Tightlacing

Enlarge picture
Cathie Jung (born 1937), wearing a sterling silver corset, holds the Guinness World Record for the smallest waist of any currently living person, at 38.1 centimeters.
Tightlacing (also called corset training and waist training) is the practice of wearing a tightly-laced corset to achieve extreme modifications to the figure and posture and experience the sensations of a very tight corset. Those who practice tightlacing are called tightlacers. Some tightlacers call the corsets they wear training corsets.

Description

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 may 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.

History of tightlacing

Enlarge picture
Two unscientific sketches from 1884: A, the natural position of internal organs. B, when deformed by tight lacing. In this way the liver and the stomach have been forced downward, as seen in the cut.
See also: History of corsets


Corsets were first worn during the 16th century and remained a feature of fashionable dress until the French Revolution (1789). These corsets were mainly designed to turn the torso into the fashionable cylindrical shape although they narrowed the waist as well. They had shoulder straps; they ended at the waist; they flattened the bust and, in so doing, pushed the breasts up. The emphasis of the corset was less on the smallness of the waist than on the contrast between the rigid flatness of the bodice front and the curving tops of the breasts peeking over the top of the corset. There are no records of tightlacers at this time.

The corset then went into eclipse. Fashion embraced the Empire silhouette: a Graeco-Roman style, with the high-waisted dress that was unique to this style gathered under the bosom. The waist was de-emphasised, and dresses were sewn from thin muslins rather than the heavy brocades and satins of aristocratic high fashion.

The reign of the Empire waist was short. In the 1830s, shoulders widened (with puffy gigot sleeves or flounces), skirts widened (layers of stiffened petticoats), and the waist narrowed and migrated towards its "natural" position. By the 1850s, exaggerated shoulders were out of fashion and waistlines were cinched at the natural waist above a wide skirt. Fashion had achieved what is now known as the Victorian silhouette.

In the 1830s, the artificially inflated shoulders and skirts made the intervening waist look narrow, even with the corset laced only moderately. When the exaggerated shoulders disappeared, the waist itself had to be cinched tightly in order to achieve the same effect. It is in the 1840s and 1850s that tightlacing is first recorded. It was ordinary fashion taken to an extreme.

As it was accepted that a corseted waist was the ideal, it is hard to define tightlacing strictly, or to say what proportion of Victorian women practiced it. Today's waist measurements are unacceptable as a guide, since:

Enlarge picture
A corset, recommend of doctors and nurses for Tightlacing. 1887
  • Women's bodies have increased in size since the nineteenth century, so waist measurements that seem small today might not have been considered so by Victorians.
  • As corset wearing was the norm in the nineteenth century, it is likely that women tolerated proportionally greater reductions as a matter of course, without thinking of themselves as tightlacers.
Young and fashionable women were most likely to tightlace, especially for balls, fashionable gatherings, and like occasions for display. Older, poorer, and primmer women would have laced moderately – just enough to be decent.

The Victorian and Edwardian corset differed from earlier corsets in numerous ways. The corset no longer ended at the waist, but flared out and ended several inches below the waist. The corset was exaggeratedly curvaceous rather than cylindrical. It was also much sturdier in construction, thanks to improvements in technology. Spiral steel stays curved with the figure rather than dictating a cylindrical silhouette. While many corsets were still sewn by hand to the wearer's measurements, there was also a thriving market in cheaper mass-produced corsets.

In the late years of the Victorian era, medical reports and rumors claimed that tightlacing was fatally detrimental to health (see Victorian dress reform). Women who suffered to achieve small waists were also condemned for their vanity and excoriated from the pulpit as slaves to fashion. It was frequently claimed that too small a waist was actually ugly rather than beautiful. Dress reformers exhorted women to abandon the tyranny of stays and free their waists for work and healthy exercise.

