Frequently Asked Questions about Corsetry

Here you can find a list of frequently asked questions about corset basics and health and safety. It is important to note that you may find differing or conflicting information/terms elsewhere. This is mostly due to the fact that many corseting terms are used interchangeably. If you need something clarified, feel free to ask questions.

What is "Waist Training" and what is the difference between a waist trainer and an authentic corset?

Waist Training is the art of wearing waist training devices for long, constant periods of time in order to create a physical reduction in the waist.

A Waist Trainer is not a corset but rather a form of "shapewear". It is a flexible, often plastic boned latex garment with hook-and-eye closures. It is sometimes called a cincher (not to be confused with a corset cincher/waspie).

An Authentic Corset is a steel boned fabric garment with back lacing and often a front closure such as a busk, that creates a form of shaping in the waist area.

A Fashion Corset also referred to as a "bodice" is a garment that is not used for waist training. They are usually worn by those who would just like to wear a beautiful corset garment for an event because they provide a mild level of instant shaping for a short period of time. It is not meant to affect the shape of your waist in the long term and is not an extreme form of waist shaping.

Please make sure to specify exactly what your intended purpose is for your corset as I will need this information to custom create this piece in a fashion that will be able to withstand your needs.

What is tightlacing?

Tightlacing is an extreme form of waist shaping although it isn't necessarily a form of waist training. You may find that people who tight lace will only do so for a once off event or a photoshoot or a performance... however there are some people who are aiming to waist train to an extreme level of waist shaping, and will therefore "waist train" in a corset with extreme waist shaping.

What is a neck corset?

Neck corsets are just that - corsets for your neck. They do not act the same as body corsets in that they don't offer any sort of restrictive "shaping" and are only meant to fit snugly. They are purely meant for decorative purposes although they are sometimes used within the fetish community.

What is a corset body?

A Corset Body (sometimes called a corset bodysuit) is a one-piece corset garment that covers the torso and crotch area while also offering the desired shaping of a corset.

I notice that corsets come in a variety of shapes/silhouettes. What are the differences and how do they affect the body differently?

Corset silhouettes are mostly chosen because it is what the wearer prefers, but is also true that different styles naturally have varying degrees of shaping extremes as well as varying pressure points on the body. Wasp or hourglass shaping often lends itself to a more extreme form of waist shaping than the softer U-shape.

Conical shapes have no cupping around the lower rib cage area which is a beautiful look, but tends to put more pressure on the floating ribs and breathing organs than other shapes.

Please see the shaping options available under the Client FAQ section

Are Corsets Safe to Wear?

There is a long running debate about whether or not corsets are safe to wear. You can find an overwhelming amount of negative opinions based on out-of-date information and ignorant assumptions, as well as many scientific articles about the sort of ways corsetry can affect your body both negatively... and positively!

As with everything... you need to practice safe and gradual corset wearing. If you are going to insist on constantly wearing over-tightened, badly fitting, extreme waist shaping corsets with little to no training, then you are only asking for trouble.

It is completely untrue that corset wearing can cause issues like lung diseases and permanent organ compression. Ill fit and certain conical corset shapes can most definitely put pressure on the diaphragm/lungs, but you will not experience permanent reshaping and infections in your breathing organs.

As for your other organs, they are meant to shift inside the body whether it be for movement, digestive purposes or even pregnancy. Wearing a corset is safe in that does not cause any organ shifting and compression more drastic than what normally occurs during pregnancy.

Muscle atrophy is also a common criticism of corset wearing, however this has only been reported in constant corset wearing particularly in subjects who maintain inactive lifestyles.

Skeletal deformities are also another criticism of corsetry, yet only found in those wearing tight fitting waist training corsets from young ages. The human skeleton is fairly malleable at this stage and does not reach peak development until early adulthood. It is for this reason that I offer only fashion corsets with minimal waist shaping for clients under the age of 18.

Blood pressure can change from corsetry in the same way that the blood pressure of weight lifters is affected by wearing a training belt. If the body does not have time to adjust to the change in pressure, you may experience an immediate increase by up to 15 %. It is important to lace and unlace gradually. If blood pressure is a concern for you, please speak to your medical practitioner before using a corset.

There is plenty of information available online about the effects of corsets on the body and I urge potential clients to research everything properly and make up their own minds. Please feel free to contact me directly if you would like to further discuss the effects of corsetry on the body or any queries or concerns you might have.

What are some of the positive effects of corsetry?

Besides the obvious that corsets can be beautiful and offer a very attractive form of waist shaping!
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that corsetry can:

  • Correct back posture, which helps to reduce back pain and strengthen back muscles
  • Strengthen core muscles
  • Support large busts which helps to reduce back pain
  • Reduce menstrual cramps through uterine wall support
  • Aid in correcting scoliosis (Many people with scoliosis will wear spine correcting medical body braces growing up. Corsets work very similarly to these body braces)
  • Help those with hypermobile joint issues
  • Aid in compression therapy for those with autism, depression and anxiety disorders

I heard that corsets can cause skin rashes and infections. Is this true?

Wearing a corset without a liner or a garment between your skin and the corset can definitely cause chaffing and if left untreated, can most certainly become infected. Not only do liners prevent this, they are also an integral part of keeping your corset from absorbing the oils and sweat excreted from your body. You can either purchase a liner to wear under your corset or just wear a garment such as a tight fitting stretch tank top underneath it.

Is there an age limit to wearing a corset?

No. People of all ages wear corsets and it is entirely your decision if you want to wear one. Just remember to take your health and any medical conditions into consideration when looking to buy a corset.

Having said that, under no circumstances will I recommend cosmetic waist training for a client under the age of 18 years as waist training is a form of body modification and the human skeleton is also not fully developed at the age of a minor.

I have a medical condition that may be affected by wearing a corset. Can I still use one?

It is important that you speak to your licensed medical practitioner about whether or not a corset is right for you. Please see the Skeleton Key Couture Medical Disclaimer for more information.

My doctor has recommended a medical corset for my condition. Can I purchase one from you?

If your medical practitioner is able to oversee the whole process of corset creation, then yes! Please ask your doctor to contact me directly so we can discuss.

I am experiencing some pain or numbness. Is this normal?

NO. Corsetry may cause some discomfort but it is NEVER meant to be a painful experience or numb any areas of the body. If you are experiencing pain in any form from wearing a corset, remove it immediately and please speak to your corsetiere or a licensed medical practitioner ASAP.

If you are experiencing numbness of any kind, it may be because your corset has been laced too tightly over a certain area, such as your hips. Loosen the laces of this area to see if the numbness goes away. if not, remove the corset immediately and please speak to your corsetierre or a licensed medical practitioner ASAP.