We receive tens of thousands of corset sizing help requests through email, chat and social media. Often, we find that people are in between sizes or have a couple of sizing options based on the corset style, their goals and comfort level, and how squishy and voluptuous they are.
But what does that even mean?
Someone who does core strength training several days a week and has a 30" waist will likely be much firmer than someone with a 30" curvy figure who never works out. Firm folks don't necessarily need to be gym rats. Some people just have less "give" in their midsection than others.
Since steel-boned corsets work by cinching the waist, it only makes sense that those who are softer and more easily squish will be able to size down a bit more than someone who feels more solid.
Another consideration for determining your "squishability" is torso length. The area between your floating ribs and your high hip bone is malleable for everyone (firmer folks just take more time and effort to get there).
The tissue and organs in that region can move around quite easily-just like they do when you are pregnant. So if you have more length in your torso, the corset may not meet any resistance like it will with someone with a much shorter torso. This is not necessarily a factor of height - tall people can have short torsos and vice-versa.
How do you put a number on squish? You can test out your squishy vs firm factor when you are relaxed, not with your abs fully engaged. Wrap a tape measure around your waist and keep it just taut and note the measurement.
Pull the tape measure so that your waist is squished but not uncomfortable. The difference between this measurement and the first one tells you how squishy you are. Firm bodies might have 1 or 2 inches of squish, while squishier ones can go down by 3 or 4 inches or more and can more easily size down in a corset.
Like much of corset sizing, squish is not an exact science. We all have different tolerance levels for what is snug vs too tight. Squishability is more important on smaller frames than plus-size women (or men) who tend to have more fluff. But you should not discount this factor.
Remember, just because you can't start off sizing down more doesn't mean you cannot achieve that goal through waist training.
Check out this Corset 101 video for more examples of firm vs. squishy!