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. It’s important to remember that when lacing a corset, you lace evenly. This means keeping the gap at the laces over the modesty panel equidistant from top to bottom, to ensure an even pull across the corset.

Properly Laced CS-511 Royal Blue

This will help maintain the shape, structure and life of your corset.  Women who are just looking to tight-lace are 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. 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. For more on this, we recommend watching Lucy at Lucy’s Corsetry, or check out our very own Danielle on her YouTube channel!

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.

73 thoughts on “Corset 101: Tight Lacing vs Waist Training

  1. Heather C. Key

    I’m more interested in wearing a corset as an aid to posture – but on a daily basis. So I guess what I want is something in between tight-lacing and waist training (as I don’t really need/want the waist reduction). What do you suggest?

    Reply
      1. Cheri Dudek Post author

        Just saw this! I think a size 28 in the 301 if you have a torso shorter than 8 inches. If it is longer (closer to 10″) then the 345 or 411 should work.

        Reply
  2. Darlene

    Hello. I am very interested in ordering a corset for waist training. I have had two babies in the last five years (one a year ago) and have not been able to get my stomach back to a size that I’m comfortable with when wearing clothes. On top of that, I developed a gastrointestinal hernia during my first pregnancy that caused my stomach to pooch out even more. While it has now been repaired with surgery a few years back, my pooch came back once again with my second pregnancy. My stomach is very soft and squishy and nothing I have found so far seems to work properly. I’m hoping a corset will do the trick, but I need your advice and recommendation on what/which corset to order. My measurements are as follows: 38″ underbust, 40″ waist, 45″ upper hip and 10″ torso. What do you recommend for waist training?

    Thank you!
    Darlene

    Reply
      1. Darlene

        Thanks for your prompt reply Cheri! I’d like to order a corset for my sister too. Her measurements are similar to mine, but her waist is 39″. Would you recommend the same for her (cs-411 in size 32)? Measurements are: UB 38″, W 39″, UH 45″ and torso 10.5″.

        Thanks!
        Darlene

        Reply
      2. Darlene

        Hi Cheri! I sent a follow-up email to you last night. I’d like to order my sister a corset for waist training as well. Her measurements are UB 38″, W 39″, UH 45″, and torso 10.5″. Would you recommend the cs-411 for her as well? Sorry to be a pest, but I’d like to place the order today before the cut-off.

        Thanks!
        Darlene

        Reply
  3. yolene

    Okay I have a corset and want to try to start training but now i have no idea how to get it tight i have no one here to help me put it on

    Reply
  4. Chi

    My measurements are B-37 UB-31 W-29 UH-35 H-40. Torso length from underbust to upper hip-about 10″ to 10.5″. What size and style do you recommend? Thanks for all the information

    Reply
      1. Chi

        Thank you very much. Will it be effective for serious waist training like the cs-411, which has more steel bones? :( cs-305 in cotton is out of stock at the moment (size24) hope it gets stocked really soon. Pleeeeeeeeease restock ASAP

        Reply
  5. Satie

    between the cs-305 and cs-411 which is better for waist training.. will both have similar results??

    Reply
    1. Cheri Dudek Post author

      Hi Satie,

      One is not better than other…what is important is that you choose the one that fits your current body type (more or less curvy) to provide an optimal fit.

      Reply
  6. Cristina

    Hi Cheri!

    I’m super excited about starting to waist train but even after reading all your awesome informative blogs I would like your opinion please ! Im not sure which underbust corset would fit best. I’m for sure trying to cover up the “mother’s apron” and the bra buldge lol thanks in advance for your time! My measurements are. UB 39 W 38 UH 46 I am not firm at all and my height is 5″4 . Thank you .

    Reply
    1. Cheri Dudek Post author

      Hi Cristina,

      I think i just answered you on another blog. You may find the corset does not work on your mother’s apron the way you want it to as a corset really is designed to cinch the waist. Some women add compression shapewear to their corset regiment to help with that.

      Reply
  7. Erica

    Hi. I just received my corsets today!(yea!) So I’m sure it’s my excitement, but I am a bbw so I ordered cs-426 & cs-411 in a 48. I know the recommendations are 2 hours a day to season my corset if you are just beginning. Can I do 2 hours in each corset a day? I guess what I’m asking is if that is OK to do to my body? What do you suggest?

