Bridal Corsets & Corset History, History of English Corsetry



A bridal corset is a garment worn to hold and shape the torso into a desired shape for aesthetic or medical purposes (either for the duration of wearing this item, or with a more lasting effect). Both men and women are known to wear bridal corsets, though women are more common wearers.

best selling over bust bridal wedding corset in red pink and blue also available in Ivory and white

In recent years, the term "corset" has also been borrowed by the fashion industry to refer to tops which, to varying degrees, mimic the look of traditional corsets without actually acting as one. While these modern corsets and corset tops often feature lacing or boning and generally mimic a historical style of corsets, they have very little if any effect on the shape of the wearer's body. Genuine corsets are usually made by a corset maker and should be fitted to the individual wearer. Here at corsets-lingerie we make genuine traditional corsets and bridal corset - specifically made to the wearers measurements.

Here we have our models wearing our Corsets. This style / shape is generically called Kathryn - but we have given the names of the different coloured stripes to our models.  The actual corset is called Kathryn. (In this image you can see Stacey, Chanelle and Darcy-Leigh) corsets all named after them.

This is our BEST Selling Bridal Corset. 

For more information about this bridal corset click on the picture of follow the link HERE


We can show you how we have transformed vintage old style corsetry and brought it into the current day.

To read more about the history of brides and bridal corsets please continue reading.


The word corset is derived from the Old French word corps and the diminutive of body, which itself derives from corpus—Latin for body. The craft of corset construction is known as corsetry, as is the general wearing of them. (The word corsetry is sometimes also used as a collective plural form of corset.) Someone who makes corsets is a corsetier or corsetière (French terms for a man and for a woman, respectively), or sometimes simply a corset maker.

Below is a picture of corsetiers cutting out and finishing in the 18th century

Corset maker cutting the fabric 18th century

Some famous corset makers of all time are

  • Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
  • Roxey Ann Caplin.
  • Cathrine Allsop Griswold
  • Daniel Kops
  • Fakir Musafar

A corsetmaker is a specialist tailor who makes corsets. Corsetmakers are frequently known by the French equivalent terms corsetier (male) and corsetière (female). Stay-maker is an obsolete name for a corset maker. The word corset replaced the word stays after the Great Exhibition in 1851, because a prizewinning type of French stay was called the Hygienic Corset.The best corset makers are highly skilled tailors with a knowledge of anatomy that enables them to make well-fitting, long-lasting corsets. Corset makers who reproduce historical styles must be familiar with historical fashions and costumes that span centuries of history.Individual corset makers often favour a certain style, and frequently have differing theories and opinions about the physical impact and benefits of various corsets, thereby influencing their corset design and creation.The word corset came into general use in the English language in 1785. The word was used in The Ladies Magazine to describe a "quilted waistcoat" called un corset by the French. The word was used to differentiate the lighter corset from the heavier stays of the period.

Below is a picture of corsetier in 1923 - as you can see - each corsetier prefers to work alone and has a large expanse of table to themselves. - you will see that not much has changed in nearly 100 if not 200 years. We still work like this today.

corsetiers 1923 corsets being made


The most common and well-known use of bridal corsets and indeed any corset is to slim the body and make it conform to a fashionable silhouette. For women this most frequently emphasizes a curvy figure, by reducing the waist, and thereby exaggerating the bust and hips. However, in some periods, corsets have been worn to achieve a tubular straight-up-and-down shape, which involves minimizing the bust and hips.Below you can see how a bridal over bust corset or under bust corset can achieve the perfect hourglass shape - small waist which accentuates the hips and bust.  All of our corsets do this - yet some do it more than others.  The best Bridal Under bust waist Cincher to achive this look is Diane - under bust bridal waist corset cincher - SMALL WAIST HERE Another style - which is the same as Diane is Alexandra - Underbust bridal waist corset cincher small waist - Click Here to view.The under bust style allows the wearer the freedom to wear a strapless bra - or indeed go without wearing a bra depending upon the cut of the dress and indeed on how 'pert' the breasts are.

Bridal corsets and underbust waist cincher corsets available in ivory white and black

Some brides do prefer the over bust style corset and so we would reccomend to look at the following over the bust corsets here.

