The practice of wearing a corset has been around for hundreds of years. And there’s a reason why: when it comes to creating feminine curves, corsets work.
Modern-day corsets might look a little different, but they’re here for the same reason. However, since not everyone wears them anymore, there are a lot of misconceptions out there about what corsets CAN and CAN’T do.
Let’s dispel some of the myths. Here’s the truth about what a corset can do to your body.
What is a Corset?
First, let’s be clear about what a corset is. These days, there are many options when it comes to shaping undergarments, and not all of them are the same.
Generally speaking, corsets are belt-like garments that you wear around your midsection with the intent to slim your waist, flatten your tummy and lift the bust. Sometimes the term is used interchangeably with “girdle,” although a girdle can have a built-in panty, while a corset generally does not.
Modern corsets come in a few different forms. One of the most popular is a waist cincher, also called a waist trainer. Typically this style provides slimming with latex panels that are held in place with closures at the front of the garment (such as hook-and-eyes, zippers and Velcro).
Latex cinchers can come a wrap-around belt style as will as a “vest” style with shoulder straps.
The classic corset style, however, doesn’t use latex to compress to midsection; rather it is designed with a lace-up back that is pulled tight. The bodice is constructed with materials like satin, cotton or even mesh, with flexible steel boning to keep it in place. We often refer to this style as a “steel-boned corset.”
It’s also worth noting that different forms of corsets can come in underbust and overbust styles. Overbust styles are typically used for costuming or sometimes in formal/bridal attire, while underbust styles are useful for everyday slimming.
There is some confusion because a lot of these terms for corsets can be used loosely and interchangeably. For the rest of this article, we’ll be primarily referring to the underbust steel-boned corset, as that is the classic style used for corseting. However, we’ll also refer to latex cinchers and vests when relevant.
How Does Corseting Work?
Now that we’re clear on what a corset is, let’s talk about how one works.
If you were to put on any style of corset and fasten it tight, you’d experience the immediate effect of it slimming your midsection. For this reason, some people prefer to use corset-style garments for special occasions or for certain outfits.
However, that’s not the only way to experience the benefits.
Many corset wearers like to follow a regimen called waist training (or corseting, especially if you’re using a steel-boned corset). This is the practice of wearing a corset-style garment daily for at least 8 hours.
You can practice waist training with an underbust steel-boned corset or a latex cincher, depending on your preferences. The purpose is to provide slimming every day, in combination with a healthy lifestyle, to support your long-term slimming goals.
There are several ways this works.
- One way is that waist training/corseting works is by stimulating heat and perspiration in your core. This is especially helpful when you’re working out, which is why workout waist trainers are some of our most popular styles.
- Wearing a corset has a combination of other effects that work together in order to help you reach your goals. It supports your posture and the way you carry yourself, and can also help your clothes fit better. These effects can improve you confidence and help you feel motivated to stick to your healthy lifestyle.
- You may also find that you are reminded to keep your portions small, since your waistline won’t be able to expand as much when under tight compression.
Everyone’s experience with corseting is a little bit different when it comes to results. It all depends on your mindset, your goals, your lifestyle and your dedication to the practice. Check out our before and after gallery to see its effects on different women.
So What Exactly Does a Corset Do to Your Body?
As we’ve noted, there are a lot of misconceptions out there regarding the question of what a corset actually does to your body? Does it hurt anything? Does it shift your organs? Does it cause permanent change?
A corset can do wonders for your figure when you wear it properly. That is what it’s designed to do: slim your midsection to give you hourglass curves.
What about prolonged use?
When you wear a corset as part of a corseting routine (8–12 hours a day), all a properly fitting corset does is provide compression around your midsection, which can also result in increased heat and perspiration. It also holds your posture in a straighter position.
If you experience any discomfort or pain while wearing a corset, this is a sign that the garment does not fit properly; you should remove it immediately. You may also find that you get hot while wearing one, especially during an intense workout or in a warmer climate. Again, in that case, we recommend removing your corset if you experience discomfort.
Another concern we hear about is whether a corset “shifts” your organs. That is a somewhat misleading question because your organs are perfect fine if they move around a bit. They are soft tissue and that is completely normal. They shift when you eat a large meal, go for a run, have a full bladder, drink a lot of water or have a baby growing inside of you. That doesn’t mean they are going to go hurtling out of place.
Compression from a corset is naturally going to put gentle pressure on your midsection (that’s how it works). The biggest effect you’ll notice is that you may feel constricted when you try to eat a large meal, since your stomach won’t be able to expand as much as it would otherwise. You may find this to be a helpful reminder to limit your portion sizes!
As far as permanent change goes, a corset does not have that kind of power on its own. When you take a corset off, your midsection is going to revert to its natural shape. Long-term, your figure may change as the result of pairing corseting with a healthy lifestyle like regular exercise, a positive mindset and a nutritious diet. But a corset is not going to transform your body into something it’s not.
Corseting Best Practices
Having said all of that, it’s important to use a corset as directed.
- First, if you’re practicing an everyday waist training regimen, be sure to start out in shorter increments. It takes time for your body to adjust; your corset also needs time to break in, especially if it is steel-boned.
- Wear your corset for an hour or two the first time you put it on; if it has a lace-up back, don’t pull the laces as tight as they will go. You can fully tighten the laces after the garment is seasoned. You’ll know it’s ready when its shape has molded to your torso and there are no gaps between your body and the garment (about two weeks of wearing it 1–2 hours a day). Once it is seasoned, pull the laces as tight as you want them and wear the garment for longer hours.
- Waist training with latex garments is a slightly different process when you’re first starting out. Gradually add a little more time you wear one each day. After a few weeks, you should be comfortable wearing it most of the day.
Keep these tips in mind if you plan on wearing a corset for a special occasion like a wedding. You can’t just throw the garment on the day of the event. Break it in, the same way you would a pair of shoes.
With waist training, the goal is to wear a corset for at least 8 hours a day to get the best results. You can alternate between garments, especially if you plan on wearing a workout waist trainer while you exercise.
You shouldn’t wear your corset more than about 12 hours a day. Your skin and your core need a break from compression so they can rest and breathe. Likewise, if you wear the same garment every day, it needs a break too. Lay your corset over the back of a chair or on a hanger in a well-ventilated area (not in direct sunlight) so that it can air out and retain its shape.
