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Chapter One - SETTING THE STAGE FOR CORSET MAGIC
[READ ONLY PAGE. Updated 3/28/15]




Easy. Simple. Fast. Fun.

This is what Corset Magic is all about: a reduced waistline, a flat tummy, great posture, and a fashionable figure that you can achieve quickly and easily.

Try wearing a modern style, contemporary custom corset made to fit the hills and valleys of your own body—I mean a new, popular version of that antique garment your mother and grandmother grew to hate. When you see the results, you’ll grow to love it!

Watch heads swivel in your direction as people note your new hourglass shape. You might even be mistaken for a movie star the very first day you wear a corset.


Yes, corsets work.

First, a corset works as a superb fashion garment instantaneously—and easily—to trim two to three inches off your waistline on a temporary basis. This quick result will be stunning! Take a look at the “before” and “after” photos below, and you’ll see what I mean. Our model, Linda is a pretty lady, even in the photo on the right, where she is not wearing a corset. But with only a little help from a corset, namely two inches, in the photo on the left, her figure becomes decidedly noteworthy. (Photo: © Jeanette Vonier 2001) When Linda removes that corset, however, her body—and yours after you wear a corset—returns to its original shape within five or ten minutes.

But hold on a moment. There’s another fact you need to know, and it’s what this book is all about:

Second, with only a bit more effort and time, a corset works as an effective, functional garment to help you comfortably reach any reasonable goal of permanent waistline reduction---or weight loss, if you want it.

It’s not unusual to note up to four or five inches of waistline reduction, and 5, 10, 20, or more pounds of weight loss after you wear a corset for only a few months.

That latter process is known as "waist training," or as one of my clients said, "waste" training. This somewhat strange-sounding phrase means a process of wearing corsets gradually to reduce your waistline, while implementing healthy new eating habits and a moderate amount of waist-specific exercises.

This book gives you the simple steps to train your waist, and they work—if you work them!


Let’s talk about working Corset Magic on weight first.

Nearly all of us share a common desire to feel attractive, sexy, or powerful. We all want to be liked and appreciated. We all have to start somewhere, get a clear picture of where we want to go, then adopt a realistic method, and follow it step-by-step to get there.

Many of my corset clients—particularly brides—are "going to lose weight first, then come back to waist train." Some web sites and even so-called "corset experts" recommend losing a certain amount of weight or body fat before waist training. Certainly errant bellies seem to be the target of both men and women who pursue shaping up.

And errant bellies have been moving up in size and public attention since the early 1900s. On December 4, 1910, the New York Times published an article quoting Dudley Hemingway, M.D., Director of the Hemingway Gymnasium at Harvard University, who noted from his research of college women that women had steadily been increasing at the waistline for the past 20 years and had a waistline three or four inches larger than their grandmothers (with hips smaller). Interestingly, Dr. Hemingway was not at all concerned about that fact.

Today it’s rather common knowledge that large waistlines signify danger. What’s also known today is perhaps the most stunning of all facts regarding the waistline: stomach fat is associated with a host of pernicious health effects in humans, including death by heart attack (Discover: Science, Technology, and The Future, “Killer Fat” by Mariana Gosnells, February, 2007). Furthermore, about 46 percent of Americans have an excess of it. On August 2, 2010 the San Francisco Examiner reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited a study finding that 26.7 percent of adults were obese the year before, up 1.1 percent from 2007. Their January 2010 report found 33.8 percent obesity nationwide. In the report, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated as high as $147 billion. A host on the TV show "The Chew" reported in mid-September, 2012, that in 2013 about half of Americans will be considered obese.

Americans aren’t the only women in trouble. In 2001 and 2002, the University College London, the London College of Fashion, and retailers, took more than 1.5 million measurements from 11,000 people using state-of-the-art 3D body scanners. They compared results with the last major sizing survey in the 1950s which used the traditional tape measure. The study found that British women have become heavier in the past 50 years and weighed an average of 143.5 pounds for a height of 64.5 inches. They still beat out American women who weighed 155.5 pounds and were 63 inches in height on an average. The Guardian online on September 21, 2005, reported that in 1951 the British woman had an average 27.5-inch waist but by 2005 had a "34-incher." In that year, thirty-eight percent of British women were classified as overweight and one in five was obese, and their shape is "blockier." (www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/),,1574583,00.html).

More alarming yet, the majority of physicians like Victorian Dr. Hemingway seem particularly sanguine about our expanding girths and do not regularly check the matter, which is the primary indicator of obesity.

There’s a lot of talk about size of waistlines, especially by Dr. Mahmoud Oz on his popular TV show launched in 2010, called "Dr. Oz." He says that women with waistlines of 35-inches and over, and men with waistlines of 40-inches and over, have a higher incidence of high blood pressure, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Indeed, after tobacco and alcohol, obesity is the most important contributor to increased mortality, according to Dr. Christopher J. L. Murray, as reported in the San Francisco Examiner, September 12, 2006. Thus, most all of us consider dieting at one time or another, focused on the errant waistline or belly, and some of us are perpetually on a diet.


