Tight lacing is a method for sculpting the body into an hourglass figure by regular use of a corset. Because of the flexibility of the ribcage, wearing a corset for extended periods of time — typically 16 to 24 hours a day — can reduce the size of the waist, forming a permanently modified body shape.
While many people are familiar with the modern, decorative corsets found in lingerie shops, these garments are not typically effective for tight lacing; true corsets require resistant materials and rigid boning, and are designed specifically to alter the shape of the torso. In fact, choosing the right corset is critical: it’s important to use one perfectly adjusted to your measurements, with enough height to provide support and coverage without causing discomfort while sitting. Many people who practice tight lacing invest in custom-made corsets to achieve the best possible fit. And whether you opt for a tailored corset or a ready-made one from a specialized manufacturer, the corset should be well designed, with closely-placed eyelets, strong reinforcement, breathable fabric, and fins constructed from a robust material like steel.
With a history stretching as far back as the 16th century, tight lacing is not a new concept — and some corset styles from previous eras are still used today. The “Victorian Underbust” corset, a relic from the 1800s, is a popular style for tight lacing because of its pleasing shape and tolerance for movement. Similarly, the “Waist Cincher” — first popularized in the early 1900s — is a comfortable, short corset that tight laces without restricting its wearer’s range of motion.
When embarking on the practice of tight lacing, start gradually. Begin with a corset approximately 4 inches (10 centimeters) smaller than your natural waist. Initially, the corset will feel snug; wear this size until the tightness subsides and the corset begins to feel unrestrictive — even loose. Once this corset loses its tautness, you can either tighten it further or trade it for a smaller garment. Depending on how many hours per day you want to wear your corset, you can even use your “loose” corset to sleep in at night, which helps preserve the diminished waist you’re achieving. Continue tightening your corset whenever it stops feeling snug. Over time, the extended wear of your corset will permanently alter your shape, leading to an hourglass figure. Be sure not to over-tighten your corset, which can lead to ripping of the fabric — as well as discomfort when you breathe and eat. The process of tight lacing should be enjoyable, not painful.
Your maximum reduction in waist size depends on a variety of factors, including your initial measurements, pre-existing health conditions, and how often you wear your corset. For most people, a weekly waist reduction of 2% is feasible, and some people can attain a 10 inch reduction in waist circumference with diligent tight lacing. Such drastic alterations take time, however, and you may need to tight lace for a year or more before achieving your desired waist size.
When tight lacing, it’s also important to have a goal in mind. Even if you can sculpt your torso into an exaggerated hourglass figure, an unnaturally narrow waist can pose health problems, results in weakened muscles, and can create permanent reliance on corset usage. Consider not only your aesthetic desires, but also the effects your ideal waist size will have on your health.
Of course, any attempt at tight lacing should be done with caution and safety. While wearing a tight laced corset, the body’s organs are shifted and realigned; consequently, some people experience shortness of breath, dizziness, and discomfort because of the restriction placed on the lungs. Individuals with diabetes, respiratory illnesses, or back problems might find their conditions exacerbated by tight lacing, and should probably avoid the practice — or at least embark with extreme gentleness and caution. When wearing your corset, avoid eating large meals, drinking carbonated beverages, or consuming high-fat or spicy foods; these things can cause discomfort and heart burn due to the reduced size of the stomach.
With discipline, patience, and safety, tight lacing can be an enjoyable practice, helping you achieve the hourglass figure you desire.