Before Orchard Corset got in touch with us, I’d never touched a corset (apart from our brief flirtation with Vollers in our amazing Rigby & Peller experience.) Although they’ve always looked pretty gorgeous to me, they also look complicated and a little scary!
Luckily we had fantastic advice. I began by sending my measurements to the wonderful ladies at OC to see which styles of corset would be suit my shape. For reference, those measurements were:
Waist – 28in
Underbust – 29.5in
Overbust – 35in
Lower hip – 35.5in
And the suggestions that rolled by in were CS-411 in size 24 in (including 411 mesh), CS-345, Cs-201 or CS-301. And those were definitely just a series of letters and numbers to my bewildered head! But the long of the short of seemed that my measurements were more inclined to underbust corsets with an average torso length, and a shape that doesn’t require so much curve in the hip. A fun fact that only recently realised about my body (thanks to Sian!) is that I have a longer waist. Sian’s is SUPER dramatic; it pulls in small and then out again (Killer Curves—capitals deserved) whereas I’m more of a gentle slope. Bit like a mound in comparison to a mountain, if that means anything at all…
Anyway, having recently become obsessed with the idea of waist cinchers, thanks to a tactic birthday present of the gossard retrolution set and too many 1940s musicals on the TV, I was pleased to see some ‘cinching’ going on in that list! I decided to go for a waspie—which seemed to me slightly more wearable for long periods of time, and looked to have a lovely shape on the pictures. Despite the super exciting fabrics available at OC (I’m going to have to order one in tartan someday and wear it over a shirt: och aye eat your heart out) I decided, since I was a corset virgin, to start simple and get it in a black cotton.
So I ended up ordering the Steel Boned Underbust Waspie Corset in Cotton (or CS-201, for those in the know). First things first—don’t put it on upside down—you will get some very strange gaping around the ribcage, and you will be very confused…
I’m not yet fully used to all the lacing malarky, but luckily Sian has turned into quite the pro. I’ve worn the corset a handful of times now, not quite so often for it to have fully broken in, but on the way there. The pictures show me on its third trip out, and it’s already pretty close to be fully closed. Fast forward a few weeks, some more tries, and a little bit weight loss, and now it’s pretty much closed. So I’d say size-wise, I probably should have gone for the 22 rather than the 24, just to give it a little more room for growth…or rather, the opposite of growth 😉
I’m super happy with the shape though. It fits beautifully around my ribcage (which I’ve often thought it quite pronounced) and under the bust. It gives a fantastic waist shape (I’m aiming for Doris Day in Calamity Jane—and this brings well on the way!), and the V shape at the bottom centre is absolutely my favourite bit—I think it looks gorgeous on. It creates a nice illusion of length in the torso, and sort of makes the waist look even more cinched by pulling the corset into that V. I also like that, despite being a ‘smaller’ corset in terms of the amount of torso it covers, I actually think it looks fairly long on me. Maybe I have a shorter torso than I thought, or maybe the model on the website just has a longer one than me. Either way, I actually prefer the length as it is on myself!
Some more details about this beauty: it’s a 6-panel corset (12 in all) and 16 flat and spiral steel bones, which I think make it ultimately more flattering than some of the other options I had to choose from, like the 301. It has waist tape reinforcement for extra strength (and this baby can really take some tugging—I have absolutely no doubts about it’s durability! I’m pretty sure it could survive a nuclear attack it feels so sturdy.) It also had a modesty panel, which I think is pretty crucial. Although this is the first corset I’ve tried, I know that at the very bottom on the back the laces can occasionally rub, so I’d hate to imagine what it would be like without the panel. It’s also plenty wide enough—you just have to be careful to ensure you keep moving it across when lacing up. The eyelets and laces also seem pretty strong—no signs of wear or tear, and signs that they’ll be any trouble whatsoever.
Overall, it’s a lovely and practical corset. I could easily wear it for a few hours at a time out and about, and under a dress. I think it’s particularly suited to occasions when you want to wear something under clothing—it gives a beautiful shape for that (although the only photo I have to prove it is under gym gear. Still. Gives you an idea!)
I’m definitely going to try it out with some high-waisted shorts and a shirt this summer, see if I can get me that glam 1940s Doris Day kinda look! The only negative note I have is a very minor one, and one which is probably particular to my body shape. I do find that, at the back, the bottom of the corset can dig in to the top of my bum, which causes the laces to rub and become quite sore. It might be, though, as I said before that my torso is shorter than I thought—maybe I would have been better suited to the mini-waspie, but I could never resist this one with its gorgeous shape and dipping V!