Lingerie Lesson- Corset vs Bustier

I’m often asked to help my clients with choosing wardrobe for their boudoir sessions. I love to help out with this so I thought it would be a good blog post too. I wish I could go out shopping with each of you because it’s so much fun to shop for lingerie once you understand it more clearly. Lingerie can be confusing and intimidating even when you think you know what you’re searching for. A lot of women go out in search of shape-wear for their boudoir session, so I thought that is where we’d start these lingerie lessons.  

Many of us have a love hate relationship with shape-wear. We love the way it smooths and shapes us in that cocktail dress but hate that it’s all boring and nude colored. Well it doesn’t have to be boring or nude. You may just have to shop around to find something that is both functional and still dead sexy. Shape-wear encompasses everything from custom made corsets to department store shaping slips. Each type has a job that it is best at and we’ll cover mainly what I feel works best for a boudoir photo session. First up are the two pieces I see most often, the corset and the bustier. 

Lets start with the Corset:

In the world of shape-wear lingerie, a corset is going to offer the greatest ability to shape the body. They are often custom made. They come in many styles and fabrics, including over bust and under bust and waist cincher (or waspie) styles.  Their main goal is to create a sexy hourglass shape on the wearer. They are normally made of heavy materials and, well constructed corsets will have metal boning (the hard pieces that run from top to bottom). A corset will also have some way to adjust the tightness, typically with laces up the back. You can find corsets from many retailers but the best made and most effective ones will feel heavy, sturdy and once on you, make you feel like you have excellent posture. If they feel flimsy or have plastic boning components they may not give you the desired amount of shaping and control and are more fashion corsets than shaping corsets. For the very best fit be sure to follow the corset makers measuring instructions to the letter and contact your corset maker directly with questions about proper fit. They want you to look good and be happy in your corset so don’t be afraid to ask them questions before you buy. 

Who are they best for? Well, honestly anyone looking to really shape their midsection can benefit from a corset. Often,clients wanting to hide stretch marks but still show off that sexy bra and pantie set will choose the under bust or waist cinching styles. Body types from curvy to lean can look sexy in a corset. 

The Bustier

A bustier is different from a corset in many ways and similar in a few. They have varying lengths, some waist smoothing ability and midsection coverage all like a corset. It doesn’t offer the same waist shaping benefits of a corset but is still a fantastic option for your boudoir photo session. It’s actually designed more similarly to a bra, in that it has cups and a closure similar to those found on the back of your bra. Bustiers are sexy and offer the bust support lacking in many other lingerie pieces, like baby-dolls. They also cover more of your midsection than a bra and pantie set would while still offering many of the styles and fabrics found in bra and pantie sets. Bustiers are also typically easier to find in your local lingerie shops than corsets are.  

Who are they best for? Again anyone looking for midsection coverage and light shaping. Anyone wanting a look similar to a corset without as much shaping. Anyone wanting the sexy lingerie styling with additional bust support. 

Other wonderful shape-wear items are girdles, shaping panties and shaping slips which can be found in most department stores in the foundation garments area. Look for functional but also sexy pieces. Sheer fabrics and lace detail add a lot to the appearance of the shape wear. It can be a beautiful piece and still help you feel more confident about your “trouble” spots. 

Above all proper fit is very important with anything that you bring to your boudoir photo session so don’t hesitate to ask for help when selecting your shape wear. 

Hope this helps you with your shopping. 


Shopping resources:

One of my favorite local lingerie shops is Kiss and Makeup  in Richmond’s west end. Ruth is amazing and will get you fit into something completely sexy and confidence boosting for your session. 

There are quite a few corset makers online but one I see consistently good quality corsets from is Corset Story . With any corsets maker be sure to follow their fitting guidelines. 

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