Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Ties That Bind....Corsets!

As a burlesque dancer, I hear a lot of people say "I'm corset trained," which always makes me giggle because it reminds me of saying "I'm potty trained." However, being "corset trained," one could argue, is much tougher than being potty trained...just not as socially crucial as being potty trained.

I am not corset trained. I am potty trained (thank you, very much). Corset training- also known as "tightlacing" takes a lot of dedication. One must wear a corset over extended periods of time, slowly tightening the corset laces until the ideal waist size is obtained. Those who know me, know that I do not have that kind of dedication. I can't even leave a headband on for more than an hour.

Of course, I'm also not going to start doing crunches either, so I guess I'm stuck with my current waist size.

But, you don't have to have your sights set on a 20 inch waist to wear a corset. Corsets are very flattering, sexy pieces of clothing that can be worn by everyone, not just burlesque dancers. I promise.

Here's the stats on corsets:


  • The word "corset" comes from the Old French word "corps," which means "body."
  • While corsets are mainly worn by women, dudes have been known to wear them too. In fact, corsetry came into fashion for men in the early 1800's when a wasp waist was in fashion. Old-timey fashions...got to love them.
  • Corsets have medical purposes as well. Those with back problems or scoliosis ore even internal injuries are sometimes fitted for corsets so that they can protect the torso. After Andy Warhol was shot in 1968, he wore a corset for the rest of his life.  
  • In the 19th century, corset boning was made of elephant, moose, or whale bones. *Sad face*. Today, cheaper or costume corsets are made with plastic boning, while the more expensive "corset-training" ones are typically made with steel.  Although I have heard of some still made with whale bone. That makes me cranky.
  • The smallest waist achieved through corset training is 13 inches by Ethyl Granger, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Thirteen inches! Seriously, that's a little more than the circumference of a  Jameson bottle...just to put things into perspective...for people like me.
  • The invention of the corset has been mistakenly attributed to Catherine d'Medici when she allegedly banned women with thick waists from her court in the 1550's. Bitch! But, in actuality, the corset dates back as far as ancient Babylonia. 
  • In 2007, a corset designed by Dita Von Teese was auctioned off for $20,000. However, always the "one-upper," Madonna's Who's That Girl Tour corset was auctioned off this year for $72,000. Bloody hell!* *"bloody hell" was to be said in Madonna's lame fake British accent.
Not looking to spend $72,000 on corset related items? Have I got a deal for you:



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