Though they may seem similar at first glance, bustiers and corsets couldn’t be more different. Today, we’re discussing the basic differences between bustiers and corsets.

Here’s what to look for:

What is a bustier?

A bustier is a sexy lingerie style that can be worn as outerwear. Bustiers are typically designed with built-in bra cups that are either molded or unlined. Bustiers are a popular alternative to corsets and waist trainers. This stunning style typically ends at the waist or stops at the hips (long line bustiers). Though they are not as waist defining as corsets, bustiers are a more comfortable and less-expensive option that can be bought off the rack. Bustiers are a popular choice for brides who want a little shaping under their wedding dress.

In terms of durability, most bustiers are constructed with plastic boning, which won’t wear as well as steel boning. As such, bustiers are not meant to be worn every day. Low-quality bustiers can stretch out quickly if they aren’t given breaks in between wears. Nonetheless, bustiers are a great choice if you’re looking for an easy to find lingerie undergarment, fashion piece, or costume piece that will shape your curves in a pinch.

What is a corset?

A corset is a restrictive garment designed to contour and shape the torso (and sometimes the bust as well). Corsets can be found in two styles: over bust corsets and under bust corsets. Over bust corsets cover the bust, while under bust corsets start just under the bust line. With an under bust corset, you may decide to add a bra, too. Both designs typically stop at or below the hips. With corsets and bustiers, the fit is key. An ill-fitting corset may cause pain and discomfort and lead to bruising and internal damage over time. A quality corset constructed with steel boning will likely last longer and hold up better with long-term wear than a cheaper corset with classic boning.

Corsets can be purchased over the rack or custom made by a corsetier, or corset maker. A well-made corset can nip in your torso, create or enhance an hourglass silhouette, reshape your figure, and take inches off (though the reduction can vary person to person and truly depends on your body type). Corsets are an investment – you may want to opt for a custom-made corset for the best fit.

What’s the difference between a bustier and a corset?

Though they both shape and contour the torso, corsets are more restrictive than bustiers. Visually, bustiers and corsets look very different, which is due to their design. Bustiers may have built-in bra cups, plastic boning, and a multi-back hook and eye closure. A well-made corset in a minimal stretch fabric such as coutil may feature steel boning, a busk with sturdy hooks, metal eyelets, high-quality laces, and a modesty panel to make tightening the corset easier and more comfortable.

Further considerations

The choice to wear a bustier or corset is entirely up to you. You may choose to forgo both and opt for a waist trainer instead. Waist trainers are designed to nip in the waist and smooth out curves. This shape wear style typically starts below the bust line and ends at or just below the hips. Waist trainers have been made popular by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, and Kylie Jenner who love the look of an hourglass figure. This popular style can easily be hidden under clothes, comes in a variety of sturdy fabrics (be sure to opt for a non-latex waist trainer if you have a latex allergy), and hooks in the front for easy on and off. No matter which style you choose, always buy the best quality you can afford and be sure to consult with your doctor before purchasing a restrictive shape training piece such as a waist trainer or corset or starting a waist training routine.

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