Despite the efforts of dress reformers to eliminate the corset, and despite medical and clerical warnings, women persisted in tightlacing as long as it was fashionable. In the early 1900s, the small corseted waist began to fall out of fashion. The feminist and dress reform movements had made practical clothing acceptable for work or exercise. The rise of the Artistic Dress movement made loose clothing and the natural waist fashionable even for evening wear. Couturiers like Fortuny and Poiret designed exotic, alluring costumes in pleated or draped silks, calculated to reveal slim, youthful bodies. If one didn't have such a body, new undergarments, the brassiere and the girdle, promised to give the illusion of one.

Corsets were no longer fashionable, but some people still felt that they were sexy. Corsets entered the underworld of the fetish, along with items such as bondage gear and vinyl catsuits. In the 1980s and 1990s, fetish wear became a fashion trend and corsets made something of a recovery. They are often worn as top garments rather than underwear. However, most corset wearers own a bustier or two for evening wear; they do not tightlace. Historical re-enactors also wear corsets, but few tightlace.

Tightlacing today

Enlarge picture
under-bust corset worn with renaissance costume, 16" waist.


Modern tightlacing is a minority interest, often associated with fetishistic interest in the corset and BDSM. The majority of tightlacers are women, although some men also tightlace (see in particular cross-dressing).

Tightlacers typically wear a corset for at least 12 hours a day, every day, when they are most active, although some tightlacers wear corsets for up to 23 hours a day, taking the corset off only in order to bathe.

Tightlacers usually have a partner, called a trainer, to help and support them. However, it is possible (although very difficult) for somebody to tightlace without a partner. (Tightlacers are often—but not always —in a sexual and/or loving relationship with their trainer.)

A partner might take on any of the following tasks:
  • help the tightlacer put on and take off the corset, especially tightening the laces
  • help him or her follow through with the training schedule
  • monitor the tightlacer's health
  • monitor body changes and keep a log
Enlarge picture
Chest developped before corset worn. A scientific sketches from 1910
Enlarge picture
Epigastrium of singer dotted fine shows full expansion. A scientific sketches from 1910

Effects of tightlacing on the body

A typical training routine begins with the use of a well-fitted corset (most serious tightlacers have at least one custom–tailored corset) and very gradual decreases in the waist circumference. Lacing too tight too fast can cause extreme discomfort and potential short-term problems such as shortness of breath and faintness, indigestion, and chafing of the skin.

The primary effect of tightlacing is the decreased size of the waist. The smallest waist recorded is that of Ethel Granger, who tightlaced for most of her life and achieved a waist of thirteen inches: a reduction of over ten inches. Such extreme reductions take a very long time to achieve. At first, corsets with waist measurements four inches smaller than the tightlacer's natural waist size are recommended. The length of time it will take a tightlacer to get used to this reduction will vary on his or her physiology; a large amount of fat on the torso and strong abdominal muscles will mean that it takes longer for the tightlacer to wear their corset laced closed at the back. Thereafter, reducing another couple of inches is not much more difficult, but each inch after a six-inch reduction can take a year to achieve.

The diminished waist and tight corset reduce the volume of the torso. This is sometimes reduced even further by styles of corset that force the torso to taper towards the waist, which pushes the lower ribs inwards. As a consequence, internal organs are moved closer together and out of their original positions in a way similar to the way that a pregnant woman's expanding uterus causes the organs to be displaced.

The volume of the lungs diminishes and the tightlacer tends to breathe intercostally – that is, with the upper portion of the lungs only, rather that the whole (see shallow breathing). Intercostal breathing is what gives the image of "heaving bosoms". Due to the lower portion of the lungs being used less there is often a mucosal build-up there; a slight and persistent cough is the sign of the body trying to clear this (and might also have led to the Victorian hypothesis that corsets caused tuberculosis).

