How to Style a Corset: 10 Ways to Make the Old School Staple Feel Like New

How to Style a Corset: 10 Ways to Make the Old School Staple Feel Like New

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I vividly remember that “Back Inside Out Day” was my favorite ghost day theme at my elementary school. It was a day designed to break fashion rules, and I loved putting together an outfit that was technically “wrong”. Looking at the fashion landscape now, it seems like every day is a celebration of “backwards inside out day”! Pieces that were once meant to be hidden under layers of clothing have now surfaced. Bras are worn under blazers while tops, influencers and celebrities proudly post pictures in shapewear and my TikTok FYP is a masterclass in styling a corset.

Corsets have an intense background. The laced bodice was essentially intended to reshape the female body to the 17th century standard of beauty by reducing the waistline. As the “preferred” female form evolved, the role of a corset was similar to that of a push-up bra. Traditional use of the corset is still practiced by some celebrities for fashion events — yes, I’m talking Kim Kardashian’s stunning (and hugely uncomfortable) Thierry Mugler Met Gala dress. But for the rest of us, corsets are a way to jump on the slightly sexy, slightly cottagecore look without time travel or breaking a rib.

While corsets have the historical style of drama, you don’t necessarily have to lean into that era when styling them. A lot of corset styling inspiration has a laid-back, grungy, or party vibe – the outfits remind me of city street style rather than prim-and-clean garden parties.

Once you have a corset, you are ready for any event. Below you’ll find some inspiration to help you decide how to wear it.

STYLECASTER |  How to style a corset

iMaxTree.

With a furnished set

Wear a corset over something a little more formal, like this fitted set. The chain details on this corset contrast beautifully with the structured pleats on the pants.

STYLECASTER |  How to style a corset

iMaxTree.

With patterned tights and loafers

A femme lace corset can be pulled up and elevated with an interesting sock and shoe choice. While these tights have a wild pattern, the loafers ground the look and tie into the traditional plaid skirt.

STYLECASTER |  How to style a corset

iMaxTree.

With minimal accessories

Sometimes the best way to show off a piece is too few accessories. Corsets will, of course, draw attention to your collarbones, so brush on a bit of highlighter, put on some comfy pants, and quit.

STYLECASTER |  How to style a corset

iMaxTree.

With a flowy dress

Adding a corset to a long, flowy or ruffled dress gives shape to your outfit – and is a lot more interesting than just adding a belt. Just like you would match your belt with your shoes, try to match your shoes and corset. Bonus points if they’re both a fun color, like this bold green.

STYLECASTER |  How to style a corset

iMaxTree.

With an oversized suit

Wearing a tight corset with an oversized suit makes the outfit polished instead of sloppy. If you have a white corset, consider wearing it with outfits where you normally wear a white T-shirt.

STYLECASTER |  How to style a corset

iMaxTree.

With a matching mini skirt

Go ahead and add the corset and miniskirt combo to your collection of go-to outfits for a night out. Wearing them together (especially when they match) is more fun than a typical matching set and Surely puts the classic black clubbing top to shame.

STYLECASTER |  How to style a corset

iMaxTree.

With a cropped top

If you bought one of the cropped sweaters that Zara had in stock for the past year, now is the perfect opportunity to wear it! Wearing a corset over or below the sweater (whichever suits your cutouts best) will help emphasize the details of the top.

STYLECASTER |  How to style a corset

iMaxTree.

With shorts and an oversized jacket

A corset helps to emphasize the proportions of your body, so maximize the effect by choosing something small (like shorts!) with something big (like a large jacket).

STYLECASTER |  How to style a corset

iMaxTree.

With matching pants

If you can find pieces (trousers, jacket, skirt) that exactly match the pattern of your corset, own the! Not only will you look super groomed, the continuity of patterns will also make your body look great.

STYLECASTER |  How to style a corset

iMaxTree.

With a leather jacket and jeans

When in doubt, a leather jacket and jeans go well with everything, including a corset. A cropped corset with low-waisted jeans is a fun way to show a little skin during everyday wear.

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