A close-up of a gold silk corset on a mannequin

Choosing Your First Waist Training Corset

As you plan your first steps with waist training, the most exciting decision is surely the styling of the corset that will mark the beginning of your journey! What colours, what textures, what shape will you choose? Here’s a short guide to some of the things you should start to consider before we get overwhelmed with the enticing possibilities.

Cut And Shaping

If a corsetiere asks you what cut you would like, we are usually referring to two main distinctive shapes that hold within them a world of variation. “Hourglass” and “wasp waist”.


Hourglass is a term used to describe a cut that largely follows the natural shape of the ribs down from the underbust. Around halfway down to the waist, the shaping then nips in to your reduced waist size. This is what I recommend for first time wearers or people seeking all day comfort. This is because it can be worn comfortably without extended training, and it has the least impact on your ribs. I also recommend this style to individuals with a small “waist to hip ratio” as it can be used to make the waist reduction seem more dramatic than it truly is.  An hourglass cut produces a softer, curvier silhouette, which focuses attention on the waist point when nicely balanced.

Wasp Waist

A wasp waist is what most people think of when they envision a true Victorian corset. It carries a severe, almost diagonal or conical line between underbust and waist. This tapers the lower floating ribs into an elongated shape through extended wear, and these changes are semi-permanent. Training a wasp waist is achieved steadily over time, and we make various adjustments in a corset design to accommodate it. I always think that this style gives the most definition to the hips, as the hips usually retain a natural curve and fullness in comparison to the severe lines above the waist.

NB: This is usually the stage at which beginners ask us if the waist reduction they choose will be a permanent effect. The answer is no- your body shape may change during the course of training through various causes (diet changes, the need for a regular exercise regime etc) but do not expect your waist to retain its corseted shape permanently.

Black mesh training corset with silk satin panels and gold hardware.


Most frequently, we are asked to make our corsets as light as possible to remain discreet beneath work-wear and daily attire. Certain styles may be more suited to this than others. For instance, we would shape the upper edges to blend in with your bra line, if you wear a bra. Lifestyle requirements will also affect your colour scheme for the corset. For instance, if you wear a white shirt to work every day, a flesh tone corset will likely be essential. You may want the corset to function as smart outer wear for weekends and evenings as well as underwear for the daytime. Or you may wear clinging clothing that will affect our choices of hardware. All objectives can be accommodated, so make us aware of what you need.

Body Type

 Do you carry your curves in your hips? Do you want additional support in this area? Perhaps you have a post natal tummy that you’d like to smooth down, or you have a “sway back” or curved spine that requires more fluid support. Some styles of corset target specific areas. For instance a tapered panel to flatten the stomach, or low sways on the hips to keep the lower half of the figure smooth and sleek. If you’ve worn “off the rack” corsets up until now, don’t forget to talk to us about what did and didn’t work for you with what you’ve tried so far. Also, up-to-date pictures of you wearing said corsets, showing problem areas or features that you’ve liked, will be helpful beyond measure. The last client who took the time to do this responded to my feedback by saying “you’ve just told me more about my corset than even I knew!”

When it comes to design, the world is at our feet, we can create the most elaborate and beautiful waist training corsets that are still utterly practical, but these cornerstones will help us to keep the styling specific to you and your needs. After all, it’s no good giving you an exquisitely made corset that could have been created for just anyone!

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