What to Look for in a Great Corset

If you’re new to the world of corsetry, it can seem a little daunting picking one out that’s worth your money. Prices vary massively, from around the £20/$35 dollar mark, to well into the hundreds, so just how do you know which one to buy?

Firstly, think about your budget. We’d all love a top of the range corset, but if you’ve only got a little bit of money to spend then don’t expect haute couture. However, it is still possible to buy a high quality corset on the cheap, and this article will show you just how to do that.

Similarly, if you want to splash out then you want to know you’re getting the best value possible for your hard-earned cash, so read on to find out what you need to look out for in a great corset…

What to look for in a corset


Undoubtedly the key factor in any corset is it’s boning – how many, where they’re placed and what they’re made from. After all, boning is what gives a corset it’s classic waist-cinching shape it’s so famous for!

A very cheap, badly made corset will have a handful of flexible plastic bones and this won’t be doing you many favours. Look for a corset with lots of bones all the way around, whatever your budget.

If you can bend the bones slightly, they’re made from plastic and they’ll hold you in nicely, but won’t actually be able to reduce your waist by anything. If you just want something that looks sexy and structured, plastic bones are fine.

However, if you want to start ‘waist training’ or knock some serious inches off your waist, be sure to find a corset with stiff metal bones – spiral bones are ever so slightly flexible for comfort, but definitely won’t bend like plastic bones will. You’ll also notice that the corset is much heavier with all that metal inside!


Fabric is mainly there for aesthetics. However, a stiffer, thicker fabric add a little extra strength to the corset so that it can ‘hold you in’ that little bit better.

If you’re just after a corset that looks great and will be worn for short periods of time, such as for a night out, satin is a very sexy choice. However, if you plan to wear the corset for any length of time, look for natural fabrics such as silk which allow the skin to ‘breathe’ – it looks pretty much the same, but you won’t start sweating underneath it!

Modesty Panel

A modesty panel is an extra flap of fabric at the back of the corset, behind the lacing. Cheap corsets often don’t have a modesty panel, but this is because they don’t need one. A cheap corset won’t cinch your waist in by very much, so your back stays nice and flat.

A high-end corset on the other hand, with metal boning and thick fabric, will pull your waist in by a lot – often leading to an unsightly ‘fold’ of skin down your spine. This isn’t a very great look, which is why the modesty panel is there – to cover it up!


The front of the corset has a vertical fastening known as a ‘busk’, made from rounded hooks on one side that fit over rivets on the other side.

Some cheap corsets have hook and eye front fastenings, which are okay but provide no strength to the corset. A plastic busk can mean the corset ‘pulls’ at the front and the busk won’t lie straight, so whatever your budget be sure to buy a corset with a strong, steel busk – even if the rest of the boning is plastic.


To reduce your waist, a corset needs to be laced nice and tightly at the back. It therefore needs a thick, high-quality lacing such as cord. Many cheap corsets only have ribbon but this is okay, since they’re not designed to reduce your waist so don’t need to withstand much pressure.

If you’re buying an expensive corset though, be certain to avoid anything with cheap ribbon and look for a thick, durable lacing that goes through metal-rimmed holes at the back of the corset.

Waist Tape

Cheap corsets won’t contain a waist tape. This is a strip of horizontal fabric that goes around the waist on the inside of the corset. It’s there to provide added support and to help narrow the waist comfortably, without straining the corset, so if you’re buying an expensive corset be sure it has a waist tape so you know you’re getting quality.

I hope these tips have helped! If you have any more to add simply leave me a comment below…

Browse corsets at Tootimid here.

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