Monday, July 27, 2009

How do You Measure Up?

Just as a prelude to this, I want you to know that I am just like every other woman. I have serious body issues. I look in the mirror and find everything wrong, nothing right, and a vast reservoir of insecurities. I think , "Wow, Michelle. You're fat and ugly." So, the fact that I'm posting all these pictures of me means that I seriously trust you guys and want you to see the horrifying differences that can occur when measuring for a corset! First off, BRA SIZE and BUST MEASUREMENT are two completely different worlds! Having customers send you their bra size is sooo scary, because so many women are wearing the wrong size, even if they're doing it on purpose for comfort! Lots of people think the first number in their bra size is their bust measurement, but that's wrong! My bra size is 40, my bust measures 44. That's a big difference! It's the difference between having a corset that gently lifts and makes me look fabulous and a corset that smashes my breasts up into that horribly awkward jiggly shelf. In the second picture, I'm measuring way up at my WAIST, where everyone should be measuring! See how much higher it is than where I wear my jeans? Plus, I'm holding the measuring tape SUPER TIGHTLY and sucking in.

Okay, so there, ABOVE MY BELLY BUTTON, and above the lovely love handles...or rather, hate handles. I came up with a 32 inch waist. Now, I want you to see what a difference sloppy measuring makes!

Here, I'm measuring where MOST people THINK their waist is. Down there. Where you wear your pants at. You can't see the measuring tape, but I came up with 40 inches. That's an 8 inch difference! In the corset world, that's A SERIOUS DISCREPANCY!

My more common problem is when people send me their "loose" or "comfortable" measurements, and want me to "take it down" from there. You can see that the measuring tape is at 39, when I'm measuring comfortably snug, up at the right spot around my waist. I have countless people asking me "So, with corsets, I've heard that you measure your waist and then take 4-6 inches off for the measurement." I honestly don't know what the crap other corset companies are doing, but they are taking a serious risk there. If there's one thing I've learned doing this, it's that ALL OF US WOMEN ARE SHAPED COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! I always knew that we were all unique, but when I started trying corsets on people, I realized that there's literally no two girls alike. Another part of that equation is that women have different levels of "squishiness". I know, it's a yucky word, but there it is. Some women, like me, can pull their waist down considerably, because all I've got is soft jiggly baby fat leftover from having the two little devils in my house. Whereas, girls that are a lot smaller than me don't really have the ability to pull their waist in much, because there's a layer of skin..and then there they are. Just muscle and bone. So, once again, LADIES, LISTEN TO ME! When you're measuring, don't use some abstract "measure and then subtract however many inches" thing. How would I have any clue how tightly or loosely you're holding the measuring tape! I mean, there's 7 inches of difference between my "tight" and "loose".

Bleh. Here's me in a corset that would fit my "comfort" measurement. See how the hips jut out, it doesn't pull me in at all, and it makes me look very straight up and down? This is what could happen to you if you send me too loose of measurements! I know that none of YOU reading this blog have done that, but I have had customers who didn't listen to me when I told them how to measure.

This is a corset that I think fits me well. I'm holding it tightly to my body, but see how much of a gap I start out with in the middle! Every single time I do a renaissance festival, I'll have customers who come up and want to be fitted, so I'll pull out the correct size, wrap it around them, and they instantly start freaking out and saying they're too fat for it. People! I know what I'm doing! I'm a professional!

Ah, see what a difference it makes? And no, it's not laced fully to the center, but I honestly like the look of a little bit of lacings showing, because it creates a better central focal point. But however you like it, I want you guys to look beautiful and have well fitting clothing! I know that all of you feel like me and are fed up with the clothing manufacturers out there who don't make anything to fit anyone! Believe me, every single girl that I ever meet at these renaissance festivals feels like "nothing at the store fits them." It doesn't matter what size or shape they are. Everyone from the size 0's to the curvy 26's is annoyed with the clothing at stores. I want to GET OUTSIDE OF THAT HORRIBLE BOX! You guys just need to help me do it by measuring correctly! I can help you feel beautiful, which I know is rare for a lot of us. Back to that "what I feel when I look in the mirror" thing....my favorite part of my job is when I see women look at the mirror and LIKE what they see. I know that generally, we go out around the world, compare our own bodies to everyone elses....stand in the checkout line at Wal-mart and look over at the magazines where everyone is beautiful and flawless.....watch TV where no one has excess fat, and everyone looks good 24/7. It is depressing. I fight all of those feelings every day, but I would like to hope that by making what I do, I'm giving women this instant self esteem boost. One single moment where it's NOT "Oh, look how fat I am!" but "OH, look at that waist....and that rack! Wow"


  1. You crack me up. :) But it's good to post something like this so that you can make products to make women feel beautiful!

