Corsets: A Trend Anyone Can Try
Corsets: A Trend Anyone Can Try
From TikTok trends to runway shows, corsets have been popping up in all areas of fashion, creating some of the cutest looks to mix and match into your wardrobe. Although corsets have traditionally been used as undergarments, incorporating these styles into everyday wear is all the rage, helping add texture, structure, and sultriness to any outfit.
Whether you want to emulate the styles of traditional burlesque corsets or try out a new fashion trend, embracing the return of the corset is definitely something that can make your wardrobe pop. With this helpful guide, you can start your corset story with confidence.
Corsets Are Not Just for Burlesque Dancers
Early forms of corsets can be seen in ancient art from thousands of years ago. The more modern versions of corsets we see today, though, are more in line with styles that originated in France in the 1500s. By creating a smaller waist, corsets helped elevate the bust and accentuate the fullness of the skirt. This style remained vastly popular until the early 1900s where an “S” shaped corset structure created the desired shape for women. However, it slowly fell out of fashion throughout the rest of the 1900s. 1
In regard to the burlesque community, the use of ornately decorated corsets has been a key facet of corset use, and during the years where corsets were no longer in style for the everyday person, burlesque performers created a whole subculture that embraced the use of the corset. Tassels, beaded appliques, and fringe all help make burlesque corsets unique to burlesque performance, and all of these styles are showing up in trending corset designs today.
The burlesque-centered connotation that surrounds corsets help establish an inherent sexiness for their use, but now, the popularity of waist training and slimming shapewear has ushered in a new era, bringing corsets back as structured shapewear. 2
How to Style a Corset
Styling a corset is like styling any other accent piece — the key to looking good is choosing the right pieces to go along with it, highlighting its beauty without letting it take over your full outfit. Corsets can be styled for any occasion, ranging from brunch with your besties to the office, and the addition of a corset to your outfit can completely change your look, giving you a unique style element that sets your outfit apart from the rest. Depending on how you use your corset, as well as what you pair with it, you’re bound to come up with easy, beautiful outfits that work for any event.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to “do” fashion. You do you, boo.
Corsets Are a Great Way to Accessorize
One of the main purposes of corsets is creating a layered look, and learning how to wear a corset to achieve this look is very important to incorporating corsets into your fashion arsenal. Drawing back on the styles of the 17th century, layering a corset on top of your outfit can be the pièce de résistance that sets your outfit apart from other layered options. Corsets can come in a variety of different materials, ranging from mesh and lace to leather, so finding the right accent corset piece for layering begins with the material.
For a more flirty, feminine design, try layering a mesh corset embroidered with flowers or small, intricate designs over your favorite basic romper or dress. Corsets with these designs are reminiscent of softer, more delicate corsets worn by French aristocratic women, showing that these styles are truly timeless.
Alternatively, for a bolder, edgier look, you can layer a smaller underbust corset made of leather or vinyl on top of a graphic tee or bold, animal print design, creating a chic rocker look perfect for a concert or a night out. With the comeback of darker, more edgier styles, incorporating more leather and vinyl into your wardrobe can help with emulating these looks.
In terms of suits, choosing a basic, two-piece suit can feel boring without the right accessories- so why not add a corset instead? Wearing a two-piece coordinating suit with a complimentary colored corset underneath can help spice up your outfit, perfect for keeping your outfit chic and stylish while still giving you a sexy, unique touch to your look. On the other hand, a bold colored or patterned two-piece suit can be neutralized with the addition of a more subtle, neutral-toned corset. This can help ground your look while providing the necessary contrast to really make your outfit shine.
Try It Outside Your Gown / Dress
Similar to using your corset as an accent piece to your outfit, you can use basic or single-colored corsets to add dimension and layers to an outfit by wearing them over your clothes. Regardless of aesthetic, layering a corset over your outfit can help create an interesting outfit more complex than just a shirt and pants or a dress. Depending on the material and design of what you wear under your corset, wearing them outside of your clothes is a sure-fire way to bring some spice to your wardrobe.
