What is an Underbust Corset? (The Savvy Shopper Field Guide)

Learn what an underbust corset is in today's article!

What is an Underbust Corset? The Short Answer

Corsetry and waist trainers are all the rage these days for waist reduction despite seeming a bit Victorian or Burlesque and just for lingerie. But, there are so many choices out there that it’s overwhelming. Fortunately, this wide range of products means you can find a better individual fit for your particular body type, whether you are slim or curvy or need longline or shortline.

For example, you can now get waist trainers and bodysuits for different torso lengths as well as designs. E.g. Underbust and Overbust corsets, corset belts or corset tops. Here, we talk about underbust corsets and what they do.


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What Does the “Bust” Mean in UnderBUST?

The term ‘bust’ in shapewear refers to a woman’s chest. This is the maximum measurement that you would get if you snugly place a tape measure around your chest.

The underbust refers to the area just under your breasts, and at the very top of your ribcage. This measurement is one of the two measurements you would use in calculating bra sizes.

So, in this case an ‘underbust’ corset would indicate that the corset starts under your breasts and does not cover the chest. Underbust corsets can come with or without straps. The straps would go around your bust, leaving it exposed.

Underbust Corset vs. Overbust Corset - What’s the difference?

A corset is a piece of clothing that is used to provide shape and structure to the waist. They have been worn for centuries by women who want a more pronounced waist to hip ratio under their dresses.

Years ago, corsets often had a ‘skeleton’ consisting of a series of rigid rods made from strong, tough materials like whalebones to give it structure, they were like a steel boned corset. The bones help to withstand the pressure against your body and push in the belly fat.

Now, these ‘skeletons’ are often made from steel. They then have a series of laces that can be pulled very tightly in order to cinch the waist. Corsets come in many different designs, such as underbust and overbust corsets. These have different functions in terms of shaping your body.

The main difference between an underbust and an overbust corset is the fact that the overbust corset covers the chest area. An underbust corset, as mentioned before, starts just under the bust and does not cover the chest.

Because of the fact that underbust corsets don’t cover the bust, you would have to wear them underneath your clothes. With an overbust corset, you can wear it over your clothes or on its own.

One main advantage of underbust corsets is that they can push up your cleavage and give your chest a fuller and better shape. This is the main reason underbust corsets are popular. With an overbust corset, it can sometimes squish your breasts and make them look flatter or smaller, depending on how tight it is.

Another advantage of underbust corsets are that they are often designed to be worn as shapewear underneath the clothes. So, their designs are softer and more discrete. With overbust corsets, sometimes the fabric and material structure is too tough and can be seen through clothing.

Tips For Buying The Perfect Underbust Corset

Corsets can be super tight, so you want to make sure that you are comfortable with the size and design of it. Here are some tips for buying the perfect underbust corset:

1. Waist Size

This is the most important body measurement that decides a corset size. As a corset is meant to be a waist cincher, it can be tempting to underestimate your waist size.

However, the measuring tape should sit snugly around the smallest part of your waist (usually just under your rib cage and just above your hip bone). It shouldn’t dig into your waist and you shouldn’t be holding your breath. Keep your waist in a neutral position.

A general rule of thumb is that if your waist is under 38 inches, the corset can be 4-7 inches smaller. If you measured over 38 inches, you can order one that is 7-10 inches smaller. However, contact the manufacturer to be sure of their sizing.

2. Torso length

This is especially important for an underbust corset, because this determines where the corset will sit under your bust. If the torso length is too long, you may find that the corset goes too high up and digs into your bust.

3. Bust size

For an underbust corset, you obviously need the bust size, especially your underbust measurement. Ensure that you don’t underestimate the underbust measurement because then it will sit too tightly against your ribs and can cause breathing issues.

A lot of corset manufacturers offer assistance in choosing the right size of corset. You should contact them with your measurements to ensure you receive the correct sizing.