What Other Questions Do You Have?
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to waist training and corseting, which is why we’ve compiled lots of resources for you if you’re just starting out! Check out our blog for answers to other frequently asked questions, as well as other tips for getting the most out of your corseting experience.
Need help picking the best corset for your needs? Scan our curated and tested collection, read the reviews, and reach out to our expert stylists for help and guidance. We love seeing your transformations and are happy to help with all of your questions and concerns.
You may have in your mind an idea of a corset as a sexy piece of lingerie (which it can be) or as a popular fashion of the 1800s (which it was), but the most accurate description of the modern corset is a tool to pull in your waist, giving your torso an hourglass shape, much like a bra supports and gives shape to your bust.
Today, corsets are growing in popularity as women discover just how useful a corset can be for creating killer curves (not to mention the many celebrities who’ve taken to wearing corsets). In fact, over the last 10 years we’ve sold tens of thousand of corsets and have talked to thousands of women about corsets and corseting. As such, we consider ourselves something of corset experts.
This article is intended to give a complete overview of the modern corset and answer common questions about the garment. Have a question that we don’t answer here? Ask it in the comments below and we’ll answer ASAP!
- What is a corset?
- Should you wear a corset?
- Is wearing a corset unhealthy or dangerous?
- How does a corset work?
- What is waist training?
- Why is steel boning important?
- Spiral Steel Boning vs Flat Steel Boning
- What results should you expect?
- What’s the difference between a corset and a bustier?
- What’s the difference between a corset and a waist trainer?
- Underbust vs Overbust
- What size should you get?
- Other important factors:
- What type of fabric should you choose?
- What’s the best way to fasten a corset?
- How do you lace a corset?
- Should you wear over your clothes or under your clothes?
- Should you get one custom made?
- How do you clean a corset?
- Here’s How Corsets Deformed The Skeletons Of Victorian Women
- Jessica Alba on Post-Baby Body Milestones: Wearing a ‘Pair of Jeans’ That ‘Didn’t Fit’ Before
- The Post-Pregnancy Workout Halle Berry and Jessica Alba Swear By
- Phase One: Tighten the Core
- Phase 2: Burn Baby Fat, Burn!
- Phase 3: Pump it Up
- Post-Phase 3: Keep it Going
- Jessica Alba Weight Loss Critics
- Jessica Alba Weight Loss Workout
- Jessica Alba Workout Motivation
- We Tried It: The Corset Craze
- Our comprehensive styling guide for 5 common body types
- A-SHAPE BODY TYPE, LIKE BEYONCÉ
- V-SHAPE BODY TYPE, LIKE CAMERON DIAZ
- X-SHAPE BODY TYPE, LIKE RIHANNA
- H-SHAPE BODY TYPE, LIKE JESSICA ALBA
- THE FIGURE 8, LIKE KIM KARDASHIAN
What is a corset?
Corsets are constructed from a strong, yet flexible fabric (cotton / satin / leather) that is reinforced with steel boning (flexible steel rods) to give the corset great strength for cinching in your waist and accentuating the curve of your hips and bustline. Typically corsets are tightened by fastening the front busk (a piece of corset hardware consisting of two steel stays, one with metal loops) and then lacing up the back. Corsets are made to fit around your midsection and can be either an “overbust” or an “underbust,” and depending on your style, can be worn over your clothes or under your clothes. Corsets come in a number of styles that have less and more extreme curves, and that fit a variety of different body types.
Should you wear a corset?
Steel boned corsets are worn for many reasons and situations. Some women wear them as a fashion statement, or for weddings or costuming, while others wear under their clothing for back and posture support. Most women who wear corsets, however, wear them simply to turn heads with that classic hourglass figure.
Is wearing a corset unhealthy or dangerous?
Wearing a corset is not dangerous as long as you use what we call “safe and sane” corseting practices. This means find a corset that fits your body type. Here’s a question we ask: “Is your corset causing you pain?” If the answer is a resounding “YES!”, then loosen the darn thing or take it off completely! The idea of no pain, no gain does not apply here. (Related: See Pros & Cons of Waist Training)
In fact, not only are corsets completely safe when worn properly, but they can be helpful for controlling back pain and correcting posture. We’ve talked to women who wear corsets for back support after injuries and we know many who wear one for good posture while sitting for long periods at work.
How does a corset work?
When worn properly, a corset offers something of an instant “‘hourglass” transformation to your body. Also, dedicated “waist trainers” can obtain semi-permanent results over time by moving the floating ribs, and your organs temporarily shifting while wearing the corset. Sometimes wearing a corset can lead to weight loss because the corset also acts as an external LAP band, encouraging you to eat smaller quantities.
What is waist training?
This is a big topic, and we’ve developed a whole section on waist training.
Why is steel boning important?
A corset without steel boning is not really a corset. Why? Because the steel boning is necessary for the “cinching” of the waist. Corsets that use cheaper plastic boning are simply for looks or fashion, and will literally burst at the seams if you try to tighten down.
Spiral Steel Boning vs Flat Steel Boning
Corset are comprised of both flat and spiral boning to allow for movement. Flat steel bones, found at the front busk and lacing bones, are just that — flat. They are only able to move back and forth, and only slightly. Spiral steel bones are found throughout the body of corset and can be moved in multiple directions-allowing the wearer a modest degree of twisting and bending.
What results should you expect?
This is one of the most common questions we get. It’s also one of the most challenging to answer because of the many factors involved, including your unique body type. The best answer is: “It depends.” See real life before & after images and testimonials. Or, see our video on the topic.
What’s the difference between a corset and a bustier?
Corsets and bustiers are often confused. What’s different between the two? In simplest terms, a corset “cinches” your waist, while a bustier “boosts” your breasts. A few more details:
- A bustier is a fancy bra-plus-shapewear combo that smooths the midsection and uplifts breasts.
- Corsets tighten with a combination of rear laces and a front steel busk closure … bustiers often use a hook and eye closure like on a bra (and only have laces for appearances). In the plaid picture we’ve used here, notice that the corset has steel busks on the front.
- A corset provides that hourglass “cinch” at the midsection. A bustier doesn’t.