The liver is pressed upwards. As it continually renews itself, it adapts to fit its new position, and in a long-term tightlacer it can develop ridges where it rests against the ribs. It is also possible that tightlacing exacerbates the tendency of some livers to develop accessory lobes, to the point where the accessory lobe becomes as large as the main portion of the liver. The point where the lobe and liver connect can be quite thin, and again, this might have led to one of the Victorian myths about tightlacing: that a tightlacer can wear her corset so tight that it "cuts" her liver in half.

The compression of the stomach reduces its volume, and tightlacers find that eating too much gives them indigestion and heartburn; foods like carbonated drinks and beans can easily cause trapped wind. The compression of the intestines can cause constipation. Many tightlacers will alter their diet in order to avoid these problems.

Theoretically, it is possible to fracture the ribs through tightlacing, although the necessary pressure would be brutal and the tightlacer would feel acute pain.

Ending waist training

See also

References

  • Tight Lacing, Peter Farrer. ISBN 0-9512385-8-2
  • The Corset and the Crinoline. A Book of Modes and Costumes from remote periods to the present time. Lord William Barry. (1869)
  • Valerie Steele, The Corset: A Cultural History. Yale University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-300-09953-3.
  • Fashion and Fetishism, David Kunzle, 1982
  • Bound To Please: A History of the Victorian Corset, Leigh Summers, Berg Publishers, 2001. ISBN 1-85973-510-X

External links

Tightlacers

Against tightlacing

corset is a garment worn to mold and shape the torso into a desired shape for aesthetic or medical purposes (either for the duration of wearing it, or with a more lasting effect).

Both men and women are known to wear corsets.
..... Click the link for more information.
A tightlacer is someone who practises daily tightlacing.

Some persons choose tightlacing for aesthetic reasons. Some do this to improve the figure, while others have a goal to achieve an extra-narrow, "wasp" waist.
..... Click the link for more information.
training corset is generally a corset used in body modification. A training corset may be used for orthopedic reasons (such as to correct a crooked spine) or for cosmetic reasons (to achieve a smaller waistline, commonly called tightlacing).
..... Click the link for more information.
RIB can mean:
  • Rigid-hulled inflatable boat
  • Romanian International Bank
  • Routing Information Base

This article is about the bones called ribs. For other meanings, see rib (disambiguation).

..... Click the link for more information.
breast refers to the upper ventral region of an animal’s torso, particularly that of mammals, including human beings. The breasts of a female mammal’s body contain the mammary glands, which secrete milk used to feed infants.
..... Click the link for more information.
corset is a garment that girds the torso and shapes it according to the fashionable silhouette of the day. Most often it has been used for cinching the waist and supporting the breasts.

Contrary to popular myth, the corset was not as restrictive as is generally believed.
..... Click the link for more information.
corset is a garment worn to mold and shape the torso into a desired shape for aesthetic or medical purposes (either for the duration of wearing it, or with a more lasting effect).

Both men and women are known to wear corsets.
..... Click the link for more information.
As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 through 1600.

See also: 16th century in literature

Events

1500s

  • 1500s: Mississippian culture disappears.

..... Click the link for more information.
<noinclude></noinclude>

The French Revolution (1789–1799) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal
..... Click the link for more information.
8th century - 9th century - 10th century
850s  860s  870s  - 880s -  890s  900s  910s
885 886 887 - 888 - 889 890 891

:
Subjects:     Archaeology - Architecture -
..... Click the link for more information.
Empire silhouette is created by wearing a high-waisted dress, gathered near or just under the bust with a long, loose skirt, which skims the body. The outline is especially flattering to pear shapes wishing to disguise the stomach area or emphasise the bust.
..... Click the link for more information.
Fashion in the period 1795-1820 in European and European-influenced countries saw the final triumph of undress or informal styles over the brocades, lace, periwigs, and powder of the earlier eighteenth century.
..... Click the link for more information.
Centuries: 18th century - 19th century - 20th century

