How to style a corset

25th February, 2018   |   How To...Guides

Kate McGuire Converted Closet in Deborah brand corset

How to wear a corset over and under clothes, how to choose your corset and why they are one of my key investment pieces.

I always ask myself two questions before I buy new accessories:

  • Do I love it enough to wear it 30 times or more?
  • Will it help me get more wear out of the rest of my clothes?

The corset scored full marks. I loved it instantly and knew it would revolutionise the way I wear my clothes. It became my ultimate investment piece and one of my favourite conversion power tools. They really are the perfect feminine power-tool – when your waist gets nipped in your entire silhouette changes and you look gorgeously curvy, whatever your shape.

How to choose a corset

There are a LOT of corsets on the market, from simple waist trainers to the handcrafted couture versions. I like having lacing at the back to create a great shape and full boning to keep it very stiff but its horses for courses on this one. Obviously buy one that feels comfy but, speaking from experience, it’s worth pushing on through the first few days – you’ll soon forget you’re even wearing one.

If you want to wear your corset over clothes, I’d go for a waist-only corset rather than one with a built-in bra (“overbust”). I find them much easier to wear over tops, whether you’re wearing a t-shirt, a shirt or a dress.

For me, a matt fabric works better than satin because it looks less like underwear and makes it more versatile for wearing over smart or casual outfits.

How to wear a corset

Corsets are super-versatile and can be worn over or under virtually anything, giving ordinary outfits a sense of occasion.

Under clothes

  • When worn as underwear you can tuck tops into bottoms at will, even as a square-torso-shaped person (like me) – it’s VERY exciting
  • If waisted belts or high-waisted trousers and skirts are out of your comfort zone a corset can be a fantastic confidence-booster and will open up a whole new range of wardrobe choices for you

I wore mine to an event under a vintage dress with a (formerly impossibly) narrow waist; not only did it fit, I had hands-down the best posture of every person at the event!

Over clothes

It’s such a clever piece of apparatus, it deserves it’s own moment in the spotlight. Here are a few ideas on how to style your corset:

  • Wear it like a giant, very wide belt to create high-waisted, ultra-flattering trousers or skirts.
  • Over dresses – of all sorts.  It’s a great feature when worn over a contrasting colour.
  • Over shirts – a plain white buttoned-up shirt, open necked or high necked.
  • Over t-shirts / tank tops… think outside of the box on this one.

All corsets in my photos are by the very talented Deborah Brand (my favourite is the Mila corset!).

Here are a few corsets to get you started:

High street corset from Bobijoo

Great design from Agent Provocateur

For bespoke go to Deborah Brand – arguably the world’s greatest corset maker (Salma Hayak and Kim K are customers).

Send me your corset photos or leave me a comment below. Are corsets a game-changer for you too?

1 reply to “How to style a corset”

  1. Eileen Benson
    13th February 2020 at 4:30 pm

    It caught my attention when you said that matte corsets are a good option for outerwear because their lack of shine makes them look less like underwear. I was thinking about buying a custom-fit corset to wear when I go out because I think it would showcase my fun personality and help me meet people. Thanks for helping me feel prepared to shop for the right corset to buy!


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