Corset 101 Series

Corset 101: Goldilocks and the Three Corsets

This corset is too big….this corset is too small

But this corset fits just right!

Black-cotton-411-corsetHello OC Blog Readers! We have a veritable sizing fleet at your disposal: videos, blogs, and sizing experts on chat and email. But many of our customers fall in a gray area of sizing-or just have different tolerances or different uses for their corset. My measurements are such that our sizing experts might be torn between a size 22 and a size 24 (waist 27.5″, upper hip 37″ and underbust 30″). I have a longer torso for my 5’4″ stature and just enough “fluff” at my waist that the 22 fits perfectly (and I have been corseting for a year). If you wear your corset under clothing with just a thin layer of fabric to protect the corset vs wearing your corset over your regular street clothes you may need to size up or down. This is why what sounded right on paper doesn’t always work in real life. I hope this video blog will help!

If your corset is too big you will find that you can close it up (or nearly) without having to really cinch. Remember when your corset is brand new, it’s very stiff and has no “give” whatsoever. If you are able to nearly close completely, it will be too big within a week or so of seasoning.  If can fully close and then some…you should contact one of our sizing experts, as you will likely want to drop two sizes. Sometimes the corset is the right size, but wrong style-which I will discuss in a different video blog.

Now if you fully unlace your corset and still have a hard time connecting the loops and pins at the front busk, your corset is probably too small. Even if you successfully get into your corset, if upon your first lacing you find you have a very large gap (this will be relative to size…so someone with a 30″ waist can expect a 6-7 inch gap to be too large, but someone with a 45″ waist should find a 8-10″ gap to be too large). Don’t try to force the corset closed because you think this should be the right size-the unsuspecting corset bones are likely to warp and now you are stuck with a corset that doesn’t fit. Notice that in the video this corset is just one size smaller than I need…but clearly it does not fit me.

CS-305 Red Leather

How will you know when your corset is “just right”? The front busk should clasp without any stress  on the corset when the laces are opened up. When you lace up to the point that the corset is snug, with room for fingers at the top and bottom edge, you will expect a gap of about 4-5 inches (the width of our modesty panel) at the back. A smaller gap for really small frames (size 18-22 corsets) and a larger gap of 6-7 inches for fuller figures (size 32+ corsets), and even up to 8-9″ for corset sizes over 40.

The importance of a well-fitted corset is multidimensional. First, if you plan to wear it you want it to be comfortable. The panels and boning on the corset are designed to lay at certain places on the body-so if you corset is way too small (some people don’t want to have to buy another corset once they size down…so they try and make it work until they are ready for that size) then the corset will not lay right on you. Also, bones will twist and warp (and sometimes pop right through). It’s important to remember that we sell off-the-rack corsets-which will work better for some than others. We many styles to fit a greater variety of body types, but from time to time we encounter someone who just cannot make one of our corsets work. Thank you for reading and we welcome your thoughts below!


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.


  • Riley

    Hi, I have a sizing question, my measurements are

    Underbust: 29.5″

    Waist: 28″

    Upper Hip: about 35″ – 36″

    and Torso Length about 9″ while sitting straight with some squish, my waist squishes down to about 25.5 inches

    I have absolutely no idea what size corset I should get and would love some help please

    • Mary Brewer

      Hi Riley! We would love to help you find the perfect corset. With the measurements you have shared I recommend our CS-201 or CS-411 in a size 24. If you decide you like the CS-201 in mesh you could wear one size smaller (22). Please let us know if you have any further questions and we hope to be sending a corset your way soon!

  • Susan C.

    Hi! I was just wondering if I got the right size (possibly, style?) corset. I should probably say first that my primary objective in getting a corset is back support, rather than waist training. My underbust is 39,” my natural waist is 37,” and my iliac crest is 43.” My seated torso length is 9.” I ordered a cs 411 in a size 32 (as I only have around 2″ of squish when I did the test). I got it in the light pink satin, with the chocolate satin laces. (Those were our wedding colors! :D) The colors are beautiful together! I got the corset yesterday afternoon, and this is my second day of seasoning. When I lace it so that the modesty panel covers my shirt completely, or even an inch or so tighter (keeping the lacing parallel), there is still quite a bit of gaping at the rib cage. The hips I can’t tighten too much beyond the edge of the modesty panel (an extra inch at most), or it makes my lower back hurt. Maybe I need a curvier corset? Or a different size of the 411? Or, will the rib cage shrink up as I season it? Thanks so much! Susan

    • Susan C.

