Waist Trainers

What is a waist trainer, does waist training work and my challenge to find the best waist trainer for me

Waist Training

As a corset maker and wearer I’m often asked what is waist training exactly? Does it hurt? How long do you have to wear a waist trainer/corset and does it work, really? Well, let me dispel a few myths first. 


Waist Training Myths

Waist training with a corset should not hurt, the results are not permanent (we’ll go into this in more detail in a sec as that’s not strictly true) and you should not waist train at the gym! Wearing a corset while exercising is not a great idea. I know a few corset wearers who are experimenting with it but in general it’s not necessary or particularly safe. If you’re wearing the non-boned corsets i.e. the stretchy waist cinchers that are now a popular gym wear fad then that’s different but you’re going about waist reduction all wrong, which brings us neatly onto the question ‘what is waist training?’

close up image of a corset for waist training

What Is Waist Training

Recently there’s been a lot of hype about so called waist trainers – the stretchy ‘corsets’ that are supposed to help you spot loose stomach fat when worn at the gym. The general idea is that compressing the fat helps encourage the body to use it up in that area first. How anyone expects that to happen in the space of an hour or two is laughable. If anything, wearing one of these waist trainers is supporting the midsection and taking some of the pressure off of the muscles you’re trying to work. This fitness regime really isn’t going to make a difference to your waistline in my opinion.


Corset waist training involves wearing a corset throughout the day. Tight lacers as they’re known, wear a steel boned corset waist trainer which shapes the waistline instantly making the wearers waist 4 inches smaller roughly. The corset is worn consistently from day to day (and often the nights too) and over time the wearer is able to train their waist to smaller and smaller sizes.


– This should not hurt and takes months to do safely and correctly –


It’s a very slow process but the visual effects are stunning. I have had the pleasure of talking to several tight lacers who were good enough to share their experiences and before and after photos. If you’d like to read their stories you can find them here – Waist Training Before and After

Do Waist Trainers Work?

In short yes, the effects of waist training with a corset are instant. The moment you put on a corset your silhouette changes. But of course it changes straight back when you take it off. As for longterm waist trainer results it’s generally accepted as fact that corset training for several years will leave you with some sort of permanent difference. However your body will then age/put on fat in the natural way when you stop wearing a waist trainer.


As for permanently leaving your body with the more extreme curves of a corset, there’s been a lot of debate as to how much truth there is to this one too. Can a few years of waist training alter your shape permanently for the rest of your life? Corsets do shape your lower ribs and again arguments rage as to how permanent this change is. Do they eventually expand back out to their original position?


There’s also the fat loss myth to consider. There’s no doubt that wearing a waist training corset helps with fat loss as it acts very much like a gastric band. A corset compresses the stomach and restricts the amount of food you can comfortably eat, making it a great tool for aiding in weight loss. But whether the fat is lost from all over the body in the usual way or whether the compression of the waist helps shift a larger proportion of fat from the stomach area is again debatable. I’ll be testing these theories out for myself later.


What Is A Training Corset?

So what is a proper waist trainer? Well, waist training corsets don’t stretch for one thing (by don’t I mean they’re designed to stretch as little as possible). They’re usually made from cotton coutil which is a fabric designed specifically for corsetry (making corsets) and it’s usually double or triple layered for strength.

The waist trainer, when it’s properly constructed, is made from a corset pattern that has been designed with a waist size at least 4 inches smaller than the wearers natural waist. So it has curves that a natural body doesn’t (unless you’ve been genetically blessed!) One of the measures of a good corset is its shape. If it doesn’t look curvy off, it won’t look curvy on.

A proper waist trainer is also boned with steel boning to keep the body in the correct shape once tightly laced. The bones don’t just keep the corset in shape, they’re there for both structure and comfort. Yes, believe it or not they make wearing a corset comfortable, keeping the pressure evenly spread over the body. Have you ever sat down in a tight, unboned top or dress? Did it roll and fold uncomfortably at the waist? Exactly! I can’t stress enough that the stretchy, unboned waist training belts for gym wear are not proper waist trainers! If you want a proper corseted silhouette you need a proper waist training corset.


A Quest For The Best Waist Trainer Out There

So I’m an advocate of making your own corsets, if you sew I highly recommend checking out my corset making video course as it saves you a lot of money and gives you greater freedom over shape, sizing and design.