    :) Mandy

  2. I have never seen measurement how-tos posted in such a fun way. :D Thanks! I look forward to buying another corset from you soon. :D

  3. AH! Freaking out because I've just ordered a corset, with possibly the wrong measurements (I know where my waist is, but I gave you the comfortable measurement). I didn't know I should be sucking in my breath! I hope you haven't started sweing yet, and can make it the "right" size. Please call me.


    Now that we've cleared that up, I want to say thank you so much for posting this! I've been saving for a corset and always wondered how I should measure my waist, since no one seems to know and the online guides are all different. This takes a huge load off of my mind. C:

  5. Hahaha, once again thank you Michelle for pointing this out for us... I know I'm guilty of giving you my 'comfortable' measurements which was a huge mistake on my part. Seeing and hearing what happens when you give the wrong measurements completely opened up my eyes! Thanks!

  6. Amen Michelle!! You are right on about it all. I found this great little measurement diagram that has the exact 3 mesurements I ask for and how to take them. I send this to all the women I make costumes for. It has worked wonders for me.

  7. Someday I will have money and purchase one of your lovely corsets. Until then, I will just drool over them and wait.

    But look at this. They say it cinches in the waist, but even the display photo makes it look useless. And the only measurement they want is the waist! You win.

  8. I know what you mean. My friend got on of your corsets that way. It doesn't look bad, but she tries to use it to suck her in under her clothes and it does NOTHING. Off topic, but I saw a steam punk corset that looks remarkably like your wench corset on ebay. Yours?

  9. Oops. I sent a.. sort of comfortable measurement through. My measurement if I pull it in is 2 inches smaller, mostly because I do singing and as such my diaphragm is fairly toned. Sending email :\.

  10. Very good post! I like it! :) When I find my money tree, I would definitely buy things from you because you are the BEST!

  11. I love that you mentioned that some girls have more squish than others... I thought it was just me!

    I have one of those weird body types(the medium built frame), so while my waist can get SUPER tiny, my ribs can only go so far.

    Super fun post Michelle, thanks for posting it!

  12. Oh goodness, this is so funny, and such a great blog. Thank you for posting, Michelle! The first thing that popped into my head when I was reading your order instructions was - "How tight is tight?" - and now I know... and it honestly took 5 inches off my waist! But, as someone above mentioned - my rib cage can only go so far... which is pretty damn wide compared to my tiny waist once I've dug up some hidden treasures to buy a masterpiece from you ;)

  13. Thank you so much for posting this. I'm about to order a corset form you in the next few days so I can wear it to the renaissance festival next month. NOw I know how to measure correctly so I don't give you my loose measurements.

  14. You are sooo cute when you get in a corsety rage! I love it...and damn you look awesome in that corset! I really deeply appreciate you posting these fitting pictures...it made me realise how magical a corset can be. Your expression and posture when you put it on screams "I am HAWT!" and you really are!!

  15. LOL, Working for Lane Bryant I hear every issue a woman has come to surface, at least about her clothing. You couldn't be more right! I also love what I do because I work with women all day fitting them in bras, pants and outfits. Nothing is more statisfying than when they look in the mirror and get that smile of confidence on their face. When they know they look good and feel good in what they're wearing. You are truely and inspiration!
    Happy creating,

  16. Just ordered a corset from you and I am so glad I found this!! I totally did more of a comfy measurement also. Sent you a message with the correct number.

    LOVE you blog!! LOVE IT! :)
    -Kylee Lane

  17. Ok do you measure with or without a bra on???

    1. If you're getting one like above, it won't matter. Otherwise, whenever you measure for clothes, you do it with bra on.

      I know this original question was over 3 years ago but in case someone else has wondered.

  18. I have been looking at different corset companies for a while now. I can't wear a longline corset as I only measure 8.5" not 11. But I do like some hip coverage with ties. What do you suggest I do. Definitly underbust as I have lost a lot of weight but have another 35 to go plus toning everywhere. This will be my first corset but not my last. And can you give me an approximate price for your different corsets? I can't find amy pictures of styles that you make other than the one above.

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