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It's been called many names: modesty panel, lacing protector, modesty flap or lacing flap, back flap, back panel, placket. All are terms for the slim-boned piece of fabric designed to slide between the back laces of a corset and the wearer's skin. Sometimes it floats freely, and sometimes it's sewn into the corset proper.
Anatomy of a Corset
A true corset will have rigid boning, lacing in the back and fasteners in the front. The frontspiece is called the busk. You don the corset with the laces loose, close the busk, then tighten the laces, which are never removed. The boning helps shape your torso. To remove, you loosen the laces before unhooking the busk. There are lots of corset-inspired garments out there, and they're called by lots of names. Unless it laces in the back, fastens in the front and has rigid boning throughout, however, it's not a true corset.
Why Wear a Modesty Panel?
Wearing something between your corset and your skin protects the corset from sweat and skin oils. Historically, a chemise of cotton or linen was the garment of choice for this purpose; nowadays you can also use an undershirt. A modesty panel will help you hide the evidence of your undergarment and present a more formal, put-together look.
If you have sensitive skin that might be irritated by the laces of the corset, a back panel can help. Or you simply might not like the way your skin bulges when you're laced up tight. Modesty panel to the rescue!
There are several reasons not to wear a modesty panel. You might like the risque look of bare skin peeking through the laces. Or your corset might be snug enough that there's barely any skin to show. You may find a modesty panel too fiddly or uncomfortable.