Maybe you've lost weight in the past but put it all right back on?

According to a "Good Morning America" TV news report on August 1, 2006, 130 million Americans start a diet each year, and may have some success. However, 90 percent of us gain the weight we’ve lost back within five years and also gain back more than we lost; only 2.5% of us actually keep the weight off!

Stuart Lawrence Trager, M.D., professor at the Hahneman University School of Medicine, says that “we all have difficulty in eating less and exercising more. Four-fifths of those who start diets, abandon them.” (Testifying on the U.S. government’s food pyramid revision at the Senate’s Subcommittee on Consumer Products and Safety, C-Span coverage of hearing on October 1, 2003. You can read more about the pyramid below.)

Nonetheless, maybe you’re going to the gym to try to lose weight first, then try a corset. Maybe you’ve heard the misguided advice to do just that before waist training. Perhaps you’re considering expensive liposuction.

But consider this: One of our clients paid $6,750 in 2006 for liposuction on six body areas. She was still disappointed with the results. The operation flattened her lower belly, but it appeared artificial when compared to other sections of her curvy figure. Plus, but it did nothing to get rid of her "love handles" or create an hourglass shape. She contacted us to try corset waist training before she went on to stomach-stapling, or saline-filled gastric banding.

Even Dr. Oz says the last things he would recommend are extreme diets or radical stomach-rerouting surgeries to solve an often preventable problem (AARP The Magazine, Sept. 2011, in "New Ways to Fight the Rise in Diabetes." N.B. Sadly enough on February 12, 2015, Dr. Oz expressed doubt about the efficacy or safety of waist training. On the television segment he did not feature any educated corset enthusiast or medical professional who based his or her statements on actual knowledge of the effects of corseting on real patients. We hope Dr. Oz will futher and correctly inform himself and his audience about the matter.)

My client’s case didn’t surprise me, because the type of fat that liposuction sucks out happens to be subcutaneous, or surface fat, often the more "benign" kind that is meant for long-term energy storage. Sumo wrestlers encourage an excess of this kind of fat, yet remain mainly free of hypertension because they exercise six to eight hours a day and don’t suffer an excess of visceral, deeper-layer fat surrounding vital organs like the heart (and also predominant in aging men, by the way). Liposuction leaves visceral fat untouched and possibly even augmented (According to Gosnells in Discover magazine)! What a waste.


Please read on before you decide corsets aren’t for you, before you delay trying corsets one more minute.

Read on before you take one of those radical, expensive, and irreversible surgical steps. There’s no need to be discouraged by past failures, no need to be ashamed of your present waistline—even if it exceeds 50 inches— no need to rush into risky surgeries, and no need to wait before you try corsets. You can start right now with a fresh new approach that works.

Isn’t it about time that you do what Pamela Anne Miller, one of my clients, said? "I’m about ready to concentrate more on the waist not becoming a waste basket!"

Take a look at my corset client and student Denna G., a mother of three children, before she began waist training, her permanent 14-pound weight loss after only two months of corseting, and her svelte figure at graduation. Denna maintained her figure for at least two more years before we lost touch. You can note Denna before waist training (left; note plump face, shoulders, and waist), Denna two months after beginning training (center), and one month later at graduation after losing 20 pounds and five waistline inches (right; note slim face, shoulders, and waist)

When she put on her first corset, Denna temporarily nipped two inches off her waistline and reduced her tummy. But after only eight weeks of corset waist training, she dropped 14 pounds. The temporary reduction became permanent. Her waist eventually dropped from 31 inches to 29 inches and she lost 20 pounds. Denna exclaimed: "I feel like I’m doing this without effort!"


You, too, can drop pounds and inches without effort.

That's because a corset will:

  • jump-start the weight-loss process, thereby achieving visible results fast

  • easily suppress your appetite and minimize hunger pangs, thereby encouraging you to reduce portion size
    and
  • immediately result in favorable attention to your improved posture and figure, thereby motivating you to continue.

That’s right: Your tummy won’t moan in protest and you won’t go berserk from hunger. Hunger is one of the main causes of failure when people unsuccessfully attempt to diet. But you won’t give in to unbearable cravings, because you just won’t have them. Corsets diminish hunger in a matter of days or weeks for most waist-training students. When you do get hungry, you’re satisfied with a far less quantity of food, thus, you eat less.

I know, because since 1990, I’ve extolled the virtues of this magical garment to some 40,000-plus people, customers of, or visitors to, my web site and retail corset business or attendees at my corset fashion shows, exhibits, and seminars.

I’ve heard it all when customers try on their first corset and take a look in the mirror, from “Zowie!” to “Yikes!” and everything in between.

I’ve seen it all because I’ve poked, prodded, squeezed, analyzed, and measured tons (literally) of bodies—lithe and little, tall and tantalizing, fat and floppy, skinny and scrawny.

