Fran's Tightlacing Tips and Techniques

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Updated 1-25-2012
Index of articles on this page:

Lacing Up a Contour Corset
Using the Contour Hidden Zipper Closure
Using a Busk Closure
Putting On and Adjusting the Corset Liner
Blood Pressure, Hypertension, and Hydration During Tightlacing
Sport Corsets and Exercising for Tightlacers
Breathing and Sleeping In Your Corset
Surgical Rib Removal
The Shape of Modern Tightlacing: Defining the Iliac Crest
The Cycle Method
The Hard Part - Recontouring Your Costal Cartilage and Floating Ribs
Advanced Cycle Method – Divide and Conquer
Tightlacing Hygiene
The Ins and Outs of Tightlacing
Ready! Set! Sit!

Using the Contour Hidden Zipper Closure

When putting the corset on or taking it off, always make sure that the laces are fully loosened and open evenly before attempting to either close or open the zipper. Attempting to zip up or unzip the corset while it is under pressure can result in damage to the corset or the zipper.
When putting on the corset by yourself, bring the open corset around your waist and bring the zipper pull on the right hand side down to the full downward resting position on the zipper, and hold it there in place with the right hand.   Then, holding the left side zipper with the left hand, insert the left side tab all the way into the zipper pull on the right and gently pull upward on the zipper. 
It may be necessary once the zipper is started to bring the top parts of the zipper closure close together and hold them with one hand while pulling the zipper all the way up to the top resting position.  Flipping the zipper pull tab under the two zipper cover flaps will lock the zipper head in position and this will keep it from sliding down.

Using a Busk Closure

Just as with the zipper closure, always make sure that the laces are fully loosened and open evenly before putting the corset on or taking it off.

The busk has rows of lock pins and loops that interconnect and hold the corset closed.  To put the corset on by yourself bring the opened corset around your waist and latch the pin in the loop that is second from the bottom first.  This allows you to hold the corset in place while bringing the upper parts of the busk closer together.  Now latch the third pin, fourth, and so on, upwards to the top of the corset.  Lastly, latch the bottom pin.


Lacing Up a Contour Corset

After securing the closure, reach around the back and center the lacing guard.  Make sure that the laces are on the outside of the guard, and that the smooth side of the guard is against the skin and not flipped around.  Also check that the laces are not tangled or trapped around the inside of the guard before tightening them. 
Find the two small vertical loops of laces in the center of the lacing system at the waist.  Pull the loops outward a bit to start.  You will feel that there is now an upper pair and lower pair of laces to pull. 
To bring in the top part of the corset pull the upper pair of laces downward.  To bring in the bottom part of the corset, pull the lower pair of laces upward. 

Wriggle around in the corset as you tighten it, this will help adjust your body in the corset as it is drawn in.  Repeat as needed, pulling upward and downward on the lace loops until the corset is tightened to the desired size.  If the corset is fairly new then you may have to assist in drawing the laces by grabbing them midway between the waistline and the top and bottom, then pulling the slack through at the waist loops.   As the corset 'breaks in' and conforms to your body the lacing system will become much more fluid and easy to pull.

It is important to allow time for the new corset to adjust to your natural shape.  Do not try to close a brand new corset immediately.  Increase the tension on the corset gradually, and you can steadily increase the tightness of the corset over the first few days of wear as it conforms to your shape and becomes more form fitting.

Making Adjustments to the Corset Steels:

As you wear the corset over the first hundred hours or so it will be conforming to your body.  This process is called "breaking in", and it is during this time that both you and the corset become acquainted.   My corsets have a very rigid busk and this is intended to keep the front of the corset from distorting or 'caving' into the abdomen.  If you find however that the steel is contacting your breast plate or lower abdomen in any uncomfortable way or with too much pressure, then you can bend the front steel to a more suitable contour.  All of the steels in the corset can be adjusted, and although the steels in the closure and lacing system are very strong they can be shaped by slightly over-bending in the desired curve and then relaxing.   It is important not to bend the steels too much, as you will find that the rigid support they provide is needed over time.