With the cottagecore trend going strong, layering more romantic, flowy gowns under tapestry printed corsets helps achieve that ethereal, feminine look sure to invoke images of a sunny Paris cottage and garden. For those with more of a taste for the pirate aesthetic, wearing more neutral corsets on top of white, flowy shirts and dresses can help achieve your full pirate fantasy without the journey across the sea.
In addition to “cottage core” and the emergence of the so-called “pirate core” trends, a resurgence of traditional Goth styles has brought the corset back into popular styles, drawing on the Batcave for style inspiration. 3
Pairing a full corset, underbust corset, or corset belt with any loose dresses or rompers is a great way to add structure and shape to your outfit. One of the easiest ways to give yourself a wide array of looks to choose from is keeping a few basics in your closet, and with the addition of different corsets, your closet can become essentially endless.
Having a simple t-shirt dress is a great wardrobe basic that can be transformed with accessories, and when it comes to corsets, this couldn’t be any truer. Using a corset on top of these basics can help completely transform them, breathing life into new pieces and helping you essentially triple your closet possibilities.
Try Wearing Your Corset Over Jeans and a T-Shirt
Corsets may seem like a formal addition to an outfit, but when they are styled with a t-shirt and/or jeans, they can transform a basic, everyday outfit into something spectacular. For example, a classic pair of jeans with a white t-shirt can be elevated with the simple addition of a corset. Similarly, if you want to spice up a plain t-shirt and create a more sophisticated look, layering a corset on top as an accent piece is a sure fire way to achieve that look.
In some instances, completely replacing your t-shirt with a corset can be the perfect modification for date night or a night out with friends. Over bust corsets with ornate designs, straps, and even fringe are perfect at adding that subtle yet sexy touch to your outfits. Different prints, textures, materials, and designs can all help transform an outfit completely, despite being paired with a simple pair of jeans. 4
How to Create an Effortless Look With a Corset, Heels, and Jeans
Don’t be afraid to step out of the norm with your style! Pairing a corset with just a simple pair of jeans and heels is the perfect go-to look for a night out. Between more ornate, printed corsets with Renaissance frescoes of ancient tapestries to traditional lace corsets that emulate the style of burlesque performers, wearing a corset as a top can help you look good and feel great. Jeans are notorious for going with any accessories, and corsets are no different. 5
Corset Streetwear Today
As you can see, corset streetwear is becoming more popular in today’s fashion scene. Cute and fashionable, corsets are the way to tell everyone that you’re not afraid to be a little bit different. No matter your body type, incorporating corsets into your wardrobe is an easy way to add some sultriness and interest without looking overly made-up.
New styles are coming out every season in designer fashion houses, online stores, and even on the street level, so you can be sure to find a cut that fits seamlessly into your style. So, go ahead and try the look and express yourself with this fun and flirty fashion trend.
- Lane, L., & Carroll, J. (2021, August 11). The Changing Silhouette of Victorian Women’s Fashions – The History of the Corset. Hagen History Center. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://www.eriehistory.org/blog/the-changing-silhouette-of-victorian-womens-fashions-the-history-of-the-corset
- Bass, M. (2019, April 19). Vogue’s fashion encyclopedia: The history of the corset. Vogue. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://www.vogue.fr/fashion/article/vogues-fashion-encyclopaedia-the-history-of-the-corset
- Eggertsen, L. (2021, November 30). How to Style a Corset and Our Favorite Pieces. WhoWhatWear. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://www.whowhatwear.com/how-to-wear-a-corset
- Marzovilla, J. (2021, February 24). How to Wear The Corset Trend: Outfit Ideas For 2021 Fashion. StyleCaster. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://stylecaster.com/how-to-wear-corset-trend-outfit-ideas/
- Kliest, N. (2022, January 2). How to Style A Corset This Spring Without Feeling Overly Trendy. The Zoe Report. Retrieved April 292, 2022, from https://www.thezoereport.com/fashion/how-to-style-a-corset