Monday, August 6, 2018

A Corsetary Tale

As I get more and more into costumes I find myself in need of a new corset.  This if foreign territory for me as an ex goth all my costume needs thus far were met by either not requiring corsetry, regency half stays for example, or by utilizing one of my Gallery Serpentine corsets of which I had a fair few.  Notably in old Gallery Serpentine Vernacular a Victorian and Spanish Harlot over bust and an under bust who's style name escapes me.

Historically speaking Victorian provides the hourglass shape, Spanish Harlot the conical shape and the under bust fitted any other need.  I remember buying all bar the Spanish Harlot out of a seconds box (not that I was bothered by a second) and they cost maybe 50-100 each in early 2000's dollars.

Well the times do change and I find that my post baby and junk food addicted body with the slowed metabolism of a 30+ year old did not bode well for fitting into my corsets bought when I was around well american size zero.  The Harlot bought when I was first getting into corsets still fits (size 12 Australian) because it was bought big so as to not cinch to much, but the Victorian and under bust run the risk of the side bones sitting under my bust.  Honest I wore the Victorian to the high tea and despite knee to back lacing I still had a good 4-5 inch gap at the lace.

The decision was made then if I am to get back into the historical costumes I would require a new corset. So, the search began.

Gallery Serpentine make outstanding corsets, I truly mean that.  Other than the fit, which is my own fault, my "seconds" corsets are still going strong over 10 years on.  They are quality ++ because trust me the first 5 of those ten years saw weekly lacing of these bad boys.  However they are made as outerwear, and therefore use beautiful fabrics and design flourishes.  If you are in the market for a corset that can be used as a clothing option and want something that will last I highly recommend talking to them or at lease perusing their website (linked above).

Alas for me who wants it only as underwear and only on occasions where I have need of an historical costume they are priced out of the market - and no longer being of sample size its harder to find ones that will fit in the under $165 sale area.  Also for historical costumes they may actually be too good.  they have a full lining and interlining and seem much heavier than some of the "traditional" underwear corsets I have seen.

For making your own I found  and to be honest this was a real consideration.  They do make them for you at a high price (reasonable for what you get but more than i want to spend) but they also provide kits so you can make at home.  Sometime in the future I may go down this path but time is of the essence and I don't really know how long it would take for me to do something like that.  Still it seemed like the best option

Lastly a friend of mine had a corset from an Australian based website (though I assume made in asia somewhere) They seamed to work ok, quality is ok and prices are reasonable.  More than reasonable when you take into account the fact that if you buy one you get one free.  Don't be fooled it may seem like this is a BIG SALE but I don't think there has ever been a time that I have looked to this site and not seen the buy one get one free deal.

Biggest issue is that I didn't need two, nor did I want to pay for two so I put out a call to see if anyone else wanted to get a corset and split the costs.  Thankfully someone did.  Then all that was left was to select the corset.

I had a choice of two one with more cinch and slightly higher cost and one with more comfort including hip gores.  In the end comfort won out and this is what I have coming to me in the next 11 days

I am hoping that the extra hip space will make it useful in achieving the 50's wiggle look along with Victorian but for the grand sum of around $60 I am sure it will do the job I require of it.  The best news is that with this I will be able to photograph myself in the remixed Victorian as well as begin the plans on future projects such as the India Wilkes dress and the Katrina Van Tassel dress.  One of which I will have for October.

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