Corset 101 Series,  Corsets

Corset 101: Firm vs Squishy

Not all bodies are created equal-

“Squishability” matters when sizing for a corset

skylar-cupcake-411-ivoryHello OC Blog Readers. We receive lots of emails, chats and social media sizing help requests. Often, we find that people are in between sizes or have sizing options based on the corset style, their goals and comfort level, and yes-how squishy they think they are. But what does that mean?

Really just what it sounds like. For example, someone who does core strength training several days a week and has a 30″ waist will likely be much firmer than someone with a 30″ who never works out. You will want to test out your squishy vs firm factor when you are relaxed, not with your abs fully engaged. Firm folks don’t necessarily need to be gym rats. Some people just have less “give” in their midsection than others. Since corsets work by cinching it at the waist, it only makes sense that those who are softer and more easily squish will be able to size down a bit more than someone who feels more solid.

human-ribsAnother consideration for determining your “squishability” is torso length. The area between your floating ribs and your high hip bone is malleable for everyone (firmer folks just take more time and effort to get there) as the tissue and organs in that region can move around quite easily-just like they do when you are pregnant. So if you have more distance, the corset may not meet any resistance like it will with someone with a much shorter torso. This is not necessarily a factor of height as my loyal blog readers know-tall people can have short torsos and vice-versa.

Here are some hard (or soft) numbers to help out. Right now over my dress I have a 28″ waist waist cropwith the tape measure just taught. I can pull the tape measure tight and get 26″ without too much struggle. I do have a longer torso which gives me a bit more “squishability”, but overall I am more on the firm side (all those hours at the gym fending off Father Time). My beautiful friend Julie stopped by, and she went from almost 29″ down to 25″-so definitely more squishy than myself and sizes down to a 22 as well. I measured my lovely daughter (through her flannel shirt) and she went from 30 inches to 27 inches-so she has more squish factor than me..but not a lot.

Is this too tight?

Like much of OTR corset sizing, this is not an exact science. We all have difference tolerance levels for what is snug vs too tight. Squishability is more pertinent on smaller frames than plus-size women (or men) who tend to have more fluff. But you should not discount this factor. A 38″ waist can also be more firm or more squishy. Remember, just because you can’t start off sizing down more doesn’t mean you cannot achieve that goal through waist training.

Check out our Corset 101 video for more examples of firm vs. squishy!


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.


  • Angela Watts

    I’m a very petite woman and I don’t know how to size myself for a corset. Could someone also explain what seasoning us too please? Thank you.
    – Angela

  • leanna


    I would like to start waist training and my current stats are:

    UB: 29/30 Bra size 36DDD
    NW: 28 26 with squish test
    HIP: 36
    Torso: 9 sitting

    Which corset would you recommend for purchase and what size?

  • Sara-Jo

    Hi! Love the informative videos and post you do 🙂
    I have been wanting to buy an UB corset that fits (as opposed to the OB ones I have bought second hand in sizes 24-28). I’m interested in the 411 or 426-short, but unsure of the size and suitability. I’m asking for your kind guidance!
    My (vital) stats are
    UB: 32,5
    UH: 42,5

    My waist is extremely soft and fluffy, and my tummy is a work in progress.

    Thanks in advance and keep up the gorgeous work!

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi Sara-Jo

      Welcome! You should just be long enough for 426 short (if not you will need to try the 201). I think a size 26 will work well for you. You are squishy, which might make a 24 doable-but I worry with your shorter torso that you won’t have anywhere to redistribute weight which makes sizing down more difficult.

  • Fabiola

    Waist 26, after wearing the cs 301 size 22 since December 4, 2014. I would like to try the cs 426 short. what size should I order?. I don’t go to the gym, no abs.

  • doeec23

    Hello! I love your corset line, and I’m thinking of ordering a corset from you guys very soon but I just have a few questions. My objective for corset training is to see dramatic results along with diet and exercise. I am 5’5, My measurements are: underbust : 37 waist: 38-39 and hips: 49. I have a lower stomach pooch that slightly hangs but I did do the alternate torso test with a magazine and it does buckle so I have a short torso. I see that the longlines are for taller women but I also heard its for women that have a lower pooch and are more curvy. With my measurements which corset type and size would you say is best? thank you! 🙂

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi there!

      It sounds like you are right on the border for the longline. Some women find wearing a piece of shapewear (shaping briefs) under their corset corset helps with the lower tummy. I do think you can wear the 426 short (even if the standard length is too much for you). If the magazine buckle was minimal-the standard length might be worth a try.