Putting On and Adjusting a Contour Corset Liner

My custom corset liners are sized to the wearer and as such they do have a top and bottom and an inside and outside.  I place a Contour Corsets label on one of the elastic bands, and this marks the inside top rear of the liner.  It is best to make sure that the corset is on correctly and that the mark is on the inside, as the seams in the liner are designed to be comfortable when worn this way.

You may want to moisturize before putting the liner on if you typically have dryness or itching after the liner is removed.

Step into the liner and pull the liner up over the hips, keeping the seams of the liner to the front and back.  It is best to avoid having the seams on the sides as this is the place where the most pressure is applied by the corset.

Pull the liner taught and place the corset around.  As you lace the corset to about half way, stretch the top of the liner up and the bottom of the liner down.  The idea is to remove any wrinkles that may be in the liner under the corset.  It is much easier to do this at this point then after the corset is fully tightened.   When the corset is tightened and you are securing the knot, here is a tip – try to make the knot loops even length with the loose ends, then tuck the hanging laces up under the corset between the liner and corset.  Then you can roll the lower band of the liner inside out and up over the bottom of the corset.  Do the same with the top of the liner, and you are done.

Blood Pressure, Hypertension, and Hydration During Tightlacing
(April 2011)

People have asked me about the effects of tightlacing and blood pressure.  Curiously, I developed my Cycle Method largely as a result of my research in monitoring my own blood pressure over the course of two years while I tightlaced, in 2006 and 2007. 

The ideal average at-rest blood pressure for an adult is 120/80.  I found that when at rest in the corset at average laced pressures that my blood pressure reading taken on my arm at heart level while standing or lying down was average, and while sitting upright was around 125/90.  The systolic pressure was average, and the diastolic slightly increased when seated, due largely to the increased upward pressure on the ribcage when in a seated position.  When I felt agitated while in the corset my systolic increased on the average to 135 and the diastolic to 95 or 100.  As a result I learned that when I would be aggravated or stressed that it was important to take off the corset until I calmed down.  As a result I developed the rule to never tightlace while upset or distressed, as it does exacerbate hypertension. 

Trying to reduce your waist size too quickly can create issues due to the pressures involved, and if you are not careful in keeping those pressures in balance you can become hypertensive.   Because of this it is important to practice moderate pressures, particularly when you are active, to prevent hypertension. 

I have written about developing respiratory efficiency in order to be more active in the corset, and this is also a component in keeping the diastolic low.  The diastolic is the measured arterial pressure when the heart is at rest, between beats.  I always advise to new eager tightlacers to take their rib recontouring slowly, and this is for many reasons, the most important from a health standpoint being the reduced space in which the heart and lungs must operate.  Also as a rule too, the leaner you are the more critical this becomes.  Without respiratory efficiency the wearer breathes much deeper, and if you are lacing too tightly, and also if you are eating too much at one sitting, the deeper breathing and fuller stomach puts added pressure against the heart and larger arteries and increases blood pressure.  So, often when you eat you have to let out the corset, or if you are more active you should take the corset off.   Very small waisted people who have achieved a high reduction safely do so slowly and with a balance of pressures, moderate eating, and considerations to their respiration to keep their blood pressures low.  It is because of all these reasons I do believe that following the Cycle Method is so important. 

Keeping properly hydrated is also important to maintaining good blood pressure.  Having adequate blood volume is critical to good health in general, but if you tightlace then you need to be especially careful to maintain adequate hydration, regardless of how thirsty you may or may not be.  You can become very dehydrated when laced and not know it, because of the decreased body volume that the corset creates.  But if you are dehydrated in the corset, when you remove the corset you can experience sudden low blood pressure.  I think that the legendary fainting spells in Victorian lore could be attributed to this.  You could experience the same if you are not careful!  Drinking a good 8 glasses of water per day is a good goal, and drink even more if it is a hot day.  Also be careful with salt, because too much will cause you to retain fluids which will also effect your blood pressure. 

So, as always, slow and steady is the best philosophy.  Listen to your body and if you are concerned about blood pressure then do what I did and get a monitor.  Knowledge is power, and with the feedback of a blood pressure monitor you can get a good sense of how your own body reacts to all the various situations and make the best decisions for your own comfort and health as you tightlace. 