1800s 1810s 1820s - 1830s - 1840s 1850s 1860s
1830 1831 1832 1833 1834
1835 1836 1837 1838 1839

- -
-

Events and trends


..... Click the link for more information.
1850s fashion in European and European-influenced clothing is characterized by an increase in the width of women's skirts supported by crinolines or hoops, and the beginnings of dress reform.
..... Click the link for more information.
Victorian fashion" refers to fashion in clothing in the Victorian era, or the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901). It is strictly used only with regard to the United Kingdom and its colonies, but is often used loosely to refer to Western fashions of the period.
..... Click the link for more information.
1830s fashion in European and European-influenced clothing is characterized by an emphasis on breadth, initially at the shoulder and later in the hips, in contrast to the narrower silhouettes that had predominated between 1800 and the 1820s.
..... Click the link for more information.
Centuries: 18th century - 19th century - 20th century

1810s 1820s 1830s - 1840s - 1850s 1860s 1870s
1840 1841 1842 1843 1844
1845 1846 1847 1848 1849

- -
-

Events and trends

Technology


..... Click the link for more information.
The Edwardian period or Edwardian era in the United Kingdom is the period 1901 to 1910, the reign of King Edward VII. It succeeded the Victorian period and is sometimes extended to include the period up to the sinking of the RMS Titanic
..... Click the link for more information.
Victorian era of the United Kingdom marked the height of the British Industrial Revolution and the apex of the British Empire. Although commonly used to refer to the period of Queen Victoria's rule between 1837 and 1901, scholars debate whether the Victorian period—as defined
..... Click the link for more information.
During the middle and late Victorian period, various reformers proposed, designed, and wore clothing supposedly more rational and comfortable than the fashions of the time. This was known as the dress reform or rational dress movement.
..... Click the link for more information.
Centuries: 18th century - 19th century - 20th century

1870s 1880s 1890s - 1900s - 1910s 1920s 1930s
1900 1901 1902 1903 1904
1905 1906 1907 1908 1909

- -
-

Events and trends

Technology


..... Click the link for more information.
Artistic Dress movement and its successor, Aesthetic Dress, were fashion trends in nineteenth century clothing.

Artistic dress

Dante Gabriel Rossetti and other members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were conscious archaizers, emulating the work of the "old
..... Click the link for more information.
Mariano Fortuny is the name of:
  • Mariano Fortuny y Marsal. (1838-1874) Painter.
  • Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (1871-1949) Designer. (son of Mariano Fortuny y Marsal).

..... Click the link for more information.
Poiret may refer to several people:
  • Jean Poiret (author of La Cage aux Folles)
  • Jean Louis Marie Poiret, French botanist
  • Jean Louis Georges Poiret
  • Paul Poiret, fashion designer

..... Click the link for more information.
brassiere (Brit. /'bɹæzɪə(ɹ)/; U.S. /bɹə'ziɹ/, commonly referred to as a bra
..... Click the link for more information.
girdle originally meant a belt (or metaphorically speaking, something which confines or encloses, as in Tolkien's Girdle of Melian). In modern English the term "girdle" is most commonly used for a form of women's foundation wear that replaced the corset in popularity.
..... Click the link for more information.
bondage involves people being tied up or otherwise restrained for pleasure. Bondage is usually, but not always, a sexual practice. The paraphilia of being sexually aroused by bondage is sometimes known as vincilagnia.

Studies in the U.S.
..... Click the link for more information.
catsuit is a skin-tight one-piece garment with sleeves and long legs, and sometimes with feet or gloves, sometimes with a hood (the combination of which turns it into a zentai suit). It usually has a zip closure in the front or back, but other necklines are possible.
..... Click the link for more information.
worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page.


This article may contain original research or unverified claims.
Please help Wikipedia by adding references.

..... Click the link for more information.
Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century

1960s 1970s 1980s - 1990s - 2000s 2010s 2020s
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

- -
-
..... Click the link for more information.


This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.