- Corsets are typically much more expensive because they require a certain quality standard of construction to work properly.
What’s the difference between a corset and a waist trainer?
First, let us begin by explaining that the term “waist trainer” is often misused. What you have probably seen described as a “waist trainer” is really a latex waist cincher.
A corset is typically made of satin, cotton, mesh or leather, and uses steel boning to shape your waist. A waist cincher (trainer) is a type of shapewear made of latex that uses the elasticity of the material to “cinch” in your waist. Corsets are much more specific to size correctly, whereas a “waist cincher” is more like sweat pants… a few sizes fit all. Corsets can be worn over the clothes as a fashion statement.
A waist cincher is designed solely to fit under your clothes. To truly modify your waist (waist training) a steel boned corset is required. Latex cinchers are great for creating a smoother, more flattering figure under clothing (or at the gym, if we look to celebrities for guidance) and can create a temporary hourglass figure.
Underbust vs Overbust
Underbust corsets fit right underneath the breasts and can easily be worn underneath clothes. Overbust corsets can be worn under clothes in place of a bra and underbust corset, in addition to being worn as tops. Underbust corsets come in a number of different styles for fitting the contours of your bustline. Here’s a helpful article for choosing the style that fits you best.
What size should you get?
This is the most common question we get, and probably the most important. Steel-boned corsets, are sized primarily using your waist (in inches). As a general guideline:
- If your natural waist* is under about 38”: order 4-7 inches smaller than your natural waist.
- If your natural waist* is over about 38”: order 7-10 inches smaller than your natural waist.
*We define natural waist as where you naturally bend from side to side.
Other important factors:
- Underbust & upper hip measurements
- Torso length
- Level of “squish”
Here’s a video that can help you with sizing, and here are some more tips for measuring properly.
What type of fabric should you choose?
After we have recommended a size and style for a customer, one of most commonly asked questions that we get is “Which fabric is best?” All of the fabrics (cotton, satin, mesh, brocade or leather) are beautiful and made of very high strength materials. But all of the fabrics do have pros and cons and one may be a better option for you than the others. Here’s a list of the most common types and our recommended use.
- Satin – If you plan to wear your corset under your clothes we suggest satin. Your clothing will glide over the top of the corset like a slip under a dress rather than clinging to it.
- Mesh – A lightweight and breathable material. It’s comfortable, easy to wear under or over clothing, you can wear it in the hot summer months without getting too warm, and it gives a great silhouette because there is so little bulk to the corset.
- Cotton – If casual comfort is more your thing, then cotton would be the one for you! Cotton takes a bit longer to feel like it’s broken in, but once it is, it will be as comfortable and easy to wear as your favorite denim jeans. Wearing cotton corsets under clothes is a little trickier because of the thicker fabric.
- Brocade – The brocade fabrics are a gorgeous, thick polyester blend that almost feel like a tapestry or upholstery fabric. They look more elegant than a plain fabric and can add something a little extra to your outfit. As it is a thicker, woven fabric, it will take more uses for it to be as comfortable as a thinner fabric … but once it is broken in to your body, it will be a comfortable and classy addition to your wardrobe.
- Leather – Our lambskin leather is incredibly supple. It’s a material that is comfortable almost immediately. Lambskin isn’t the stiff and rigid leather that most people expect when they think of leather fabrics. Although your clothes wouldn’t cling to this fabric if you wore it under your clothing, it does have a bit more bulk to it, so it’s better to wear it over your clothing and show it off. We don’t recommend daily waist training in your leather corsets though; as leather is a natural skin and can stretch out slightly over time.
What’s the best way to fasten a corset?
Corsets are made with a variety of fasteners for tightening/securing around your waist. By far the most common, and best, system is a front split steel busk. One side has the loops (hooks), and the other pins (nobs). You can see these straight down the front of all our corsets. We’ve found this is the quickest, most durable and sturdy way to secure your corset. You can also find corsets that use a zipper (common in reversible corsets, but not very strong) or wire hook and eye closures (more discreet than busks, but not as strong and they take forever to close).These are generally used with latex cinchers.
How do you lace a corset?
Here’s a demonstration video showing how to lace a corset.
Should you wear over your clothes or under your clothes?
This is a personal preference. Women who simply want the hourglass shape will wear the corset under their clothes (typically a mesh or satin corset). This is called “stealth corseting.” Many women like the look of the corset when worn over their clothes, and will include it as part of their regular wardrobe.
No matter your preference, we always recommend a layer between your body and your corset. If you are stealthing your corset, we suggest that you wear our seamless corset liner under your corset. They are made of breathable and comfortable bamboo and will help your corset last you a long time and will keep your corset looking clean and smelling fresh!
Should you get one custom made?
For most women, on off-the-rack (OTR) quality corset like those we sell at Orchard Corset will be a perfect match. However, if you engage in a serious waist training regimen you may find over time you need a corset with more extreme curves than are found OTR. Additionally, a well-fitting overbust corset is more difficult to find than an underbust corset for some women. It is important to note that custom corsets run anywhere from $250-$1500 – so we recommend trying an OTR corset first before getting one custom made.
How do you clean a corset?
We recommend taking your corset to an experienced dry cleaner if needed. Never machine wash your corset! You may spot clean with a mild detergent and allow to dry.
Air out your corset after each wearing by placing it lining side up and center it over a hanger or chair. A small amount of fabric freshener may be used between cleanings on the inside lining only. Be sure to dry completely before storing. Never dry your corset outside as sunlight can damage the fabric. Here are some more cleaning tips. Also, See our video on the topic.
Our corset liners will help your corsets to stay cleaner, longer! A layer between you and your corset keeps natural skin oils and moisture from settling into your corset.
Here’s How Corsets Deformed The Skeletons Of Victorian Women
The ideal of what a woman’s body should look like has changed dramatically over time and varies by culture. One of the most well-known historical attempts at changing a woman’s body shape — corseting of the waist to make an hourglass figure — left lasting effects on the skeleton, deforming the ribs and misaligning the spine.
From “Physiology for Young People” p. 84. Fig. 11.A purports to show the natural position of… internal organs. B, when deformed by tight lacing of a corset. In this way the liver and the stomach have been forced downward, as seen in the cut. (Public domain image via wikimedia commons.)
