Depends on the corset and the lady. It is quite possible to end up bruised or chafed from a corset - for me the problem was always the boning hitting my hips, not necessarily the restraint. Flexible plastic boning is a lot better than metal (and I can’t imagine bone). But it can give great back support and from that standpoint is often very comfortable.
Thongs, yep, butt floss. Some women don’t mind them and I suspect its possible to get used to them. I have one that for some reason isn’t as bad as every other one I’ve owned.
If you’re getting bruised or chafed, than the corset is not properly fitted or laced to you (or you have ATROCIOUS posture!) Sounds like your stays were a little too long for you.
A properly fitted and tightened corset is like wearing a hug. It’s not only comfortable, but it’s far more comfortable for us well-endowed ladies than even the best bra. Wearing a corset is the only time I dare run downhill over uneven terrain, let’s just leave it at that. Flexible plastic (actually nylon) boning? Ha! It is to laugh. It’s only useful for fashion corsets and those who don’t really need a corset. Steel boning is where it’s at.
It’s also worth noting to the uninitiated that there are many different shapes of corsets, especially if one is talking historical corsetry, and some are more comfortable than others. Furthermore, some are more uncomfortable on differently shaped women than others. I’m naturally an hourglass shape, so an Edwardian corset is the most comfortable for me to wear - it doesn’t rearrange things so much as snug them towards center. An Elizabethan corset , on the other hand, is designed to flatten out the bust and essentially make your middle a cylindrical shape from the waist up - not quite so comfy for me (but years of wearing them have made it bearable).
But yeah, sitting is a challenge, especially if (like me) you have well-fleshed thighs. The boning can cut into the groin or poke your upper thigh. When sitting in a corset, one is quickly made aware why the etiquette for centuries for a well-bred lady was to sit on the very edge of the chair, and only a slattern would let her back touch a chairback - 'cause the edge is the best seat for a corset. Lean back, and you look like you’re inviting intimate company.
(Tip for novice corset wearers: straddle the toilet backwards. Your boning won’t cut into you as badly, and your posture can stay straighter while you do your business.)
I have atrocious posture, I sit sideways and stand with the weight on one foot. My corset stays were well above my hipbones if I stood properly, but I wasn’t standing properly (I can’t even wear one of those modern long bras without poking myself). I also have a figure hard to fit for a corset - or did at that time - I had an hourglass figure (not Scarlett’s 17 inches at the waist, but 12 inches between my waist and hips, and another twelve between waist and bust - I’d do better with an late 19th century corset that comes over the hips than the 17th century version I was wearing - its a figure that looks good in a corset, but is not made for what I was doing when you cinch in the waist and push up the bust) Moreover, I was wearing one at RenFest, where not only are you not sitting properly, but you roll around on the ground, get picked up, tossed around, play tag - even decorous young ladies need to play bocce - all sorts of activities not really made for a casual corset wearer.
Most of my costumes were stayless though. After bruising yourself once in a corset, you really don’t tend to go for the look again.
A well made, properly fitting corset can be comfortable? True!
But there are drawbacks: the sitting, as Whynot mentioned, and you can’t really partake in an activity that requires a whole lot of bending and straightening (think having to pick about 250 marbles up off the floor).
I concur that steel boning is the superior material for rigidity. Nylon boning will bend and eventually snap, especially if you have a large differential between your bust and waist measurement - Which is why I prefer the Elizabethan or Italian Ren corset which flattens me out a little better and will hold its shape longer over time. Normally, uncorsetted, the difference between my bust and waist measurement is 14 inches (bust is 14" larger than my waist), in an hourglass corset, it’s even greater, so the stays tend to start bending after a full day of wear.
I love my Italian Ren…and you’ll have it when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!
This has made me curious. I like the look of corsets. I adore them on other women. I, however, am not hourglass-shaped, more like an inverted triangle (broad shoulders, average size bust, longish torso, waist not well-defined, narrow hips, slender legs). What style would be better for someone like me?
“Better” as in, more comfortable or “better” as in, will give you a stylish look under modern clothes?
With that body shape, an Elizabethan corset will be pretty comfy, but it really only looks good under Elizabethan clothing. Modern corsets will trim in your waist and do very little with your bust, and often slighly inflate your hips. If you want a useful corset for wearing underneath clothing, as opposed to a va-va-voom sexy Fredrick’s of Hollywood corset, search for websites that sell corsets designed for “waist training”. Not that you have to train your waist if you don’t want to, but these sites are likely to have sturdy, functional corsets.
Oops, should have specified. I wouldn’t be wearing it with modern clothes. I have a gown that I plan to wear it with. I got it from a friend who had only worn it twice and couldn’t any longer, but I didn’t have a corset and couldn’t fit in hers.
Not at the moment. It’s not really structured though; my friend wore her corset over it, or a laced vest, because the gown doesn’t have much shape. I’m thinking now that perhaps the vest idea is better, because it needs to go over the gown. I was definitely puzzled as to why she wore the corset over it. After all, it’s supposed to be an undergarment, isn’t it?