Kathryn Over bust Steel Boned Bridal Wedding Corset - Amazing Uplift to the breasts and fabulous cinched in waist

Kyla Over bust Taller Bridal Wedding Corset - tremendous uplift especially if you have smaller breasts - suilable for the taller lady

Lola - Belle Epoque style Bridal Wedding Corset - with amazing fluted panels around the waist for a fabulous cinched in waist.

Poppy - Over bust Bridal Corset - fabulous for the uplift of your breasts - available in ivory, white, black, pink, peach, purple, blue, vintage gold

There are many more which can all be viewed in our online shop.  An over bust bridal corset encloses the torso, extending from just under the arms to the hips. An under bust bridal corset begins just under the breasts and extends down to the hips. Some bridal corsets extend over the hips and, in very rare instances, reach the knees. A shorter kind of corset, which covers the waist area (from low on the ribs to just above the hips), is called a waist cincher. A corset may also include garters to hold up stockings (alternatively a separate garter belt may be worn for that).

types of corset to suit your shape and style

The corsets and waist cinchers see above are as follows and can be bought from us here at Corsets Lingerie & Bridal UK.From Left to Right;

Amber - Waist Cincher - Under Bust Corset - Very dramatic and very beautiful ! A versatile Style suitable for all heights

Lola - Over Bust Custom Made Corset - "Belle Époque" style - Pushes up your breasts to give a Victorian bust line.

Alexandra -  Under Bust Corset - This style has fluted panels around the hips which emphasise the feminine shape and flatten the tummy.

Poppy - Over Bust Custom Made Corset - This is our Best selling bridal corset - This corset will give you stunning uplift and a sensational waist leaving a lovely smooth line under your dress.

Libby - Perfect for your bridal evening or indeed under your wedding dress. - Extreme waist reduction Basque style, under wired cups, really only fits up to a C cup.


To see more of of our stock and to see our recommendations for your perfect wedding day corset click here. 

CLICK HERE - Bridal Wedding Corsets - Choosing the right underwear and lingerie for you

We can show you how we have transformed vintage old style corsetry and brought it into the current day.

To read more about the history of brides and bridal corsets please continue reading.


Finding the Perfect Wedding Bridal Corset

The first step for picking any bridal corset and or bridal underwear / lingerie, is deciding on your budget. If you know your price range this will aid you to narrow down the many options available.

Colour is the next most important step.  You could choose traditional white or ivory, but some prides prefer to venture out in colour wearing black, blue, pink, vintage gold, blue or even purple under their dress.  his means that the bride can get her wear again from the corset especially if she is to wear as an outerwear garment with jeans, a skirt or trousers.  White (and its shades) and Ivory are obviously the most popular, other colors are available from us here at Corsets Lingerie. 

The neckline and back of a bridal corset is also very important.  You need to know where your dress sits and make sure that any underwear that you do choose to purchase does not show over the top of your dress.A wedding dress neckline can range anywhere from square shaped to deeply plunging styles. Kinds of skirt can vary, with A-line and wrap-around among the most popular. The length of the dress can also range from short to long, but the length of the dress does not really affect the type of underwear or bridal corset that you would choose from.A bridal corset serves two functions.  First, removing it can allow more comfort and agility at the reception when the bride will have to mingle and dance.  Second, the corset can be used for other dresses and occasions. Unlike a wedding dress, which can only be worn once, this corset is a nice addition to a woman’s wardrobe.

Normally a corset supports the visible wedding dress, and spreads the pressure from large wedding dresses, such as the crinoline and bustle. Sometimes a corset cover is used to protect outer clothes from the corset and to smooth the lines of the corset. The original corset cover was worn under the corset to provide a layer between it and the body. Corsets were not worn next to the skin, possibly due to difficulties with laundering these items during the 19th century, as they had steel boning and metal eyelets which would rust. The corset cover would be in the form of a light chemise, made from cotton lawn or silk.  Today - we tend to call corset covers 'camisoles' and we also still wear them more to 'show off the corset - rather than to hide it.  This is probably because we make corsets to look more pleasing to the eye these days.

camisole to wear under a corset vintage style lace and cotton camisole

You can purchase a camisole / corset cover from us here in white fine cotton with elasticated shoulder straps and waist band.