But some women lived long and healthy lives, counters anthropologist Rebecca Gibson of American University, whose latest research on corsets and their effect on the skeleton has been published in NEXUS: The Canadian Student Journal of Anthropology. The view of corseting as having created short and painful lives is anachronistic, she says, as many of these women lived much longer than average for the time.
Corset-wearing was common in the 18th and 19th centuries across Europe and across different socioeconomic classes. “Women wore corsets to shape their bodies away from nature and toward a more ‘civilized’ ideal form,” Gibson explains, and “a woman would wear her corset for almost her entire life.” Very young children were placed in corsets, as advertisements from Paris at the time mention sizing “pour enfants & fillettes.” Even in pregnancy, special corsets were made to fit a woman’s growing belly and, later, her need to nurse her baby. “Side gussets or special snaps over the breasts,” Gibson says, were used to “accommodate their changing form while still allowing them to follow the fashion of the time.”
L: Perfect Health Corset. Pitched as a “healthy” corset because waists do not have a busk to create… pressure on the intestines. Options for both adults and children show. (Public domain image via wikimedia commons.) R: 1881 U.S. patent drawing for a nursing corset. (Public domain image via wikimedia commons.)
While scholars still debate the extent to which patriarchal control over women’s bodies and women’s own clothing choices affected corseting practices, it is clear that long-term use of these garments caused changes in women’s skeletons. By looking at the variation in corsets and their physical effects on the spine, and correlating those observations with age-at-death, Gibson is rethinking the modern assumption that corsets were like painful torture devices.
To investigate skeletal changes from corseting, Gibson studied remains dating to 1700-1900 AD held at the Musée de l’Homme at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris and at the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology at the Museum of London. She measured the width of their rib cages, the angle at which the ribs meet the spine, and the angle of deviation of the spinous processes of the vertebrae.
Of the seven mounted skeletons that Gibson examined from the Musée de l’Homme, every single one of them had deformed ribs pushed into an ‘S’ shape and vertebral spines misaligned from vertical, both of which are “consistent with long-term pressure on growing ribs and vertebrae and inconsistent with other types of documented damage such as rickets,” she notes. Three additional sets of skeletal remains from the Museum of London had the exact same pattern of ribcage deformity.
L: Skeleton FAO90 2116 from the Museum of London collection, showing S-shaped deformation of rib and… facet of fifth thoracic vertebra. R: Thoracic vertebrae of same skeleton, showing deviation of spinous processes of vertebrae due to corseting. (Images taken by R. Gibson and used courtesy of the Museum of London.)
Using more than a dozen historical corsets on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Gibson found that the average adult woman’s waist size was 56 cm — or 22 inches — in circumference. Compared to a 2001 study of modern British women’s bodies, this is more than 10 inches smaller than today!
Interestingly, the women in these historic skeletal collections “lived comparatively long lives while undergoing this skeletal transformation,” Gibson says. Life expectancy at birth in France and England at this time was between 25-50 years, and age at death was between about 50-60 years old for women, but “the women analyzed here either reached or exceeded their life expectancy at birth,” Gibson notes, “and a few may have exceeded the average age at death.”
While Gibson is not speaking to the quality of life of these women whose skeletons show long-term evidence of corseting, her results, she says, “confound the very popular notion that corseting was inherently overtly harmful, as well as the longstanding medical belief that corseting was responsible for early death.”
Further anthropological and historical work assessing the practice of corseting, Gibson concludes, is needed in order to “piece together what it meant to live in and be changed by a corset, something women did on a daily basis and which impacted every part of their lives.”
Jessica Alba on Post-Baby Body Milestones: Wearing a ‘Pair of Jeans’ That ‘Didn’t Fit’ Before
Jessica Alba is totally okay with the fact that “it takes time” to get back into a normal routine after baby — and that extends to her body, too.
The actress and Honest Company co-founder got candid on Thursday’s episode of PEOPLE Now about how she didn’t feel as much pressure to lose the weight after son Hayes Alba, 7 months, was born as she did with her two daughters Haven Garner, 7 on Monday, and Honor Marie, 10.
“I felt more pressure when I was younger. Now that I’m older, I’m a little easier on myself,” says Alba, 37. “It just takes time and you just have to let your body heal and take the time. It’s baby steps.”
“Every little milestone is meaningful to me, though,” she admits. “Like when I can finally put on a pair of jeans that I couldn’t wear before or that didn’t fit.”
Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? .
Image zoom Jessica Alba Amy Sussman/Variety/REX/ Image zoom Hayes Warren Jessica Alba/Instagram
RELATED: Jessica Alba Reveals Her Favorite Post-Baby Waist Trainer and Sexy Nursing Bra
The mother of three reveals that there’s a “different energy” around the house since she and husband Cash Warren welcomed their third child and first son on Dec. 31.
“Cash just likes that there’s a little more testosterone in the house,” Alba says, laughing. ” ‘Cause he’s been the only guy for so long.”
The star says her daughters “haven’t changed diapers yet” but are “great” at their big-sister roles. “They help me bathe him in the morning — Haven, my middle one, goes straight into his room and plays with him and cuddles him. They like to give him bottles at night and sing him songs.”
RELATED VIDEO: Jessica Alba Reveals How Family Life Has Changed Since Welcoming Son Hayes: “It’s a Different Energy”
Alba says that despite his gratitude over having another male in the house, her husband isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty (or rather, painted) with his girls.
“He wants to watch sports on the weekends, so he’s like, ‘You can paint my nails if we watch sports,’ ” she shares of Warren, 39. “He doesn’t have to do anything!”
Unbothered! Jessica Alba is all about loving her body, especially after having three kids.
The 38-year-old took to InStyle’s September issue to reflect on her 2007 cover. “Looking back, when I shot my first InStyle cover, I was insecure,” she said. “I felt like I needed to be someone I wasn’t in order to be accepted. I allowed other people’s ideas of who they thought I should be to define me. Who am I now? I give zero f–ks. I have three children. They’ve exploded my body, and I’m cool with it. And I know I’m smart. I don’t care what everybody else thinks. I’m good, girl. I’m good.”