Sport Corsets and Exercising for Tightlacers
(Feb. 2011)

I often get asked by athletic people if wearing a corset while exercising will help them contour their upper body and ribcage.  The answer is not a simple one.  Exercise in a tight corset is advanced tightlacing, and there are in fact few people who really ever do it.  I have been one of them, so I know the realities of this experience and this essay is to convey to you honestly what the practice of tightlacing athleticism entails.

I have written in the past that you really cannot do everything in a corset, and I still believe that to be thoroughly true, but for those rare birds who are really hard core about the lifestyle and radical reduction it is possible to be physically fit while lacing by maintaining an exercise regimen and donning a specially designed sport corset.

But to do real exercise and exertion in a corset without stress requires developing a sufficient level of abdominal shaping and respiratory efficiency first.  In my essay Permanent Curves or Temporary Beauty I discuss the recontouring of the abdominal wall and how the muscles around the waist become smaller, denser, and leaner through long term tightlacing.  I found that this was one of the necessary things for being able to exercise in the corset.  Normally, during exercise the physical exertion is continuous with certain muscle groups, which causes the active muscles to become engorged as blood pressure and blood flow increase, and blood vessels dilate within the muscle, and the muscle swells.  In a tightlacer the muscles under the corset become slowly acclimated to compression over a long period of time.  The result of this is what I described in the Curves essay.  In the waistline of a fully trained tightlacer the muscles become accustomed to doing their work in a very limited space, while expanding very little.   If you do not reach a certain level of acclamation to compression then physical exertion causes pain and cramping as the muscles struggle to enlarge.  This is the main reason why using a corset for exercise is extremely stressful if you are not already a dedicated tightlacer.

The other requirement for exercise is the development of respiratory efficiency.  I have found that this is a necessary and usually invisible part of waist training.  Athletes have known for centuries that if they train at higher altitudes, where the level of oxygen is far less than at sea level, that over time they develop greater overall endurance as their body slowly becomes more efficient with the limited oxygen it can intake.  This process takes time, but it has long lasting effects for the athlete, and allows them to have greater stamina because their body has learned to do more with less.  Tightlacers do this also, but usually unknowingly.  I describe the necessary process of developing proper breathing in the essay Breathing and Sleeping in Your Corset.   For a dedicated tightlacer the deep breathing that an athlete depends on is no longer possible, and what occurs over time for them is the same as that of the high altitude runner.   Because of the limitation of how much air one can take in with a single fully laced breath, the process of developing respiratory efficiency occurs as the body learns to do more with less.   For anyone who decides to cinch down for exercise without achieving this efficiency first, the result will be pretty obvious.  It would be for them like their very first hike on a high mountain; they would be stalled, panting, and out of breath. 

Because of these two very important reasons, unless you are already fully waist trained then any attempt to do real exercise in a corset will meet with undesirable results.  For dedicated tightlacers I can make sport corsets that allow them to exert themselves and sweat it out, for biking, hiking, or weight training.  But for those who desire the curves without spending the time in the corset to develop these needed changes in their body first the experience of the sport corset will be a torturous one.  Because of this I no longer advertise sport corsets on my site.  I did not want to convey the idea that they are really for everyone.  I can still make a sport corset for any dedicated tightlacer that needs one, but for those body conscious and fit people who are considering wearing a corset, not as a lifestyle, but just for exercise, be advised – I do not recommend it.


Breathing and Sleeping In Your Corset
(Jan. 2011)

One of the best ways to shape with the least impact on lifestyle is to develop the habit of wearing your corset in bed.  Sleeping in the corset will do a lot for shaping, and even if you have to be out of your corset for daytime activities you can still hold your ground and keep your shape by taking tightlacing to bed with you. 

One of the keys to comfortable sleep in the corset is to follow my Cycle Method and gradually bring in the laces just where it is conformable.  If you typically wake at night for a bathroom visit you will find that you can take it in a little more then.  Keep the routine going nightly and as the evenings go by you will find the laces getting a little closer to closed every night. 

