1. Stand in front of a mirror. It’s great and definitely makes things easier if you have someone to help you put the corset on. However, it’s possible to put on a corset by yourself. Use a mirror if you’re putting on the corset alone.
2. Make sure you have the corset in the correct orientation. You might want to make sure the corset is oriented correctly. When you're getting ready to put it on, the busk or zipper (front) of the corset should be open and the laces at the back should be closed but loose. The nicer fabric should be on the outside, the side with the laces is the back, and the side with the holes and knobs or zipper is the front.
3. Wrap it around you. Start by closing the front. You might need to make some adjustments. You should be able to close the busk or the zipper in the front fairly easily, needing to pull the sides together a bit (some resistance is good). You should not need to seriously inhale in order to get it to close.
4. Some people like to have to pull harder in order to get the front closed. Others believe having the back more loose makes it easier to close the front. Experiment to find what works for you.
5. Close the busk. The busk is the metal pieces on the front of the corset with the knobs and holes. You're now ready to fasten the busk by putting the knobs into the holes. This is trickier than it sounds. Here's how you do it:
Fasten either the second from the top or the middle clasp first. Simply put the knob through the hole. Don't worry about the other ones yet.
Pinch the knob side of the busk. Now, with your thumb and pointer finger, pinch the hard part of the knob side of the busk. This will give you a little more dexterity to work the rest of the knobs.
Fasten the rest of the clasps. Now, go down from the first knob you fastened and close each successive clasp. Once you reach the bottom, close the knobs at the top.
Refasten any that come undone. You might notice clasps coming undone as you close the ones at the bottom. This is normal. Simply reclose those once you reach the bottom.
6. Tighten the laces. The corset is pre-laced. There are two long laces in the middle of the corset that are referred to as ‘rabbit ears.’ Get the laces just tight enough that the corset will stay on without needing to be held up. You should only need to pull the sides together and give a gentle tug on the rabbit ears.
7. Make a second pass to adjust the tightness. Now that you've done most of the lacing, take another pass to get all the lacing as tight as you can. As you tighten, adjust the tightness of each lace so that it keeps the two sides straight and parallel. With the laces tightened, make a final strong pull using all four strings at the center. This will draw in the waist.
Pinch the center of the laces where it makes an X and pull them away from your back, starting at the ends and moving toward the center. This is the easiest way to tighten the corset so that it fits to your body.
How tight you can make the corset will have to do with the quality and fit of your corset. so look for signs of strain (like boning channels not being straight).
8. Tie the corset. Now that the corset is nice and tight, tie all four laces together into a bow or knot. They may be somewhat loose but that's okay. Just make sure to double knot and you should be fine.
9. Most people simply tie the laces right there at the back. However, if you have a lot of extra lacing at the ends, you can get a smoother look by looping the laces around your stomach and then making a smaller bow or knot at the back.
Have you worn a corset? We would love to hear about your experience, and any tips or tricks you would like to share!