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The Honey alum shares her three children, Honor, 11, Haven, 7, and son Hayes, 1, with her husband Cash Warren. Jessica confessed that her first cover with the prestigious magazine made her feel like she finally made it. “I was a big fan of the magazine because it made high fashion feel accessible,” she said. “By that time, I’d been in the business for over a decade, but I was still trying to figure out how to be in the public eye and have ownership over who I was.”
Six years later, she shot her second cover and at that point, she had a family of her own. “I had gotten married and given birth to my two daughters, Honor and Haven. For the first time in my life, I was really embracing my womanhood. I was in my early 30s, and it had taken up until then for me to feel confident in my body. I also stopped allowing myself to be objectified in the press through a male’s perspective.”
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It’s safe to say Jess has grown immensely over the years. You go, girl!
The Post-Pregnancy Workout Halle Berry and Jessica Alba Swear By
When Hollywood moms like Jessica Alba, Ashlee Simpson-Ross and Halle Berry want to get into shape post-pregnancy the healthy way, they enlist the help of celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza. Braganza’s 3-2-1 Baby Bulge Be Gone program is proof you don’t need to starve yourself or embark on a ridiculously rigorous workout regimen to get your pre-pregnancy body back.
In fact, the 12-week, three-part diet and fitness plan encourages realistic weight loss of one to two pounds per week — meaning you could potentially lose up to 25 pounds in just 12 weeks. Each phase of the program lasts two to four weeks, depending on how your body is responding.
“For most new mothers, time and location are often major impediments to beginning and sticking with an exercise program,” Braganza explains to LIVESTRONG about why she started the popular program, which is both realistic and easy to follow.
The program increases in time needed and difficulty only as trainees get in better shape, thereby shifting the 3-2-1 ratio according to their individual progress. The best part? Every phase of the regimen can be done at home with a modest gym and in minimal time.
Braganza’s Baby Bulge Be Gone plan is available as a DVD set on her website, but the trainer-to-the-stars is giving us a run-down of what her effective, post-pregnancy slim-down program entails.
You just had a baby and it’s likely that your body — or your mind — isn’t prepared for a rigorous workout. However, that doesn’t mean you should forgo all physical exercise in lieu of the couch. During the first two to six weeks after giving birth, Braganza suggests that new moms take baby steps to prepare themselves for the program.
She recommends restorative exercises like Kegel’s, stretching and walking. She also encourages self care, which can come in the form of Ayurvedic oils and massage. She encourages consuming comforting foods during this time period to support recovery and healing as well as lactation for breast-feeding moms.
“In this phase it is not impossible for new moms to lose ten pounds, depending on how much weight they have gained,” she explains. This was the case for her recent client Ashlee Simpson-Ross, who dropped her initial ten pounds before even beginning Phase One of Braganza’s Baby Bulge Be Gone.
Read more: The Biggest Myths About Working Out During Pregnancy, Debunked
Phase One: Tighten the Core
Your body has mostly recovered from childbirth and your physician has given you the okay to start working out again. The first official phase of Braganza’s program — which she suggests starting at around two-weeks postpartum pending your physician’s approval — encourages new moms to ease back into a workout routine with a 20-minute workout emphasizing core.
“I like to get my clients back in the habit of exercising by doing a short workout consisting of three parts core, two parts cardio and one part circuit,” Braganza explains. During this initial stage you will focus on simple but effective exercises that tighten the core. Below are two examples of phase one exercises:
The Bridge: “This move builds strength in the glutes, activates the pelvic floor, promotes circulation to the healing tissues and provides a gentle inversion to encourage the internal organs to settle back in their place,” explains Braganza. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on floor. Raise hips by pressing into feet and squeezing glutes. Pause at the top then lower back to start. Repeat 10 times for 3 sets.
The Clam: “This will help build strength in the gluteus medius, activate the pelvic floor, and engage the deep abdominals,” she says. Lay on your side, placing one leg on top of the other, with knees slightly bent. Keep feet touching as you separate your knees by raising your top leg. Pause then lower, repeat 10 times for 3 sets.
As for diet, Braganza explains that this phase is focused on providing nutrient dense foods to speed up the healing process, but also includes meal replacement shakes (like the one below) to promote weight loss and increase metabolism.
- 1 scoop of raw protein meal powder
- 1Tablespoon Almond Butter
- 4 oz. Almond Milk,
- ½ Banana
- 1 cup of ice
Phase 2: Burn Baby Fat, Burn!
In the second phase of BBBG, generally covering weeks five to eight, Braganza ups the intensity a little bit, suggesting 40 minutes of exercise per day at least four days per week and putting more focus on cardio. This is where the magic really starts to happen, as cardio helps increase caloric burn and speed up metabolism.
This phase works out to three parts cardio, two parts core and one part circuit, and includes fun aerobic activities. Braganza explains that with Simpson-Ross this came in the form of dance, as the mother-of-two is a performer. Other cardio options include kickboxing and jump-roping.
As for diet, more emphasis is put on cutting calories. However, don’t expect to subsist on 1200 calories per day. Braganza doesn’t recommend consuming anything less than 1800 calories per day, especially if you are breastfeeding.
Phase 3: Pump it Up
The final phase, occurring during weeks eight through 12, focuses on strength training. During this period she recommends one-hour workouts three to four days a week, with three parts cardio, two parts circuit and one part core. “The focus is muscle building and toning and involves body weight and dumbbell exercises,” she explains.
Generally, this is the phase where most of the weight loss takes place. Simpson-Ross, for example, dropped 15 pounds during this stage, while she lost ten in each of the other stages. Braganza suggests full-body exercises, rotated daily that are “never boring and often challenging.”
As for diet, the focus is on protein consumption, reduction of carbs and occasionally using detox drinks, such as the one below, as fuel.
Lemon, Cumin, Ginger Tea Detox Drink
- 1 12-ounce spring or filtered water, slightly warm
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2-inch knob of ginger root, finely grated
Post-Phase 3: Keep it Going
At this point it is likely you have dropped a lot of your baby weight — but now you have to keep it off! While this phase is optional, Branganza maintains that it is crucial, as it involves making the 3-2-1 Training Method a way of life program. This phase involves teaching people about how to avoid hitting a weight loss plateau and introduces them to ways of staying motivated in all areas of health and fitness. It is also during this stage that most people lose the remainder of their baby weight and have the opportunity of getting into their best shape ever.
