How to wear a corset as outwear

Lingerie as outerwear continues to be a hot fashion item. Whether you already have corsets in your closet that have yet to see the light of day, or are curious about what type of corset to purchase, the following tips may help.

Purchasing a corset

Determining your corset size can be tricky. It is not enough to know your bra size. A corset in size 36 will not fit the lady who is a 36B the same as the lady who wears a 36DDD. Use a cloth tape measure to come up with accurate measurements. Start by measuring around the fullest part of your bust. That number should give you the best idea of what size corset to buy. If the number is 36, buy a 36. If the number is an off-size like 35, go with a 34. Different manufacturers fit differently, so it is also a very good idea to try the corset on, or double check the companies return policy before purchasing.

Corsets defined

When talking about wearing corsets as outerwear, it may help to keep in mind the word is used in place of several other traditional garments. And now that corsets have hit the mainstream, there are many designers creating corset-inspired pieces that maintain a lot of the sexy character of the corset without being lingerie.

  • Corset: Technically speaking a corset is a support garment meant to be worn under clothing. The top starts under the bust or slightly above the bust and continue down to the hips, or below. Those that continue on past the hips tend to have garters attached to hold stockings. The corset itself is close-fitting with boning and hook and lace closures to help cinch the waist.
  • Basque: A basque on the other hand is the name given to tight-fitting garments that go around the bodice. These generally do not have any boning.
  • Bustier: Finally, bustiers are corset-like garments that are embellished with lace and trims.

Over, under corset options.

If you are looking to turn heads, a corset top is just the thing to choose. A Guess Lola Corset top can be dressed down by pairing it with slouchy pants and a cardigan, the contrasting fabrics will create a uniquely casual look. Instead of wearing gold of silver jewelry, look for playful pieces made of wood or plastic to add more interest to your outfit.


Another way to fashion it involves slipping in on over a white button down blouse. You will shine in true pin up girl style when you add a pencil skirt and seamed stocking, or skinny jeans and pumps. This va-va-voom look is not for the grocery store or PTA meeting, but perfect when you want to make an impact.

Trend blend

If you love corsets, but are not fond of baring your arms, wear the corset over a sheer blouse. The two trendy styles combined are often better than if worn on their own. This Ralph Lauren Metallic Corset can be combined with a white, black, Swiss dot, or sheer lace top for several different looks.


Shirt dresses are classics that can run the risk of being a little boring. Add steampunk style to a basic shirt dress with a corset. Worn over a shirt dress with a full skirt, the style is more reminiscent of Moulin Rouge than soccer mom. Add oxford heels, textured tights and a fun fascinator for an evening look that is all your own.

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