      Edit to my earlier question: I re-laced my corset, with the laces one set of grommets higher, and it fits better! However, I wore the corset for a couple more hours tonight after taking a break, and I noticed that the edge of the corset is rubbing up against my hips in the back- particularly when I walk. Is it supposed to do that? Or, is it too small in the hips? Thanks! Susan

        • Susan C.

          Thank you, Brittney! Hmmmm… You might be right about the 411 being too long for me. It’s fine in the front, even when I sit, but I’ve noticed that it is the straight bones in the back of the corset that is rubbing against the curve of my hips. I will send you my measurements and some pictures of me in the corset to the email address you mentioned above. Thanks again! Susan

          • Susan C.

            Hi, Mary! Thanks! I sent in some pictures earlier today in an email. I do really love my corset (the colors and the quality), but I just don’t want it to rub into my hips. I may have to email some other pictures, however. Too late, I realized that I was wearing an old maternity t-shirt under the corset in the pictures, and the shirt is longer in the front, which may have exaggerated any sway back I may have. I sent in a couple of profile shots, as well as the front and the back. I think I’m going to take some more pictures and email them in. Thanks again, Mary! Susan

          • Susan C.

            Hi, Mary! The problem is solved! Rachel recommended a video by Lucy Corsetry about how to modify a corset if you have lumbar lordosis, or excessive curvature of the lower back. The video suggested bending the back bones of the corset a bit, so they curve, and won’t dig in. I tried it, and it worked very well! The corset fits great now! I’m very happy with it! Thanks again for all your help, Mary! Susan

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi D! That was a great article! The skeletal waist would be your cinch point (especially if that varies significantly from your natural waist) We ask folks to bend side to side-and where they bend is where the corset should rest and the measurement we take, as your ribs won’t really “bend” this will generally hit at the “skeletal waist”. We try to simplify the sizing process as much as possible as we are selling off-the-rack corsets (as opposed to custom corsets in which you would really need that level of specificity). We always encourage comfort when corseting.

  • cecelia

    Hi I have a cs 411 with hip ties and I was wondering if it is supposed to be a little loose on the upper sides of my breast??

    • Amy Lewis

      I think you mean the CS 426 with hip ties, right? It depends on where you are in the seasoning process. If you just received it, yes, you can expect it to be somewhat loose, but after a week or two of seasoning, it should be form fitting from top to bottom.

  • dave

    Hi. I just found this blog and i think you may be able to help me. I am male and want to be curvy like a female so i would love your input. My underbust is 35 my waist is 32 and hips are 35

    • Amy Lewis

      Hi Dave, usually our CS 305 works well for men, it is a silhouette level 1 so it should be comfortable for you, while still providing you with some nice curves. With a 32 inch waist I would say you should get it in a size 28. We would typically put a woman with a 32 inch waist in a size 26 corset, but men tend to be less squishy and more muscular in the abdomen, so the 28 will probably work better for you. Please check back in after you get it and let us know if it works for you!

  • Amanda

    Hi, I have a question about what size I should be getting.
    25.5 waist
    28.5 underbust
    31 hip
    I don’t want a long corset, but I’m not sure what I should try.

  • Mara

    I have a 26″ waist, 35″ hip, and 31″ underbust. I ordered a size 22 CS-426 and it only just barely closes to the edge of the modesty panel with a lot of cinching. Is this a sizing issue or do I just need to train more?

    • Amy Lewis

      Hi Mara, if it is at the edge of the modesty panel and you have just started seasoning it, that is right where you want it. With a 26″ waist a size 22 is where I would have sized you as well.

  • Michelle C. Funk

    Hello! I just received a gorgeous crimson 345 in size 34 for my 38.5in waist. As a fluffier gal I am wondering what “snug but not tight” feels like! Right now, my corset feels very comfortably snug, and I can still get a hand down it in front, but since I have so much squish factor (I have a very small hip to waist/underbust ratio) it’s hard to tell whether I am lacing it up too tight *or* I am just working with too big a corset. I’m on my second wear and am within a few inches of closing, so I’m guessing it is in fact a size too big (but I might be lacing it too tight to boot!).

