In praise of the corset

Corsets are a very special kind of feminine.

Four corsets

The public me wears sturdy boots, thick tights, little skirts and snug jumpers. While they’re far more flattering than the baggy hoodies and jeans I wear when I’m working from home, they still give the impression that their wearer is ready for a bracing walk, a day of being polite and helpful, and occasionally still working on her A Level English Lit homework (although it’s about 20 years late by this point).

I’ve a shirehorse frame, all shoulders and quads that could hold up a building. It’s well padded, with plenty of curves and softness that give me a serious hourglass figure – including the frame around the glass itself. At my slimmest, the impression is still one of sturdiness, and unless I’m in seriously clingy clothes or wearing a very new bra, my curves tend to vanish when I’m dressed.

Laces of a silver corset

Corsets make my femininity upfront and undeniable. They force me to stand – and sit, carefully – properly, pulling my ribs down and my chest up, altering how I hold my shoulders ever so subtly but effectively, pushing my tummy in and my bum out – without making me look like a duck. (It happens, when I’m tired and everything slumps.)

Corseted me is sexy, sensual, and depending on whether I’m wearing an underbust or overbust, cheekier than everyday me.

Red corset detail

The underbusts I own are cheap and plastic-boned, pretty but not precious, ideal for wearing in burlesque classes, so I can breathe and bend and pull stockings off and on repeatedly.

They have ribbon rather than laces down the back, and being weaker and thinner they tend to give in the middle rather than exert pressure on my ribs and tummy. But combined with a decent pair of M&S control pants, they tame my stomach enough to make for a smoother, neater, shape, and a much more confident burlesque student: the sort who, when she manages to get her fishnets caught in the fastenings, can grin winningly as she untangles them – because she knows her audience is hoping she rips them off anyway.

More than that, they help me deal with that deep-seated insecurity that although I generally like my figure – and love my shape – were I to let my tummy loose during the striptease it’d grab all the attention for all the wrong reasons.


My Cadbury purple overbust is a far stricter mistress. But she’s also far more rewarding. I wrote not long back about the experience of being fitted, of being stunned by the familiar but different reflection in the mirror, of my glee at looking that damned hot, despite not being able to lace myself in tightly enough alone.

I feel bereft when it comes off. Relieved, to a degree, like when you take off a good bra at the end of the day; everything can relax again. But I suddenly feel somehow lacking: discipline, support, the comforting feeling of being held that tightly.

My outerwear is tactile but soft and cuddly, designed to knock the edges off a broad and strong body. The slink of satin over an underframe of steel and twill is simply a more extreme twist on that:

An iron fist in a velvet glove, writ large, and oh so delightfully.


There’s more on the wonder of corsetry behind the killer heels:

Kink of the Week


5 thoughts on “In praise of the corset

  1. Lovely works accompany lovely pictures. I definitely have my favorite, although I’ve yet to try an underbust. The burlesque classes sound amazing! I’m envious, they must be such great, fun, confidence boosters!


  2. “Corseted me is sexy, sensual, and depending on whether I’m wearing an underbust or overbust, cheekier than everyday me.”

    Yes! Corsets are kind of magic that way. And that cadbury purple number is a real beauty too!


  3. I love the way you describe how the corset transforms you and I completely agree about the moment when you take it off… Such relief and then instantly you start to miss it



  4. Pingback: The Institute of Sexology | The Shingle Beach

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