      I would like to verify that the 49″ is your upper hip and not your full hip. If that is an upper hip-the hip tie version will be a better fit (the 426 hip ties should be here very soon). I think a size 32 is probably what you will want to begin with (in any of those options).

  • Carol

    I’m looking for a corset that will give me back support, uplift the girls, and hold in my stomach especially the lower belly. Which is causing me most of my back pain anyway. The CS 411 in mesh looks interesting but I don’t know if it will be too short.

    My measurements are

    Underbust: 37
    Waist: 39
    Upper Hip: 46
    Torso: 10

    Thank You

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi Carol,

      I think you will find a considerable “A” in your laces in the 411. The 426 short will work better-but really the soon to be here 426 short with hip ties will be your best bet-probably a size 32. Corsets are designed to give you an hourglass shape (and yes-they can do wonders for your back)-but are not really suited for holding in the lower tummy. Shapewear works better for that purpose.

  • hart

    Hi can you help me in choosing the best for me i’m 5′ ft tall i carry most of weight in my belly and bust (38 dd bra). My measurements are under bust: 32, waist: 34/36 (between it depends) and upper hip: 39/40. My torso is very short 10 and less. I ant something to give me a level 3 waist and cover up my muffin top. thank you

  • Sonora

    Oh yes I’m 5’9″tall I carry my weight well! I wear 10 and 12 in pants depending on designer. I have I have no butt and no hips not curvy in the least.

  • Sonora

    I bought 7 corsets from another site… that’s what I get I should have come to you guys from the beginning however it was big. I’d like to order from you. I need help… my UB=45 in I’m a 38f bra size. My NW=38in I have squish 36in when I hold my tummy in (baby fat), UH=42…-please oh please help me.

      • Sonora

        I’m so sorry that is my full bust size =45″ my UB=34″ keep in mind I’m NOT a plus sizes gal. It’s weird because everything would point to plus six but I’m really top heavy no hips, but, or thighs I’m rather tall and lean/average.

  • Gabs

    I used the sizing questionnaire and got a response, but I wasn’t told what size waist I should buy 🙁 I’m so excited about your site and corsets! Could you please help me find an appropriate corset?
    I’m sure I could squish a tape measure to about a 32 maybe even 31 Unfortunately I’m at work and don’t have one with me 😛

    UB 39
    FB 46
    NW 34-36 (really really fluctuates)
    UH 46 (I carry my weight in my lower belly so gross, but I want something to hide that away as well)
    Hip 47-48

    Thanks so much!

  • Divadowell


    I would like to start waist training. Here are my specs and thank you!
    I NEED a short style corset.

    UB: 37
    W: 39
    UB: 45

    • Amy Lewis

      Hi there! Our two shortest corsets are the CS 301 and CS 201 and you would need a size 32 in either of those. I’m not sure HOW short you meant, but the 411, which is only a couple of inches longer than the 301 would also work for you in a size 32. Good luck!

  • louise

    Hi there,

    I’ve just decided I would like to start waist training and really define my curves for a pin up look. I’ve had a read through your posts and it has just made me want to start even more! I’m not too sure on sizing and would like to get some professional advice so I can get the best out of the process.

    I love the underbust styles, I have a very long torso, my UB is 35 , natural waist 34 but can squish comfortably to 30, and my high hip is 42 and quite podge. What size and corset would you recommend I start with? I love the plain black styles the most also 🙂

    Amazing blog I hope to hear from you soon I can’t wait to get started!!! 🙂


  • Steh

    i have a 30 in waist i wear size 7 or 28 I’m 5ft so I’m short . i was interested in the cs 411 but not sure if i should get a 25 or 24

    • Steh

      and my hips are 41-42 inches. well i have flat hips i just have a big butt. I’m not really sure on undercuts but i wear a 36 b in bra sz my grandma just measured my hips and waist i have nothing to measure with ill be needing to purchase one of those now.

  • Jem Harrison

    Hi Cheri!

    Thank you so much for helping us “squishy” girls out 😉 my measurements are:
    UB: 46

    I definitely have squish lol. I carry most of my fluff in my upper-mid back and in my belly. I’m wondering if a 40 or a 38 in the 411 might be a good fit? main concern being a back buldge. Any advice is much appreciated!

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi Jem, .
      A 40 in the 411 should work for you…also the 345, which has a higher back. It has a more contoured shape than the 411-so if that doesn’t sound appealing…then stick to the 411 🙂 You may indeed experience some back bulge (checkout the vedette 941 for that) and try not tightening the top edge of the corset as much.