    Admittedly, even if it is too big, I am loving the impact on my silhouette and the gorgeous color (it was clearance and is out of stock now, so no exchanges!) so I’m sure I will keep it to have something comfortable around that I could wear over sweaters and sweater dresses! But for waist training I imagine my next corset should be a size down.

    Anyway, that rambled on a bit, but do you have any advice from squishier gals about what “snug but not tight” feels like with a high squish factor? Thanks!

    • Amy Lewis

      Hi Michelle! Unfortunately that corset is much too big for you. I can’t say for sure with only your waist measurement, but if you submit your measurements to one of our corset sizing experts, they will probably put you in a size 30 (depending on your upper hip and underbust measurements). Comfortably snug is exactly how it should feel while you are seasoning your corset, I suspect though that you will probably be able to lace it fully closed by the time you are done seasoning it.

      When you are ready for another corset, please send us your measurements and we will get you in the best size and style for your body.

      • Michelle C. Funk

        Thanks for the help! I had initially sent my measurements with a question about finding a good corset for my torso length, but unfortunately the person who responded didn’t really read my question and instead sent me to the video I’d said I already watched in my original question. We didn’t talk about the sizing as I thought I “had it down” after watching a bunch of videos and measuring properly — totally missing that I needed to be sizing down further because of my size! Ouch.

        Anyway, I was able to find someone more helpful via the chat feature (really wish I had seen it the first time!) and did indeed settle for a size 30 for corset #2, so I have high hopes there! (I am a 40-38.5-45).

        I think part of the moral of my question for bigger gals is not to miss the detail that we should be expecting a bigger gap when we first put on the corset. I know this information was peppered throughout the site but since I was “drinking from the firehose” I somehow missed/forgot that detail. Instead when I tried it on after watching Cheri’s great “does it fit” video again, I thought — great, I have a little more space than the modesty panel, now I can start seasoning. Not so!

        I really hope other bigger girls learn from my mistake and don’t forget that whatever video you are watching, don’t miss the critical detail that larger girls size differently than smaller ones. And no matter how clever you think you are, just get on chat and give someone who knows what they are doing your measurements. Don’t try to find your size yourself for your first corset, if you don’t have to!

        I agree with you that I’ll be closing the corset pretty soon, but I’m hoping I can still use it in addition to my 30″ for costuming and the like. It’s sad that I had the chance to order such a beautiful corset on clearance, and it turned out to be the wrong size! Well, you live and you learn…

        Anyway, thanks for your response!!

  • Ryan

    I just wanted to say that all the gals that work in the customer service department are top notch! I submitted a sizing a request and was informed by Michelle that a CS-201 is size 34 would work for me. Ordered and just received it, put it on to start seasoning it, it didn’t feel right to me. Called customer service, was told to check the fit by tightening it and it almost closed. Called back, spoke to the wonderful Brittney who said to take some pictures and get them sent so they can be checked. Talked with again, helped me figure out it was indeed a sizing issue and what size to get. As this is my first waist training corset, while I had the one on while taking pictures, I absolutely loved the way I looked and was hooked on waist training corsets! I took Brittney’s advice and ordered one of the 2 new sizes to get because I know that I wouldn’t been able to wait to get the one I have exchanged. Thank you OC Customer service for all the wonderful help!

  • Aerith

    I was thinking of buying a CS-411 size 24, do you think it would fit me correctly if my underbust is 32, with a 28 waist and a 34 hip at its fullest? Btw i have a short torso im only 5ft. If not what would be a good choice? Thanks!

  • Blythe

    I just ordered my first corset and I am really excited to start waist training, but I put it on (very carefully) for the first time and I think it may be too small. I got a Cs305 in a 24. My natural waist is 30, under bust is 30.5, and my upper hip is 34. When I laced it up to snug for the first time there was a 2-3 inch gap between the modesty panel and the edge. What do you suggest?

