Tightlacing (also called corset training and waist training) is the practice of wearing a tightly-laced corset. Tightlacing is done for extended periods (12 to 23 hours a day) to achieve extreme modifications to the figure and posture, and for shorter periods to temporarily shape the torso and experience the sensations of a very tight corset. Tightlacing had its heyday in the Victorian era and the first half of the 20th century.
People who practice tightlacing are called tightlacers.
The most frequent aim of tightlacing is a slim waist. Depending on the silhouette desired, the shape of the ribcage may be altered as well. Wearing a corset can also change the bustline, by raising the breasts upwards and shaping them, flattening the stomach, and improving posture. However, these effects are only temporary and will be lost on removing the corset. Indeed, excessive corset wearing has been claimed to weaken certain muscles, making it more difficult to maintain posture without a corset.
Although some tightlacers aim to get their waists as small as possible, others prefer to reduce their waists to a certain point and go no further as they consider that proportion and aesthetics are more important than achieving the smallest possible measurement. For example, cross-dressing males often seek to create a more feminine-appearing waistline through tightlacing, but do not want to make their waists too small, as this would look unnatural.
Tightlacing and sexuality
Corsets are worn as fetish clothing by some people. Originally an item of lingerie, the corset has become a popular item of outerwear. You can often see women wearing corsets in the BDSM, goth and fetish subculture; most popular for this purpose are black leather corsets.
Tightlacing of males is encountered in cross-dressing and in forced feminization to reach a more feminine appearace. There was also a period from around 1820 to 1835 when an hourglass figure (a small, nipped-in look to the waist) was also desirable for men; this was sometimes achieved by wearing a corset.
A tightlaced disciplinarian in an illustration by M. del Giglio (1908).
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