Friday, September 26, 2008

Body Con Extreme

Children bring you lots of surprises, but one of the unknown side effects to me was that having children can expand your rib cage - permanently! I've been getting quite frustrated recently when trying to find some great evening wear that fits in all the right places, and a friend suggested I should try waist training with a corset. She too had the same problem after having her children and has had a corset custom made to help her bring her ribs back into shape. Wearing costume corsets have not really been the most comfortable experience for me, so I was a little wary. But after talking to a few experts, I am told that having a corset custom made by a true corsetierre is a completely different experience. That the overall effect should be more like a hug than spinal torture. Along with the rib cage reduction, there is the benefit of greatly improved posture which may add an inch to my height. And so I am considering it.

I know that there will be many of you that say, "No, celebrate your body the way it is!" but to be honest, that just isn't the way my brain works. Don't get me wrong, this is not me saying that I am unhappy with myself. I do not lie awake at night bemoaning the state of my rib cage or over analysising my thighs for signs of cellulite. I do however, believe in being the best version of myself I can be. That is why I eat well, stay out of the sun and go to the gym. It is all about the balance. It is interesting to me that the term "body modification" causes such an emotional response. And yes, I could probably write a dissertation on the topic.

I am not considering waist training for any fashion points. I'm not looking to achieve a wasp waist or begin an obssession with Victorian costume. I'm simply thinking of the practicalities of bringing things back to where they were, and reducing my Chiropractic bills after all this time at the laptop. So my stylish readers, do any of you have any first hand advice for me?


WendyB said...

I love corsets. They're so great for posture. I've never had a beautiful one custom-made though.

KittyMeow said...

Wow cool! I love the idea of corsets - but have never worn one. Go for it I say! :-D

frou-frou said...

I have a number of corsets, from mid-Victorian to modern repros (which even get worn sometimes) but haven't tried waist be honest, I'm not sure whether they can change the shape of your ribs (but I'm not an expert).

A great place for advice is the Livejournal Corsetry community:

You can ask them anything and will be sure to receive knowledgeable and enthusiastic replies.

eCRAFTic said...

Hi Mama!

Though I never leave a comment I read you everyday on my lunch time! You rock!

I must say I've been looking forward to buy myself a corset, though never thought of waist training because I have small waist compared with my hips, but I have never heard of this side advantages.

That sounds pretty interesting to me 'cos I have a problem with my posture and I spend so much time seated, I believe it can be helpful for my painful back but would it really put ribs on place? If you get more information I would like to know 'cos I have two ribs that don't stay in line with the rest. Nobody can really notice but it's really annoying to me. I feel exactly like you said.

Thanks so much and regards form Spain, the antipodas!


fröken lila said...

actually, i wouldn't really call wearing a corset "body modification". i mean, it's not as if you'd put yourself through a lot of pain or would change anything in your normal behaviour, i guess. other women wear leg-shaping stockings, and i can't really see a big difference between a corset and those stockings. so if you think it'll help, go for it!

K.Line said...

Wow, I think I'm going to be the voice of dissent!

For starters, I think a custom made corset would be a beautiful piece for occasional wear.

Having said this, having had a kid which expanded my ribcage A LOT - and having been a yoga teacher for a long time - I've got to advise against trying to use a corset to get back to the old frame. Truth is, you'll have to go hardcore to really get back to the former shape (if it's even doable) - and that's not very good for the internal organs that have moved around in the course of your childbearing experiences.

I hear you about the frustration of not being able to fit into anything pre-baby. I had a super narrow frame before my daughter and it's very altered. My upper ribs visibly flare out now. Weird. But in the same way that one's ladybits can be altered by the course of having a child (and not necessarily badly as far as I'm concerned), so is the rest of one. Just my take, K

Theremina said...

I think you should ask one (or better, several) experienced corsetmaker about this. She'll be able to give you better advice than we can. Do you have someone in mind already, or do you need links to good corsetmakers' websites?

Super Kawaii Mama said...

Wendy B: I wonder if Ossie Clark did any? :)
Kitty Meo:Thanks for the support.
Frou-frou: Excellent link thank you! It sounds like you have a gorgeous collection, but then I wouldn't expect anything less from the vintage expert herself.
ecraftic: Hi there, and thanks for commenting. I'll certainly let you know what my research turns up. I'm waiting to see what difference it makes to my friend as she is wearing hers all day around the house.
Froken Lila: Type in "tight Lacing" on Flickr and you'll see what I mean about body modification. I'm not talking about a garment that simply shapes, like girdle underwear or those Spanks things, but something that actually alters the position of your bones, not just the flesh.
K.Line:So you've had the same problem? No one tells us about these things. They warn you that your feet can grow a whole size, but not about ribs expanding or boobs shrinking! Maybe if I get me some E cup boobs it will all balance out. ;) (Ha ha, just joking.)
Theremina: I've been recommended some excellent online makers (I've been told Madame LeStrange is one of the best.)and have even found someone locally who I can see in person. I'm just wondering if any readers have had personal experience with tight lacing, good, bad or otherwise.

enc said...

