Christmas and New Year’s are coming up, and it’s that time of the year to spend (time and money) on others instead of yourself. However, you don’t want your personal low budget to rain on your wanting to show how festive you are as a fashionista. What do you do? If your hands can knit or sew, you upcycle. If you have a good eye but not hands, you go thrifting. If you are any of these but don’t have the patience or time to make something or look through racks of old clothing, you turn online for vintage or unique dresses.
If you look in your closet, how many items can you find that have transcended multiple seasons let alone multiple years? Sure, maybe you’ve had them a few years, but are they really still fashionable? The idea perhaps, but the length, the fabric or neckline could easily give away it’s year of origin. When it comes down to it, you may have one item that has lasted and will continue to do so: your little black dress, but even still, it’s questionable.
However, there is one item that has been in fashion for well over 500 years and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. There have been minor tweaks, the fabrics can vary and you can choose from a variety of cuts, but nevertheless, the shape, function and basic look remains the same. What garment am I talking about? Corsets, of course.
THEN. Corsets originated in the 1500’s and served as a foundation for the dresses worn by the French court. It would take another 200 years to hit mainstream status, but everyone was wearing them by the 1700’s. Corsets were designed to elevate the breasts as well as pull in and reshape the waist in efforts to create a perfect hourglass figure. Without bras and spanx, corsets were imperative for smooth body lines and “perfect” bodies.
NOW. Fast forward 300 years and corsets are still going strong, but in a different way. Coming to us in two different styles: fashion corsets and traditional corsets. Both are beautiful and useful in their own way, but you are far more likely to encounter, wear and own a fashion corset.
TRADITIONAL VS FASHION. A traditional corset will provide back and bust support and have true waist cinching. Traditional corsets are typically custom made and are very expensive. They are beautiful and worth what they cost, but are not practical for most corset wearers. Fashion corsets were created for the mainstream fashion consumers, giving them far more accessible options in standard sizing. These are the kind of corsets you will find at lingerie stores. Visit Adam and Eve online for lots of lingerie options.
Traditional corsets are great for women who want to recreate a vintage look or are looking to do waist training. A fashion corset will be perfect if you’re just looking for a cute corset to pair with a pair of jeans or to wear as lingerie.
Some photos of me with fashion corsets incorporated into clothing : 1 | 2 | 3
You can also consider pairing your corset with a high-waisted pencil skirt or shorts as well as with any Halloween costume. Corsets can instantly give you a sophisticated, sexy or vintage look depending on how you style it. A simple black corset can be incredibly versatile and is easy to transition from day to night.
STRUCTURE. When looking for a corset, you should pay attention to the construction. Ideally, you can find a corset with steel boning. However, most fashion corsets these days come with plastic boning. Boning is the vertical support system throughout the corset that helps shape your body and give it that structured look.
SIZING. The sizing of a corset is very important. You want to make sure that you get one that is small enough to shape you, but big enough for you that it doesn’t create muffin tops on either end. Fashion corset sizing can be done through the waist size or standard sizing like Small, Medium and Large. When buying a corset, make sure you know your waist size and then subtract 4 from it to determine your corset size. Let’s say you have a 30″ waist, you will want to look for a size 26. However, with anything, you should try on a few before purchasing just to make sure it fits your body correctly, as fashion corsets can vary in fit. Need more info on fitting a corset, a great resource.
Are you a corset fan? How and when do you wear your corsets?
Today, I found out that I had been wearing the wrong bra size for YEARS. Yesterday (and the years before that), I wore 34B. Today, I was professionally measured at 34D (at store)/32DD (from calculator updated by bra experts)—and that is without putting on any startling weight! Perhaps I gained a little, but a couple of pounds is truly nothing significant. After much deliberation and a lot of research about how most women end up wearing the wrong sized bra, I finally decided to get a bra fitting after having watched this episode of The I.T. Crowd, “Smoke and Mirrors.”
