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How to Lace a Corset

Sarah Loven wearing enjoue collectif Blue Toile Pastoral Corset

Corsets are a beautiful outfit piece, but lacing them can be daunting. Unless you have someone to help you, like they often did in historical times, you might needs some tips to help you become a pro. And don’t worry, you’re not the only one struggling! It’s not always easy to lace certain designs. But knowing these tricks can make it a whole lot easier.

Here are 3 simple steps to follow for lacing (and unlacing) a corset yourself!

Step 1: Loosen

Your Enjoué corset should come pre-laced, so all you have to do is loosen the laces to prepare it to wear.

If your corset is laced from the bottom up, meaning the bow ties at the top, you will start by pulling the top X (the criss-crossed part) of the laces all the way loose, as much as they will go. Proceed to loosen all the X’s, pulling each one all the way and leaving just a little loose-ness to the one above. By the time you get to the bottom and the last X, you make this one the loosest. Then you can hold the opening of the corset, one side in each hand, and gently pull and shift back and forth until the corset loosens up evenly. The corset should now be loose enough to slip over your head and pull down. You may need someone to help you tug it down past your shoulders, or to pull the laces out of the first 2 eyelets to loosen a little more.

If your corset is center laced, meaning the bow ties in the middle where your waistline is, then follow the same method above by pulling the X’s starting above and below the loops that will tie into a bow. Continue pulling the X’s loose uand opening the corset wider as you go until it is open evenly and wide enough to slip over your head. If your corset has front hooks, you do not need to loosen all the way, but just enough to easily close the corset hooks on your body.

Step 2: Tighten

If your corset has back lacing and does not have front hooks, slide the corset over your head and turn it around backwards so the laces are on the front of your body. This makes it easier to work with if you are lacing it by yourself. Start from the bottom and pull the X’s tighter, keeping them loose enough to turn it around again after. Once you’ve evenly tightened the laces, turn the corset back around on your body and position it to where you want the corset to sit. The corset will mostly mold to your body with wear, but you should put it as high or low as you want to cover/lift the bust or hide the love handle area. From here, use a mirror to see the laces and begin pulling the X’s tighter from the bottom up, focusing on the waistline being the tightest, until you are comfortable. The corset should remain straight- the opening should not make a V or /\ shape. Then tie the laces in a bow.

If your corset has front laces or hooks, place the corset on your body where you want it to fit. Hook all the hooks (if you have them), then proceed to tightening the laces in the same manner as above.

If your corset has center lacing, tighten it in the same manner as above, but start by pulling the bunny ears/loops in the center to hold the corset in place on your waistline. Then work from the top and bottom, pulling the X’s tighter, until you reach the middle and can proceed to tighten the rest of the way simply by pulling the bunny ears out to the sides. The waist should be the tightest area, but the corset should remain straight- the opening should not make a V or /\ shape. The tie the laces in a bow.

Don’t feel guilty if you need to loosen or tighten your laces throughout the day, it’s only natural to adjust to accommodate for what you’re doing.

Step 3: Taking it Off

Without some help, taking off your corset can be difficult if you don’t want to pull the laces out (which can only be done with a top lacing corset, and can be more difficult to lace up again later). But you can do it with some patience and a mirror. Don’t get worked up, and pause to take a deep breath if you feel yourself getting flustered!

First, untie the bow, then begin pulling the X’s, pulling the first one all the way loose. Then continue down to the next X’s, leaving the ones above still loose, but your goal is to make the very bottom the loosest. When the bottom is the loosest, it is easier to pull and shift the corset opening with your hands by holding each side of the corset. You can always turn the corset around on your body while loosening, to be a little easier on your arms! And if you need to unlace the top 2 laces, go for it. Then slide the corset up over your head, and pull it off over your shoulders with your arms cross over your head, and grabbing the opposite sides of the croset. (This position makes your shoulder more narrow so you don’t have to loosen more.)

Once your corset is off, you most likely want to leave the laces loose so it’s much faster to put on next time. Either gently fold the laces inside and fold the corset in half to store in your drawstring bag or in a drawer, or gently pull the top laces a little tighter and tie in a bow, to close the top of the corset just enough to hang on a hanger. Let the other laces hang loose.