I am aware however that a lot of people don’t sew or don’t have the confidence or time to make corsets for themselves. I’ve been asked countless times ‘what is the best waist trainer/corset out there on the web’. I’ve never been able to give more than a few recommendations that I’ve heard good things about as I’ve not tried any of them for myself.


– Cue the perfect reason for going shopping to buy corsets! –

So I’ve finally decided to give it a go and purchase some waist trainers online, test them out and find out for myself if waist training can make spot fat loss/a permanent change in body shape possible. Call it my New Years waist training challenge to myself. I will of course be keeping a diary and sharing everything with you as I go.

Plunge Corset Waist Trainer Pattern


A Few Points To Note About This Personal Challenge/Experiment

  • It’s been a while since I have worn a corset anything like regularly. I’ve always been pretty bad at sticking to anything and waist training is one of those things. Read; I’ve never properly corset trained. Ever! This will be a beginners journey.
  • I’ve put on about a stone in weight in the last 6 months that I’d like to loose. I’ve kept a weight diary for the last couple of years as well as taking body photos intermittently throughout that time. So I have some good data on how my body and shape changes as I put on and loose weight naturally without a corset.
  • I’m 31 so I haven’t had teenage youth on my side for a while, I think this is probably a good time for this experiment as we tend to loose the young girl physique toward the mid/end of our twenties and I’ve tried exercise alone to recover that shape without full success.
  • I’ve got a 12 year old so my body has been through pregnancy. Not a lot of people know I have a little one (not so little now). I had a completely flat stomach before pregnancy and while I was lucky and you can’t tell I’m a mum to look at it, my tummy has always been rounder than before. Again I have photos and all this data means making a case study of myself is a great idea.


Picking The Waist Trainers

I’ve had a look around at the various places to buy corsets from online and I think I’ve picked out three I want to try.

I’m going for over the hips corsets to support and compress my stomach, there’s no point doing this in a short little waist cincher now. So full tummy coverage/over the hips corsets only. I’m also going with underbusts, overbust corsets aren’t particularly practical or popular for waist training. For testing the rib shaping myth I also want conical shaping to the rib area. I’m a little weary that I won’t get on with a completely conical waist trainer so I’m looking for a slight outward curve to the area around the chest.

So I’m going with three different price points, the highest end being a custom made-to-measure corset. I’ve avoided the bespoke makers that have waiting lists for practical reasons.


 Longline Underbust


Lucy’s Corsetry Shop

Lucy from Lucy’s Corsetry is a friend of mine and an affiliate for my course, that disclosed I wouldn’t wear a corset advocated by a friend for those reasons. Lucy knows her stuff and has road tested practically every brand of corset I’ve ever heard of. She currently sells a few through her website shop so I know they’re going to be good. I’m currently eyeing up her longline underbust for $119, Timeless Trends label. It has adjustable hip ties which should help with fitting.

L4071 Mae Corset


What Katie Did

I’ve always wanted a What Katie Did corset and I’ve heard very good things about them so I have my eye on the L4071 Mae Corset for $229.50. I don’t have a lot of curve to my figure so I need something with narrow hips and to their credit What Katie Did’s styles all have varying measurements with a few extreme options to cater for a variation in customer body shapes. The Mae has nice narrow hips. It’s also very conical in shape so we’ll see how my ribs get on with it. If they don’t have the color you want in stock it’s 4 weeks for made to order.

RetroHistory Retro04

$298.59 or $360.36

(CA $397.91 or $480.24)


RetroFolie’s made-to-measure corsets have been on my radar for a while. The over the hips Retro04 shape is exactly what I’m after and little touches like all their corsets including hand flossing along the bottom edge, show them up as a quality brand. While I could go for the Cotton Twill RetroBasic for CA$397.91($298.59 US) which is very good value for made-to-measure, I’m going to splash out and go for one of their RetroHistory Retro04 pattern matched Mucha designs for CA $480.24 ($360.36 US). Ready to ship in 5-7 weeks.

What’s Next?

I’ll keep you updated and links and photos will follow when I’ve contacted the corset makers to check I have permission to post them 🙂

Page Summary
Page Topic
Waist Trainers
What is a waist trainer, does waist training work and my challenge to find the best waist trainer. As a corset maker and wearer I’m often asked what is waist training exactly? Does it hurt? How long do you have to wear a waist trainer/corset and does it work, really? Well, let me dispel a few myths...
Publisher Name
Corset Training
Publisher Logo

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This