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Waist Trainers: A History and How-To

Mansurat is a creative writer that writes on a variety of niches including fashion and beauty.


Among dieting and exercising, the use of waist trainers is one of the most common body-shaping techniques. When used correctly, waist trainers can be the best route to getting your dream figure. Lately, there seem to be a lot of negative comments about their use. Many believe waist trainers are unhealthy and can shift your bones or distort your organs. No doubt, there are cases where waist trainers have been used to the extreme, but the right waist trainers are healthy; you can use them without the fear that your bones will be affected.

Before you embark on your waist training journey, there are several things you have to know. Understanding the history of waist trainers and where they originated from is one of them.

Waist Trainers: A Background

There is no clear-cut history about the origin of waist trainers. However, historical records trace it as far back as the 1500s. It was common globally but more prevalent among the Americans and Europeans.

The sources that provide information about this are portraits of men, women, and children in Europe who wore garments that had waist trainers fitted into them.


Why Were Waist Trainers Created?

Most people believe women were the only people who wore waist trainers, when in fact, everyone wore them at some point in human history—men, women, children, the young, and the old.

The various cultural practices around the world prove that waist trainers were most likely created to help people with postural defects. People who suffered from scoliosis or bent posture made use of waist trainers to help them stand and sit straighter. Waist trainers did not start as waist trainers but rather, corset-shaped materials worn around the torso. Its earliest record proves that it was created for medical purposes.

However, somewhere down the line, this material was modified to meet women's needs. After childbearing, a lot of women gained weight and lost their previous figures. The urge to snap back birthed the tradition of women wearing these materials around their torsos. They were worn all the time and used excessively.

The obsession with the hourglass body made some women wear incredibly tight waist trainers. Some of them were unable to sit, stand, or breathe properly. You have probably heard of corset-wearing women fainting from a shortage of breath. Well, the corsets are not guilty, rather they were used inappropriately.

What started as a personal choice grew to become a widely accepted tradition. In some parts of Europe in the 19th century, women were pressured to wear these corset-shaped materials after childbirth. Of course, not everyone wanted this. However, it was the prevalent culture, and those who resisted the practice were guilt-tripped by men and women alike. Women were made to feel they did not love their bodies enough or were not interested in pleasing their husbands. It became more of a social obligation.

Other records in history reference this material as something fashionable. As stated earlier, these corset-shaped materials are said to have gained much popularity throughout France in the 15th century. Though, they did not gain general acceptance among women until the ban on the thick waist by Catherine de Medici. Now, I bet you are thinking, "Ban on thick waists? What does that mean?"

Catherine de Medici was a noble and the Queen of the then King, Henry II of France. Historians believe Catherine de' Medici was one of the most beautiful women of her time and she was obsessed with beauty as well. During her reign, she was not comfortable seeing women with big or thick waists, so she banned such women from appearing in court. It is believed that the corsets at that time were much tighter than the current ones and were made with pieces of metal.

After the ban, women resorted to wearing these corsets under their garments to give their waist a more enticing appeal. A few years later, the mistress of King Charles VII of France, Angel Sorel, was known to have popularised the use of low neck corsets. Her gowns were sewn in a way that exposed the breasts. She faced criticism from several people but others imitated her.

Sometime in the 17th century, waist trainers were sewn as part of the clothes so women did not have to wear them separately. Children also wore waist trainers, especially young girls. The logic behind this was that it will ensure they grow to have perfect bodies. For girls, it helped them have thinner waists as they hit puberty. Many children wore these waist trainers past adolescence for other reasons.

The waist trainers were also seen as a sign of wealth. Both men and women wore it as a symbol of affluence. Although, the corsets worn by men were shaped slightly differently from the corsets worn by women. Men wore corsets between the 17th century and the 19th century. In the 18th century, men who wore them were admired by some but mocked by many. In the 19th century, they gained a bit of acceptance but it still was not common practice. They were only seen among men of affluence.


Guide to Waist Training

Waist trainers have a rich history and they can be an invaluable material when used correctly. The horror stories associated with them are from people who jumped into waist training without getting a proper guide on how to use them properly. The following are basic tips that everyone doing waist training should stick to. This will guarantee optimum results.

1. Wear Your Waist Trainers Regularly

Waist training is similar to exercising. To get results, you have to be consistent. Also, the results gotten from waist training are not permanent. What it does is adjust the shape of your waist and disperse the fat gathered around there. For the best results, wear the trainers regularly for six months. Once the results are visible, you can reduce the frequency to once a week or thrice a month. Do not abandon the routine completely.

2. Get a Doctor's Approval

Waist trainers are in no way harmful but it is recommended to get a doctor's approval before you get one. Women who have recently given birth or had surgery should not start waist training without getting a go-ahead from their doctor.

3. Get the Right Size for Your Torso

The most common complaint people have about waist training is that they get the wrong sizes. You have to know your waist measurement and the length of your torso so you can buy an exact fit. There are waist trainers for long torsos, short torsos, and medium-sized torsos. Height is not always an indicator of how long or short your torso is. Be sure to get your measurements. Your torso is the distance between your bust and your pelvis. Also, when picking a waist trainer as a first-timer, go for one that is 1-3 inches smaller than your waist size.

4. Always Leave a Barrier Between Your Skin and the Waist Trainer

Skin acne is another problem associated with waist trainers. The materials used in making the waist strainers irritate some people's skin, leading to acne. Yet, some people wear waist trainers directly and get no skin problems. You do not have to test this out on your skin. Always wear a light material before placing the waist trainer around your torso.

5. Start With Two Hours a Day

Do not jump headlong into this. As you get used to the routine, you can wear it for longer hours. Start by wearing your waist trainers first thing in the morning when your belly is still a little flat. Then wear it for two hours and give yourself a break. You can fix it back for another two hours later in the day. Gradually, you can increase the time to three, five, or seven hours.

6. Never Wear It to Bed!

You may have heard people say they are so comfortable with the waist trainers or they want urgent results so they wear them to bed. This is a wrong practice. Never wear it to bed. Nobody gets urgent results from waist training.

Wearing it to bed can lead to suffocation and digestive problems. Wear it at any time of the day or night but once it's bedtime, take it off.

7. It Should Not Be Painful

This is the most important rule when it comes to waist training. Wearing a waist trainer should not cause you pain. It's okay if it feels a little like a tight hug. Anything beyond that should not be endured. Take it off the moment it starts to hurt.

Whenever you feel pain wearing a waist trainer, it's most likely because you got the wrong size or you are wearing it incorrectly. See your doctor if you happen to experience this.


Starting Your Waist Training Journey

It's time to get yourself the perfect waist trainer. The right one fits well and can be worn all through the day and for any activity. Sizes range from XXS (extra small) to XXL (extra large).

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Mansurat Zakari