Corset 101 Series,  Corsets,  Waist Training

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.

Tightacer and extreme waist trainer, Cathie Jung (center) models an incredible custom corset by Lace Embrace for the Tyra Banks Show, 2006


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.

I have been with Orchard Corset since June of 2012 and what a journey it has been! I've gone from complete newbie to Marketing Director to Chief Operations Officer and I've learned more about corsets, corseting, shapewear, social media and myself than I would have ever thought possible. I have really enjoyed the journey and we at Orchard Corset are dedicated to providing a wealth of information for new and seasoned corseters alike.


  • 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?

    • Brittney Loveall-Talley

      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 🙂

  • cheyenne89

    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?

    • Amy Lewis

      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.

      • cheyenne89

        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!!

    • Cheri Dudek

      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.

  • 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

    • Amy Lewis

      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!

  • Evans phelps

    Tight-Lacing vs Waist-Training blog is giving the information about tight-lacing and waist-tracing. Tight lacing involves cinching up your corset for a limited amount of time.

  • Rachel Lynn Jauregui

    Hey! I have two question! I just bought my first waist-training corset and have been wearing it a couple hours a day for about a week and a half now (I read the other article on seasoning and breaking in the corset first). Anyways! I feel like I am coming up on the end of the seasoning time, which brings this dilemma that I cant seem to find a direct answer to anywhere! How tight would you say one should make it? I read that it shouldn’t cause any pain or shortness of breath, but I am just curious if there’s a rule of thumb or something that will be the difference between just wearing a tight corset and actually changing the shape of your body. I also exercise/weight train on a pretty regular basis.. Is in not recommended to work out with a corset on? I know some women work out with the zip-up waist trainers but I wasn’t sure the rules on this with an actual corset! =)

    • Amy Lewis

      Hi Rachel, I understand your confusion and you’re really about as close as you can get to a direct answer on the issue of ‘how tight should the corset be for waist training’, which is “tight, but not to the point of pain or shortness of breath”. When you’ve seasoned your corset and you start cinching it tighter for waist training, the number of hours that you are wearing it each day will have the greater effect on your waist training results. i.e. slow and steady wins the race. One of the examples we often use is braces for your teeth. The orthodontist doesn’t try to get all your teeth in line at once, she applies slow, steady pressure over many months (years for me!).

      Regarding working out in a steel boned corset, we don’t suggest it. 1) it doesn’t allow for the proper range of motion for most exercises; 2) it restricts your breathing to some extent, and 3) you’re going to get your corset sweaty and they aren’t exactly easy to clean! Hope that helps, have a great day!

  • anonymous

    I’m considering starting a waist training regimen but have a few questions. I have a larger upper body and a decent waist naturally but I’m not happy with my hips (too narrow not curvy). Will waist training push all excess down to my hips? Also will sleeping 8 hours with the proper waist training corset vs wearing it during the day be considered waist training? If so, will it give you similar results as if wearing it during the day?

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi there!

      Yes…many ladies choose to waist train at night (just be sure you have fully seasoned your corset first). Wearing your corset will definitely create a fuller look to your hip while corseted-but will not give you bigger hips. It can push some tummy into the bottom edge of the corset-creating a more dramatic hip. And as you train your waist smaller…your hips will look fuller by contrast.

  • Kristen H.

    I haven’t seen anyone else ask – why are the corsets you recommend for waist training underbust? Is there an advantage to the underbust over the overbust? I have a smallish bust and I’ve only seen how I look in an overbust “corset top” but I like the cleavage-y effect it gives me.

    • Amy Lewis

      For waist training purposes we suggest the underbust corsets because they fit a much wider variety of body types. If you have too much or too little up top, the overbust corsets aren’t a good fit. Underbusts are also much more versatile, as you can easily wear them under clothing or on top as a fashion piece. Also, for the long periods of wear required by waist trainers, the underbusts are more comfortable. Hope that helps!

  • Longtime Tightlacer

    All other sites & tightlacing /corsetry resources have a different definition of tightlacing than stated in this article– the consensus being that tightlacing does Not insinuate a shorter length of time, but means there is more than a four inch reduction. I have been waist-training for a long time & now that I have more than a four inch reduction it is considered tightlacing. I still wear it all day. Please make sure you are giving accurate information as many novices are taking your articles as fact. You certainly don’t want misinformed clients.

    • Cheri Dudek

      We actually asked Lucy the difference..and this was her answer. I think in the corseting community there are many terms that get tossed around and have a different meanings and uses to different people. I am not sure who the ultimate authority is…but our goal is to encourage safe and sane practices for our customers. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  • Nadine

    Hi guys, does tightlacing 2-3 hours a couple of times in a day considered waist training ? Or is continuous tightlacing (without taking off the corset) only ever considered waist training? How does the consistency in putting & taking off the corset in certain periods of time affect the effectivity of the waist training?

