Throughout the years, a near-countless number of beauty trends have come and gone, and sometimes come back again. One of the trends that’s come and gone in the past and seems to be coming back around again is the hourglass figure. Characterized by a super narrow waist with fuller bust and hips, the hourglass figure was so popular in America in the early 19th century that steel-boned corsets were the first mass-produced fashion garment in the country. The practice of waist training fell largely out of style when the flappers of the 1920s found more favor with a slimmer, more rectangular look. The hourglass, though, has never completely disappeared from the fashion landscape. If you’re thinking that you’d like to achieve this look, there are a few things you should understand about how it works and why what some folks are promoting as waist training really isn’t that at all.
True waist training is a long, gradual process that produces real, semi-permanent results. I say semi-permanent because the effects will reverse in a matter of time after you stop training. What many are currently touting as waist training by use of various latex and/or spandex garments will not produce long-lasting effects. These garments are not capable of producing the physiological changes that can only be achieved with proper waist training using a steel-boned corset (more details about that process below). Instead, these shaping garments will only be able to give you an hourglass appearance while you’re wearing them, which means that you’ll have the illusion of the hourglass when wearing outfits that fit over your shaping garments. In reality, this process is more like waist taming than waist training. If you’re only interested in a part-time hourglass look when wearing certain outfits, shaping garments are the way to go. They don’t require a long-term commitment, which make them a more convenient, but completely temporary solution.
If, on the other hand, you want to be able to show off an hourglass figure no matter what you’re wearing, you’ll need to commit to the gradual process that is true waist training. True waist training involves actually moving your lowest two ribs, also called the floating ribs, closer together, which narrows your waistline. As these ribs are moved, fat and tissue in the area are redistributed up and down, which adds to the curviness of the bust and hips. Some internal organs are even moved out of their original positions, but no more so than during pregnancy. One you achieve the look you want, your figure will look the same without clothes as it does when you’re fully dressed. You will still need to wear the corset at your last level of tightness with some regularity, though, because, over time, the ribs and redistributed body mass will return to their original positions.
Waist training begins with wearing your steel-boned corset for no more than an hour or so at a time at a level of tightness that stops short of you being truly uncomfortable. Once you get used to wearing the corset, you’ll gradually increase your wearing time until you’re wearing it during your waking hours minus showering and workout time. As you progress in terms of tightness, wearing a corset during a serious workout will be extremely uncomfortable and likely to impede your movements, and maybe even your breathing. While some people do wear their corsets to sleep, most find this too uncomfortable to stick with it. If you want to work on your waist even while you’re sleeping, you might consider one of the less restricting shaping garments mentioned above. Again, such garments won’t work on their own, but they can be “placeholders” of a sort when you can’t wear the real corset.
How long it will take to get the figure you want depends on your starting shape and level of commitment, but it would be unrealistic to expect results in days or even several weeks. It’s also important to note that waist training is not a weight-loss solution (except that you may be less inclined to overeat given the corset’s compression). A corset won’t remove fat; it will only redistribute it.