Corsets: Do I need a Custom (Bespoke) Corset?

Corsets: Do I need a Custom (Bespoke) Corset?

Custom Corset = Better Fit?

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.

A question that comes up frequently in the corset community is whether (or when) you need to go custom when it comes to corsets.

Buying a Corset Pre-Internet

When I started wearing corsets, 25 years ago, the world of corsets was completely different to what it is today and there were only two ‘corset companies’ operating in the UK: Axfords (which ceased production last year) and Vollers (still going strong) from which you could purchase ready made corsets. If you purchased a corset from a lingerie or fetish boutique around 25 years ago, it was highly likely it was a ‘private label’ by Axfords or Vollers. They supplied everyone, from Agent Provocateur to Rigby and Peller to Skin Two putting each brands’ label into their corsers. There were also a few independent corsetieres such as C&S Constructions, who made corsets for serious tight lacers and had to be contacted via a PO Box. Both Axfords and Vollers corsets at that time were based on patterns from the turn of the century which focused on support, as opposed to cinching the waist so there really was no other choice than to go custom if you wanted to waist train seriously.

The Choice of Corsets Today

Over the last 15 years, a huge number of corset companies have sprung up, each with their own particular style, price point and quality level. The internet has given shoppers access to all of the corset brands and there is a wealth of information in corset Facebook groups and Reddit which allows you to do your research. Today, there really is no need to go custom unless you have been training for several years and really can’t find a corset to suit your measurements, are wearing a corset 23/7 (23 hours a day, 7 days a week which only a handful of people in the world do), or are in the lucky position of having an unlimited budget.

The Advantage of Buying a Ready Made Corset

One huge advantage of purchasing a ready to wear corset is that you can return it, should you decide it isn’t quite right for you (please check the returns policy of the company you’re purchasing from though!) If you commission a corset to be made just for you, then your consumer rights are not the same so you really have to be 100% sure that the style and fabrics are the ones you want (if buying made to order) or that the measurements are correct (if going custom/bespoke when the corset is made to your measurements).

Over the years at What Katie Did we have offered both made to order corset where you could select your own fabrics and trims and full made to measure, but both had their issues. With full made to measure we worked from a list of measurements provided by the customer and found that quite often the fit of the resulting corset was no better than a ready made one, and in some cases a lot worse! The measurements need to be 100% accurate and today we’re really not used to taking our own measurements and realising how critical they are, especially when it comes to a close fitting garment like a corset. Even when we took measurements in our London boutique the fit, in most cases, wasn’t that much improved to warrant the extra cost and waiting time.

Custom (Bespoke) Corsets

If you do decide to go custom (bespoke) for a waist training corset, my advice would be to only consider it after you have worn a ready made corset regularly for a year. This way, you can learn about your body, learn about your corset (what you do and don’t like) and know how quickly your body will adapt to waist training. This will help your corsetiere greatly to be able to give them this information as making a great corset is down to more than just your measurements. A mock up might seem like an unnecessary expense and delay but really is essential when going custom or bespoke. Ideally you would be able to visit your corsetiere in person for the fitting, but if this is not possible then many do offer virtual fittings by Skype.

What Katie Did Corsets

At What Katie Did we make a range of corsets to suit different body shapes and do both a standard and extreme fit. The idea behind the extreme fit is that if you are waist training and outshrink the standard version you can downsize to the extreme version while still enjoying the same familiar feel of your old corset: just with a more nipped in waist!

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