Corsets; which is which?

Oct 4, 2023 | Body Shape & Beauty, Corsetry

Woman in corsets jumping

If you’re new to the world of corsets, or even if you’ve been at it a while, you might be surprised to learn that there are actually several different silhouette styles to choose from. Sure, they all tend to slim the waist. But the silhouette style you choose can have a marked impact on the overall effect. Either creating more curves or straighter lines, depending on what you prefer.

If you look at a martini glass and a brandy snifter, you’ll notice that one is conical while the other is curved. Sure, they both hold your tasty libations, but the shape of each glass offers different benefits. You may prefer a specific corsets silhouette for a number of reasons, once you understand what each unique shape has to offer.

So, read on to find out more on the many shapes of corsets and how they differ…


When entering the world of corsets and waist training, many women are looking to not only slim the waist, but to create a more classically ‘feminine’ hourglass silhouette. A A shape that nips in at the middle and flares out above and below (i.e. at the bust and hips). This is perhaps why the hourglass corset is among the most popular for modern wearers.

As corset silhouette styles go, this one tends to provide one of the easier adjustments for women just starting with waist training. It follows the soft lines of female anatomy and enhances the natural curvature of the torso.

If you’re looking to define the waistline without losing the roundness of the bust and hips, this is a great option for novices and veteran waist trainers alike.

Cupped Rib

Maybe an hourglass shape isn’t defined enough for your taste, or perhaps you’re worried about compressing your ribs as you tighten your waist. In this case, you’ll be glad to know there’s a suitable silhouette for all your corsetry needs.

The cupped rib corset style eschews the tapered curve of the hourglass style in favor of a slimmer waist that expands to a cupped curve around the ribcage.

Not only does this create a more defined waistline, but it does so while minimizing compression to the front and sides of the ribs. Making for more comfortable wear without sacrificing the waistline of your dreams.


Although pipestem corset silhouette styles are generally reserved for advanced waist trainers and tightlacers, they do offer a unique opportunity to show significant slimming of several inches.

The way they do this is by vertically accenting the slimmest part of the corset, or the waistline. Instead of simply darting in at the waist, the pipestem silhouette extends the waist vertically by 1-2 inches. As if you had a belt around your middle, instead of a string, and this is topped by a cupped shape to curve around the ribcage.


While popular modern corsetry tends to favor curvy, hourglass silhouettes. This hasn’t always been the case! At different times throughout history, corsets have been used to flatten, slim, and minimize all around. This was typically accomplished with a conical silhouette style, which is similar to the shape of an ice cream cone.

The conical shape delivers a straighter taper from the top edge of the corset (the bust or underbust, depending on the model) to the waist.

While you’ll still enjoy a smaller waistline, this silhouette creates far less curvature. As a result, there could be some discomfort in the rib area (as opposed to, say, the cupped silhouette) for women who already have curvy bodies. While women with naturally narrower ribs may find this shape more comfortable than curvier corsets.


If you’re just looking to dip your toes in the waters of corsetry and waist training, the mild silhouette of the U-shaped corset may be right up your street.

This style is essentially a less defined version of the conical shape, which makes it perfect for anyone seeking only minimal shaping and compression.

Whether you want to start slowly with waist training or you’re simply hoping for comfortable slimming and smoothing to look your best in every ensemble, this shape is a great starter piece or a good choice for anyone looking to waist train inconspicuously.


Waist Cinchers are one of the most transforming pieces of shapewear, they make such a difference to your figure. Most other shapewear does lovely things like smooth and firm. Cinchers sit directly around your waist, and are a lot smaller than other corsets. They do essentially exactly what they say on the tin, they cinch you in at the waist!

A word of warning, however, cinchers are very tight and pull you in A LOT, and because of this, you can really really feel them on. It is not advisable to be planning on eating a banquet whilst wearing one. But other than that they really can elevate any look!

When it comes to the silhouette of your corset, you can’t forget to consider the spring. Or the difference between the circumference of the waist and the circumference of the hip and underbust areas. In essence, it has to do with how extreme the curve of your corset is.

While certain silhouettes naturally feature greater spring than others, you can see differences in spring even among the same type of silhouette. It’s important to be aware of this so you can find the shape that best suits your body and your goals.

It is important to remember, the fit of your corset will also depend on where you get it from. A bespoke corset will be made to measure and fit you like a glove, however off-the-rack is a cheaper alternative if you’re just getting started out. Why not check out another of our blogs to see which is best for you!
Why not check out some of the corsets we have made? Head over to our Instagram now…