Fad or fabulous? We test out the newest diets and beauty treatments in our We Tried It series. Which ones work and which ones aren’t worth it? Read on and find out…
Ever since Jessica Alba revealed that she lost the majority of her baby weight by wearing a tight-fitting corset for three months, I’ve been secretly dying to try it out. Could this be the diet I’ve been waiting for? The one where I don’t have to do much of anything, and the inches are, quite literally, squeezed away? If it worked for Alba—and let’s face it, she looks fantastic—would it work for me?
For a full seven days, I strapped on AMIA’s Almighty Cincher ($54, hourglassangel.com), which is a little more expensive than shapewear like Spanx, but it’s also a lot cheaper than, say, personal training sessions.
According to AMIA’s press release, the Almighty Cincher not only trims 1-3 inches off your waist “in seconds,” it also can improve posture and reduce back pain. “Some users wearing the Almighty Cincher 8-10 hours a day for 30 days reported sustained reduction of one to four inches in the midsection,” continues the release, “through the science of compression to support long-term slimming and by stimulating thermal activity and perspiration to mobilize fat and toxins.”
One to four inches? I’m in.
Getting It On
On the box, the Almighty Cincher is referred to as “the midsection makeover,” and, regardless of its weight-loss effects, it’s a great reminder of why girdles have long been popular. Strapping on this bad boy every morning dramatically slimmed my hips and waistline (I was amazed), though it takes some arm strength and wiggling, and the fit isn’t perfect. On me, for example, the corset was extremely snug at the hips and a bit looser at the rib cage—which meant I didn’t exactly feel comfortable wearing in a slim-fitting dress during the week. On Day One, fastening it was a real challenge, but by Day Four, I had gotten the hang of it.
The corset is certainly not what I would call comfortable, but it’s certainly not as debilitating as I’d feared. True, bending at the waist presents something of a challenge—and sitting at a desk is much more comfortable without a stiff undergarment strapped around your waist and hips—but you get used to it quickly, and it truly does do wonders for your posture. What’s more, the fabrication of this thing is seriously impressive: All day, I was expecting the corset to ride slowly up my mid-section, but this sucker does not move. I wish my jeans, tights, and bra were as stoic as this corset.
How Long We Wore It
Considering I only wore the corset for a week, I was determined to wear it for the full 8-10 hours each day. Honestly, there’s no “good time” to take off a corset anyway—you find yourself asking questions like, “Will this corset I just took off in an office restroom fit into this purse?”—so putting it on in the morning, wearing it to work, and taking it off when you get home is the most logical thing to do.
That said, the weekend presents a major challenge. I was out running errands on Saturday, so I managed to strap on the corset and get in a good seven hours of wear, but on Sunday, I just wanted to sit around the house and be lazy. There is nothing about a cinched corset that can be “lazy,” and watching bad TV on the couch is just not as satisfying when you’re wearing waist-squeezing shapewear.
The Day-to-Day Effects
Going into the week, I assumed that the corset’s secret function would be to keep me from eating much of anything—a bit like an external lap-band. At first, this was certainly true: On Monday, I ate a Thai noodle dish for lunch a bit too quickly and felt like I was going to barf about 30 minutes later. I certainly didn’t make that mistake again, though I was able to eat pretty healthy portions. I had a burger on Friday without missing a beat. Picture your skinniest pair of skinny jeans, and you’re not that far off in terms of your eating limitations. All that said, there’s no binge-eating while you’re wearing this thing—you know your limits.
By Day Three, I’d encountered another unfortunate side-effect—chafing. The good news is that the corset really doesn’t move during the day. The bad news is that it can leave marks on your hip bones. (As you can imagine, there are quite a few tight edges in this operation.) By the end of the week, the little chafing marks had become quite uncomfortable, so I’m not sure how folks manage wearing it for a full month. Vaseline?
The Final Results
I don’t mind admitting that I wasn’t expecting any real results. I’d only worn it for a week, after all, and I’d continued to eat relatively normal portions. As such, I was pretty darn surprised to see that my hips and waist were a little less than an eight of an inch smaller when I took my measurements after seven days. (I re-measured, just to make sure.) One could argue that that’s within a margin of human error, and who knows if the shrinkage was due in part to the cincher’s after-effects (read: I could fill out within 24 hours), but I was surprised and pleased. I’m not sure I’d be willing to wear the corset for another three weeks, and I remain convinced that healthy eating and exercise probably have more long-lasting effects than a corset diet, but the overall experience was certainly not as painful as I’d initially feared.
Read more: We Tried It: A Completely Sugar-Free Diet
The Jessica Alba weight loss controversy has been stirring around in the news recently. Jessica Alba shared a picture on herself Instagram. While filming a movie in Thailand, the tweet showed dramatic weight loss. This included a “bony” ribcage that caused quite the uproar.
Her worst critics have even called Jessica Alba’s body “skeletal.” Critics claim the current Jessica Alba weight loss picture is too extreme. This is especially true, they say, for a mother of two. They question the body image she is portraying to her daughters Honor and Haven, 5 and 2.
Supporters for Jessica Alba are happy for her. Posting a picture having fun, and looking healthy, is great. They claim she is just “sucking in” her stomach in the picture because she is also screaming in it.
Here’s the skinny picture Jessica Alba shared on Instagram, showcasing her recent weight loss:
Jessica Alba Twitter
Did Jessica Alba go too far with her new weight loss? You decide!
Jessica Alba Weight Loss Critics
Jessica Alba’s weight loss critics include Radar Online and The Inquisitor. Radar Online, criticized her by saying:
Alba’s ribs were protruding and her arms seemed skeletal.
Jessica Alba is currently in Thailand filming a new movie project, Mechanic: Resurrection (2016) with Jason Statham and Tommy Lee Jones. Her weight loss is the result of CrossFit workouts and a healthy diet. Alba first lost 30 pounds after being pregnant with her daughter, Haven.
Jessica Alba’s weight loss continues to move forward. After giving birth to her daughter, Haven, she has been on a non-stop fitness routine. Alba’s fitness regimen combines cardio, weights and yoga for 90 minute workouts 4 times a week.