  • Blythe

    Hi! I’m completely new to all of this, and I’m really excited! I just received my first corset today (a CS-305 in size 24). I tried it on gently and am concerned that it might be too small. My under bust is 30.5, my natural waist is 30, and my upper hip is 34. When I laced it for the first time to snug there is a 2-3 inch gap between the modesty panel and the edge. Do I season it and hope it closes up? Or do I exchange it? And if so for what?

  • Mayra

    Hi I’m a 30″ underbust, 27″ waist and 37″ at the hips and I was wondering If a size 20 is going to be too small of me and if I decide to go ahead an buy the size 20 and it definetly doesn’t fit will I be able to change it?

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi Mayra,

      Unless you are looking to buy the 201, then yes a 20 will likely be too small. I would recommend a size 22 in most styles accept the 305 (and be sure you have the length for the 426 if you have your eye on that 🙂

  • Lm3js

    Hi! I ordered the 305 in size 26 satin at the advice of your size blog and from one of your stylists. I love it and am loving wearing it. I have been seasoning it for the past ~2 weeks. I think ithe 26 is the right size, but am worried that the 305 is wrong shape for me or not long enough? Not sure. When I cinch the second time after 30 min of wear, I am getting the () shape. I also have quite a gap at the under bust and also a smaller gap at hip. The top sits a little low on my rib cage, but I have quite a bit of underarm and back squish. It is not directly under busts…not sure if that is a problem.
    Measurements are ub-34, waist-32, uphip-35-35.5. Do you think I should try an alternate style or lace/tighten differently? I am wearing it right side up. I checked that too. Thanks for your awesome blog and corsets. I can’t keep my mouth shut about them and might have started a new trend among my friends…

    • Cheri Dudek


      That size and style sounds right. The 305 has less curve than our other styles, so changing to anything other than the 345 (it rides higher in the back) will give your a more exaggerated ().

      A couple of questions that will help me troubleshoot: How many more inches before the back closes? Even with the ()-is there more room to close the top and bottom? Would you say your tummy was more firm than soft?

      Also, make sure the waist tape is right at your natural waist. We will figure this out! I think we just need to train your waist down a bit-and parallel is great..but a little bow isn’t the end of the world-especially if you are seasoning properly.

      • lm3js


        Thanks for the speedy reply! The waist tape is mostly at my natural waist though it does ride up after sitting. I have about 2.5 inches at top and 3″ at bottom and 3″ in middle before closing in back. I had my husband take a picture and the () isn’t as pronounced as it appeared when I was just looking behind me in mirror. I still do have quite a large space at my under bust (can put my whole hand) and up to my fingers at the front bottom. Maybe I am just paranoid since it is my first time and I don’t want to ruin it.

        • Cheri Dudek

          The top is often to hardest part to season to your body (hence some of the gapping). You should be able to tighten that up a little bit more without any damage to your corset. It will give you a bit of a an “A” shape to your laces but again, a little off parallel is not that big of deal.

          • lm3js

            Ok. I am loving my corset so much I already want to buy another for alternating wear. I am using the 305 size 26 and can lace to about 2 inches closed. Looking at the 426 short or the 345 as I want to try to avoid the back muffin and think it might give the girls more support. Plus I really like that yellow satin print that is on sale in both the 345 and was mini waspie 301. Questions.

            1. Should I wait until I train down a bit before buying another?
            2. Would you get the same size 26 for the 426 and 345? Or lower/upper? Can I wear the 426 short or 345?
            3. Can I wear the waspie if I am really fluffy in the middle or are things just going to squish way down and give me butt in front?
            4. Which version would reduce the back/side top muffin?

            Thanks in advance and I apologize for being high maintenance poster!

          • Cheri Dudek

            Hi there!

            What I really need are your measurements (underbust, waist and upper hip) to know if the 426S or the 345 will work for you. With the 426 in particular you may find you need to size down to a 24. I think there are very few sizes left in the vintage gold print and the 26’s are all gone :(. Both the 345 and 426s run higher in the back than the 305. The 426S will curve over the hip (depending on your torso length) and the 345 cuts over the hip. And no worries…that is why we are here 🙂

          • lm3js

            Hi, Here are my measurements from the question above from LM3JS regarding a second corset type and size. The comments might have gotten out of order. Thanks again for all your help. I have been referring your site to everyone I know!

