Strait-Laced Dame


4 Reasons to Avoid Tying Your Laces around Your Waist & 4 Ways to Change It

In perusing the Internet for corseted inspiration, you may have come across the common admonishment of “don’t tie your laces around your waist!” But why such gravity to the condemnation of the simple arrangement of one’s excess laces? The reasoning is valid, though at times left unmentioned. Understanding why this might be considered a poor practice is paramount to banishing the habit from your own corset wearing experience.

In the end, though, know that your corset belongs to you, and like every other garment or object in your possession you have the opportunity to choose how you will care for it. While tying laces around one’s waist is not considered ideal, it is ultimately in that individual’s hands to determine whether or not the adverse effects are of great enough concern to warrant learning a new method of eliminating leftover laces. The decision is yours. However, if you are interested in further investigation, let’s discuss:


"Why Shouldn't I Tie My Corset Laces Around My Waist?"

1)  It can decrease the life expectancy of your corset.

  • Why it’s a problem:  The continuous concentrated friction, whether mild or substantial, will wear away at the fabric of your corset over time. Depending on how tightly your laces are wrapped around the waist, this could be sooner than later. The effect may be only superficial in the early stages, though this is a precursor to long-term structural damage if the habit is not repudiated.
  • Who this doesn’t apply to: Individuals with a considerable, or even unlimited, budget for replacing or repair corsets.

2)  It can create added (though minor) bulk to the corseted waist.

  • Why it’s a problem:  For some, the allure of tying loose laces around the waist is that it is thought this action will minimize the potential for a bundle of laces at the small of their back from being visible under clothing. In reality, though, the thickness of the laces is merely redistributed around the waist. This, of course, defeats the purpose of tight-lacing for vanity’s sake. Whether or not the corset is worn under clothing, the apparent waist circumference will grow at least slightly due to the thickness of the laces.
  • Who this doesn’t apply to: Those whose goal in wearing corsets is not based in the aesthetics of his or her figure.

3)  The telltale sign of laces being tied is not eliminated but merely replaced

  • Why it’s a problem:  By creating a second “tie-off point” at the front of the torso where the laces are knotted again, you are simply adding to the number of locations under your clothing where the corset will appear undesirably conspicuous. Even a slight bundle-induced bulge at the front of the waist is likely to be far more noticeable than any laces left at the back of the corset. Consider this lump comparable to the subtle lines created by underpants beneath bum-hugging trousers – it’s something that is best avoided altogether.
  • Who this doesn't apply to: Individuals who choose not to wear any form-fitting or figure-flattering clothing over their corset.

4)  The basic aesthetics of the bare corset may be diminished.

  • Why it’s a problem: This certainly is a subjective statement, though so also is one’s opinion of a corseted figure’s superiority. However, it is a commonly held viewpoint that one of the many allures of a corset is borne of the smooth, uninterrupted contours of the garment. Laces tied at one’s waist are quite likely to diminish this beauty.
  • Who this doesn't apply to: Those uninterested in the appearance of their undergarments (when worn as underwear) or accessories (when worn as outerwear).


"But What Else Can I Do?"

This article wouldn’t be of much help if it ended abruptly after admonishing its readers! Instead, try one or a few of these methods for tucking away or otherwise hiding your corset laces.

1)  First: Are your corset laces too long?

If you can put on your loose corset with plenty of left-over lace coming out at the pull loops (the loops that you draw upon to tighten your corset) then you might consider shortening your laces. Take into account how far you must open your corset in order to be able to place around your waist without any tension, and then remove what is unneeded. Be sure to leave a few extra inches of “contingency laces” for those days when you might retain a bit of water in your midsection, and trim the laces only at the point where they are already tied together (usually at the very top or very bottom of the lacing system). This simple process can drastically reduce the amount of unneeded cord or ribbons whose appearance you’ll then have to mitigate.

2)  Tuck your laces into the top or bottom edge of your corset

By pulling your corset laces either up or down and placing the extra length into the top or bottom edge of your corset, respectively, you can both prevent the laces from hanging down loose and keep them easily accessible. This method is perfect for beginners, as it makes taking off your corset much less of a hassle. (As a side note, this is still my personal preferred method.)

3)  Insert your laces into the “X”s of your corset near the tie-off point in the back

This method of wedging your excess laces between the crisscrosses of your corseted back will create a very smooth profile. However, the laces will take a bit more time and dexterity to loosen if you do need to let your corset out. This approach is best suited for confident corset wearers.

4)  Replace your plain cords with satin ribbons

If your corset is meant to be used as a fashion piece rather than a basic undergarment, then perhaps what you really need are laces worth showing off. Try switching out your laces for some double-faced satin ribbons to really enhance the beauty of your corset. In addition, if your intention is still to wear the corset as an undergarment, the use of satin ribbons will also create a smoother profile underneath clothing. The very nature of ribbons allows them to lie much more flatly against the figure, thus reducing the likelihood of them being noticeable.


As mentioned above, do not forget that your corset belongs only to you. The decisions regarding garment care fall into your hands. When you consider what your corset means to you as a whole, though, is it not worth the minimal effort to lengthen its usable life in every way possible?  Treat your corset well and it will certainly return the favor.

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Strait-Laced Dame


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