There are some pointers for keeping this routine, and first on my list is to avoid eating late.  A couple hours before you plan to retire it is best to not eat solid foods, and this will allow you to lace down with the least impediment.  Another tip is to get into the corset more than an hour before bed, which allows you to settle in and get comfortable, and in doing this you can have the laces adjusted to where you want them before you sleep.  As a habit, I keep a full glass of water at my bedside and if I am up for any reason I take a drink so that I stay hydrated too.

The one thing that is essential to sleeping soundly in the corset is proper breathing.  "I can't breathe!" some say when they first wear a tight corset, but of course they are breathing, it is just an impulse from the compression that people can experience when they first start lacing. 

By nature, all of us breathe with the diaphragm - it is the large muscle that separates the abdominal and chest cavities.  The feeling of 'not being able to breathe' is a natural reflex of restricting the motion of the diaphragm, but of course you are still breathing in the corset, and in order to breath 'naturally' when laced you have to learn to do it differently.  Breathing is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, along with heartbeat, digestion and peristalsis, and blinking.  But like blinking, breathing is not completely automatic.  Breathing has selective override which allows you to take over control as you wish, or to just forget about it and it will go on automatically.  But another aspect of breathing that is controllable is not just when, but how you breathe, and making this change in your natural responses is one of the keys to tightlacing as a discipline. 

Changing the way in which you breathe, from the natural low position of the diaphragm to high in the chest is key to living and sleeping well in the corset.  Chest breathing is the norm for tightlacers, and with time and patience the body does adjust to adopting this new breathing method.  Usually the greatest impedance to sleeping in the corset is that the individual is not yet trained, and as such they are still naturally trying to breathe from the diaphragm.   When you sleep you will breathe of course, but it is necessary to have developed autonomic chest breathing to sleep through the night.  If not, then you will wake frequently with that feeling I described earlier.  If you train for chest breathing during the day and make it a natural part of you then sleeping will be a lot easier to adjust to.   It can take several weeks or months to reprogram your body's life-long tendency to breathe low in favor of high chest breathing, but it does happen. 

After years of tightlacing I found that whether I was in or out of the corset that breathing high was always automatic for me.  Believe it or not, the body does adapt.  This is after all what tightlacing is all about – changing the body, having it adapt to what we impose, and making a new natural state of being.  That is the relationship between you and the corset, and it is your dedication and discipline that brings about these changes which transform your body - not just how it looks, but also how it functions and reacts to the world. 

Sleep tight everyone!

Surgical Rib Removal
(Dec 2010)

I became aware of a dangerous trend in the tightlacing forums that some are beginning to promote surgical removal of a person's floating ribs as part of tightlacing.  It is not.  I do need to state very firmly that I will not make a corset for anyone who has removed their ribs for the reason of shaping.  Why?  Because your lower sets of ribs are necessary!  They are an integral part of your abdominal musculature and spine, and they play a part in protecting your vital organs.  Removing the 'false' ribs exposes the kidneys and liver and it will cause unknown issues as a result.  I could not in good conscience create a garment that would place pressure on these now exposed areas or create shapes that are not anatomically sound to unknown consequences. 

In short, don't do it.  Real tightlacers do not use surgery, they use a very good corset and time to reshape.  Tightlacing is a discipline.  Surgical alteration is not part of its traditions, no matter how much some fetishists or surgeons would like to believe so.   Time, patience, self discipline, diet... these are words that have implications to some in our culture that seem abhorrent.  Perhaps this pseudo Victorian trend for a mythological outpatient wasp waist will go away, and I hope it will. 

Question everything and always think for yourself.  Do not take anything you hear or read at face value, not even what I write.  Put everything through your own filter.....  Does this information that I am reading or hearing seem right?  Is it logical or reasonable?  If your better judgement says no, then forget it.  Pick it up and give it a good whiff.  If it smells like bullshit, it probably is.

The Shape of Modern Tightlacing:
Defining the Iliac Crest
(Nov. 2010)

With a corset and high waist reduction comes curves, of course.  The most noticeable of these is the hip shelf, that lovely and awe inspiring defined curve of the pelvis that is brought out by the tightlacing corset.  Under the corset at that point on the hip is the upper and most prominent part of the pelvic bone known as the iliac crest.  It is the location, prominence, and shape of this bone that completely defines the lower part of your corseted shape, and knowing the specifics of this area on each individual helps me as a corset maker to refine their individual corset designs for maximum comfort.