Jessica Alba Twitter
Alba likes to start her workout with sprint intervals, usually at-home, she says. Jessica Alba says she will sprint for one minute, then walk for 30 seconds and repeat. She does this for 30-45 minutes, before training with weights.
Jessica Alba Weight Loss Workout
The Jessica Alba weight loss workout is courtesy of her Hollywood CrossFit trainer, Yumi Lee. In this video, PopSugar worked out with Jessica Alba’s trainer, Yumi Lee. They go through all the exercises that comprise Jessica Alba’s 10-minute CrossFit Workout.
Here is Jessica Alba’s trainer showing you how to do the Jessica Alba CrossFit workout with weights:
Many celebrities, along with the public as a whole, are joining the CrossFit movement. CrossFit generates such buzz because it’s so different from traditional cardio. There’s also a very supportive social scene central to the CrossFit community (versus the competition for equipment you’ll find at a local gym).
To find a CrossFit gym near you:
- Find a CrossFit Location
- Learn more about CrossFit
- Use rxGyms to Find a CrossFit Gym
Jessica Alba is currently working out in Thailand with personal trainer Omar Lopez, from Hot 8 Yoga. Lopez specializes in yoga, dance and martial arts. Here’s another 10 minute video that shows one of Omar Lopez’ yoga workouts:
Here’s a short Instagram video of Jessica Alba working out with personal trainer Omar Lopez in Thailand. Alba is also doing cardio boxing to stay in shape. Here’s a recent picture of Jessica Alba, and her trainer, after a hot yoga workout in Thailand:
Jessica Alba Wears Corset For Weight Loss
Jessica Alba wore a corset for 3 months to aid in her weight loss. She did this after both pregnancies to lose weight. About wearing the corset, Jessica Alba says:
I wore a double corset day and night for three months. It was sweaty, but worth it. It was brutal, it’s not for everyone.
The corset was made by a company called Glamour Boutique. Most doctors agree there is little evidence that wearing a corset can help you lose weight. Wearing tight clothing won’t deter fat stores on your body.
Still, less is known about why wearing a corset for weight loss may be successful. The truth is that there may a be a psychological effect from wearing a corset. Wearing a corset also makes you become fixated on your goal of weight loss.
Doing something as dramatic as wearing a corset helped Jessica Alba. When all she wanted to do was get rid of the corset, it became a reminder of her weight loss goals. Jessica Alba knew she had to stick to a proper diet and exercise routine
If she didn’t, she was never going to be able to take the corset off. Jessica found that the corset served a purpose, with it: you’re less likely to reach for something bad to eat. It has a certain way of applying pressure to you, and reminding you about your dietary goals.
Jessica Alba Workout Motivation
On workout out, Jessica Alba workout motivation comes from her friends. In a Women’s Health interview, Jessica talked about having a support network so that working out is fun. Or, at least a little more bearable.
My favorite workouts usually include my friends. I think working out really boring. And, I kind of hate it. So, as long as my friends are there, and we can laugh, it makes the time fly by.
On Live with Kelly and Michael, Jessica Alba admitted that she also works out to relieve stress. Alba says that if she’s not with her friends, she needs a constant distraction to work out. Jessica Alba opts for “live TV or listening to loud hip-hop” she says.
Alba also likes to eat, especially her kids leftovers. Between the stress of running a company, acting and having a family, Alba looks for something to keep her on-the-ball, and focused. Working out does just that. This is how Jessica Alba says she is able to balance everything in her life!
We Tried It: The Corset Craze
What it is: A crazy-tight (is there any other kind?) rubber corset, used to slim one’s midsection
Who tried it: Zoë Ruderman, PEOPLE.com Senior Style Editor
Why she did it: Because Jessica Alba recently revealed that wearing a corset “day and night for three months” post-pregnancy was how she lost her baby weight. And while I didn’t just give birth, I have a pretty firm policy that I’ll try most everything Alba recommends.
How crazy is it on a scale from one to Kim Kardashian’s blood facial? If I’d worn it as much as she had, a 7, but I did the “lite” version, so a 4.
Stay tuned for our review of a corset like the one J. Alba wore! vine.co/v/bEvtTmDbETK
— People StyleWatch(@StyleWatchMag) May 16, 2013
After reading Alba’s confession, I ordered the Almighty Cincher by AMIA (available for $54 on hourglassangel.com). The actress actually wore two girdles at once, but I figured I could build up to that. It sat on my desk at work for a week (quite the conversation starter!) then in my apartment for a few days.
I finally busted it out when my boyfriend left for a business trip. When the cat’s away, the mouse will … do unflattering (but highly effective) mud masks, watch bad TV and wear a corset.
I figured I’d just throw it on like Spanx, but it took me a good five minutes to get into my corset. It fastens with tons of tiny hook-and-eye closures and this thing is tight. Like, no-kind-of-shapewear-you’ve-ever-tried tight. I’d liken it to when you’re getting your blood pressure read and the nurse pumps it to the highest level just before releasing the pressure.
As soon as the last hook was in the last eye, the first thing I noticed was my posture. It forces you to stand up and sit really straight and it engages your abs while doing so.
Alba had commented that, “It was sweaty, but worth it” and when I first had the corset on, I smugly thought to myself, Alba must just be a bigger sweater than me because I’m totally dry under here. Not the case. You don’t realize how much you’re perspiring while wearing the girdle (is that the sexiest sentence ever written? I think so), but as soon as you unhook it, you’ll see. And really, you want to be sweating. That’s the idea: “ stimulates thermal activity and perspiration, mobilizing fat and toxins,” according to the description on hourglassangel.com.
I wore it for a few hours that first day, then on and off for nearly a week and I’ll definitely break it out again, though I can’t imagine ever sleeping in it.
The Verdict: I plan to use the AMIA corset as shapewear under dresses since it holds everything in way better than anything already in my arsenal. And I’d absolutely recommend it for anyone trying to improve her posture. As far as using it for weight loss, it’s gotta take a lot of commitment to see results (my jeans fit the same way they did at the beginning of the week), but if you’re as committed as Jessica Alba, I bet you’d notice a difference.
