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      You just unboxed your brand new corset. Now what?

      Corsets are such a foreign object to many of our new customers-just figuring out our to loosen the laces can overwhelm even the bravest of souls. Start by watching the video below to learn how to unlace and properly try on your corset and figure out if it fits.

      When you put your corset on for the first time, we advise you not to over-tighten as this can warp the boning.

      Then how will I know if it fits?

      We'll find out below but first, a note: Off the rack (OTR) corset sizing is not an exact science. We have tried to put many tools (sizing guides, automated tools and corset sizing experts thru chat and email!) in the hands of our customers to provide the most comprehensive corset sizing system available in the OTR corset community. It is also important to note that each person will have different tolerances for what is comfortable and what isn't in the fit of a corset. We're big fans of our quality corsets and short of a custom made corset-you will find the best fitting, highest-quality steel boned corsets at Orchard Corset!

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      Checking the fit

      Psst... Jargon alert: Check out this corset dictionary if you can't follow along.

      With your corset laces fully loosened, your corset should go on without any pressure at the front busk. This means your corset isn't too small.

      When you lace up the back to a snug but not tight fit, the back lacing bones should just reach the modesty panel. This means your corset isn't too big. For our very small framed guys and gals (size 18-22 corset) you might cover an inch or two of the panel; and our fuller figured fans (size 32+ corset) will have an inch or two (sometimes more) to go before your modestly panel reaches the other side.

      Remember to season your corset properly before engaging in any real cinching.

      The gray zone of sizing

      Many of our customers fall in a gray area of sizing-or just have different tolerances or different uses for their corset. Your measurements might be such that our sizing experts are torn between a size 22 and a size 24 for example. Depending on how long your torso is, how much fluff you have and how long you've been corseting, it could go either way.

      If you wear your corset under clothing with just a thin layer of fabric to protect the corset vs wearing your corset over your regular street clothes you may need to size up or down. This is why what sounds right on paper doesn't always work in real life. We hope this video will help guide you in your selection!

      Too big? too small? Or just right?

      If your corset is too big you will find that you can close it up (or nearly) without having to really cinch. Remember when your corset is brand new, it's very stiff and has no "give" whatsoever. If you are able to nearly close completely, it will be too big within a week or so of seasoning.  If can fully close and then some...you should contact one of our sizing experts, as you will likely want to drop two sizes. Sometimes the corset is the right size, but the wrong style and we can help with that too.

      Now if you fully unlace your corset and still have a hard time connecting the loops and pins at the front busk, your corset is probably too small. Even if you successfully get into your corset, if upon your first lacing you find you have a very large gap in the back (this will be relative to size...so someone with a 30" waist can expect a 6-7 inch gap to be too large, but someone with a 45" waist should find a 8-10" gap to be too large).

      Don't try to force the corset closed because you think this should be the right size-the unsuspecting corset bones are likely to warp and now you are stuck with a corset that doesn't fit. Notice that in this video this corset is just one size smaller than the ideal... but clearly does not fit.

      How will you know when your corset is "just right"? The front busk should clasp without any stress  on the corset when the laces are opened up. When you lace up to the point that the corset is snug, with room for fingers at the top and bottom edge, you will expect a gap of about 4-5 inches (the width of our modesty panel) at the back. A smaller gap for really small frames (size 18-22 corsets) and a larger gap of 6-7 inches for fuller figures (size 32+ corsets), and even up to 8-9" for corset sizes over 40.

      The importance of a well-fitted corset is multidimensional. If you plan to wear it often, you want it to be comfortable. The panels and boning on the corset are designed to lay at certain places on the body-so if your corset is way too small, then the corset will not lay right on you. Also, bones will twist and warp (and sometimes pop right through). Instead, you could work with a different size or style and eventually waist train down to the smaller size.

      Now that you have a well-fitting corset, read on to learn how to care for your corset so it lasts.

      Or contact our sizing experts to get the perfect fit. Happy corseting!