My name is Cheryl. I am a semi-professional singer and I perform with several original, tribute and cover bands in the Chicago area. I’ve always been drawn to Victorian inspired fashion elements. My Fluevog button-up- style boots cost more than anything else in my closet! But I had yet to take the plunge with corsets. They were always something I wanted to add to my wardrobe, but I was paralyzed between not wanting to throw away money on cheap pieces but not having the money to get a bespoke corset made.
A few years ago, I started experiencing severe menstrual pain due to (then) undiagnosed endometriosis. There were days when I couldn’t even stand upright, the pain was so intense. I managed the pain with drugs and time off from work. For my day-job, it was no real issue – I could easily take a day off or work from home when things got really bad. But as a performer, that was not an option. My bands rely on me to be there at every show and to sing and dance with gusto no matter what. For months, I lucked out that none of my shows coincided with my cycle, but that luck ran out early this year. A particularly bad cycle hit just a day before a very important show. I knew that standing upright the next night would be a struggle, let alone singing and dancing for two hours. Then, I recalled a piece written by one of my favorite bloggers, Jen Yates at www.epbot.com. She wrote about how she had found relief for similar issues by wearing corsets. One of her favorite corsetieres? Orchard Corset. Within a few clicks, I had ordered my first corset, a CS-411 in purple satin, for overnight delivery.
As a singer, one of the most important aspects of proper technique is breathing. I was a little nervous as I laced up that 411 the first night – would I be able to breathe enough to sing properly? How much of a sacrifice to my singing would it make? And would I be able to dance in my corset? How much would it limit my movement? The corset helped immensely. My pain was greatly reduced and I was able to get through the show with my usual vim and vigor. I won’t lie – wearing a corset does reduce your overall lung capacity. But proper breathing technique isn’t just about capacity; it’s about using what breath you do have efficiently.
After a few tunes, I was able to adjust and found I had plenty to breath to do everything I needed too. I also discovered another interesting benefit – using my diaphragm to push again the corset, I was able to get additional support and sing even more powerfully that normal. As for the dancing? It helped in that aspect as well! By giving me extra core support, I was able to move with even more abandon than usual! After one show in the corset, I was hooked and now I wear them for shows whether experiencing pain or not! Lacing up before each performance has breathed new life into my show wardrobe and now all my old black dresses have a completely new look to them!
I wanted to find out a bit more from Cheryl, here is our conversation:
B : “What size corset do you wear and what size is your natural waistline?”
C : ” My waistline is currently 30″. I have the following corsets: CS-411 purple satin size 26, CS-345 black satin size 24, CS-345 black mesh size 26, CS-201 blue mesh size 26. I can’t quite lace the 24 to reach the modesty panel completely yet, but since I wear it over black dresses, it’s not an issue. The 345 has become my favorite.”
C : “My main project is a Pink Floyd Tribute band called Think Floyd USA. – I’ve been in that band for 12 years now and am one of three female backup singers. We have a lot of fun dancing and getting into the music together. In addition to that, I front a rock cover band that performs songs from the late 70s to early 80s called Ginger, a female fronted Bee Gees tribute act called She Gees (I don’t corset for that one because we have specific costumes, though I might start stealthing), and an original outfit that plays folk/blues/rock tunes called Barrett’s Hidden Agenda.”
We hope that you enjoyed reading about Cheryl’s experience with singing in her corsets! Let us know what you think in the comments!