Our comprehensive styling guide for 5 common body types
A-SHAPE BODY TYPE, LIKE BEYONCÉ
If your upper body (shoulders, ches, abdominal) is rather petite while your buttocks and thighs tend to be fuller, you have an A-shape body type, like Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez or Shakira.
YOUR WINNING COMBO:
- Arched shouldered jackets to balance your figure
- The ruffled top or to bring the volume to your upper body
- Printed and colorful tops to draw the eye to the upper body and face
- High heels
- Play up the necklines: wear bustiers dresses and statement necklaces
AVOID: Horizontal stripes, cigarette pants and ball skirts.
V-SHAPE BODY TYPE, LIKE CAMERON DIAZ
Your shoulders are broad and you have a generous bust but your bottom is narrow. You have a V-shape body type like that of Cameron Diaz, Angelina Jolie or Pink. You are the sporty silhouette of the group.
YOUR WINNING COMBO:
- Accentuate the volume on your lower body
- Feminize your figure with accessories and colourful outfits
- Favour long tops and tunics to balance out your bottom
- Show off your legs, as they are often your most attractive asset
AVOID: Big jackets, bustiers and shouldered jackets.
X-SHAPE BODY TYPE, LIKE RIHANNA
You have a narrow waist and your wide shoulders are in alignment with your hips. You have an X-shape body type like Rihanna, Miranda Kerr or Blake Lively. You are privileged, because all styles will suit you.
YOUR WINNING COMBO:
- Fitted clothes to flatter your hourglass figure
- Plunging necklines
- Sheath dresses
- Vivid colours and prints, which promote volume
AVOID: Apart from turtlenecks and baggy clothes that will expand your figure, you can afford to wear anything. Lucky girl!
H-SHAPE BODY TYPE, LIKE JESSICA ALBA
You have a rather shapely figure, your shoulders and hips are aligned but your size is sometimes petite. You have a H-shape body type like Jessica Alba, Kate Moss, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Victoria Beckham.
YOUR WINNING COMBO:
- The right clothes and sizes will suit you
- Tailored jackets
- Contrasts and printed materials to balance your figure
AVOID: Wide belts worn at the waist.
THE FIGURE 8, LIKE KIM KARDASHIAN
Your shoulders are rounded and align with the curve of your hips, which are generous and full. You have a figure 8 body type like Kim Kardashian, Nicky Minaj or Amber Rose.
YOUR WINNING COMBO:
- Anything body-hugging
- Fitting materials like jersey and knits
- Dresses or skirts
- Belted coats
AVOID: Mini-skirts, large prints and very wide trousers.
Now that you’re in the know of our styling advice, walk on the sidewalks with the assurance of a star and remember one thing: the most important point remains that you should always feel good about what you wear and dress with pleasure!
Jessica Palermi and Nur Syazana H.
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This might be a shocker to some of you, but guys love it when a girl is comfortable with her shape. So instead of trying to squeeze your size 12 into size 8 skinny jeans or attempting to cover up a size 0 with baggy clothes, it’s time to wear the right clothes for your body type to give yourself a totally flattering shape.
Find your body shape and see how to best dress it
Lucky for you, pinpointing your body type is a lot easier than figuring out your face shape. There are seven main body shapes, and you’ll most likely fall under one of the categories below:
Petite: You have a small bust and narrow hips (and are on the short side), like Nicole Richie, and Jessica Alba
Rectangular: You have a straight, athletic build with minimal waist definition, like Cameron Diaz and Hilary Duff
Hourglass: You have a curvy bust and hips, with a defined waist, like Kim Kardashian and
Pear shaped (triangle): You have thin shoulders, a small bust and curvy hips, like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Beyonce Knowles
Apple shaped (inverted triangle): You have a broader bust and shoulders, and narrower hips, like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Tyra Banks
Plus sized: You wear a size 14 or higher and have a large bust, curvy waist and wide hips, like Nicky Blonsky and Queen Latifah
Pretty simple, right? Once you find your shape, you’re ready to find the best looks for your body. We picked 12 sexy celebrities and asked stylist Cassey Sawhill (who works with celebs like Ashley Greene and Vanessa Hudgens) why their outfits work so well with their body types. She gave us some pretty helpful tips (and big style no-no’s) for dressing your unique body shape.
The best thing about these celebs? They love their bodies for what they are, and show us that any woman can use fashion to transform her body image and look way fab. OK, enough with the inspirational talk, on to the actual celebrity looks.
Figuring out your body shape can seem like a daunting task. Also, categorizing yourself within a list of fruits and geometric shapes can seem a little outdated, limiting and, quite frankly, a little weird. But hear us out. Figuring out your body shape can ultimately help you save time shopping, getting dressed and asking yourself and everyone else, “Does this look good?”
We love that everyone looks different, has different body shapes and different personal styles because it makes fashion and clothing more fun; and below, we’re breaking down the five most common body shapes to help you figure out which one you most closely relate to. Are your hips wider than your shoulders? Great! That probably means you are a pear body shape. We also list out a few key closet essentials you should look at incorporating into the closet. These essentials will help you show off your best feature, like your legs, shoulders or waist.
Image: Ashley Britton/SheKnows
Description: Your hips are wider than your shoulders.
What looks great on you: Fit-and-flare dresses because they perfectly show off your smaller top half and the extra flare on the bottom is great for accentuating your curves. It will naturally focus attention on your curviest and most beautiful parts. Spaghetti straps or decorative straps and necklines work great on you too.
Other pear shapes: Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez
More: 17 Fabulous fashionistas at Vogue 100: A Century of Style
2. Inverted triangle
Image: Ashley Britton/SheKnows
Description: Your shoulders and bust are wider than your hips.
What looks great on you: Fitted jackets, thicker straps/sleeves and voluminous skirts and pants work great because they will attract focus to your legs and slim down your shoulders.Other inverted triangle shapes: Angelina Jolie, Naomi Campbell, Pamela Anderson, Jessica Alba
Image: Ashley Britton/SheKnows
Description: Your shoulders, waist and hips are roughly the same size.
What looks great on you: Skirts with ruffles, bows or embellishment details. Creating extra volume on one half of your body will help create the illusion that you have lots of curves. You can also do this by adding waist belts over your dresses or wearing high-waisted jeans.
Other rectangle shapes: Cameron Diaz, Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow
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