Friday, May 29, 2015

Corset Review: Corset Story Black Label Waist Taming Corset

As I explained in my last post, I've never been a big fan of the largest corset retailer out there, Corset Story.   So I was a little surprised to be contacted by the company's CEO and asked to review their newest corsets.  But also intrigued.

I received two corsets, one of which I reviewed on Monday.  Today I'll be talking about the corset I received from the "Waist Taming" line. Their marketing materials say of these corsets: "Our patterns, measurements and fit are better than ever as we have undertaken robust market research and listened to our customer feedback so that our new elegant Waist Taming corsets can be worn by a wide variety of body shapes and sizes. We believe we have crafted our most comfortable waist training corset to date!"

The corset I chose was the Classic Overbust with Hip Gores. They also have one with "hip panels" which may have been a better choice in hindsight as the hips look larger, but I liked the look of this one the most.  The Waist Taming line is sold by waist measurement instead of dress size like other CS corsets.  I ordered the size recommended by their charts, which was 34".  I would probably normally order a 32" corset, but I have put a little weight on recently so I went by what my waist measurement currently suggested.  According to the website, ideally these provide 3-4" of waist reduction.

When my corset arrived, my first impressions were pretty favorable.  In comparison with the Instant Shape model I received with it (which I reviewed here) it is about twice as heavy and feels much sturdier. I was also immediately impressed to see it's made with an extra wide (1 inch on each side) busk, which is pretty rare to find.  I personally prefer the extra wide busks because they're more durable, so this is a definite step up.

The corset interior showing waist tape and gores.
The exterior fabric is a tough poly satin.  It seems almost like a satin twill, and is heavy.  The lining is cotton twill, but feels like a heavier twill than the Instant Shape.  I did end up taking this corset partially apart (more on that later) and it's constructed with only those two layers, but they feel significant.  The bones are secured with interior casings made of the same twill and the seams are reinforced by stitching through the seam allowances which are all pressed one direction.  So it should be a pretty durable corset that stands up to wear well.
Spiral bone next to example bone.

The spiral steel bones are located only on each seam, but they are much thicker and stronger than the bones in the Instant Shape corset.  In fact, when I removed a spiral bone it is even thicker than the example bone on the accompanying info card.  The ends were capped with steel tips, which easily pulled off as I was trying to remove it.  The ends aren't attached particularly well, but that's one of the reasons I hate using those metal tips.  Because of the strong bones, the corset feels supportive even with only one bone per panel.

The flat steel next to the grommets is very stiff.  I prefer much more flexible steels in my corsets because of the curve of my back.  Wearing this corset the bones remain straight and there's a couple of inches of space between my back and the corset at my waist, so I'm not getting as much spine support.  I know it's weird sounding, but more flexible steels actually equal better support, at least for me.  I wanted to see what kind of steel these were, so I removed one.  They look like the steel used as all of the boning in CS's old corsets, but painted white.  You can see the white paint is coming off (which doesn't happen with powder coated "white" or "spring" steel.)  I don't think this is spring steel made for corsetry, but lasercut steel.  It's not as flexible as spring steel.  But since it's only used by the grommets, it's not as big of a problem as when it was ALL the steel in the corset.
Flat steel and grommets
Grommet with sharp metal in center

The grommets at the back of the corset worry me a bit.  They aren't the typical two-part grommet most corset makers use and they don't have any flange to prevent them ripping out of the hole.  In addition to that, one of the grommets in my corset was incorrectly set and has a sharp bit in the center that snags on the lacing and will, over time, wear through the lacing.  There are two grommets on each side at the waist that are a contrasting color to show where to put your bunny loops, which I suppose is a decent idea, although not something I'd consider necessary.

So let's get on to how it fits.  I have to first of all say that my figure is very difficult to fit.  I'm almost 6 feet tall, with a long torso, large bust, and very large hipspring.  I don't buy corsets off-the-rack because it's so difficult to fit my body.  That's why I started making my own corsets in the first place.  So I'm used to custom fit.

Initially I was pretty impressed with the fit of this corset.  The bust especially fits well and feels comfortable.  In the past I've seen a lot of Corset Story corsets that have a flat front and just go straight out and up from the waist.  The bust of this corset curves back in to cup the bust, which makes it feel more secure (and is more modest to wear.)  Plus the sweetheart neckline is very attractive.

The corset isn't long enough for my body, period, so it feels a little uncomfortable.  The bust feels too low while the waist feels too high and sits over my ribcage.  That's a problem with any OTR corset if you are long-torso-ed.  Short people have the opposite problem, of course, in that standard corsets push their bust up into their chin.  I can't get as much reduction in my waist as I'm used to in this because of the position of the waist.

