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No corset is going to be exactly comfy when you're not used to boning and laces. Beginner corsets are easier to wear, whether you're heading to the renaissance fair or planning to wear a corset at your wedding. A good quality beginner corset should allow you to breathe, and sit and move without difficulty while still giving you a nipped-in waist and perfect posture.
A basic hourglass corset is ideal for anyone new to corsetry and creates a shape that pairs well with modern wedding gowns and formal wear. The hourglass shaped corset allows ample space for the hips and ribs, while creating a slim waistline. Historical corsets create different silhouettes, from a conical shape to an S-curve and may be less practical for a beginner. Hourglass style corsets are available in underbust and overbust styles. An underbust corset requires a separate bra, while an overbust corset does not.
Measuring for a corset isn't like measuring for clothes. You'll need a standard cloth tape measure, but you'll want to measure quite snugly, rather than aiming for even tension or a slightly loose measuring tape. In terms of comfort, your waist measurement is less important than length measurements. Measure the distance between your waist and the crease of your thigh to make sure you can sit and bend comfortably. Many hourglass-shaped corsets dip lower at the center front and back, providing tummy coverage and a smoother hip line. Determine how low you can go comfortably, keeping in mind that you'll need to be able to take care of your personal needs without asking for help unlacing in the ladies' room. If you're buying an overbust style, take your full bust measurement.
How Low Can You Go
Corsets, particularly hourglass styles, are designed to shape your waist. While experienced corset wearers may opt to take as much as six inches or more off their waists, if you're new to corsetry, subtract no more than four inches when you order your corset. Lacing allows you to adjust your corset for your comfort, reducing your waist by more or less depending upon your activities.
A custom corset doesn't come cheap, but if you're handy with a sewing machine you can get an hourglass figure on a budget. Creating your own corset does require some special supplies, including specialty corset fabric called coutil, grommets and spiral steel boning. Several companies produce basic corset patterns to help you get started, but as with a custom corset, you'll need to adjust the length to fit your body.