Corset Glossary


Aglet
The plastic or metal cap at the end of laces, only found in some corsets.

Axfords
A corset brand based in Brighton, England. See the Axfords Corset page for more information and styles.

Basque
Also known as the tight-fitting bodice of the corset.

Bodice
Once called a ‘corsage’ in the nineteenth century, a bodice was considered an upper article of clothing with no sleeves and covered the woman’s neck to her waist. It was laced and often worn in place of a corset. In present day, a bodice is known as the middle part of the corset, from below a woman’s bust to the end of her waist.

Boning
The bones of a corset are usually made out of metal, plastic, or whalebone, make up the frame of a corset, and give it its shape. They are sown in between the panels of the corset. Boning used to also be made from wood and ivory in the early nineteenth century.

Bridal Corset
A under bust or over bust corset, usually white or cream in color, that is worn under the bridal gown to help support the gown and to enhance and slim the wearer’s figure.

Busk (or Busque)
Flat pieces of wood, ivory, plastic, or bone that are slipped into the front panels of the corset to separate the breasts and keep the corset rigid, thus giving the wearer a straight posture.

Bust
A woman’s breasts.

Bust line
The shape and/or silhouette of the largest part of a woman’s breasts.

Cincher
A ‘light’ corset used to slim the silhouette and create the illusion of lost inches in the waist. Does not cover the breasts or provide as much support as a traditional corset.

Corset
An undergarment worn to enhance and slim a woman’s figure, provide back and bust support, and improve posture. Some women also practice ‘tight-lacing’ or ‘waist training’ with corsets, although this is not recommended.

Corsetiere
A maker of corsets, who usually makes each individually by hand.

Coutil
A type of woven twill cloth to protect and surround the corset’s boning, usually made from cotton or polyester.

Demi Cups
Support cups that do not completely cover the breasts, but usually come to just above the nipples.

Embroidery
Intricate patterns woven into fabric using strong and colorful silk, cotton, or satin threads. Embroidery is sometimes used to attach pearls, beads or other baubles.

Flossing
Embroidery at the top and bottom of each bone panel. Flossing helps reinforce the corset and prevent the boning from coming through the fabric that supports it.

Fluted Panels
Panels which widen downward in order to enhance the wearer’s feminine shape.

Front Fastening
Hook-and-eye-type fastening that closes the corset in the front.

Full Cups
Support cups that completely cover the breasts.

Grommets
Metal or plastic rings that reinforce the holes created in the corset to thread the lacing through. Grommets prevent the fabric from ripping or tearing.

Lacing
Sturdy ribbon made of tightly woven cotton, silk, satin, or other fabric that ‘laces’ the corset closed in the back. To learn how to correctly lace a corset, please see How to Wear a Corset.

Lining
Many types of corsets have cotton lining sewn into the interior, in order to soak up perspiration and protect the corset’s outer fabric from continued use and wear.

Over bust Corset
A type of corset that includes cups to cover and support the breasts.

Panels
The pieces of fabric in between the boning. Sometimes include sewn-in pockets in which to insert busk pieces.

Pink Corset
A corset brand. See the Pink Corset page for more information and styles.

Playful Promises
A corset brand. See the Playful Promises page for more information and styles.

Stays
See boning.

Steel Spirals
A type of boning, literally made in the shape of a steel spiral.

Strapless
A type of corset that does not have straps. Can be over bust or under bust styles.

Tight-lacing
A practice by some women that involved training the waistline using a corset to reduce the waist in inches. In extreme cases, this can bruise and/or damage a woman’s internal organs and skin.

Training Corset
A corset used to ‘train’ the waist to a smaller size- see tight-lacing.

Under bust Corset
A type of corset that does not cover the breasts, but instead comes right below the bust line. These corsets are always strapless.

Vollers
A corset brand based in Portsmouth, England. See the Vollers Corset page for more information and styles.

Waist training
See tight-lacing.


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