Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Successfully lacing yourself up in a corset is, I have discovered, not nearly as complicated as it seems if one has sufficient practice. Saturday, I had myself ratcheted in snugly in about five minutes and was on my happily gasping-for-air way. While self-corseting does require some flexibility of the neck and arms and a mirror sufficient for effective contortion, I am starting to realize why one woman I heard about claimed, "I am the only person I trust to put on my corset." Putting on your own does allow you the chance to cinch it in as snugly as you like and adjust it as you see fit, with the added bonus of not having to track down a willing tugger to help you tighten your corset. 

The more I wear a corset, the more I am growing attached to doing so. On one of those days where you've consumed one too many brownies, pinching irritably at that muffin top around your waist and wondering if it is going to take a diet of ice cubes and two hours of gym time a day to lose weight, a corset has you sleek and hour-glassy in no time at all. 

Then there is the added bonus of external scaffolding and support that a corset brings. Granted, said garment does little to aid mobility and flexibility and while laced up, easy activities can have you panting for breath (bosoms heave quite nicely when hoisted aloft by boning and stiff fabric). However, I've found that a properly fitting corset is rather comfortingly supportive and bracing and keeps jiggle out of the places you wish it not to be found. The other day I was suffering from lower back pain and seriously pondered wearing my corset to work for extra support. 

Then there is the rich scope for amusement to be had whenever one decides to don a corset and try to do something aside from standing there and looking pretty. It generally takes me whole minutes to successfully enter my car and buckle my seatbelt when I am corseted in snugly, and I am often left to swipe fitfully at the air-conditioner knob and stereo button which are just out of my reach. Retrieving a fallen object generally requires a wide-legged plie to lower myself to the floor. Sitting results in an awkward, unladylike sprawling of legs and leaning back in the chair as lungs strain for oxygen and boning digs itself determinedly into tender thighs. And restroom breaks are neigh on impossible - recently I visited the ladies room while wearing a corset over a pair of slacks and as I stood in the stall pondering the necessary engineering required to commence operations, I said, "Forget it" and walked out.    

Which is why I occasionally wonder why corsets pop up in steampunk costumes whose basic concept requires freedom of movement? A few weeks ago, I was in full steampunk engineer costume for a shoot in 95 degree weather at a train depot. Yet in all reality if I was actually faced with a hissing engine to repair or mechanical process to complete, my absolute first step would have been taking the damned corset off so I could move. Likewise with the steampunk cowgirl getup I fashioned last week: surely someone whose day was spent wrangling cattle and shoveling manure would be less concerned with appearing skinny than she would of being able to flee from an irate Brahma bull which was irked with her. 

Yet I doubt that few things could pry the corsets from our fingers, we ladies of steampunks. Other women may have their Hatha yoga and Abs Diet: I will take a cookie, thank you very much, and hide the evidence behind a bastille of boning. 

Just as long as I never attempt to make a corset again. But that is for another post. 

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