Saturday, August 20, 2011

corset fails of a neo-victorian blogger

It's been a little while since I have written a good fashion post.  I am not sure whether this will make up for a good fashion post, but I figured that I ought to share some of my experiences with various quality types of corsets.

I currently possess four corsets.  The first two I've had in my possession are good, strong, sturdy corsets that can (and have) been tested at concerts, parties, and one was even tested at two high school proms (I should mention that this corset, the pink sparkly one, originated as the top half of my twin sister's junior prom dress, so it was built to last.)



A few months ago I went ahead and ordered two cheaper corsets from eBay.  They actually were not too different in price from the gold and white corset above, which I managed to snag from eBay at a steal- $22.

I bought two this April- a red brocade material of a corset, and a lacy black one.  Although I have read plenty of warnings about purchasing cheap corsets, I figured that these corsets would more or less serve as clubbing/bar outing/concert wear.  In other words, I was not going to be taking them out anywhere where they weren't going to get sweaty and gross and smoky to begin with.

This past May I paired up the black corset with a plum colored skirt from Marshall's (the one pictured above), fishnets, and knee-high flat boots for a Danzig concert.  Having been a sheltered individual for most of my youth I have turned into a rather curious person, so I asked my boyfriend if he would lead me to the mild mosh pit occurring in the middle of audience.  I wasn't a fan, mainly for three reasons-

  1. I hit my head on the concrete floor when a guy much bigger than myself slammed into me and knocked me over.  I had a mild concussion when I was 10 years old from a playground accident, so I get really worried when I hit my head in any way.  Fortunately no damage was done.
  2. I spent more time pulling up my corset so it wouldn't reveal anything than actually moshing.  That is a huge distraction from both the music and the mosh pit.
  3. Some jerk or jerks with me in the pit pulled at my corset strings to try and loosen them so my ta-tas would fall out.
The last part annoyed me more than the other two.  Not only did they damage the string on the back (making it increasingly harder to thoroughly secure the corset in place), but they were making assumptions about the type of girl I am based on my corset.  Instead of this Victorian undergarment being a fashion statement, these guys interpreted the corset as a sexual thing that they had full right to take advantage of.  Of course my having to pull up the corset so often in the relative non-privacy of the area outside the mosh pit probably did not help this assumption.  But when I have to rush out of the pit to readjust because some idiot literally made one good tug at my strings that managed to make the corset slip down (fortunately it was caught before it went very far) and then spend the rest of the time in the pit with one arm slung across my corset to prevent it from happening again, it does not make for an enjoyable time.

The next concert I attended, a Rob Zombie/Slayer affair, saw me with a purple bikini covered by the same fishnets and boots, a ripped up jean skirt, and a shredded t-shirt.  No wardrobe malfunctions occurred this time.

The second corset is the red brocade one.  I loved this one from the start and wore it anywhere I thought I could get away with it- to the production of The Elephant Man that Scott and I saw back in April, to work (paired with a pair of skinny jeans and mostly hidden underneath a boyfriend blazer, of course) and for a few fun things.

However, there were some problems at the start.  I noticed that the boning kept shifting to one side, giving it this sort of lop-sided look.  The boning also did not feel at all secure, despite my having bought a corset that was steel-boned.  

Last Friday I attended a no-cover happy hour at a club in Station Square that my friend's boyfriend had won.    After a July of intolerable heat, this August has been rather cool so far, especially in the evenings.  I decided to go with dark blue skinny jeans and red brocade corset (which is usually too constricted to let any air flow in, making it a poor match for humid summer nights).  As soon as I put the corset on, however, I felt a jabbing at my side, like a hard object scraping my skin.  I reached over and pulled at the offensive item.  A thin piece of clear plastic slipped out.  

The seller had lied.  My brocade corset has plastic boning, not the advertised steel boning.  Well, no wonder it was getting all sorts of lop-sided and needed constant straightening.  Discouraged, I tried a few other items on.  But my heart had been so set on that red corset that I decided to sew the hole that caused the boning to jab into my side in the first place.  I laced as tightly as I could.  Much to my chargrin, I realized the material had stretched too far.  I could actually breathe and the corset was a little too loose for comfort.  I left in that outfit anyway.

After that my wardrobe was fine, for the most part, until I hit the dance floor.  I guess bouncing motions don't go too well with corsets.  But I was constantly readjusting so much that I was once again reminded of the wardrobe malfunctions of Danzig concert, fortunately sans drunken morons who tried to pull at corset strings.

Although I did wear the red corset a good deal in the four months I've had it, I definitely do not feel as if I've gotten my money's worth out of it.

My advice is to bypass all corsets if you want to use them for hard play.  Spending extra cash on a sturdier corset is a much better investment in the long run.

3 comments:

  1. The trick to knowing if it's real steel or not is to put a magnet next to the boning. If it's steel boning, the magnet will stick to your corset.
    It's what I always do to make sure it's actual steel (especially off eBay and the likes), and just to see how much it can handle.

    Also, if you do (knowingly) get something with plastic boning, try to find something with a busk (that's the kind of closing mechanism that's also on your white/gold corset). Busks are always made of steel and will at least keep the plastic boning at the front from permanently bending into awkward shapes.

    Oh, and I prefer underbust corsets for exactly the kind of thing you described: I always feel uncomfortable in overbusts. Wearing an overbust over a top will at least make sure my ta-ta's (as you describe them) don't fall out when someone tugs at my corset.

    If you want a decent/relatively cheap eBay seller, try SuperstarUK. They have a special section for steel boned corsets and excellent customer service.

    Sorry for the wall of text.
    Is any of it useful?

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  2. @ Xanthy- Yes, this is all very useful! I will definitely have to try that magnet test the next time I order a corset off of eBay (or purchase in a store). I will definitely check out SuperstarUK as well to see what sort of corsets they have due to your recommendation- you certainly seem to be quite a corset connoisseur

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