Asymmetry of the pelvis and hip are common, and this often causes one iliac crest to be more prominent in some way than the other.  The result is usually soreness on the pelvis on the side that is highest, and I have come to create specially patterned asymmetrical corsets that compensate for this and evenly distribute the pressures to alleviate the pain or soreness that a symmetrical design would otherwise cause. 

Sets of nerves run over and through the iliac crest at various points, and anatomical variations in every individual mean that the exact locations and proximity of the nerve pathways in relation to the iliac bone will be different for everyone.   The more body fat that is present on the pelvis then the more cushioning will be in place to prevent pressing on any of these nerves by the corset, and this will allow for more comfort and fewer issues as the wearer reduces their waistline.   If you are relatively lean as I am however, then it stands to reason that the amount of cushioning between the corset and your iliac crest is slight.  This means that the shape, contour, and design of your corset will become more critical if you wish to have higher reduction.  As you bring in your waist, the location of your greatest reduction (the corseted waistline) will also tend to become lower on your torso as you reduce.  Also as a rule, the higher the reduction of the corset and the more rib recontouring that you achieve, the greater the downward force that is applied to the waist area as it is drawn in.  The corset shape must rest this downward force somewhere, and that downward force must be evenly dampened by the corset shape by its specific design to avoid putting too much of that pressure directly on the top of the iliac crests. 

Some issues that can arise from nerve pressure on the iliac crests are soreness or pain on the top or side of the hip bone, or numbness that begins on the hip, then with more time or pressure will radiate downward over the outer thigh towards the knee.  If the pressure is being applied to nerves around the back edge of the pelvis nearer the spine then lower back pain can develop, or numbness over the rump.  The simple remedy for this issue is to remove the corset.  Sensation is generally restored within minutes, or in the case of extended applied pressure, it may take several hours or even days for the effected areas to become normally sensitized.   If you do press a nerve it is not an emergency issue, but certainly one that you do not want to continuously repeat.  When a nerve issue arises it is very important to tell your corset maker.  A real tightlacing corset designer knows anatomy, and they can create a very specific shape that will compensate for your issue and redistribute the pressures to avoid the nerve. 

Also, as always, use common sense and moderation.  Listen to your body and do not ignore problems.  Understanding the causes of problems and making changes to solve them is definitely the right decision every time. 

Enjoy wearing your corset, and appreciate your wonderful iliac crests!


The Hard Part -
Recontouring Your Costal Cartilage and Floating Ribs
(Nov. 2010)

I often have to address the rumors that some like to perpetuate that tightlacers have their ribs removed, and this is just not true.  I can say that all of the smallest waisted people on record that I am aware of, including myself, have done their reduction with the old-fashioned practice of tightlacing.  The simple reason that rib removal is not done by tightlacters to achieve a small waist size is that it is not necessary.   Time, patience, diet, and a very good corset do it all.

For most tightlacers the most difficult and uncomfortable part of achieving their shape comes from the recontouring of their costal cartilage.  The costals are hard cartilages that connect the sternum (or breast plate) to the ends of the ribs and they allow you to breath and move your upper body.  They are most prominent at the lower right and left frontal corners of the ribcage and are easily found by touch there.  They feel like bone, but they are actually thick cartilage.  The lower costals attach to what are sometimes called the ‘false ribs’ because these five lower sets of ribs do not directly connect to the sternum.  It is because of this loose attachment that the form and position of these ribs can be changed over time through tightlacing.  Most active people will develop prominent lower costals that seem to poke out and are easily felt or seen as two bumps at the bottom of the rib cage just above the waist, and this can make wearing a tight corset for long periods initially difficult. 

If you read about my Cycle Method then you know that I always recommend moderation when shaping, and this definitely applies to rib recontouring.  The costal cartilage will slowly bend down to meet the contour of your corset if the corset is specifically designed for this, and it takes time.  It is important to do this very slowly and the rate of this recontouring is dependent on many factors including your body weight, level of physical fitness, gender, and age.  Typically it does take many months or even years to get the desired rib contour. 