4. Material and design

With an underbust corset waist trainer, you want to choose a material that is durable and rigid enough to effectively cinch your waist and shape your body. However, if it’s too rigid, it can sit too tightly against your ribcage and cause difficulties in breathing.

Corsets come in a wide range of materials, ranging from satin, lacing, mesh, leather, pvc and a material called brocade (polyester blend). Thinner fabrics like satin will feel more comfortable initially, whereas thicker fabrics like brocade can take more time to ‘break in’.

As for the design, this depends on whether you intend to wear the corset over or under your clothing. You can find plenty of discrete corsets that can be worn under clothing. Lace and mesh are great options if you want more breathable options to wear underneath.

The Best Underbust Corset Alternative: The Waist Trainer

Oftentimes, people confuse waist trainers and waist training corsets because of their similar waist cinching mechanisms. However, they are quite different in terms of structure, functionality and safety.

Waist trainers typically have a more flexible design than corsets. For example, manufacturers like Luxx Curves use flexible steel bones in their waist trainers as opposed to a rigid steel framework. Their traditional waist trainers come in different torso lengths to suit different body shapes and proportions.

With corsets, the fastening mechanism is often a lace tie, similar to tying your shoelaces. This means that you may end up tightening more than you should, which can cause serious health issues.

Waist trainers, on the other hand, often have a series of ‘eyes’ and ‘hooks’. Luxx’s waist trainers often have around 4 rows of eyes and hooks. This means that you won’t be tempted to overtighten like you would with a corset.

If you feel like waist trainers won’t do enough for your waist, Luxx has a ‘25 steel bones’ waist trainer. This product uses flexible steel bones that offer the strength and rigidity similar to a corset, but allows more flexibility and room to breathe.

Why would you choose a waist trainer over a corset?

There are a couple of reasons a waist trainer corset is preferable to a traditional corset bustier:

  1. Waist trainers allow more flexibility and make it easier to breathe. They are not as tight or constrictive as corsets.
  2. Waist trainers have a more discrete design that doesn’t show over clothing. Corsets tend to be more rigid, so they are harder to conceal under clothing.
  3. Waist trainers are designed to be worn for several hours a day. Unlike corsets, they don’t just give you an ‘instant’ hourglass figure.
    Waist trainers ‘train’ your waist into getting smaller. It helps you achieve a smaller waist and smoother contour by shaping your body over a longer period. Corsets are not designed to give you permanent results.
  4. Waist trainers are easier to put on, because they have easier fastening mechanisms. With a corset, you have to tie it from the back, and you need to put a lot of effort into tying the laces. It is kind of like tying your shoelaces behind your back!
    With waist trainers, the clasps are often in the front, so you can easily put them on. They are a much better option for busy women.
  5. Corsets have been linked to serious health issues over the years, because they are too constrictive. They can squeeze your organs, affecting your digestion. People have also developed breathing problems because they tend to overtighten corsets.
  6. With waist trainers, you find more options to suit your body type and proportions. E.g. different torso lengths.

Over 250 Glowing Reviews!

Sculpt Your Body with our Waist Trainers

We help women shed that stubborn belly fat by using body contouring garments that help support and shape the waistline so you can look fabulous and feel confident!

Underbust Corsets Summarized

Underbust corsets are a special design of corsets and shapers, where the corset ends just below the bust. This is designed to push up cleavage, giving a better shape. You can find them in different materials and designs (e.g. with and without straps) to suit your needs.

As the training underbust corsets don;t cover the bust, it is best worn under the clothes. Although, some underbust corsets made from high quality materials like a faux leather corset can look stylish with a soft shirt underneath.

Underbust corsets are kind of similar in design to underbust waist trainers, because neither of them cover the bust but cinch in the waist. However, waist trainers tend to be safer and more flexible than corsets because they don’t use such rigid materials.

Waist trainers are also easier to put on because they have fasteners at the front rather than having to tie corset laces from the back. If you would like a more corset-like effect without the tightness and tediousness of a corset, you can get waist trainers with steel bones.

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