Wearing and Caring For Your Corset
We’re sure it was le coup de foudre (love at first sight) when you finally laced up your new corset. You can’t stop admiring it, while being slightly intimidated (yet excited!). Exhilarated is how we at Lace Embrace want you to feel about this fabulous new addition to your wardrobe that will bring a delightful, sultry elegance to your life. We have a few tips that will ensure the new love affair goes smoothly, or l'histoire d'amour se passe bien, as the French say.
Getting Acquainted With Your Corset
The greatest love affairs unfold slowly, over time, and that’s how your relationship with your corset should be. On each of the first several occasions that you wear it, don’t lace the corset too tightly and measure your waist to ensure it hasn’t been reduced more than one inch. Too-tight lacing will cause discomfort and negativity towards the corset. It might also cause the stitching in the corset to pop, as the garment, too, must be broken in slowly and seasoned for long wearing pleasure. Also known as seasoning the corset.
Take It Slowly - Season the Corset
The first time you put on the corset, wear it for just two to four hours. The next time, tighten the corset another inch. Each time you wear it, tighten the corset by one-inch increments. Always wear it slightly looser than you think you might want, ensuring that you look forward to the next wearing. Enjoy the effortless, straight posture as well as the gentle, snug hugging sensation.
Leave lots of time to lace your corset and follow these steps. Or watch this video:
Lacing the Corset
Before putting your corset on, loosen the laces all the way so that there is a gap of four to six inches.
- Place the corset around you, over a tank top, slip or some other thin garment to keep your corset clean and free of body oils. Fasten the front busk, beginning with the middle clasps. The label should be at the top back of the corset and the lace ends are tied in a bow at the bottom.
- Ensure the corset is properly aligned on the body with the busk running straight down the centre front and the waist tape positioned at the smallest part of your waist.
- Pull the corset down over the hips and stomach at centre front. Corset adjustment should only be done on the front, do not pull it down at the back.
- Place your hand inside the top of the corset and gently pull the flesh of the tummy upwards in a smooth motion, while holding the bottom of the corset down at centre front. This ensures proper fit.
- Ensure the lacing is directly at the centre back with the pull loops at the waistline.
- Stand up straight with your shoulders back and pull the loops at the back waist, for the first cinch. You might want to try this elbow pull lacing trick.https://youtu.be/EIdDMkKBxTM
- Move the slack from the bottom up to the waist loops by pulling the laces from the third eyelet at the bottom. Pull the excess lacing at the waist loops, tightening the slack upwards towards the waistline which will create a smooth fit over the hips and tummy.
- Next, working from the top of the corset, tighten the laces down to the waistline.Ensure there is an even lacing gap from top to bottom.
- Tie the loops at the waist, keeping the bow loops short and the tail ends long. Tuck the loose ends up under the bottom edge of the corset.
An alternative way to tie the laces for beginners is by using the corsetieres knot.
Protect Your Corset
Lace Embrace offers special corset liners that will protect the corset from perspiration, or you can don a slip or tank top underneath. Compression tops also work well under your corset. You may also want to treat your corset to a fabric protector, such as Scotch Guard, ensuring spills can be easily wiped off. Never use Scotch Guard on silk corsets, however, and never put perfume on your corset, as it will fade the fabric. Apply perfume before putting your corset on.
Taking Off the Corset
The best and most gentle way of removing your corset is to first loosen the laces. Starting at the waist, work the slack from the waist up to the top and down to the bottom of the corset. Pull on the back bones to widen the lacing the gap, loosen the corset all the way before unclasping the busk ( loops and pins on the front). This will prevent putting unnecessary force on the corset. Once the corset is off, gently even out the back opening so that the corset is easy to put on the next time you wear it.
Airing Out the Corset
The corset should be aired out to freshen it from body oils. This can be done by placing the corset, with its inner lining side up, on a hanger or over a chair. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed on both sides. You may want to give the inner lining a quick, light spritz to freshen it with a home-made anti-bacterial mixture made of two parts vodka to one part water. Allow the corset to dry thoroughly before putting it away.
If the lace edging or flossing isn’t prone to sun damage, you may want to lay the corset in the sun occasionally to help refresh the lining. Don’t lay your corset in the sun for too long or the lining will fade.
Daily Wear Corsets
During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, women, and some men, wore corsets every day. Wearing the same corset all day long, however, will cause the garment to lose its shape and become unpleasantly soiled. If a woman desires to be corseted all day, it should be changed, much as you would switch up shoes between day and evening.
Caring for your Corset
In Victorian times, corseted ladies were not expected to clean their own garments, and had lady’s maids to keep their clothing clean, in perfect shape and sweet smelling.
Modern-day washing machines have replaced hired help. However, when it comes to cleaning your corset, it is imperative that you revert to old-fashioned cleaning methods. If you have the means to hire your own personal lady’s maid for such chores, we tip our bonnet to you. The majority of us, however, must take care of our beloved corsets ourselves. We present several tried-and-true tips that will ensure your corset remains clean and pristine, lasting you a lifetime.
What You Must Never Do
First, Lace Embrace implores you never to toss your corset in the washing machine. This will ruin the steel boning and cause your beautiful corset to become misshapen. Nor should you put it in the dryer to freshen it. We don’t recommend sending your silk or leather corset to the dry cleaners, either. Many brides have come to us in tears after the dry cleaner created a complete mess, faded, shrunken and distressed material of their precious corset.
Cleaning Your Cotton Corset
Occasionally, your corset may suffer an accidental stain or spotting. Any spot cleaning product should be used with care, and tested on a hidden or inconspicuous part to see if the product will damage the cover material. Lace Embrace recommends a mild detergent Rinse the area thoroughly to remove residue.
Handwashing your cotton corset is also possible using mild detergent and cold water and placing the garment in a bathtub or a container where you can lay it out flat. Gently massage stains and dirt with a mild detergent, then rinse it thoroughly. A soft toothbrush can be used to remove stubborn stains.Rinse well and let the excess water drip off for a minute or two.
Gently roll the corset in an unbleached, light-coloured towel to remove excess water. After 5 minutes, unroll the towel and remove the damp corset. Gently pull on the opposite ends of the bones to smooth out the corset and reshape. Hang it so that air can circulate around the corset.
Speciality Silk, Brocade & Leather Corsets
Silk, brocade and leather corsets must NOT be professionally dry cleaned, they will be damaged, simply spot clean the corset as needed. Leather corsets should be treated with leather conditioner.
Storing Your Corset
After airing your corset, put it away in a special storage place. Never roll it up and toss it into a drawer, which damages the exterior and could bend the steel boning. The corset should be kept in a cool, dry place, such as an acid-free archival box, lined with unbleached muslin or placed in an unbleached pure cotton pillowcase or specially made corset bag allowing the garment to lie flat.