Tight lacing vs. Waist training

The terms ‘waist training’ and ‘tight lacing’ are regularly used interchangeably. Not only is this incorrect but it is also potentially damaging. With the current ‘waist training’ trend in full force, I feel that it is important to understand the difference between the terms, why people choose to do both, timeframes, waist reductions and means of achieving different objectives in order to prevent anyone from hurting themselves.

I am by no means a corset expert, so the below definitions are my understanding and opinions only. Other people may have different interpretations, which I would be very interested to hear them.

Waist training


Men and women who waist train usually do so with the objective of permanently (if permanently wearing the corset) or semi-permanently (for a short while after removing the corset) modifying the shape and circumference of their waist. Some people choose to reduce their waists but maintain a more or less natural shape, whereas others  train to have different shapes, an example would be a pipestem silhouette.


Pipestem corset from corsets-and-more.de

Waist training must be undertaken over a prolonged period of time and should not be rushed. Just like any type of training, it takes time to achieve the end of goal. By wearing a corset for a number of hours each day (and/ or night), the body will gradually begin to take the shape of the corset. The intention is usually to train the body to mould to this shape, so that when the wearer removed the garment, the waist will remain in this shape. It should be noted that if the corset is not worn after waist training, the waist will over time return to its natural shape.

Lucy of lucycorsetry.com who waist trains in order to be able to achieve a certain tight lace reduction

Lucy of lucycorsetry.com who waist trains in order to be able to achieve a certain tight lace reduction

Another reason that someone might decide to waist train, is to tight lace. A person who wishes to tight lace on occasion, may wish to train their natural waist down in order to be able to tight lace down to an even smaller waist. More on tight lacing later…


I’m sure there is an ‘official’ reduction that has to be adhered to in order to be a ‘real’ waist trainer, however I’m of the opinion that wearing a corset with roughly four inches or more for long periods of time to achieve a change in the natural shape, constitutes waist training.

Different people obviously have different body types, this means that someone with more fat around their waist may be able to achieve a much greater reduction than someone with a petite athletic body.


In my opinion, waist training is something that needs to be a very well thought out decision. If you decide to go down that path, it will affect many aspects of your life. Waist training is a process and I believe that the timeframe should include all the preparation that goes into training, even before the corset gets laced onto your body.

In order to maintain a healthy body while training, it is important to ensure that you have a strong core, so if you are not in the habit of exercising that part of your body, doing so a few months prior to starting to waist train (and continuing whilst waist training) would be very beneficial. Remember that reducing the waist with a corset is not a replacement for a healthy lifestyle, including exercising and eating well.

Penny Undercuts of plunderbust.com

Penny Undercuts of plunderbust.com

Your food portions and meal frequency will be affected, so it is a good idea to get out of the habit of eating large meals (easier said than done!), depending on the person, it may be the case that you eat little and often.

But most importantly for me, I think that getting mentally used to the fact that you will be wearing a steel boned corset for extensive periods of time each day is also part of the training. If you are unfamiliar with how a corset feels but want to waist train, I would recommend wearing a corset a few times a week and gradually building up to waist training over a period of months or even years.

The wonderful Annalai of ladyannalai.com

The wonderful Annalai of ladyannalai.com

Once you have your corset and want to waist train, do not rush. The process will take months, even years (depending on your goals). Wear the corset for five hours a day for a month for example, then build up to 8 hours a day etc. People who have waist trained for years will usually wear their corsets for around 23 hours a day, removing it only to bathe. This is definitely not something you want to jump straight into when you start out with your own waist training. Why? Well you could potentially damage yourself and it probably won’t be very comfortable at first, because your body will not yet be accustomed to wearing the corset for such long periods of time.

The corset

I can’t stress this next part enough – If you are serious about waist training, you will need a custom corset.

A custom fitted corset will always be more comfortable than an off the rack corset because it is made specifically for your shape, your measurements and your training goals. Waist training corsets will also be made to be strong, which is extremely important when you think about how many hours you will be wearing them for!

Depending on the shape and the amount of reduction that you are looking to achieve, it may be the case that one corset will not be enough. Once you have trained your waist down to a certain measurement, you will need to buy a new corset to achieve the next waist reduction milestone. You will certainly not be able to go from a natural waist to an Ethel Granger waist with just one corset! As such, it’s important to consider whether you are able to afford potentially several custom made corsets.


Ethel Granger

If you are interested in waist training, I would always recommend reading EVERYTHING on Lucy’s blog! It is an amazing resource with everything you would ever need to know about corsetry, waist training and anything else corset related.

Tight lacing


Tight lacing is something that is done to achieve an extreme reduction (compared to the natural, uncorseted waist) for a short period of time. This may be done to achieve a particular silhouette, for a photoshoot, for sexual/ fetishistic reasons, or for the feeling alone.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 10.31.42 pm

Tight lacing is something that I like to do on occasion. I enjoy doing it it for various reasons, I love the feeling of being laced up by my partner, and when he tight laces me, there is some degree of roughness that I enjoy. I like that it elongates my torso (depending on the corset), I like the pressure around my ribcage and my waist. I also really love the extreme shape it creates. This is something we also do for photoshoots. We sometimes go out for drinks or for a walk while I’m laced tightly into my corset, because we both like knowing that it’s there and we can touch it, and feel the shape it gives my waist. Yes I know, we are weird.


Tight lacing is not meant to be permanent in any way, which is the opposite to waist training. It is something that can be done weeks, months or years apart and it will always be possible to lace tightly to a degree. Obviously, if you were to put on weight after tight lacing for the first time, you would probably not be able to achieve the same measurement, even though you may be able to achieve the same reduction. For example, if you tight lace on day one, with a natural waist of 30 inches, and manage to achieve a reduction of six inches, taking you to 24″. Then, six months down the road, you decide to tight lace again, however you have gained five inches to your waist, you may still be able to achieve the same six inch reduction, it will just take you to 29″.

In my opinion, tight lacing is usually when the wearer achieves a reduction of 4 to 5 inches or more. This is not a strict rule, as some people are build differently, which will allow for a more extreme reduction than others.


As I previously mentioned, tight lacing is something that is done over short periods of time, maybe a few hours. However, some people do like to waist train in order to achieve a smaller waist for when they tight lace, and this will take longer to achieve, as mentioned above.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 10.37.37 pm

The corset

It would obviously be wonderful to have a custom made corset for every occasion, however in the case of tight lacing I don’t think it is strictly necessary. The corset should of course be robust as quite a lot of stress will be put on it in order to achieve the desired reduction. However, I believe that as long as you season the corset well, there isn’t an issue with using an off the rack to tight lace. A corset should always be comfortable, so make sure that you are not wearing one that is way too small or unrealistic for your body. Remember to listen to your body, and if you do start to experience discomfort, take it off.

Please let me know in the comments if you have a different definition of waist training and/ or tight lacing.

Happy lacing!


2 thoughts on “Tight lacing vs. Waist training

  1. I love this post! So many people confuse the two. I’d say I wear my corset at least 3 times a week right now, my goal is to waist train in the long run. I currently have the Petite Josephine from Isabella Corsetry, but I would like to invest in a shorter one for everyday wear.

  2. You are too modest, your knowledge is far beyond what 99% of people know. The corsetted community is microscopic.

    @Hattie May – I agree you need more than one corset really. I found that a shorter corset at the bottom helps my mobility.

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