    Reply
    1. Cheri Dudek Post author

      You certainly can! And as long as you allow breaks, you can even do the same corset twice in one day. After a few days it is OK to increase your time gradually (and how far you cinch).

      Reply
  8. Patrice

    Hi! I am interested in starting my journey of waist training. I am currently using those flimsy waist cinchers, thinking I was doing it correctly. Then stumbled on this site only to see that I was doing the entire process wrong. However, I am curious to know, once my desired shape is found, what is your recommendation on how often I should use it, to keep up on it afterwards, due to the process only being semi-permanent?

    Reply
    1. Cheri Dudek Post author

      Hi Patrice,

      That is very individual. I had one lady say she has kept her shape 2 years without corseting..but I find that hard to believe. As long as you don’t look to create a really extreme look, I would imagine just a few times a week would be enough (as long as you don’t add weight or in some other way change up your physique).

      Reply
  9. melyan05el

    I want to start waist training and am wondering if I can get results by starting with a waist cincher before moving to a steel boned corset. I’m fairly small 5’2, 105 lbs with a 24 inch waist.

    Reply
    1. Cheri Dudek Post author

      Shapewear is not intended for waist training. It provides smoothing and shaping while you wear it. Only steel boned corsets are designed for modifying and training the waist.

      Reply
  10. Fisayo

    Hi,

    my waist is 22 inch but I have sort of a straight figure so I want to start waist training to get a little bit of a figure. Is it something I should go ahead to do and what size should I be getting.

    Reply
  11. Kristina Cooper

    Hello, I’m wondering if waist training will be an option for me. I am a firefighter and I would like to waist train. My only problem is that I read this is a 24/7 experience. I simply cannot wear a corset at work because of how restrictive they are. I wouldn’t want my desire for a slimmer waist to get in the way of doing my job properly. My real question is would waist training work with a Kelly schedule? A Kelly schedule consists of working three 24 hour shifts with one day in between except on the last day I would have four days off until I have to be back at work. For example, the Xs will represent days I cannot waist train. Os will be days I can waist train.
    XOXOXOOOOXOXOXOOOO
    Will waist training work for me?

    Reply
    1. Cheri Dudek Post author

      Hi Kristina,

      Very few people waist 24/7. Most waist train 6-10 hours a day…some 12-15. I don’t see any reason why that schedule wouldn’t work for you, especially if you were corset the majority of your off days.

      Reply
  12. FridaG

    I’m really interested in trying waist training, I’m very new at this site so I was wondering how you can train you waist just by wearing a corset? doesn’t it harm you inner organs? since it’s kind of squashing in your stomach?

    Reply
  13. Kira

    Hi! I’m extremely interested in waist training. My waist is a 24 inch all around. I have no hips and I’m hoping this will create the illusion of having hips. By wearing these corsets will there eventually be a permanent change? Also should I order 20 or 18? I’m fairly small 5’0 110 pounds with an average to short torso.

    Reply
    1. Cheri Dudek Post author

      Hi Kira,

      What is your underbust and upper hip measurement? The change you will experience with dedicated waist training is semi permanent. This means you will need to do corset maintenance even after you have achieved your desired shape.

      Reply
  14. roy grantham

    Hi there
    I WEIR MY CORSETS 23 /7 I FEEL BETTER WHILE I CORSETSED. THEY HAVE HELPED ME LOSE A GOOD LITTLE BIT OF WEIGHT. IT IS A STRAINGE FEELING NOT HAVING ONE ON . I AM LOOKING FOR THE DAY I WILL ORDER A COUPLE FROM YOU. ANDTHAT WANI BE LONG. AND BY THE WAY I AN A MAIL.

    Reply
  15. Megan

    Hi! This isn’t DIRECTLY related I suppose but could steel boned corsets be worn for fashion only? without changing body shape in any way or feeling tight? (snug is okay but not too tight)

    I found a corset that I absolutely love and the design is beautiful but I was slightly unsure whether to get it or not because I don’t want to change my body shape at all. If I did get one how would I go about picking the sizing? My waist is 26″ so would I just get one corset size up from what my waist size corresponds to or would I get the correct size and just lace it fairly loosely?

    I apologise for all the questions but I didn’t know where/who to ask…
    Thanks for your time!

    Reply
    1. Cheri Dudek Post author

      Hi Megan,

      Of course they can! I wear mine often at work for support or out for fashion and other than I can lace because I am more comfortable with the feel of the corset-I have not changed the shape of my body. That requires much dedication and consistent wearing of the corset. You will want a size 22-the corset style will depend on your upper hip and underbust measurement.