  • Paige Mitchell

    Hi! I’m pretty squishy! I’ve been told by your lovely ladies to either get a 411 or a 345 in a size 24″ (waist is 30″) I’m just worried because I’m so squishy would I be able to close it sooner than a 22″? Should I size down 8″ instead of 6″? Also! My torso is 10″ long so would the 411 cover my lower belly chub? I’m not a fan of the contouring around the breast in the 345 even though that would hide my belly more!
    I’m thinking about either cotton or mesh! I’m leaving towards cotton more as I’m worried about the mesh distorting as I cinch tighter.

    • Amy Lewis

      They are right on the money on the sizing recommendation. Once you’re under a size 30, you just can’t size down as quickly. Hard to say about the 411 and your belly, it depends on how low you are carrying the weight, however if you decide that it doesn’t cover as much as you’d like it to, you’ll only be out the cost of shipping it back to us to exchange for the 345.

      If you are planning to wear it under your clothes I’d consider the mesh as the cotton is pretty bulky underneath clothing. The 411 in mesh has the boning spaced close together to avoid any distortion as you lace tighter.

      • Paige Mitchell

        Thank you! I’m going to go with the 411 as I think it will be better for me than the 345! I don’t want to risk it being to long in the front and I can always just have a bit of chub! Nothing wrong with some chub!
        Thank you for your help!

  • Mora

    I want to start waist training but I need some advice as to what size or style I should start off with. I have a 39″ under bust, 341/2″ waist and 41″ hips. I can tighten my waist down about 2 inches

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi Mora,

      You have a pretty large underbust to waist I think a size 28 is all you will want to size down in the 411 or 201. If you have the length for the 426, I think a 28 in that as well..however it may not be as snug as you want at the bottom edge. If you think your underbust is smaller than 39″, than you might size down to a 26 in the 426 which will fit better at the hip.

  • Lacy Simon

    I wanted to start waist training myself and not sure on what size or style. I would like to try the CS-426. My measurements are under bust 38 in, 39in waist and 45 1/2 in. hip. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks so much!

  • Lisa

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this topic. I was getting very depressed at my lack of change in a corset. I just went up and measured myself both at the normal “snug” and then pulled the tape tight. I struggled to get a 1 1/2 inch difference. Despite being a plus sized woman, I have almost no squish factor. With that in mind, is it realistic for me to think I’ll ever get to the point where I’ll have a visible difference in my proportions?

  • Brittany chin

    I want to start waist training but I’m not sure what size to order. I have a 30in waist, 35 1/2in hip and 30 1/2in under bust. I’m interested in the new waspie mini corset any suggestions? And how long should I wear one each day? Thanks!

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi Brittany,

      I think a size 24 will work well for you in the 301 or the 305. Once you have properly seasoned your corset, you can wear it for as long as it comfortable for you!

      • Brittany chin

        Thanks!!! And one more question how I can tell when it’s seasoned? once it fits perfect on me with no gaps? And how long does the seasoning take I read that it can take 10-14 days? Thanks again!

      • Cheri Dudek

        Actually, there is no evidence that anyone has ever had a rib removed. Your bottom two ribs (your floating ribs) are able to move in. They will not stay that way forever (like your teeth after braces-a retainer is necessary), you will need to continue to corset train. There are some really good books out there…The Corset by Valerie Steele for one.

  • Courtney

    Thanks for this post! I am on the fluffier side of things but am running into hip issues. I have a 38″ natural waist and wear a size 16. I bought a 30″ CS-426 about a month ago and after seasoning, I can size it down past the modesty panel (so maybe 3-4″ gap). I could probably go down more, but am running into issues with the bottom of the corset being too tight.

    I bought a 34″ CS-426 last week to see how it would fit, and I was able to take it out of the tissue and close it all the way from the get go. The (unseasoned) hips were very wide.

    I am going to exchange the 34″ and wonder if I should (1) try a 32″ so I can possibly close the corset more without binding my hips or (2) stick with a 30″ which looks good and not be able to tighten the waist further (at least until my hips get smaller or the corset stretches a bit at the bottom), or (3) maybe try something with a little bigger hip spring?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Tamar

    So… should someone who can only pull it 2″ stick to a 4″ reduction in their first corset and a 4″ pull fit an 8″ reduction to start?
    I’m still not sure what size I should get, I have a 23 1/2″ waist that can be pulled down to 22″

    • Cheri Dudek

      Hi Tamar,

      Not necessarily. But with such a small waist to begin with, you will not be able to size down much right away-that will take waist training for you. Depending on your upper hip and underbust measurement, you will probably want a size 18.

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