Q: I am, at 5'5" and 250 lbs, quite fat which I do enjoy. I do not want to lose weight. My measurements are 49", 45", 56". My bra size is 44D or sometimes DD depending on the style and brand. However, I would still like to have the type of nice looking figure which a properly designed corset could assist me in attaining. I would like my waist measurement to be about 35 or 36". I believe the best type of corset for me would end under the bust, although providing some means of support to the breasts and to be as long as possible down over the hips, stomach, and derriere. Please suggest the best options available to me in both type and construction of corset and any health concerns which may in particular affect a woman of my weight and size. I have read about the squeezing of the lower ribs and displacement of internal organs, but in my case, where there is a considerable layer of fat, how does the situation differ from that of a more "normal" size woman. Is the fat tissue actually displaced or just constricted. In your opinion, can I reasonably expect to attain the waist measurement I desire? (My stomach does tend to droop) --- Elaine (10/3/98)

A: A corset is not the only solution for you to get a nice figure - it might even ruin it. However, properly used, your shape will be improved and your figure better kept together. Because your figure obviously is quite heavy, you need a a rather firm corset with sufficient boning. Back lacing is recommended and a front steel busk will control your drooping stomach. I agree that an underbust, long model well down over the hips and behind together with a separate firm bra is a good start.

The lacing device is strongly recommended as the corset then better adapts to your body. You are adviced to refrain from real tight-lacing, as fat will be too obviously be pushed up and down. Continuous compression of your waist will reduce the fat tissue in that region and eventually shape your waist-line more nicely. With moderate lacing, there is no real risk for your ribs and internal organs to be very much affected.

When it comes to suitable corset models, you should try to find a personal outfitter, as it seems difficult for you just to buy a peg-off corset, which is ill-advised in any case. I am sure that the LISA-pages will lead you to a suitable corsetiere.

Editor's note (with the concurrence of Dr. Stern): You must understand the ramifications of wearing a corset without losing weight. (See /cands.htm) You can, indeed, achieve the waist size you want, but I wonder about the appearance, because proportionality is so important. Be aware that the excess tissue goes north and south, first of all. But also understand, that every inch on the outside is also reflected on the inside so, while the body can tolerate most ANYTHING if done gradually, you would be subjecting you organs to undo stress.





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