            Under bust 33 or 33.5
            Waist 31.5
            Upper hip 35.5

          • lm3js

            Reposting as I don’t think this was caught since there was no reply button on the thread.

            Hi, Here are my measurements from the question above from LM3JS regarding a second corset type and size. The comments might have gotten out of order. Thanks again for all your help. I have been referring your site to everyone I know!

            Under bust 33 or 33.5
            Waist 31.5
            Upper hip 35.5

          • Cheri Dudek

            Hi there!

            With those measurements I think a size 26 in the cs-305 will be a good fit for you! Of course, the 301 fits just about everyone so that is always an option as well.

  • Hannah

    I recently got 3 different styles of corsets from this store, CS301, CS411, and CS45. I have a 27 inch waist (sometimes 28 when full or having a “fat” day), and the size that was recommended to me was a 22. I can get into my corsets, but I have a 5.5 inch gap, and I feel that they’re almost too small. To be fair, this is my first time putting the corsets on, and there is room to stick 4 fingers under the top and bottom. But I’m concerned because if they are too small, I want to exchange them before it’s too late. What would you recommend?

    • Amy Lewis

      Hi Hannah, could you please take a couple of pictures of yourself laced into one of the corsets (we need one from the front & one from the back) and send them to one of our sizing experts at we’ll check it out for you. I suspect that it will clear up after you tighten up the corset and season it, but with a couple of pictures we’ll know for sure!

  • Esmeralda

    Hi Cheri,

    I have just received my CS 411 in mesh. I was recommended a size 30.
    My measurements are: waist: 40, torso 9.5, underbust; 40 and upperhip 48
    Was size 30 the proper size for me?

    I unlaced the laces all the way and closed the bust but in the back there id like 3-4 inches of space between the panel and empty space.

    Will I be able to use this size?

    Thank you!

    • Amy Lewis

      Esmeralda that is definitely the right size for you. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the mesh will season for you! Based on your measurements, the top will likely close more quickly than the bottom.

      • esmeralda

        That’s good to hear!
        Is it normal for the corset to be sliding up during the first few days?
        And does the tape line have to be on my waist?

  • lisa

    hi, just wanna know which size would suit me best, my measurements are 42 1/2 bust, 35 waist, and 38 hip… not sure what my under bust measurements are though. the lady that measured me did so with my clothes on, hope it’s not too far off. Thank you!

  • Abbey

    How do you know how much to tighten the laces on the first time wearing a corset? And is the sizing different for those who aren’t waist-training? I mainly want to wear one for posture and fashion, not to really make my waist smaller. I have a 28″ waist & was recommended to get a size 22 CS411, but that seems like a really big size difference to me and I just want to make sure I’m getting the right thing for my body & the reasons I have for wearing it.

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi Abbey,

      If you are a firm 28 and have a good hip and underbust ratio (plenty of natural curve) then you can size up to a 24. If not, then opt for the 305 in a size 24. Just tighten them to the point where the corset feels snug but not tight. You should be able to place several fingers in the top and the bottom of the corset.

  • Mellie O

    Hey Cheri, I’m confused on what kind of corset I should get and I want to make sure my first one is just right and pretty stable. LB 30, W 26, UW 34 and I’m 5 foot 3 inches. Any suggestions on which I should get?

  • Charity Middling

    im still not sure what size to get and ive been looking at a ton of things on this site to try to find out the siz that ill need

  • Allison

    Hi there. I recently ordered a CS-305 in a size 26 at your recommendation, with a 31″ underbust, 31″ waist, and 35″ at the hips (I am also pretty squishy/have a belly). I tried it on, and once it is comfortably snug at the waist, it seems like I have the correct amount of space between the two sides in the back (I’d say about 3 inches), however I have a TON of space at the underbust. Obviously I haven’t seasoned it yet, and I saw on the video that there should be a little bit of space at the hip and underbust before the corset is seasoned…but I guess I’m just lost as to how much “a little bit” actually should be. This is my first time wearing a corset, so I’m clueless.