Click here or on the picture above.

People with spinal problems such as scoliosis or with internal injuries may be fitted with a form of corset in order to immobilize and protect the torso. Andy Warhol was shot in 1968 and never fully recovered, and wore a corset for the rest of his life.

       andy warhol wearing a corset       Andy Warhol and His Corsets famous picture   

Above pictures of the before and after Andy Warhol and his famous corset wearing (actually these are classed as waist cinchers) and follow the same pattern as the one shown below.

Andy Warhol and his corsets in this photo dated 1986.   Vanity Fair - Author: staff Credit: Jonathan Becker/Assouline

On June 3, 1968, Valerie Solanas shot Andy Warhol in the abdomen at his 33 Union Square West studio. Reportedly declared dead upon arrival at the hospital, Warhol was saved after five hours of surgery. A single bullet had damaged his lungs, esophagus, spleen, liver, and stomach. After nearly two months, Warhol was released from the hospital. However, he underwent several further surgeries and was required to wear a surgical corset for the remainder of his life.  He obviously decided to dye them a multitude of fashionable colours.  SEE our Claudia Corset below - exactly the same pattern.

Available in Ivory for brides, white, black, red, deep purple, peach, candy pink, royal blue and vintage gold.

claudia under bust waist cincher steel boned shown here in black also available in ivory or white

Claudia Waist Cinching Corset

To see more of of our stock and to see our reccomendations for your perfect wedding day corset click here. 

CLICK HERE - Bridal Wedding Corsets - Choosing the right underwear and lingerie for you

We can show you how we have transformed vintage old style corsetry and brought it into the current day.

To read more about the history of brides and bridal corsets please continue reading.

Aside from fashion and medical uses, corsets are also used in sexual fetishism, most notably in BDSM activities. In BDSM, a submissive can be forced to wear a corset which would be laced very tight and give some degree of restriction to the wearer. A dominant can also wear a corset, often black, but for entirely different reasons, such as aesthetics, and to achieve a severe, armored, "unbending", commanding appearance. A very common fetish costume for women is the dominatrix costume. Usually it consists of mostly dark or even black clothing. The woman usually wears a corset or bustier and stockings with high-heeled footwear. High boots are quite common as they enhance the woman's domination. Women in dominatrix costumes usually carry an accessory such as a whip or a riding crop. A specially designed corset, in which the breasts and vulva are left exposed can be worn during vanilla sex or BDSM activities.

Corsets are typically constructed of a flexible material (like cloth, particularly coutil, or leather) stiffened with boning (also called ribs or stays) inserted into channels in the cloth or leather. In the 19th century, bones of elephant, moose, and whale were favoured for the boning. Plastic is now the most commonly used material for lightweight corsets and the majority of poor quality corsets, whereas spring or spiral steel is preferred for stronger corsets and generally the better quality corset too. Other materials used for boning include ivory, wood, and cane. (By contrast, a girdle is usually made of elasticized fabric, without boning.)

steel boning steel stays for a corset




















All of our corsets at Corsets Lingerie and bridal have steel boning / steel stays.  We do not compromise on quality.

Bridal Corsets are held together by lacing, usually (though not always) at the back. Tightening or loosening the lacing produces corresponding changes in the firmness of the corset. Depending on the desired effect and time period, corsets can be laced from the top down, from the bottom up, or both up from the bottom and down from the top, using two laces that meet in the middle. It is difficult—although not impossible—for a back-laced corset-wearer to do his or her own lacing. In the Victorian heyday of corsets, a well-to-do woman's corset laces would be tightened by her maid, and a gentleman's by his valet. However, Victorian corsets also had a buttoned or hooked front opening called a busk. If the corset was worn loosely, it was possible to leave the lacing as adjusted and take the corset on and off using the front opening (if the corset is worn snugly, this method will damage the busk if the lacing is not significantly loosened beforehand). Self-lacing is also almost impossible with tight lacing, which strives for the utmost possible reduction of the waist. Corset and bodice lacing became a mark of class, front laced bodices being worn by women who could not afford servants.

