Typically, a corset will take ones waist down by 3″ or so, depending on height and other measurements. This is the average waist measurement that we have seen overall. Tightlacing involves lacing ones corset down to gradually achieve an unusually small waist measurement for one’s size. This also, typically involves wearing a corset for several hours each day, often sleeping in a moderately laced corset at night.
While tightlacing, either extreme or moderate is definitely not for everyone, or even a very common practice, there are some points of interest for those who are thinking of wearing corsets for this purpose.
Contrary to some accounts, and common consideration of corsets, corset tightlacing was historically not a common practice. Corsets were generally worn to smooth the figure and allow clothes to drape and fit nicer than they otherwise would. Having a corset made to severely reduce the waist was more of a fetish practice that would be as rare then as it is today.
Wearing a corset to extreme waist reductions can be risky, even with an expertly made custom corset, so it is important to do your research, gosafely and slowly. Dietary considerations are a must while tightlacing as well. No large meals, but several small ones throughout the day are best. Staying away from foods that expand, such as rice and pasta is also necessary, because your corset will not be able to expand as quickly when laced tight. Plenty of fluids should be consumed throughout the day, but be sure they are non-carbonated, the bubbles will travel back up… or down quite rapidly and uncomfortably.
Many tightlacers rotate between a few different corsets to extend the life of each. This way, one can air out while you wear another. You may also want to consider investing in a few corsets in varying degrees of waist reduction so that you can gradually lace into smaller and smaller ones.
All Starkers corsets are suitable for tightlacing, but the one I would recommend for tighlacing is the Victorian Underbust. This corset sits under the bust to allow for more upper body flexibility, and will give you the ability to wear your own bra with it if you choose. All of the waist reduction happens above the hip bones and below the rib cage, allowing you to breathe easier and eat without discomfort. The Victorian Underbust corset sits lower on the hips to accent the curvature of the waist.
We do not recommend that you tightlace with an off the rack corset, as they are not designed to fit accurately to your bone structure as you reduce the circumference of your waist, they will press against the ribs and hips causing discomfort and possible injury.
Common sense must be used with tightlacing. If it hurts for any reason, loosen the corset and give your body a break.
Tightlacing may over time permanently reduce the circumference of the waist by tightening the abdominal muscles from the resistance of wearing the corset alongside the dietary adjustments necessary to comfortably tightlace. A well made corset will not re-shape your rib cage or hip bones, but allow the wearer to wear an extreme waist reduction with greater ease as well as tighten the muscles. Re-shaping the bone structure is not a recommended pursuit because the risk is too great. Especially when it is possible to achieve the same result without discomfort or injury just by correctly wearing a corset laced to desired size.
Caution is recommended when tightlacing,. If you find the reduction too great, loosen the laces, relax and try again when you are ready.