The other part of this troublesome twosome are the bottom two sets of false ribs that are also known as the ‘floating’ ribs.  You can feel the tips of these two sets of ribs on the sides just above the waist.  These ribs are bone and so they will not alter their shape, but because they are only attached at one point to the spine they can be greatly repositioned and brought in over time.   In a tightlacer these ribs end up being pulled downward, and from their anchor point high on the spine they rotate inward, drawing in on the sides.

If you experience pain or soreness then you have to take a break from compressing.   Remember that this all takes time.  Given your patience and determination, your body will comply to the new shape, and your recontoured ribs will be one of the most prominent features that your new body shape will carry for years to come. 

The Cycle Method
(Nov. 2010)

One of the most useful techniques that I have developed in my years as a tightlacer is something I call The Cycle Method.  Basically it has to do with self monitoring and regulation of where you set the corset over the course of a day.  Most people make the mistake of thinking that in order to reduce that you have to ‘set it and forget it’, but this is not a good idea. 

It is very important that you listen to your body, especially when you are wearing a corset.  If you have cramping, or indigestion, or soreness, or pain, then you have to let it out.  Reduction is gained over time, and over the course of any day you should get used to the habit tightening when you feel you can, and letting it out when you feel pressures or strains.  If you get that ‘bloated’ feeling, where your sense of pressure in the corset in increasing, or you are feeling agitated, then let the corset out an inch or two.  The female body goes through cycles of course, and when your body is retaining fluids you need to be mindful and let out the corset when this happens.   Get used to how ‘normal’ feels in the corset and do your best to maintain that level of pressure.  If it feels too tight, regardless of where it is actually set, then let it out.  You will find that when cycling the laces like this that over weeks and months your average waist size will still steadily reduce.  I would make the analogy that it is like the weather; some days in the week are hotter, some colder, but the seasons come and go just the same.  This is what The Cycle Method is all about.

The heart of The Cycle Method is to wear the corset very tight during the times of day that you can, and then taking a rest by letting it out when you need to.   I find that for myself I lace the tightest in the morning through early afternoon, then loosen as the day goes on.  I usually wear it medium to tighter in bed because I find that when I am at rest by body accepts the higher pressures better.  The rest of the cycling revolves around my eating and toilet schedules – more on that in a different essay.  You need to have this same relationship with your own body, and listen to what it tells you.  It will let you know when you can keep it tight and when to give it break.

Another reason for The Cycle Method is to assure the easy transition of your digestive tract to the new position.   If you wear a corset every day and are trying to achieve high waist reduction then it is very important to employ techniques that prevent you from trapping your bowel in the waistline.  The colon's natural shape is that of a cursive 'r', or sort of a bowed square.  The position of the upper part of the colon rests its right and left corners near the ribcage, and the top section of the colon transverses the abdomen, dipping down in the middle.  In a person who tightlaces the colon is entirely below the waist and has a more rounded shape overall.  If you tighten the corset too much and try to reduce too fast, you tend to pinch the colon in the middle so that the bowel is actually running up through the waist on one side and down through the waist on the other.  This makes reducing difficult and will most likely cause cramping, as your colon will not like having to do it's job this way.  Cycling the pressures helps to gradually work the colon down below the waist completely and you will avoid all of the issues associated with trapping your bowel in your corseted waistline. 

Remember that if you take the corset off for any reason you can always get back in it later, and keep in mind that reduction is gradual over time.  Your desired waist size is the goal, the corset is the enforcer, and you are the diplomat and negotiator.  You win your goals with waist size over weeks, months, and years.  Daily or weekly fluctuations in your lacing are all part of your listening and responding to your body’s fluctuations, and with constant attention you will reach your goals in a healthy manner.   Your body will be as happy as your mind when you achieve your shape in this way.


Advanced Cycle Method –
Divide and Conquer
(Nov. 2010)

If you have decided that you desire a very small waist then you are venturing into the realm of radical reduction, and there are some definite realities that you will have to encounter on that journey.  The main goals from a physiological perspective are to redirect your lower digestive tract below the waistline and move your vital organs to a supported position above the waistline.  I call this goal “divide and conquer", as it is this relocation that makes it possible to have a very small waist. 

