5 Features to Look for in a Quality Off The Rack (OTR) Corset

Features to Look for in a Quality Off The Rack (OTR) Corset

Featured Corset: Jolie Black Cotton Corset

There’s certainly something to be said for the custom appeal of bespoke corsets, which are made to fit your personal proportions perfectly. Unfortunately, their high price tag makes them a no-go for many waist-training women.

This leaves you with off-the-rack (OTR) options that may or may not perfectly suit your needs. If you’re a typical size, you’ll probably be fine, but if your proportions don’t fall within the norms, you could have a lot more trouble.

The nice thing about the corseting world, as opposed to other fashion niches, is that many companies strive for inclusivity. You just have to look for the right brands and features to get what you want.

Here are a few factors that could help you find the best off the rack (OTR) corsets to suit your particular needs and preferences.

Sizing and Fit

This is an important factor, whether you’re buying custom or ready-to-wear garments. Sizing is particularly critical for off-the-rack clothing because, unlike custom garments, you don’t have the opportunity to make adjustments.

When it comes to corsets in particular, they must fit snugly and comfortably in order to provide the necessary compression and support.

Comfort being a paramount consideration, you’ll need to start by taking accurate measurements, including:

  • Underbust (and bust, if buying overbust models)
  • Waist
  • Hip
  • Torso length

You’ll want to look for these measurements when you start perusing corsetry. Good brands will offer some or all of these basic specifications, but if they’re not listed, consider contacting customer service for further information. They should be able to help you find the size and fit you want.

Strength and Durability

By its very nature, waist training puts a lot of stress on your corset. Since you likely plan to wear your corset at least eight hours a day, you need to make sure that any garment you buy is built to stand up to extended use.

This starts by purchasing steel-boned corsets that feature robust textiles like cotton coutil, satin, brocade, mesh, or even leather. Ideally, the corset should feature an inner lining meant to provide soft contact with your skin. It also serves to protect the garment from sweat and oil that can damage it over time.

You can get an idea of how resilient garments might be by researching manufacturers. Do they specifically cater to a waist training audience or are they geared more toward performance artists, who may wear corsets infrequently and only for short periods of time? This could tell you a lot about the quality and longevity you can expect.

Cost and Overall Value

There’s no denying that decent corsets will cost you, but when it comes to waist training corsetry, you really do get what you pay for. The good news is that you can find perfectly good OTR corsets for around $100, although you can certainly pay more.

What value will additional cost infer? Like most avenues of fashion, a higher price could be related to nothing more than a brand name, so you’ll definitely want to do your research. With that being said, greater cost could also mean better material, construction, attention to detail, and ultimately, longevity.

If you’re working with a budget, you’re new to corsetry, or you’re not familiar with the brands that are out there, start with something in the hundred-dollar range and see how it works for you. As you become more committed to the waist training process, consider saving up for something a little more expensive to see what works best for you.

Customer Care

When you shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for custom-tailored corsetry, you’re going to receive a high level of personal attention. While you can’t reasonably expect the same level of service when you purchase OTR garments, you’ll find that some corsetieres still offer exceptional customer care, particularly when it comes to answering your questions and helping you to find the garments that best suit your needs and preferences.

Ethical Practices

Slave labor and forced labor may not exist in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean they aren’t prevalent in other parts of the world. Some clothing manufacturers are not above using cheap, overseas labor to reduce their costs. These are not the companies that you want to support.

How can you tell whether the corsets you want to purchase are ethically sourced? Some companies are open about their labor practices, touting “made in America” status or detailing their ethical practices right on their website. You can start by checking the “about” section of a website to see what a company stands for.

If there is no information readily available on the topic, don’t hesitate to contact customer service and ask. An ethical company will be forthcoming with such information.

When you pay attention to sizing and fit, construction quality, overall value, and the core values of different corset companies, you’re sure to find garments that meet your needs, along with brands that suit your sensibilities.

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