Corset Myths: From the Ridiculous to the Realistic-
What Really Happens to Your Ribs During Waist Training?
Hello OC Blog Readers! I have been really digging into more and more research and literature on corsets and waist training. There is much controversy-past and present-surrounding corsets and tight lacing. Will I need to have rib removed? If I lace up tight can I break a rib? Will my ribs be permanently reshaped?
In a word – NO! First, there is absolutely no evidence that anyone has ever had a rib removed, EVER. This type of surgery would have been extremely risky back in the Victorian era when corsets were an essential wardrobe accessory. And despite urban legends that celebrities like Cher have had a rib removed…they are just that-urban legends.
Valerie Steele, author of “The Corset: A Cultural History” has done extensive research with the assistance of qualified medical doctors and historians. What she and others have discovered is that corsets worn tightly can indeed change the shape of your ribs. This is especially true for pre-adolescent girls, which is why we recommend you don’t corset or waist train under the age of 18.
Your “floating” ribs at the bottom of your rib cage (see image above) will move in as you waist train, even as an adult. However, once the corset is removed your ribs will pop back out (not instantly if you train over time rigorously). If you engage in more extreme round the clock tight lacing you will certainly notice your dramatic shape after doffing your corset, but your ribs and flesh will begin to return to their former shape.
When Catherine Jung is asked if she had her ribs removed, her husband answers “It isn’t necessary.” Catherine has worn her corset day and night for many years and has reduced her waist to about 17 inches. When she removes her corset however, her ribs and flesh do expand again. In order to maintain some form of your corseted shape, you will have to continue to spend some time in your corset. You will never be able to mirror your corseted image fully without your corset, but you can overtime develop a more hourglass shape even unlaced.
As for breaking ribs, that is also nearly impossible. It takes more force than most of us can muster to break a rib. This Victorian myth most likely stems from the fact that early corsets were made from whale boning (Baleen) and those bones did certainly break. So it wasn’t that the corset was breaking ribs-but that the corset “rib bones” were breaking. Be sure to check out all of our Corset 101 videos and blogs as you navigate through the world of corseting and waist training.