Selecting the Perfect Corset: Sizing and Style Tips, Part 1

Corset Shopping Guide for the Novice Corset Buyer

Nearly everyday we get questions from new customers looking to buy their first authentic steel boned corset from Orchard Corset. What size do I need? Which corset should I buy if I have a short waist? a long waist? small hips? large hips? large breasts?…and the list goes on and on. Here are some tips compiled from our knowledgeable staff and customer feedback we receive.

How to Measure:

When you wrap the tape measure around you, pull it taut but not tight. Don’t leave any slack in the tape, but don’t create a crease or indent in your body by pulling it too tightly. You will need your natural waist (often the smallest part of your waist-check out this video), hips, underbust and fullest part of your bust (for overbust corsets) in inches. We will discuss corset length in part 2.

underbust crop

Underbust measurement

Waist measurement

Waist measurement

upper-hip crop

Upper hip measurement


When I measured myself, the smallest part of my waist was about 27″, my underbust just shy of 30″ (37″ at the fullest part) and my upper hip was about 36″. The fullest part of my hip measures about 40″, but your corset will not come down that far. With these measurements I am pretty solid size 22 with just barely enough hip curve for the 426. The 411 and 426 short fit great, as does the 201 and 301 if I am in the mood for a shorter fitting corset.

Silhouette Level:


CS-426 in Black Satin. Notice that the bottom of the corset is almost closed, forming a ‘V’ shape in the laces. Not a tragedy, but parallel is what we’re looking for here. She just doesn’t have quite enough hip to fill out the 426.

Orchard Corset has developed and exclusive system for determining the “curviness” factor of a corset. This is determined by taking your waist -upper hip and waist-underbust ratios to determine how curvy you are to help you choose a corset that will fit properly. It’s possible to create more curves than you have by moving up a silhouette level, but new corset wearers should take the time and select a corset that isn’t too far from your natural shape. The leaner you are-the more you will need to select a corset that has your shape. If you are blessed with some extra fluff, then the corset will redistribute tummy weight to fill out the top and bottom of your corset, in essence shaping you to the corset. As you can see from to the right, Danielle doesn’t quite have enough hip to wear the 426. The bottom can close completely, but not the rest of the corset. Check out our Silhouette Level Guide to see where you fit. Remember, this is not an exact science-just a guideline.

Silhouette Level
Bust-Waist Ratio
Hip-Waist Ratio
Level 1 Moderate
4-5 in. (UB) 5-6 in. (OB)
6-7 inches
Level 2 Enhanced
5-6 in. (UB) 7-8 in (OB)
7-9 inches
Level 3 Extreme
6+ in (UB) 8+ in (OB)
10+ inches

How to Determine the Right Size:

As a rule of thumb, we have our customers order 4-7 inches below their natural waist size. So if you have a 29″ waist, you would order a size 24 corset. However. there are other factors to consider. If you aren’t looking to really cinch up your waist, but perhaps are more interested in back support, fashion, or a costumed event, then we recommend only 3-5 inches. That would mean that same 29″ waist could order a size 26 (depending on curve and type of clothing worn under the corset). Brand new corset wearers should error on the side of too big and work your way into a smaller corset. Another important factor is the “squish” factor. Lean muscle is not going to have as much give as soft tissue. So if you have 28″ waist that is packed with muscle and very little soft tissue, you will find cinching down to a 22″  corset very challenging and very uncomfortable. Whereas someone with a 34″ waist with ample soft tissue will be able to cinch down into a 28″ or even a 26″ corset, depending on their level of experience. Individuals with longer torsos will also find it easier to lace down-more area to spread the excess “fluff”. If you are tall and have lots of extra fluff, you may find 8-10 inches is not too extreme a reduction. Check out part 2 of this blog for more information on corset length and overbust/underbust comparison.

If you’re still not sure what size and style of corset is right for you, head over to the sizing page of our website, give us your measurements, and one of our sizing experts will be happy to help you!

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1138 Responses

  1. Sodasia

    Hey guys! I was wondering what email address we would send measurements to if we wanted advice on which corset would be best for us?? Thanks!

          1. Sodasia

            Sorry just one more question! So I just ordered the 426 short and haven’t gotten it yet but wanted to know, will it have a high enough back to sorta help my upper back or “bra bulge” because OMGG I hate that and when I wear costume corsets even I tend to have like so much extra it’s so annoying and I wanna just compact it all. Have I ordered the right corset to sorta help me with that? I have like a ten inch torso and a 34 and a half inch waist, a 35 and a half inch underbust and about a 43″ upper hip. If this corset isn’t right can I exchange it?

            Thanks for your answers in advance!

          2. Hi again! Don’t even worry about it! The short 426 has a high back which helps with back bulge and smoothing everything out 🙂 If you get a lot of back bulge that you want to try and smooth out more, you can try our Vedette 941 or a longline bra with your corset to help smooth you out. That corset sounds like it will be a good fit for you. Which size did you get? We have 30-day return policy in case you don’t love it. And our sizing team is always happy to help too! Let us know if we can help with anything else. 😀

  2. Hello there – I’m very new to this ‘corset’ forum and information, so I am hoping someone can help me a little. I’m not even sure if I’m measuring properly but here goes…. I have been measuring in inches by the way. My body shape is quite small and petite already – but I am obsessed with an hourglass shape of a very tiny waist, especially with wearing those poodle ‘circle’ skirts with the petticoat flaring out… and tight dresses.

    Here are my measurements:

    Height: 5’15 foot (157cm)
    Waist: 25′ inches
    Bust: 31′ inches
    Under bust: 28′ inches
    High hip: 31′ inches
    Low hip: 34′ inches

    Unfortunately I have a little bit of a lower tummy gut, and absolutely no bust. I’m really looking for a corset that will hopefully clench my waist in… as I have given up on trying to push up my non-existent bust.

    But do you think it’s wise for me to try the ‘overcast corset’ so that it will help with my flat chest? Or should I just opt for an ‘underbust’ corset?

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  4. Charlvannah

    Hi there
    I’ve been looking for a corset that fits well but no bulging also comfortable to wear for long periods of time I don’t know my torso size but
    I’m 5’2
    Waist 38.5
    Bust 44
    Under bust 37
    High hip 41
    Low hip 49.5
    I’m squishy in the back looking for something to slim me down and make whatever I have on loom appealing to me in any type of clothing and something that won’t make my butt look like a box I’ve recently lost weight #needhelpplease

    1. Hello! #happytohelpyou 😉 I would go with a size 32 in the 411 or the 345 style. I think that the 345 (if you have enough torso length for it) will be a great choice because it has a higher back and can smooth out back squish. I hope that helps! Let us know if we can help with anything else!

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