I hope you will do whatever you want, whatever your heart tells you to do.

And I hope that whatever decision you make makes you happy.

I think the idea sounds interesting. I'd be very interested to hear how the whole process goes, as well.

Violette Crumble said...

My ribs expanded toooo! AND I lost a cup size! What a rip-off. I could never wear a corset, but I have to admit I'm curious to see if you can find one that works that also don't feel like torture as you do the laundry and unload the dishwasher. It'll be like that PBS special of "Victorian House."

Skye said...

My ribcage expanded too, but I don't think I'd corset up to try and squeeze them back. Like K.Line mentioned the ribcage expansion is just one of the overall systemic changes that come with pregnancy, so who knows what strange results you might get.

susie_bubble said...

Corsetry is all I can think of I do think it is extreme for you to do it considering you have such a LOVELY figure....

Helena S. said...

I know a lot of young goth women, healthy and sane :-), who just looove those custom made corsets. If you're gonna wear a corset, then you should have it made for your figure personally because anything else is risky and uncomfortable in the long run. Just don't wear it all the time... :-)

Helena S. said...

But I just looked at your flickr photos and I think you are gorgeous without a corset too. I'm a fan of Dita Von Teese but I think she's gone too far. Her waist isn't pretty anymore in that tight corset. It looks unnatural and painful.

Super Kawaii Mama said...

Enc: I think the decision will probably come down to $$ in the end. It seems having a custom made, specialist corset is quite expensive. But it is all relative I guess.
violette crumble: Yep, ripped off big time in that department. I love your idea of the Victoria House style of commentary. I'd be very keen to do that.
Skye: My butt getting bigger was another systematic change, but I wasn't prepared to let that one hang around either. There's always things we can change and finding that 'line' is an interesting process.
Susie Bubble: There are just too many beautiful options out there aren't there. I'm eyeing of a stunner called Nautical from Madame LeStrange at present. I've often worn fashion corsets, but nothing that really required tight lacing.
Helena: Yes I know a lot of those girls too and they have really done their research. I have to admit, I'm getting quite attracted to the steam punk aesthetic these days too. And you're right about Dita. I do love her, but I'm not attracted to her highly corseted waist. Still, to each his own. And thank you.

Rachael said...

I think I'm pro-corsets. I love the idea of it improving one's posture, particularly. Mm, the idea is very appealing.

Clara Cupcakes said...

I spoke to my friend who made my custom corset about the whole ribs moving thing because I was intrigued. She said that the ribs only start reshaping if you tight lace and wear your corset 23 hours a day for about 3 months. There is also a chance your ribs will go back to position they were in before if you stop wearing it. She wasn't too sure about post pregnancy ribs though. It all sounded a bit uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Super Kawaii Mama said...

Clara cupcakes: Thank you for that. that does sound rather impossible given my lifestyle, and I can't possibly imagine wearing one to sleep in. Was your corset specifically for tight lacing and waist training or more of a fashion / costume piece? I'll have to send some more questions out to the pros I think.

Anastasia said...

i have considered getting a corset for ages! the posture point is a great point too, as i have a terrible back.

I knew of a few custom makers in Sydney but not in Melboune. If you hear of any, please let me know as I am interested in getting one made at some point in the future too.

I lived with a girl once who got a few custom made. She said (a few years ago) the starting price is AU$350 for a pre-made one and $550 for a custom made one and they go up from there.

But they are a great investment. If you are having an off/bloated day it can make you look smashing!

I say definately get one!!

Lil Midget said...

I love corsets :D But those worn during the older days do scare me a little..Tiny tiny tiny waists...The suffering of their bodily organs..

Clara Cupcakes said...

Yes I wouldn't think that sleeping in a corset would be an enjoyable experience. Tightlacing also moves your organs into the position they would be if you were pregnant which I find quite ironic.

I use mine mostly just for costumes. It's a very simple black satin underbust so it's very versitile. I could tightlace with it but I'm finding that I can cinch my waist in pretty well without going to extremes. I must admit I do pop it on from time to time when my poture is feeling a little out of whack. They are definantely great for that!

Gladis said...

well, as far as the ribs going back... it's a non-permenant form of body modification then? I agree, 23 hours a day is a little much.


I was intrigued, though, that there might be something I could do because my ribcage just feels enormous to me.

I have had two kids as well, and I'm at a healthy weight, I like to exercise, etc, but it seems that the rib bones are just MUCH farther out than they were 6 years ago.

Super Kawaii Mama said...

Anastasia: I'm talking to one in Melbourne at the moment, so I'll let you know the results and the rough pricing too.
Lil Midget: Yeah, that's the kind I'm talking about. As Clara says, being pregnant shifts your organs around a lot too which is ironic.
Clara: I fins a good old fashioned girdle does similar things for the posture too.
Gladis: It is such an odd thing these ribs. Given that they used to be in a different place, do we classify it as "body modification" or just "reconstructive"? I'll keep you all informed as to my discoveries.