So, remember when we declared June as Corset Month? Okay, we got off to a slow start, but we promise that it really is going to be worth it! And since we always keep our promises, I’m back today with another Orchard Corset review (see Charley’s review of the CS-201 here). Today’s review is the Orchard Corset CS-426 Short – a fairly new style, and a brand that’s completely new to me.
As you might remember, I reviewed What Katie Did’s Laurie corset on the blog in March, and in the past I’ve also owned another couple of corsets, including one pretty cheap, very badly fitting one, and I’ve tried some on at the What Katie Did store in London, so I have a little experience in knowing what shapes and styles do and don’t work for my body. As we’ve hinted, we do each have another corset review coming up from another brand (
hint hint, Vollers, sshh!), but I’ve also recently purchased another corset too (the Restyle.pl Wide Hips) that I’ll be comparing quite closely to this one.
When we first spoke to Orchard Corset about reviewing a piece each for them, I knew in my head immediately which corset would be my first choice: the CS-426. I know that I need something with a large hip spring, as my waist is around 11 inches smaller than my hips, and because (as I’ve recently realised) I’m short waisted. If you look at my torso uncorsetted, you’ll see that my waist is placed fairly high on my body, immediately dipping in under my rib cage before going immediately back out, rather than having a slow curve out to my hips. I’ve been in a bit of a conundrum about this recently because I’ve realised that this shape is why certain clothes don’t sit right on me and look like I want them to. At first I was a bit annoyed because it’s a shape that can’t really be changed – I’m never going to have a long waist. But now I’ve got used to that fact, I can appreciate that shape for what it is. I just need to be wary when putting on a corset that the waist tape is in the correct place for me to get a well fitting and comfortable corset. Anyway, random body issues/positivity rant over, back to corset reviewing!
As I was saying, corsets that have a large hip spring work best for me, and generally an off the rack corset will fit me better if it’s an underbust one as it doesn’t have to deal with GG/H cups up there! I was fairly certain the CS-426 was going to be my main option because of this when I sent my measurements over, so I was surprised when OC recommended I don’t try that one as it would be too curvy for me, despite the fact that I’d fitted perfectly into What Katie Did’s super curvy Vamp corset the week before. So I checked the measurements I’d sent over, and whoops, of course I’d done them wrong! Turns out that my high hip measurement that I’d measured for corset sewing was an entirely different place to the measurement I’d needed to send them…The final measurements I sent over were:
Upper hip: 37.5″
Lower hip: 38.5″
So with the correct measurements sent, I was told I would, after all, fit the CS-426! I also had a new option though – they’d recently released the CS-426 Short which has a shorter torso measurement than its sister. I wasn’t sure whether I would fit the length needed for the original, plus I’d heard there’s a better range of movement in the short version so I decided to go for that in a size 22…and isn’t it gorgeous?!
These photos were taken after I’d worn the corset several times around the house to break it in, but I haven’t yet had a chance to wear it out for a “real day” yet. So it is broken in and seasoned to my body, meaning it fits me better now than my first few try ons and it’s quicker and easier for me to lace up in.
As is obvious, the CS-426 Short is an underbust corset, meaning it sits just below my boobs, basically right where my bra band sits and has a contoured shape to fit smoothly around the shape of the breasts. It comes up fairly high for an underbust corset, particularly at the back which provides good coverage for any lumps and bumps, but dips down slightly at the sides which I think helps to provide a greater range of movement. The CS-426 is often compared to What Katie Did’s Morticia corset, as they’re both designed for a curvier figure; the CS-426 Short has the same shape, just with some of the length chopped off to make it easier for shorter torsoed ladies to wear. It’s made with 24 flat and spiral steel bones, has a sturdy rigid steel front busk, a 5″ modesty panel (which I always like to save my back from rope (string?!) burn in case of lacing too quickly!), high strength laces and metal grommets. I chose to go for the black cotton option as I prefer the matte look of cotton to the shine that satin corsets have, but at some point I’d love to try a beige option to match more closely to my skin tone for stealthing. It is also fully lined, but even so, it’s recommended that you wear some sort of liner underneath (many people recommend simple thin tube or tank tops) to protect it from the oils on your skin as they’re not exactly the easiest thing to wash! As you can see here, I’m wearing mine with a thin stretch dress underneath which is a great way to wear a corset out and about if you’re not bothered about people seeing it.
And onto the fit – I’ve got some close up pics for this below, so feel free to study those and judge what you think of it before scrolling onto my thoughts…
As you can see, the CS-426 isn’t an entirely perfect shape for my body – when laced up, even though it is broken in, it has this shape: /\. Ideally you want the back of your corset to look like this, with a gap at the back to leave room to lace up or down: ||. It isn’t the end of the world if you don’t have a straight shape, and I actually spoke to Orchard Corset who also said that it wasn’t a huge problem. When purchasing an off the rack corset, it can often be the case that you don’t get parallel lines at the back due to the fact that everyone’s shape is different and it would be impossible to manufacture off the rack corsets for every single shape. For me and this corset, my underbust is smaller than the expected size for this style. My “snug” underbust measurement is around 27.5″, but can fluctuate down to around 26″ and occasionally up to 28″ daily, but even so, this corset expects a greater difference between waist and ribs, just like it expects a large difference between waist and hips. I’ve got the corset almost completely closed at the top, but there’s still a slight gap between my rib cage and the corset. My hips and waist on the other hand are comfortably laced and tight enough for the time being, although I am lacing down a little smaller on them since these photos were taken. It’s just unfortunate that for me, it’s not a perfect fit, but it’s definitely comfortable enough and the corset doesn’t yet seemed to have suffered any damage as a result of the uneven lacing as I broke it slowly in.
Overall though, Orchard Corset’s CS-426 Short is a beautiful piece. It is sturdy and practical (as practical as a corset can be!) as well as being well made and constructed. It gives a lovely smooth curve to the waist, although it would most likely have more of a dramatic curve if I was able to lace it down more at the top. It is described as being an extreme curves corset (Orchard Corset’s “Level 3” silhouette curves), but unfortunately that doesn’t show too well on me as my underbust to waist isn’t curvy, but my bust to waist and waist to hips are.