Corset 101: Tight Lacing vs Waist Training

Tight-Lacing vs Waist-Training

What’s the Difference?

With the influx of novice corset wearers, we are frequently asked about tight-lacing and waist-training: What does it mean? How do you do it? What corset should I buy? And it has become apparent that these two terms are often used interchangeably-and they are definitely NOT the same thing! Tight-lacing is a method in which you would lace and wear a corset. Waist training is done over time, with the goal of achieving a semi-permanent reduction in your waist line.

CS-426 Underbust Corset in Gun Metal Gray

Let’s begin with tight lacing, as it is pretty quick and easy to explain.Tight lacing is just what it sounds like: lacing your corset tightly to promote an hourglass figure. Steel boned corsets are worn for many reasons and situations. Some people wear them as a fashion statement, while others wear under clothing for back and posture support. However, many women are looking for that classic hourglass figure to really turn heads at a special event. Tight lacing involves cinching up your corset for a limited amount of time. A corset should never be worn so tight as to cause pain or shortness of breath. Unless you are accustomed to tight lacing-this will be hard to do for more than an hour or so. It is amazing the level of curve you can get without extreme cinching! Women (or men) who are just looking to tight-lace are usually not looking for any permanent waistline reduction, and therefore are not looking to wear their corset for long periods of time.

Examples of moderate and extreme waist training


Waist training, on the other hand, is a process done over a long period of time often with a specific goal in mind. When you begin a waist training regiment, you should first season (break in) your corset by wearing it just a couple of hours at a time, and not too tight. The corset needs time to shape to your body, and your body needs time to adjust to the corset. Forcing a corset to lace-up with your first wearing can damage the corset (not to mention YOU). Over time, with dedication, you will need to move down into a smaller corset as you train down your waist. Waist reduction through corseting can provide you with semi-permanent waist reduction as opposed to permanent waist reduction. What this means is you will notice a reduction in your waistline even without the corset, but if should decide to stop corseting altogether, it is likely you will see your former shape return.

A question we get often is “How long before I see results?”-so often we made a video for that too!

Lucy reviewing our CS-426 Maroon Longline Underbust Corset

Orchard Corset offers a great selection of steel-boned corsets for both the novice and experienced waist trainer, as well as stunning corsets for just about any occasion. Check out our Sizing Page for valuable tips and suggestions.

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131 Responses

  1. Megs

    This article says that tight lacing is more for fashion and non permanent waist reduction, waist training is semi permanent, and you mention permanent results, but no explanation on what method would be used for that… Is there one?

    1. Hi Megs! Corsets & waist training can only provide semi-permanent results over time. This blog post means to distinguish tightlacing vs waist training, but we have lots of newer blog posts on what waist training is and what you can and cannot expect from it. Check out our this link, you might find it really helpful 🙂

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  8. I’ve been wearing corsets for years for fashion only, but have never thought much about waist training until lately. I have a natural hour glass figure, but I would like it to be more dramatic. I’ve found a lot of great information on this site, but I am wondering how difficult the transition from casual wear to waist training will actually be. And will any of my current corsets be useable in actual waist training?

    1. The difficulty of transition depends on how dedicated you are to waist training, and how you feel about wearing your corset now. If you have found that in the past you can’t WAIT to get your corset off after wearing it for a couple of hours or that you are so happy you don’t have to wear one on Sunday after wearing it for an event on Saturday night, you might find waist training a bit challenging. If you really look forward to wearing them for fashion and would like a great excuse for wearing them more often, it probably won’t be difficult at all!

      Regarding whether your current fashion corsets will be suitable…are they steel boned (see if a magnet will stick to the boning or not to test it), and can you cinch the laces, i.e. if you can fully close the corset you will need a smaller size. If you’ve been mainly wearing fashion corsets with acrylic/plastic boning, stop by our sizing page and give our sizing experts your measurements so that you can start out with the right size and style. http://www.orchardcorset.com/corset-sizing/

      1. In that case I don’t think the transition will be that hard, I love any excuse to wear a corset and wear them as often as I can. (I live in a rather rural area so I get some strange looks more often than not. But I don’t care!)
        As for the the corsets I already own, I have two very nice steel boned in black. I have gained some weight in the last few months and have had to get laces of the proper length to wear them lately. (The laces they came with were a couple feet too short, not a problem when I was skinnier.) But I am of a squishy sort these days, so they still fit pretty well.
        I will probably take my measurements, and order more corsets to have a larger variety available for more casual wear.
        Thank you so much!!

    1. Hi Tatiana,

      There are countries in South America we do ship to (I can answer to a specific country if you wish to share, otherwise when you check out if will either allow you or not). We cannot accept payment via Western Union-we take most credit cards or paypal.

  9. Catalina

    Hi there !
    I just wanted to clarify some things if you don’t mind.
    So I wanna waist train just to get my waist a little smaller I have big hips which I love but I would love to accentuate them with a smaller waist. So to season the corset I have to wear if 1-2 hours a day for how long ? Then can I just wear it while I sleep at nights ? Or is that not long enough ? I understand different people see results at different times but what kind of things play a role into seeing faster results ( what can I do right lol), after I get my desired results, how often do I have to do maintenance ? Is it like a once a week thing or is it less more ?

    Thank you in advance

    1. Hi Catalina, I’ll do my best to answer, but I have to warn you that everyone’s waist training results will vary due to the MANY factors that play into it. I’ll refer you first to our blog on the subject and Lucy’s Corsetry video on the same subject. Here is the information on seasoning. Generally people are not able to lace as tightly when sleeping in a corset so its hard to say whether wearing it during sleeping only will give you the results you’re looking for. You’ll probably have to experiment a bit. It does seem to be more important to wear it regularly than to wear it for a long time then take an extended break, though. (once again results will vary!). The only way you will be able to tell how much you will need to wear it to maintain your results is to slowly reduce the days and hours that you are corseting. Keep an eye on the tape measure!

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