Monday, August 24, 2015

So you now have your corset...Now what?

I've been on a rant lately over what a corset is and isn't, but it has recently been brought to light that many people don't understand what to do with a corset once they get it as far as care.

First of all, let me say this. a tight lacing corset is like a bra or any lingerie really, it's meant to be replaced every six months. Now we all have that bra that we have had for years that's just more comfortable, and I'm not saying that it's not possible to extend the life, I'm just saying this is what to keep in mind. Now six months is considering you wear your corset like a bra, at least 12 hours a day, so if you only wear it for special occasions, you're already extending the life.

Why such a relatively short time? Fabric. Honestly, the fabric of the corset will wear out long before you will break any bones. I have recycled many a corset's insides because of this fact. The same goes for bras and that teddy. Fabric has a limited life span. Period.

Here are ways that you can extend the life of your corset: 

  • Washing
    • This seems like a no-brain-er but I'm going to start with this. You should not be throwing your corset in the washing machine and dyer. I am guilty of this, and I do it with my bras too, but the process is very hard on the fabric and will shrink the life of your item.
    • Instead, gently hand wash your corset (an bras!) with a mild detergent and leave flat to dry. 
  • Multiples
    • If you do intend to wear your corset every day, it is a good idea to have more than one. This way you can switch them out for washing, as well as give one a brake. 
  • What's underneath?
    • It's a good idea to invest in some tube tops or tank tops to go under your corset if you are not wearing it over something already. I've always been one of those people who thought, "why bother?" when told this, because I don't wear one under my bra, so why my corset? 
    • This again comes down to the fabric. All day you sweat, you shed, you secrete, your body has a whole mess of chemical processes going on through out the day. All of that gets into the fabric and eats at it. It doesn't make much of a difference what the fabric is, eventually your body will break it down. Having something between your skin and the corset, helps slow this process down. 
    • Think of it like a mattress cover. It keeps all that human gunk from seeping in a bit longer. 
  • Putting on and Removing
    • I have heard several people say that they want to lace up the corset and then just leave the laces and be able to put it on and off laced up. 


    • You should always loosen a corset before taking it off. 1) It gives your body time to adjust back to "normal" shaping. You are pushing around fat, organs, and any other squishy bits when you lace up your corset. Your body needs time to adjust them back and get used to the feel of things again. Failing to do this could make you sick, dizzy or even pass out. And 2) It's really bad for the fabric. Just like your body needs time to adjust, the fabric does too. Fabric (though it is very tight these days) is still a woven fiber. When that fiber is stretched, it needs time to adjust back, or it could rip. It will weaken. 
    • And putting a corset on is work enough, trying to put it on while it is tight is like trying to squeeze yourself into a pair of skinny jeans that's a size too small. It may be possible, but it is going to take a lot more effort, and won't look as good. 
    • Instead, if you live alone like I do, or other wise do not have a person dedicated to dressing you every morning, buy extra long laces. This will help you keep the laces tight as you work up and down the corset to get the proper fit. It may not fit exactly the same as having some one lace you up, but it will fit better than trying to squeeze into it once it is already laced, and (maybe more importantly) it will extend the life of your corset) 
  • Storing
    • You really should store your corset flat if at all possible. Not fully extended and unlaced, but the busk released and laces folded so that both fabric pieces can lay flat. 
    • If you don't have room for that, the next best thing is to keep the busk latched, fold it at the side seams as you would wear it, then fold those sides in to meet the middle. Don't forces it, allow it to do it's thing. 
    • If you absolutely must hang it, repeat the flat position of step one, and slide the hanger so that the laces are what's resting on it. Laces are cheap and easily replaced if they miss shape, your corset isn't. Hangers are also very mean to fabric. 

If you do these things, you should be able to extend the life of your corset. I do have a few that I have had for 6-7 years. These are ones that I only wear occasionally. 3 years is about the longest I've had a regular use corset go before the fabric started to rip. This is compared to the 5-8 months before I have to toss a bra out. This isn't something you are going to buy one of and never have to buy another. So invest wisely, and take care of your corset!

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