lacing up a corset step by step to do it the correct way

By wearing a tightly-laced corset for extended periods, known as tightlacing, men and women can learn to tolerate extreme waist constriction and eventually reduce their natural waist size. Many tightlacers dream of 16 inches (41 cm) and 17 inches (43 cm) waists but are usually satisfied with anything under 20 inches (51 cm) . Some went so far that they could only breathe with the top part of their lungs. This caused the bottom part of their lungs to fill with mucus. Symptoms of this include a slight but persistent cough, as well as heavy breathing, causing a heaving appearance of the bosom. Until 1998, the Guinness Book of World Records listed Ethel Granger as having the smallest waist on record at 13 inches (33 cm). After 1998, the category changed to "smallest waist on a living person" and Cathie Jung took the title with a waist measuring 15 inches (38 cm). Other women, such as Polaire, also have achieved such reductions-- (14 inches (36 cm)--in her case).

tight lacing and the problems that this used to cause to your organs

However, these are extreme cases. Corsets were and are still usually designed for support, with freedom of body movement, an important consideration in their design. Present day corset-wearers usually tighten the corset just enough to reduce their waists by 2 inches (5.1 cm) to 4 inches (10 cm); it is very difficult for a slender woman to achieve as much as 6 inches (15 cm), although larger women can do so more easily.

In the past, a woman's corset was usually worn over a chemise, a sleeveless low-necked gown made of washable material (usually cotton or linen). It absorbed perspiration and kept the corset and the gown clean. In modern times, an undershirt or corset liner may be worn.

Moderate lacing is not incompatible with vigorous activity. Indeed, during the second half of the 19th century, when corset wearing was common, there were sport corsets specifically designed to wear while bicycling, playing tennis, or horseback riding, as well as for maternity wear.

The corset has been erroneously attributed to Catherine de' Medici daughter of Lorenzo II de' Medici and of Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne, was a Franco/Italian noblewoman who was Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry II of France.. She enforced a ban on thick waists at court attendance during the 1550s. For nearly 350 years, women's primary means of support was the corset, with laces and stays made of whalebone or metal. Other researchers have found evidence of the use of corsets in early Crete.

Picture below of Catherine de' Medici

Catherine de' Medici in a corset

The corset has undergone many changes. The corset was originally known as stays in the early 16th century. It was a simple bodice with tabs at the waist, stiffened by horn, buckram, and whalebone.The center front was further reinforced by a busk made of ivory, wood, or metal. It was most often laced from the back, and was, at first, a garment reserved for the aristocracy.











low back corset for wedding day


















Anne or Violet Over bust Bridal Corsets - as shown in the middle picture above.  create the perfect flat tummy hourglss shape with lifted bust.  Violet is the same as Anne - however Violet has a low back.

Anne - Over Bust Bridal Corset High Back - Available in 12 different colours

Violet - Over Bust Bridal Corset with low back - Available in 12 different colours

Stays took a different form in the 18th century, whalebone began to be used more, and there was more boning used in the garment. The shape of the stays changed as well. The stays were low and wide in the front, while in the back they could reach as high as the upper shoulder. Stays could be strapless or use shoulder straps. The straps of the stays were attached in the back and tied at the front sides.

Below : Whalebone corset constructed from stretched tape. Linen and whalebone. Britain, c.1890.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Whalebone corset constructed from stretched tape. Linen and whalebone. Britain, c.1890 victoria and albert museum london


The purpose of 18th century stays was to support the bust, confer the fashionable conical shape while drawing the shoulders back. At this time, the eyelets were reinforced with stitches, and were not placed across from one another, but staggered. This allowed the stays to be spiral laced. One end of the stay lace is inserted and knotted in the bottom eyelet, the other end is wound through the stays' eyelets and tightened on the top. Tight-lacing was not common in this time period, and indulged in only by the very fashionable. Stays were worn by women in all societal levels, from ladies of the court to street vendors.

To see more of of our stock and to see our recommendations for your perfect wedding day corset click here. 

CLICK HERE - Bridal Wedding Corsets - Choosing the right underwear and lingerie for you

We can show you how we have transformed vintage old style corsetry and brought it into the current day.