      • Allison

        Definitely on the right way…i pulled it up higher which seems to fix the gaping a bit, but now I’m afraid that the waist is just a tiny bit too high. I’m keeping this one at this point, but I wonder in the future if there is a different style I could try? Again my measurements are 31-31-35…and I’d say my waist can squish down to about a 27 or 28 as it is (and I’m pretty petite at 5’4 and 125lbs)

        • Cheri Dudek

          Hmmm..hard to picture without a picture. I am afraid to size you to a 24 as it seems the corset fits so well everywhere else-but I think you will find a 24 a better fit at the top and the bottom edge.

    • Tina Wright

      Hi Cheri, I bought a CS-301 size 26 also. I did put it on upside down for 2 days until I read this blog lol Last night I put it on right but my question is, when I lace it up my modesty panel does not meet together on my back ( I have a gap between the panel to the other loop holes). Does that mean I bought a size too small?

  • Torrie

    Hello Cheri ,

    I purchased a CS-305 and I’ve been training for about two weeks. At first , I was able to cinch my waist greatly but now I find I’m very limited. I can pull the strings with minimal effort and close the back of my corset. I’ve done everything I possibly could to prevent myself from damaging my item and I ordered the correct size. I don’t know what could be wrong and I believe it is way too early on to buy another corset . Can I please get some insight as to what I could be doing wrong .

    Thanks in advance .

  • Wanda

    HI Cheri,
    Thanks for your sizing tips, but after receiving my 411 corset (it’s so pretty) and watching your “Goldilocks” video, I think it might be too small. After lacing pretty gently (first time wear), I still have about 3 inches from the modesty panel as you demonstrated in the video. Do you think I should size up to a 24″? I’m at about a 29″ waist right now (due to pigging out between the time when I first contacted you and when I got my corset, no doubt!), so perhaps I should size up for my first corset? As always, thanks for the great customer service.

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi Perla,

      I would need all of your measurements. I do not think the 34 will be too small…my concern is that it may be too big at the top edge at least of your corset.

  • Dineisha Milsap

    I luv my corset 426, but I am not sure if it is fitting correctly. I have seasoned it (at least I think I have) and there is still space at the bottom. Does it need to be tighter or is it the wrong size.

  • Kari

    Thanks, Cheri! I’m a newbie. I’m an hourglass, but at age 66, some of the sands of time have got stuck in the middle. ;-( I stumbled upon a post from one of your former newbies, that recommended OC as a great first resource for beginners. But, how to get started? So many pretties! Which ones to order? It all seemed so complex!

    So, for a week, or so, I pigged out on your many excellent blog posts and vids. SUCH a wealth of information! You answered all of my questions. Every time I came up with a puzzlement, I Googled, and there you were, with printed words or a YouTube demonstration!

    I found that I was soon well enough informed to buy four corsets– two 411s, one 426, and that cute little sailor piece that was too sassy to pass up. All are perfect for me! Had I shopped without your tutelage, I’m sure I would have made disasterous choices.

    So, with your wonderful “corset courses,” OC quality, OC pricing (How do you make a profit?) and OC warp-speed delivery, I’m pretty sure I’m a customer for life. You’uns pretty much DEFINE excellent customer service. Best of all, you all look like you LOVE what you do!

    Thanks, again! Kari from San Diego

  • Pamela

    I am a 46″ waist as well and I got the 38″ (On the advice of Danielle) and love it so far as I’ve been seasoning it I have a big gap too, cotton (CS-411) and I really was afraid that when I put it on the first time it would not fit, but I let the laces out all the way it and fit me fine once I was brave enough to calm down, and just do it. I was too anxious the first time and afraid of hurting the corset. I definitely want take time in seasoning the corset. Thank you so much for offering such great quality corsets for us to enjoy.

  • Lorraine M

    Great info. For plus sizes I would say that if you get the corset and you can’t put it on even with the laces open all the way out, it’s probably not too small but the laces are too short. I have a 46 inch waist and the size 36 is definitely my right size. I started out with a huge gap for seasoning but after having it for about a month I only have a 2 inch gap. But when I got the corset I couldn’t put it on without first switching the laces for the longer ones (9 yards).If I would have gotten a 38 it would have closed after the seasoning period and that’s no good. Hopefully my experience helps others like me.

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