      Reply
      1. Megan

        Thanks for the quick and helpful response!
        I’m hoping that the corset I order will be what I expected and I’m sure it will be. Thank you for your help (:

        Reply
  16. Jen

    I recently purchased the 426 it is wonderful i love it but the problem was that it is too long for my torso. I should of measured correctly, but I will be exchanging it for the cs-411.
    my question is what is the overall longevity of the corset (cs-411) if worn every day 24/7?

    Reply
    1. Cheri Dudek Post author

      Hi Jen,

      I do not know how long a corset worn round the clock will hold up. Part of that will depend on which fabric you choose..the brocades are tougher and will last longer. If you plan to corset the often, I would recommend owning several so that your corsets have time to air out and breathe between wearings. I have worn my black satin 411 for about 8 months..but only for about 5-6 hours a day while at work and it still looks great.

      Reply
  17. Allison

    Thank you for the information! I have been trying to explain the difference to friends and this is very helpful.

    A question: at what point in waist training do you know it is time to size down into a smaller corset? When you can wear your corset laced shut everyday for a week? Longer?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Cheri Dudek Post author

      Hi Allison,

      Thank you! Really, once you can lace completely down and wear your corset as long as you like to wear your corset, it’s time to move down a size. I would imagine if you are smaller framed and already down in a size 24 (or thereabouts), you will only drop one size. However our fuller figure corseters might find themselves able to drop down 2 sizes once they are ready to move down. It will depend on your goals and level of commitment. Many women are happy right where they are at in their corset.

      Reply
  18. CK

    You have the first picture listed as an overbust (the CS 426) and the second listed as the CS 411 when it is an overbust. Otherwise, great article!

    Reply
    1. Cheri Dudek Post author

      Hi CK,

      The 426 gray “overbust” was most certainly a typo (as we have never had a 426 overbust), but the Royal Blue was correct when this was written…we have since changed the 411 overbust to the 511. But I corrected both…thank you!

      Reply
  19. Pt

    I’m very interested in the waist training and this company comes highly recommended. My issue runs into sizing of the corsets. I seen that Orchard corsets only go up to 40 inch waist. Is there any way to order a corset for a larger sized waist or is there no possible way? After 7 kids my waist has gone to shame and needs a much larger size then 40.

    Reply
    1. Cheri Dudek Post author

      Don’t despair Pt! We have larger sizes on the very near horizon. We are adding size 42-46 in our black satin 426 and 411. The 46 should accommodate a waist of 55 inches or more.

      Reply
      1. A Watkins

        My waist is 48″ and I order the 426 corset in a size 40. At frist I wasn’t sure if this corset would be too small. It is my first corset, and I am happy to say it fits very well. I was able to close it completely the first time I put it on. I’m going to oder another one in a smaller size next month.

        Reply
  20. Anonymous

    I just got my corset and was only able to cinch down from a 35 to a 33 when my corset is fully laced. Is it because im tall? I thought the product description says you can cinch down 4-6 inches. My goal is a 30 so what size do I need to order to get a 30? I already ordered a 30 corset.

    Reply
    1. Orchard Corset

      Thank you for your question! I bet many other people wonder the same thing! It has nothing to do with your height (although that might have made it easier for you to fully lace your corset so quickly). It’s important to remember that a size 30 corset measure 30″ when fully laced on the INSIDE, if you lay your corset out on the table and measure it you will find it measures 30″. However, the corset is quite thick, and so if you measure your waist with the corset on, it will not measure 30″ because of the thickness of corset. It would be like measuring your waist wearing a thin fitted tank top and then measuring your waist wearing a thick wool sweater. So don’t be concerned if your closed corset doesn’t measure down to the size your ordered. It would if you could measure the inside!

      Reply
  21. TP

    Thank you for this article! I’m so glad I was referred to your company. You guys are very helpful and thorough. BTW: You were correct in recommending I try the CS-411 instead of the CS-426, since I have an shorter size torso. I received my corset and it is too long but, I will exchange it and I look forward to many years of purchasing from your company. :)

    Thanks!
    TP

    Reply
  22. Anonymous

    i am interested but have a problem with it taking two people to get it on is it allways like that? i want one but dont have anyone to help me put it on.

    Reply

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