You might not think there’s much to wearing a corset. After all, it’s been part of a woman’s wardrobe for not just decades, but centuries. Of course, there was also a time when women had lady’s maids on hand to help them get in and out of all their finery, corsets included.
The problem is that many women today are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of corsetry, even though the practice of wearing these waist-slimming garments is once again becoming more popular. If you don’t know how to properly fasten your corset, you’re likely to bend the busks, warp the boning, or even tear the textiles.
Your corset is hardly a gilded cage – if you damage the supports a bird won’t escape from within. However, you’ll find your garment very uncomfortable to wear. Considering how much you might spend on a good corset, the last thing you want to do is disfigure it before you get your money’s worth. What’s the best way to fasten a corset so that it can be properly seasoned and last for years to come? Here are a few tips to try.
If you see a corset laced up like a shoe, even a fancy pair of Chucks with straight lacing instead of Xs, somebody has made a mistake. There are many possible ways to lace your corset, but if you want to keep it in good shape, you need to lace it properly, which is to say, with the tie loops (or rabbit ears) in the middle (rather than at the bottom or top).
This configuration for lacing allows you to slowly tighten laces from either end so that they come out even in the middle, which is generally the narrowest part of your waist. This helps to maintain a straight line in the lacing down the center of your back, which is best for maintaining the shape of your garment and seasoning your corset to conform to your shape as you gradually tighten. [Have extra lacing? See: What to Do With Extra Laces in the Back of Your Corset]
When putting on your corset, you want the laces to be loose. You don’t want to have to struggle to hook the front closed. If you made the cardinal mistake of using the quick release when you last removed your corset (i.e. unhooking the busks without first loosening the laces), then it’s imperative that you loosen the laces before you put your corset back on.
You should start by hooking the middle loop and then working your way out to the top and bottom. This helps to stabilize the garment and makes it easier to hook all the pins. With laces suitably loosened, you can avoid misshapen boning that might otherwise occur.
Once your busks are fastened, it’s time to tighten the laces. This is best done by cinching laces from the ends toward the middle, where the ties are. The goal is to keep a straight line. You might need help to do this, but you can also hook loops around a doorknob to pull them tight before tying them. Keep in mind that there are tutorials to help you with every aspect of fastening (and unfastening) your corset, so you can do it properly and preserve your garment.