize lower back support
- to get the greatest amount of waist reduction
- A corset (whether for support or shaping) that’s least likely to show under even lightweight or snug clothing
- To emphasize and not flatten a small bust
- Have sensitive skin that chafes easily at friction points (especially the underarm area)
Corset Styles – Overbust
The top edge of an overbust corset covers at least some of your chest area. The coverage can vary according to your preference, and can go high enough to wear as a stand-alone top or stop at the nipples. If you want to a corset that can create a straighter chest profile, replace bra wearing, support larger breasts, or otherwise modify the chest area, you pretty much need an overbust style.
Felix & Kitty corsets can usually be customized to accommodate even people who haven’t had success with overbust styles in the past. For example, because most corsets out there are made for only a small range of cup sizes, people with larger busts often assume that an overbust style means their chest will get shoved up to their chin – something that should NEVER happen in a properly fitted corset (unless you wanted it that way!).
Depending on how they’re shaped, overbust corsets can be used when you want:
- Support for your mid-back and relief from shoulder or back pain due to the weight of the bust
- Uplift and support without a bra, if you normally wear one
- Bust emphasis and enhanced cleavage
- To flatten or reduce the projection of your chest and create a straighter profile
- To solidly contain your chest and prevent bouncing or movement
- To visually lengthen your torso