To achieve this goal in a healthy manner requires a properly designed corset, of course, and a fair amount of time.   It is vital to not force the process along, but to allow your body to gradually adjust itself. 

What defines a proper corset for this is exactly the way I make my own corsets.  My corsets have a very sturdy front and rear that not only allow for the proper function of lacing but have very high stiffness and the correct shape all around.   Complete rigidity in the busk is necessary to prevent the corset from ‘caving in’ or scooping into the abdomen and putting pressure on the vital organs.  My corsets bring in the sides, support the back, and help redirect the colon in a proper fashion.  If my Cycle Method is followed and you listen to your body, maintain proper hygiene, have proper diet and follow my other suggestions then you will have success in achieving high reduction in your waist size. 

There are other aspects to this process that I will cover in other writings, and of course if any of you have any questions you are always invited to email me and ask.


Tightlacing Hygiene
(Nov. 2010)

When you wear a corset every day it is so very important that you tend to your skin to prevent problems that can occur from having inadequate hygiene. 

First, you need to wear a properly fitted spandex liner under the corset, and this needs to be changed daily for a clean one.  The liner will do a great deal to protect your skin from chaffing, as it allows you to adjust the position of your skin under the corset, and it protects your corset from the oils and dander that your skin gives off which will also help extend the life of your corset as well.

Secondly, you need to keep your skin clean and exfoliate every day.  I use a loofa in the shower to exfoliate all around with an anti bacterial soap.  It is a good habit to rub the antibacterial soap into your belly button and thoroughly clean it out each time you wash.  Doing so will prevent the otherwise problematic tendency of rashes in and around the navel which occur due to the proliferation of bacteria trapped there in the warm, moist conditions.  If you do get an itchy red rash it is smart to take a break from the corset until it disappears, and treat these rashes with an antimicrobial ointment twice daily until they are gone.

Thirdly, you need to moisturize.   The liner and corset will constantly wick away the moisture from your skin and so you may tend to experience dryness and itching over time.   After washing it is often necessary to apply a good skin lotion to the area before putting your liner and corset back on. 

Lastly, you need to be mindful of any folding or pinching of the skin when you lace in and go through your day.  The smooth spandex liner will perform its function by relieving a lot of friction as you adjust the corset by allowing the corset to slide along your shape without snagging your soft skin.  Still, as the day goes on and you move around inside the corset, your skin can develop small pinching folds, particularly in the back under the lacing system and around the sides of the waist where the contours are the most pronounced.  Most pinching is easily alleviated by pulling up on the top of the liner and down on the bottom of the liner to stretch out the liner under the corset and remove the wrinkling.  This is usually sufficient for any pinching, but for those with really high reduction and more radical curves there is another trick that I found solves this problem.  I keep a long ½” smooth flat steel stay for this that I put a slight bend in one side.  (If anyone needs this little tool please contact me and I will send you one)   I slide it down under the tightened corset between the liner and my skin, and like a shoe horn I slip it down to the trouble spot, and by gently sliding the rounded end of the stay up and down over the pinched skin, I relax and smooth out the skin there deep in the corset and remove the pinch.   If you do not manage pinch points or reposition the corset when you feel them then the result will be sore red marks on the skin when you remove the corset.  These tiny contusions can swell up and they take time to heal, so it is best not to accumulate them at all. 

Tending to your skin is a part of the great responsibility that you have to your body as a tightlacer.  Maintaining healthy skin and preventing infections, rashes, and small contusions not only make you feel better as you tightlace, but it also assures that you can put hours in your corset unabated, and thus you will reach your goals more quickly and maintain your shape in a healthy way.

The Ins and Outs of Tightlacing –
Eating, Drinking, and Bowel Movements.
(Nov. 2010)

Caution: potty talk ahead!

It is important as a tightlacer to be mindful to control your daily intake of food, salt, and water.   The pressures of the corset will often hinder the urges of hunger and thirst, so regardless of whether or not you are thirsty or hungry you have to make sure that you still eat regularly and drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.  You also need to avoid salty foods and snacks, because higher salt will make you retain fluids, and you want to avoid that for the reasons I mentioned before.