    Thanks for taking time to read my message!


    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi Nadine,

      The duration of your corset will impact the rate of which you will see results from your waist training (as will many other factors, like genetics, diet and exercise). For more dramatic and lasting results, most women find they need to wear their corset at least 8-10 hours a day.

  • karina

    So can you use a corset the one that laces up in the back to waist train if you wear it for long period of time or to train your waist for it to be smaller do you have to use the other one?

    • Amy Lewis

      Hi Karina-

      All of our corsets are steel boned and can be used for waist training, and they all lace up the back. Waist training does require you to wear a corset for an extended period of time to achieve the best result. I’m not sure if I completely understand your question though, so please let me know if I need to clarify anything.


  • Mia

    Hi! I’ve been seasoning my corset in preparation for tightlacing on my wedding. However, I can’t seem to get the modesty panel to lie flat. It just bunches up as I continue to tighten, no matter how hard I try! Should I get a corset without a modesty panel?
    Thank you!

  • Kristen & Money Nunnally

    Im interested in purchasing 1 for my wife for wear n waist training can u help me out on how I go abt getting the measurements rite cuz she wants one and I said I would get it as a gift

  • Juju

    I’m very interested in waist training. I just had my first child 9 months ago and I had a c section. I gained a lot of weight during pregnancy and my lower stomach has a c section shelf. I am just scared to buy one because I’m afraid it will just push down the fat area at the bottom. Will it lift it and distribute evenly? Or will it just push it down so I have more of a pouch 🙁 !? -juju

  • audrey

    I work long shifts and during the “seasoning” time I can only wear it an hour is that good enough and for how long should I do that before I can wear it a full 8 hours? Thanks in advance (: (for waist training)

  • Mia

    I see that you have to season your corset if you’re interested in waist training. However, I’m just interested in tightlacing for my wedding. Do I need to season the corset for tightlacing?

  • Amani

    Hi. I started out with he the 411 for waist training. I later purchased 2 of the 301’s and 305. I have 2 questions. Are the 301’s suitable for continuing my waist training since they are shorter and is the 305 ok for waist training or will it hinder my current progress since I started with a curvier more supportive corset…I was looking for options so I wont have to wear the one 411 I own all of the time.

  • Isabel Dorfman

    I am interested in getting one but I’m afraid it will be too noticeable under clothing. Even with a sweater on I feel like the laces in the back are kinda bulky and would show. Anything to do about that? Also I am very petite, 4’10 and 100lbs. I was looking at the CS-301, since it might be shorter, do you think that is a good one. Also, I was looking at the Vendette 939 since it seems like something like that wouldn’t show as much under clothing, but would that work as well? Some waist training would be nice but mostly I am looking for something to help posture and just be tight and structured to maybe help portion control. Thanks so much!

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi Isabel,

      The Vedette products are meant to slim and smooth under clothing. Some women say they also help with posture as they are a very strong compression shapewear. Corsets are the only way to produce any actual waist training results-so it really depends on your goals for the product. Satin laces (we sell on our site) are much less bulky and easier to is the new cs-201 mesh corset.

  • 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?

  • 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

        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″.


      • 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.


          • Darlene

            Hi Cheri. My friend is loving the way my corset looks in clothes and now wants to purchase one herself. I tried to measure her as best I can, but she has a build that I wasn’t quite sure I was measuring correctly. These are the measurements I got for her after following the tutorial: UB 37″, W 39.5″, UH 41″ and torso 10″. Any suggestions on which corset she should order? She’ll be using it for waist training.


  • 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

  • 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

    • Cheri Dudek

      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.

  • 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 .

    • Cheri Dudek

      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.

  • 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?

    • Cheri Dudek

      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).

  • 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?

    • Cheri Dudek

      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).

  • 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.

    • Cheri Dudek

      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.

  • Fisayo


    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.

  • 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.
    Will waist training work for me?

  • 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?

  • 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.

    • Cheri Dudek

      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.

  • roy grantham

    Hi there

  • 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!

    • Cheri Dudek

      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.

  • 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?

    • Cheri Dudek

      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.

  • 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!

    • Cheri Dudek

      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.

  • Lynn

    I have not ordered a corset yet because I do not know what size to get my waist is a size 32 so what size should I order.

  • 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!

    • Cheri Dudek

      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!

  • 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.

    • Cheri Dudek

      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.

      • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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!

  • 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. 🙂


  • 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.

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