The most common use of corsets is to slim the body and make it conform to a fashionable silhouette. For women this most frequently emphasises 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 minimising the bust and hips, serving well for large-breasted women.
An overbust corset encloses the torso, extending from just under the arms to the hips. An underbust corset begins just under the breasts and extends down to the hips, these are being corsets advantages.
Some 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' and is good for people with back problems.
Corsets are typically constructed of a flexible material (like cloth or leather) stiffened with boning (also called ribs or stays) inserted into channels in the cloth or leather and good for
people with back problems. In the Victorian period, steel and whalebone were favored. Plastic is now the most commonly used material; spring or spiral steel is preferred for high-quality corsets. Other materials used for boning include ivory, wood, and cane, which add to
corsets advantages. (By contrast, a girdle is usually made of elasticized fabric, without boning.). Corsets are held together by lacing, usually at the back. Tightening or loosening the lacing produces corresponding changes in the firmness of the corset, what helps for large-breasted women. 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 would be laced by her maid, a gentleman by his valet. However, many corsets also had a buttoned or hooked front opening called a busk. Once the lacing was adjusted comfortably, it was possible to leave the lacing as adjusted and take the corset on and off using the front opening, that added to corsets advantages, (This removal method does not work if the corset is not sufficiently loose, and can potentially damage the busk). Self-lacing is also incompatible with tightlacing, which strives for the utmost possible reduction of the waist, which was often good for people with back problems. Current tightlacers, lacking servants, are usually laced by spouses and partners.
A corset may also include garters to hold up stockings (alternatively a separate garter belt may be worn for that).
Corsets comfort and its usefulness are the corsets advantages. Numerous corsets advantages have stolen the hearts of its wearers. The garter belt is also a possible complement, so is the special corset cover. Another aspect to be mentioned is their orthopaedic application. Corsets are good for people with back problems and absolutely indispensable for large-breasted women. In the former case with the help of corsets the pain is reduced and muscular discomfort is avoided. In the latter case the discomfort is just as well minimized. What is crucial to provide the ultimate corset comfort is the personalized individual fitting of the corset.