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Types of Corsets: Everything You Should Know

From 18th-century nobility to contemporary fashionistas, corsets have been a part of fashion for centuries now. Although the relationship between women and their corsets has been tumultuous at times, it has been regarded as a fashion staple for the better part of history. 

 

You may have seen corsets in paintings of pre-revolution France or Victorian era Britain, but don’t put them in a box as shapewear meant to cinch the waist. There are many different types of corsets today varying in style, material, and purpose. In fact, corsets are making a major comeback as these boned garments are becoming a common sight on the runways. 

 

So in this post, we will talk about the many different types of corsets out there. Corset types can be grouped into different categories. So without further ado, let’s dive right in. 

Corset Types by Length

Corsets, both innerwear and outerwear, come in different lengths that may differ from the top, hem, or both. Here are the six main types of corset by length:

Underbust

 

 

The Underbust corset is worn around the waist and sits under the bust, i.e., it doesn’t provide any bust coverage. This type of corset can be worn underneath a dress or gown as innerwear/shapewear to get that hourglass silhouette. It can also be worn over the clothes as a fashion accessory. 

 

These corsets usually have lacing on the back or front to adjust the size and tightness. 

 

Whether you’re wearing it under or over, you will need to wear a bra, as it doesn’t provide any support for breasts. 

https://corset-story.co.uk/products/steampunk-black-and-burgundy-longline-underbust-with-side-tabs

Overbust

 

 

 

The Overbust corset covers the bust, starting just under the arms and ending above the hips. 

 

This kind of corset provides support to the breasts in addition to cinching in the waist. 

 

This type of corset is typically worn as outerwear or over another garment. It’s also popular in lingerie, often with garters and lace detailing. 

Denim overbust

Mid Bust or Cropped Corset

 

 

 

 

The mid-bust or cropped corset is similar to the overbust corset, except it starts at mid-bust, so it’s more revealing. 

 

The boning starts at the bust so it provides support to the breast. Its purpose is to give a streamlined silhouette. 

FTS205

The Waspie

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Waspie is a corset with a length that is somewhere between an Underbust and cincher. 

 

It starts from where the ribs end and finishes a little above the hips. Like all Corset Story Corsets, the Waspie has spiral and flat steel bones, for flexibility, comfort and strength.

PVC Waspie

Longline

A Longline is the longest length as it covers the bust and extends a little over the hips. It helps define and accentuate the curves of the body with flared out bust and hips paired with shorter waist. 

 

We generally find that customers who are 5ft 7" (170cm) and over prefer our Longline patterns. This isn't always the case, some taller customers may have their height in their legs and vice versa.

 

We have added the length of every corset we produce into our "item specifics" on each product page. You can hold a measuring tape against your torso to see how long different corsets might be on your body before purchasing.

Corset Types by Era

There are three distinct corsets defined by the era they were adopted and popular in:

Elizabethan Corset 1558 - 1603 

This corset features a laced back, shoulder straps, flat side, and scalloped hem. It extended to the waist with a rather flat bust that still gave some push to the bust. 

 

Victorian Corset 1837 - 1901

Although highly popular in the mid-1900s and still talked about a lot in fashion history, the Victorian corset is not the most comfortable. It’s essentially an overbust corset with a too-small waist. It has a sweetheart neckline with a pointed bottom. 

These become popular in the mid-1900s before corsets as shapewear slowly became less ubiquitous. 

 

Edwardian Corset - 1901- 1914

This corset features a laced back, shoulder straps, flat side, and scalloped hem. It extended to the waist with a rather flat bust that still gave some push to the bust.

 

Here are some of our historically inspired designs.

 

Corset Types by occasion and design

Corsets have typically been popular as evening wear, bridal and formal wear. However, we have designed many corsets which are suitable for outerwear and more casual outfits styled with Jeans, Shorts or skirts.

 

Outerwear Corset - Outerwear corsets are simply corsets that are meant to be worn on their own or over another garment. These are fashionable corsets made with exquisite materials like satin, silk, and even leather. You can pair this corset with a dress or blouse.

Shop Outerwear

 

Costume, LARP & Cosplay Corsets -Corsets are extremely popular in cosplay as many characters from different comic universes don corsets or costumes that require corseting. From pirates to steampunk to medieval, there are so many costume corsets available. 

Gothic corsets can be considered a genre of their own as these are typically made of leather or faux leather with straps and steel grommets, giving that grunge vibe. 

Shop Costume

 

Corset Dresses - Corset dresses are becoming increasingly popular these days as these are dresses with built-in corsets. The corset with its boning gives the dress the hourglass silhouette.

Corset dresses come in short, midi and maxi lengths. 

Shop Corset Dresses

 

Corset Tops and Shirts

Corset tops are basically tops with corset boning under the bust, mid-bust, or over the bust. Then there are shirt corsets as well with a buttoned front and corset waist and hem. 

Another type of corset top is an overbust corset with shoulder straps. It has the structure and design of a corset but is meant to be worn as a top with pants or a skirt. 

Shop Corset Tops and Shirts

 

Corset Lingerie 

Corsets are also very popular in lingerie as you’ll find longline bras with an underbust corset or one-pieces with corseting. These typically have boning with lace or sheer fabric panels. Some corset bras also have cups for support.  

Shop Corset Lingerie

 

 

Wrap Up

Corsets have come a long way since their inception, crossing the boundaries of innerwear to become outerwear and hybrid with other types of garments like dresses, tops, and lingerie. However, most corsets have the same underlying characteristic of streamlining the figure and making the waist a little thinner. 

 

If you need any help or advice with sizing or choosing your perfect style, then please contact our customer service team as they are always happy to answer any questions and point you in the right direction. Feel free to contact the team below. 

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