When the mercury rises questions arise on how to keep your cool whilst wearing a corset. Although we have made fine mesh corsets in the past (and have plans for a single layer cotton corset for the Summer of 2020) I explain why really there is no such thing as a ‘cool’ corset.
If you're new to retro style hosiery, or hosiery of any kind, then the terminology can be confusing - but help is at hand!
Check out our guide to hosiery and all will be revealed.
Mesh Corsets vs Traditional Three Layer
If you are used to wearing a corset daily then hotter weather shouldn’t make any difference in comfort levels as you are already used to wearing one! I’ve worn corsets in several tropical climes with no issues and have just come back from the Twinwood Festival where it reached 33.3 centigrade (91 fahrenheit): certainly not what we’re used to in the UK! It turned out I was not the only daily corset wearer there, and for the corseted few, life continued as usual.
The advice is a little different if you are just about to start on your corset journey: going from not wearing a corset to wearing one in a heatwave is certainly not a good idea. Your body needs time to adapt to wearing a corset and unusual heatwaves will put your body under stress without the addition of a tight item of clothing. Wait until the temperature drops so you can start waist training in comfort.
Extreme Vamp Corset
That’s not to say that corsets made specifically for hotter climates are not popular, and indeed single layer tropical corsets were made in the 19th and early 20th century, not only of more breathable fabrics but also incorporating reed boning instead of heavier steel or baleen (whalebone). Remember, this was at a time when women (unless complete rebels) really had no choice in whether to wear a corset or not: it was expected of them. Women frequently travelled with their husbands to the colonies of the British Empire, from India, to Egypt to Jamaica and beyond.
In recent years there has been a fashion for mesh corsets made from a single layer of non stretch sports mesh. I’d never actually tried one, but have read several reviews which said that they did stretch quickly over time. When the owner of our corset factory mentioned that he’d been asked to make a sports mesh corset for another customer and would we like one I jumped at the chance to try one out.
Vintage Summer Corset Advertisements
The corset I had made is to the same pattern as our Extreme Vamp Corset – the corset style I currently wear on a day to day basis. The similarities stop there though! Oh boy, was this corset a disappointment. I was expecting the mesh to stretch, but didn’t take into account that this would mean that all the stress would be put on the 1” wide waist tape. If you take a look at the pictures of me in the mesh corset you can really see this, whereas with the peach corset there is a smooth line as the pressure is balanced over a wider area.
Another issue was the binding at the bottom: remember, the exact same pattern was used for both corsets. As the mesh had a little give, and the binding didn’t, the binding dug in at the hips unlike the peach satin version which gives a very smooth line. This is another thing I noticed in images from other brands but didn't think it would be such a deal-breaker.
Notes for Corsetieres and Lingerie Fans
Corsetieres: if you are a corsetiere and have been asked to make a mesh corset the above info might be useful. We never had issues with our fine mesh stretching and they did give a super smooth line, but if you are working with fabric with even a hint of mechanical stretch beware.
Lingerie fans: I’ve pointed out a couple of times that the corsets were made to the same pattern and although this is an extreme example it also explains why your favourite piece of lingerie might fit slightly differently if a company brings out the same style in a different fabric. For example, black dye always makes the fabric stretch less as it contains more fixative which is why our black powermesh items come up a little smaller than the peach version.
Corset Liners: I always wear my corset with a liner which protects my corset from sweat, but have pictured without here so you can see the difference more clearly. Even if you invest in a mesh Summer Corset you should still were a liner with it.
Corsets: Separating the Facts from the Fiction
If you're new to corsets and want to find out more about wearing them, and if they 'work' check out my video which really does separate the facts from the fiction.