For those who cannot view videos at the moment (at work, perhaps?), here is a confusing screen cap that will make you want to watch the video later:
I don’t consider myself having big breasts at all. I think I thought I was okay in a B cup (self assessed, of course), because I am somewhat a petite female. I thought, how could it be possible that I have anything other than a B without being on the heavier side? I’ve learned that cup sizes are related to band sizes, and the cup is really just how far the highest point of your breasts are to your back. The width of breasts can be narrow but still have a big cup size and a smaller band, so that is why I didn’t think I was not bigger than a B or C. For years, I’ve had back problems, “baby fat” spilling over to my armpits, the sides of my back, and right beneath my boobs (which are all signs of an ill-fitting bra), so if you are having these symptoms, do yourself a big favor by getting yourself professionally fitted right away! Besides, you need to get fitted every so often to make sure you are wearing the right size. A slight difference in bra size and style makes a huge impact on your breast health and appearance.
Below are two of my purchases right after having been fitted. I meant to be fitted at Macy’s (my primary choice), but I was told that the lady who could do it was not in. I went to the closest available lingerie store instead at Victoria’s Secret and also bought from their Angel Fantasies line (about $60). Gorgeous bra, by the way (and in so many fun colors and styles)! After having learned my size, I got a less expensive bra at the clearance section at Macy’s (yay $9!) just to have something to change into that night. Oh boy, do I love the feeling of fitting in “just right” in these babies!
I need to get a second professional fitting, because I am unsure whether or not I fit better in a D or DD. I tried both on, and the other had just a slight difference. The revolutionary online bra experts say that professional fitters aren’t trained correctly. They say you should subtract 2 inches from your actual band size (34), because the band is usually stretchy and you will need that to gather all the fat from your back (look up articles and reports on fat migration). Bra sizes of yesterday are history and need to be updated—just like the food “pyramid” got updated and just how Pluto got vanquished from our Solar System. From the calculator that automatically took this information into account (after plugging in my actual measurements), I am a 32DD. I’ll probably order my bras online too from now on, because from researching I also learned that corporate America is ruining women’s chests by squeezing them into smaller sizes AND creating bras that, although make you look sexier, BUTCHER your busts.
Squished boobie cleavages like they show you on vixen victims on TV isn’t really healthy, and I think that is probably why I thought I looked “nice” in a B cup bra (in front of the mirror and the hubby) . :-/ Also, you may not want to wear push up bras everyday and especially not to bed. You might be missing out on some boobie growth! It’s really funny to see women in movies getting up in the morning with push up bras on (and not to mention, makeup)… who does that?
Look for bras that have ample material beneath and the sides of your cups that reach to the sides of your armpits, and broader shoulder straps and back straps. Considering these rules, the bras that I bought today weren’t really the best. They will work for now though, because I’ll have to order these specialty bras online, which are probably abundant in the UK. No wonder UK women’s average chest size was for the longest time a C (America’s was a 34B, but this year they say it is now a 38C which is thought to be because of increasing obesity). UK stores have a whole range of bra sizes and good bra styles so women can really pick what’s best for their body!
Here is an example of bras that are highly recommended by bra blog experts to start out with— Panache Tango II, Freya Pollyanna, and Freya Rio :) I think I like the Pollyanna the best. I couldn’t find these near where I live, so these are definitely purchases I will have to make online. These bra styles follow all the rules above, especially my pick, the Pollyanna.
I have to now bust out my pretty bras and other lingerie that involves the bust from my closet and toss them out, sadly. Thankfully, corsets aren’t affected. I am very excited however to try on new bras and go shopping! I’m not looking forward to the cost that’ll rack up after having to replenish my bra drawer though, but I think it is worth every penny for my health! Speaking of corsets, don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a beautiful corset ending on the 10th of this month!
Don’t be part of the 75-90% of women who aren’t wearing the right size, so go get fit-ted today!