My New Years Resolution for 2013 is to experiment with corset training.  Nothing crazy.  Nothing extreme. I'm just curious about the effect consistent pressure on the natural waist will have on my very modern body.

Anyone who studies historical costuming will notice the quite large differences in proportion throughout different periods.  We come to expect an exaggerated difference in Victorian proportion, because we know they wore corsets, but there is also a rather large difference between 1950s proportion and now.  Why is this?

The answer is quite simple - we no longer wear anything tight around our waists.  No really - think about it - with the exception of the occasional off-the-rack dress or pencil skirt, next to nothing in ready-to-wear clothing is designed to fit at your natural waist.  Sewing patterns from the major pattern companies don't even fit at the natural waist.

The effect this has on our modern bodies is that there is no constriction to the waist whatsoever, and so it is free to do as it likes (not necessarily a bad thing).  If you are like me, and you have a sweet tooth, or a Jack-In-The-Box tooth, then that nipped-in waist may go out the door rather quickly.

Here is my body.  I am a tube.  This is the result of low-rise jeans
So I'm curious to see what effect a confined waist has on my body.  I'm also interested to see if this day-to-day training will have an effect on my costumed silhouette, as I have read that corset training allows one to reduce the waist far more than previously, when wearing a corset.

My current measurements, here for the public, are:

  • Natural un-bound waist - 28 inches
  • Victorian corseted waist - 27 inches (or 26 if I really squeeze)
  • My goal - 25 inches
  • My extreme goal - 24 inches

I've started off with a very simple, light-weight corset I bought on eBay.  It's no great thing, and cost less than a pair of jeans, but it came with a steel busk, and is the proportion I wanted - an underbust with a short length - to be able to wear with jeans and under sweaters every day, without being noticeable.  By no means is this a work of corsetry art, but it fits as well as my old Victorian, my own make, and reduces my waist gently and comfortably to 27 inches.

This corset, day 1, give a comfortable 1 inch reduction to my natural waist.  I have 2 more inches I can squeeze, to close the gap in back, before moving to a more curvaceous corset.
I plan to wear this until the edges in back are touching - there is about a 2 inch gap right now - and while that is happening, I will be working on an authentic Victorian corset, drafted by Chrissy of The Laced Angel, that includes all the hip and bust fullness necessary to achieve a considerably smaller waist.

My overall intention with this experiment is not to deform my body, but to study the effects, and to attempt to improve my proportions when wearing historical costumes.  I will report my progress regularly here. :-)