I have a fascination for all underpinnings. I know, a very surprising revelation, that. Anyway I wanted to talk about other things than bras:
Bustiers and corsets are not just for moulding the waist into an hourglass. Many of them don´t do that at all, rather they work similar to spanx: they smooth out the figure and give a sleek line under dresses. Some solve back decollete issues: because of all the support in the front, they can be cut extremely low at the back (yes, that's how you rock those backless dresses). They aren´t meant only for special occasions, many ladies like to wear them under dresses or jeans, every day. I have been known to do that on a couple of occasions.
So what's the difference between basques, corsets and bustiers?
Corsets are restrictive and define the waistline. They may start above or below the breasts, and are laced at the back (there may be a hook-and-eye closure in the front as well). Great if you want to create an hourglass figure.
Basques include the cups and go over the hips. They are fitted and smoothing, but not restrictive like a corset. The best thing to create a smooth line from breasts to hips under a form-fitting outfit. They are the secret to the smooth, clean line that many celebs have in evening gowns.
Bustiers are similar to the basque, but shorter: they go down till the waist. A longline bra is basically a short bustier. Smooths out the ribcage and waist area. The most interesting ones are the backless bustiers, fantastic for any dress cut really low at the back.
The corsets & basques sold in typical stores are not actually meant to be worn. At least not for longer than a couple of minutes in the bedroom. If you are looking for a figure-forming corset, your best bet is a corsetier or an online that specializes in corsets. If you are looking for a foundation garment type of basque or bustier, try a real lingerie brand. For example Panache does bustiers from band size 30 and cups like H (UK).
How to size a basque / bustier
Since basques and bustiers are nowhere as stretchy as bra bands, I suggest not going down with the band size so much. Get a band larger than what this calculator tells you.
How low does it go ?
If you have stomach fat, a piece that ends right at the waist might create flesh rolls. Basques with a teddy closure might work better here.
Are you tall or petite ?
The end of the piece might hit lower / higher than normal. Basques with teddy closures might be too long / short for you.
High waisted or not ?
Some pieces have a clearly defined waist, and if your waist isn´t in the same place than the piece won´t fit well. Tip: if your natural waist is a palms width below your breasts, you are medium-waisted.
Sizing a corset is a different thing altogether, and I'm not an expert here. But from a bit of experience I would like to say that corsets can be fun to experiment with!
Do you have a thing for basques and co., whether it is actually wearing them or just lusting from afar? Any particular brands you'd recommend?