The biggest problem in the fit for me is that the hips are FAR too small.  Measured flat, the corset only has about an 8 inch hipspring, while I have anywhere from an 11"-14" hipspring, depending on where you measure the hip and how tightly corseted I am.  (11" is with no corset.)  Standing up, the corset is wearable on me, with some unattractive bulging of extra flesh below the bottom of the corset.  Sitting down, however, it digs in painfully and I can't wear it for long.

The hip gores are placed to the front and rear of the side of the corset and give the hips a rounded shape.  This may work well for someone with a more rounded figure than myself, but my hips are very broad so actually the area around the front gore is loose, while the side hip is too tight.  Again, I'm not an average person, so I think this WOULD fit better on most people of the same size.  And I do wonder if the "hip panel" model would accommodate my figure better. One thing I wish they would do is add information on the website about the various models in this line and what kind of figure they are good for because there isn't that much to go on except photos.

But overall, I confess I'm impressed.  The construction and materials of this corset are totally decent and I would expect it to stand up to wear well.  It's obvious that Corset Story IS trying to produce some quality corsets that fit the needs of regular corset wearers and addresses most of the criticism aimed at their previous products.  They advertise the "ideal reduction" is 3-4" off the waist.  I only got 1.5" reduction, which is due to the hips being too small.

The list price of this corset is $135.  I think that is a little high for what you get, and compared to other similar mass-produced corsets.  Personally, if I was going to pay that, I'd want to save up a little more and get something made-to-measure or semi-custom.  Especially since I have known issues with fitting OTR corsets.  But if your figure is more average, then you may feel differently.  I also don't know how much they expect to actually sell this corset at the regular list price.  Right now you can get all of their corsets Buy One Get One Free, which is actually a pretty great deal if you're getting two of the waist taming line.  (Note: They also have a "Waist Training" line that is older which is not the same as the corset I'm reviewing.  So don't get confused.)
Corset after adding hip lacing.

Did I just recommend you go buy a Corset Story corset?  Umm... maybe.  I have to confess I like this one well enough that I've spent today modifying the hip size by adding lacing.  It's still not perfect, because it's not custom.  But it's a lot better than many, many corsets out there.  And with my modification it's really pretty darn comfy.

Sorry for the bad photo, but it was dark by the time I finished this, and I wanted to get this review up.  With this mod I've gained between 4-6" in the hips and I can get another 1/2" off my waist. It's still not close to the size waist I get with a custom corset, of course.

And here are both of the Corset Story corsets together.  I would like to thank the company for giving me the opportunity to check these out, and my friend Susan for playing dress-up with me.

So what do y'all think?


  1. What an interesting conclusion to these two posts! For some reason I would have thought that a company either makes all good products or all bad products. But I guess with something like a corset the price makes a really big difference, and corset story is trying to cover the whole market.

    I made my first corset last year through an online class at It turned out pretty well, except that I failed to watch all the instructions and ended up with a corset two inches too tight in the hips. My next one will be better!

    Actually, speaking of making corsets, are there particular techniques for shaping the bust so that the corset isn't visible under a t-shirt? There's a bump where the corset ends on my chest that shows under thin clothing. I forgot to ask before the class ended. ^_^

  2. So I had a corset that was hurting the top of my hip bones and lacing a bit A-shaped in back due to my hip spring nowadays, and in a fit of "whatever" I sliced open the sides, to do.. what? I am not sure. After I had done it I discovered the hip lacing thing, but I am not sure how to go about modifying it further.

    Any hints you care to share?

    (It is not an optimal way compared to having a corset that actually fits, but if it can make my corset usable again, why not, I figure.. and it might improve my skills. But I am rather stumped at how to go about it.)

  3. I have just found your site and have learned so much from your articles. Thank you for sharing allnof this information. I have a question though:
    Is "hipspring" a term for the difference between waist and hip? I have never heard the term before. Thanks in advance.

  4. I was introduced to corset story due to a 3 Instant shape for 60 AUD sale. essentially each corset plus shipping cost me $25 which I think is pretty good seeing as I mainly wanted them for Cosplay. I'm new to corsets, so I don't know how to judge how long I think these shapes will last, but I think even at $25 per corset, this is a cheap price for a cheaply made corset. Much more worth it than spending $100 a piece. Since I am only beginning I don't think I'd buy upwards of 120 for a corset until I consider custom