When you eat, don’t be afraid to let it out a bit on the top.  It is important to allow room to accommodate your food and your digestion will be more complete.  Too much pressure on the stomach can accelerate the passing on of the food to the small intestine and it is not good to have that going on all the time.  If you get heartburn, or develop a bitter taste in your mouth after you eat then you have stomach acid getting past your esophagus and you need to take the corset off for a bit.   Your stomach will get used to functioning normally while compressed, but it takes time for that to happen, and even very experienced tightlacers have to take off the corset if they intend to eat a large meal, so don’t be reluctant to take the corset off during the time of day that you have your larger meals.

It is very important to maintain regular bowel movements when you tightlace, and you must never allow yourself to become constipated.  You need to get your body trained into a cycle of no longer than 24 hours from eating to passing it out, so you develop habits that will keep things moving right along.  Staying regular is essential, and the biggest factors are drinking plenty of water, restricting your carbohydrates, emphasizing a higher protein and low fat diet, and eating plenty of vegetables and fiber.  I find that having a cup of yogurt each day helps maintain the necessary fauna in the digestive tract, and this assures better digestion too. 

Wearing the corset while going to the bathroom is a fundamental tool in repositioning the digestive tract in a healthy and natural way.  Your bowel is made up of a system of muscles and chambers.  As peristalsis moves your waste along, the rhythmic contractions of the large intestine also move the colon around.  In this way the colon will change its shape by itself over time to acclimate into the space and location you are giving it in the corset.  All the more reason that your corset must be made in a way that takes this process into consideration in providing you with the proper shape for this to happen safely.

You will find in a regular daily schedule that you will be most comfortable lacing down the tightest after your bowel movements.  Conversely, you will have the corset let out the most when your food is in transit to the colon.  As a tightlacer you will be more in touch with these processes than most people, but with good reason.  Tightlacing is all about control and self discipline.  Control of your body functions is an essential part of your lifestyle as a tightlacer.  The more you establish control, the sooner you will reach your goals, and the healthier and more content you will be. 


Ready! Set! Sit!
(Oct. 2008)

The first thing a tightlacer discovers when they embark upon this unusual journey is the challenge of determining where and how to take a load off on the way. Figuring out how to sit down comfortably in a tight corset can take some planning and some getting used to, particularly when you are sitting in a car for a while, but I have some simple pointers for you.

First, if at all possible choose a tall chair with a straight upright back. Having to lean back in a well cinched corset can be very uncomfortable and stress the back of the wearer, so do sit up straight. If your seat is low enough that your knees are higher than your hips you will probably suffer for it, so I recommend that if there is no good tall seat it is usually better to fashionably stand.

Learning to drive your car in a corset can take some practice, especially when you have a clutch to contend with, but again it is really just a matter of relaxing. If you are new to the corset remember that you can always loosen it up to do tasks that require you to use your back such as when driving. If you have a long way to drive and want to arrive looking your best, by all means wear the corset, but wear it open a bit. This will give your back muscles more room to enlarge and you will not get cramps as a result of over tightening. When you get where you are going plan a discrete trip to the powder room where you can tighten up to your heart's content and make your appearance looking your absolute whittled best and no one will be the wiser.

If you sleep in your corset as I usually do then you may find that sleeping on your side will be more comfortable than laying on your back, particularly when you have a lot of reduction in your waist. I find that sleeping in the corset is the best way to maintain your shape when you have to be out of the corset for long periods during the day for doing very physical tasks. Despite what people like to write about it is really not possible to do everything in a corset. To do real exercise or labor of any kind it is best to leave the corset off unless you are very used to doing so while cinched or are otherwise required to wear the garment for medical reasons, such as a hernia or scoliosis.

I find that relaxing in a very well made corset is one of the most sublime experiences in life. So to all of you I wish happy lacing and comfortable resting. And if you can't find a seat anywhere just remember what Fernando always used to say.... "It is always better to look good than to feel good. You know what I am saying darling...." 


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