HOURGLASS SHAPED – Vintage Life Magazine


So far, on my waist training journey, I have looked at how wearing a corset for prolonged periods can give you a fantastic figure and super posture. But despite wearing a corset for at least six hours a day, I have never been properly fitted for one. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to visit the ‘What Katie Did’ boutique near Portobello, London and get properly fitted by shop manager, Rachel. The whole experience was fantastic and I cannot believe the difference getting measured properly makes.

What Katie Did was founded in 1999, after founder, Katie Thomas was unable to afford fully fashioned stockings. Instead, she invested £100 in nylons to sell at the London Fetish Fair and an iconic brand was born. Since then, in 2002, the company launched the first reproduction 50s style ‘Bullet Bra,’ opening their Portobello boutique a year later. Now a mainstay in the authentic looking repro market, many ladies swear by WKD corsets and underwear to create the authentic looking shape underneath their vintage. I caught up with the legendary Katie Thomas, founder of British lingerie design house, ‘What Katie Did’ to get to the steel bones of the issue.

What are your views on waist training?

It’s really not surprising that corsets have come back into fashion. Today we’re less naturally hourglass shaped than in the 1950s and with fashion of the 1950s being so popular, they really have their place when it comes to creating that iconic mid-century silhouette. Having said that, I’m concerned about mis-advertising with companies selling ‘waist trainers’ promising impossible results.

Why is having a steel boned corset important?

Good boning is very important, although I hesitate to say ‘steel boning’ because over the last couple of years a synthetic whalebone has been developed which is very promising. However 99% of corsetieres still use spiral steel boning which, as the name suggests, springs back into shape unlike plastic which once bent, stays bent. There are also varying qualities of steel, if you are going to wear a corset regularly then it’s best to choose one with a busk made of spring steel, which again keeps its shape better than standard steel.

What benefits can corsets have? 

For me the main benefit is aesthetic, I just love the exaggerated shape a corset gives. A surprising amount of people do wear corsets for back support, and also find them helpful for anxiety.

Why did you start wearing a corset? How long have you worn a corset for?

I started wearing corsets in 1996! For the last few years I have worn a corset on a daily basis.

What reduction have you had in your waist? What benefits do you find your corsets gives you? 

It’s difficult to determine what reduction I have as I’ve been wearing a corset for so long, and don’t know what my waist measurement would naturally be if I stopped wearing one. Before I started wearing one regularly my waist was 28-30” and I currently wear a size 20” corset. Should I measure myself without a corset it would be 25-26” but that would not last very long!

If you think about what is inside your torso, you’re looking at a lot of organs that are designed to move around. For example when you’re pregnant your organs are pushed up to make room for the baby. When you remove your corset, your organs will go back to their original positions. Longer lasting results come from the change in body fat composition and rib compression.

What’s the most important thing when looking for a corset? 

As with all clothing the most important thing is fit and quality. It’s not just about the waist measurement: the underbust and hip also need to fit well to be comfortable. While it is not essential to invest a huge amount in a corset at the beginning, if you decide to lace daily then quality counts.

Corsets pictured: www.whatkatiedid.com

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