We come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes, so don’t worry too much about what you’re starting with. It’s where you end up that counts.

But let’s say you’re one of the rare people who doesn’t want to lose weight.

Even if you’ve maintained the same weight over the years, where you display that weight will likely have shifted south over time. Thus, you can still benefit from this book, because you can maintain your basic weight, yet lift your flesh and spirits northward while corseting.

You don’t know where to find a corset or how to choose a style? This book will help you find and design a style that fits you, and learn to enjoy the many other pleasures that corsets can offer.

Perhaps you already know about corsets and own and wear one or more styles. You, too, can use information in this book to help you wear that corset comfortably for longer periods of time at a tighter reduction. You can lose a few waistline inches and create an even more impressive figure.

You likely know about the use of corsets for private romantic interludes. Corsets can put some pizzazz and romance back in your life. But everyone can benefit from wearing a corset.

For ladies, corsets will boost your bustline. For everyone, corsets will improve your posture (no slumping possible—Mother will be proud of you!) and can seemingly add up to an inch to your height.

Yes, I mean that everyone can enjoy corseting, including men. I’ll explore this topic in detail in Chapter 13. For now, you can take it as fact. Mainly, I speak from my perspective, a woman’s, but my comments will generally apply to everyone. I’ll address men’s special concerns throughout.

If you’re like many of my clients and me, you may find that you develop a more positive attitude toward yourself, bring your self-image into line with reality, and begin to make healthier lifestyle choices all around. You’re bound to feel great and look just fabulous.

I hope you’ll enjoy the photos of exquisite corsets as elegant outer wear. I expect that you’ll be inspired to design a spectacular, fashion-forward corset ensemble to wear to the opening of your city’s opera, or to a Halloween fantasy ball.

Here is a photo of that loving group of corset enthusiast friends and clients I gather from time to time at a San Francisco hotel cocktail lounge or hot new dance club. We don our corset gowns, dress our beaux up in tails, tux, or business suits, and off we go to dance the night away. Upon arrival at our destination, we’ve been known to be announced with much fanfare by the band, such as, “The Corset Club has arrived!” We always attract other curious and appreciative lounge guests to join our merry group, and beg to try a corset on, for the fun of it!

Whether you’re going to waist-train or just play "dress up" or "costume corset queen," be prepared for some fascinating—and fascinated—public commentary. It’s happened to my clients, and to me.


My favorite personal story is about one special occasion on a lovely, warm summer day in San Francisco.

I was on my way to the San Francisco Palace of Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum to meet a friend, David Kunzle, whom I mention in the next chapter. I wore a flowing pink crepe dress (which you’ll see in the photo to the right and below) with matching rose brocade hourglass corset tightly laced over the dress. I also wore a wide-brimmed summer hat decorated with a large chiffon rose and long pink ribbons.

Upon seeing me, a grey-haired gentleman, who shared the bus stop bench, exclaimed, "Wow! Where did you get that outfit?" I knew from the tone in his voice that it was a friendly, approving question, not a critical or abusive one, so I quietly explained that I was a corset designer and purveyor, and was going to the museum for lunch and an outing with a friend.

"Women used to dress like that—and I loved it— hats, gloves, looking fine . . . ," his voice trailed off and his eyes practically glowed as he stared at my waistline.

On the second bus I noticed an older gentleman board, then rely on his walker to make his way slowly down the aisle and sit across from me. He couldn’t help but notice me, especially since no one else was seated nearby.

"My goodness!" he exclaimed. "Southern Belle style! That’s just great! I remember the Southern Belle style! "That makes a man feel just great to have a Southern Belle on his arm. I remember twice in my life I had a Southern Belle. Once in the Army and once after."

I smiled and thanked him. Needless to say, he made my day, and I hope I made his.

You'll see me pictured as the "southern belle" here with my mom, Pedie, at the 1994 San Francisco Grand Corset Celebration.


Some cautionary words.

But hold on another moment. I’m not a doctor. You just knew I’d say that, didn’t you? You’d be certain I’d say it if you knew I’m a . . . lawyer.

That’s right, a lawyer who practiced civil trial law for 16 years—the last six as a California Deputy Attorney General—and who decided to retire and create a socially beneficial product. Basically, I decided to make love instead of war.

Naturally, I’m concerned about saying anything whatsoever that you could take the wrong way, out of context, to an extreme, or that could cause you harm. Therefore, I’ve had medical professionals review this book, a culmination of what I have learned during many years of personal and professional experience as a corset wearer, designer, purveyor, writer, and researcher.

If you have any concerns or are experiencing any kind of health problem, please consult your doctor, or find a licensed or registered nutritionist and physical therapist to verify my information and tailor it to your particular needs.

As a friendly warning, beware of the pages of trivia and nonsense about waist training that you will find on hundreds of corset web sites and chat rooms today. Many of those discussions are little more than fantasy, containing few kernels of truth. Pictures of so-called success stories are frequently computer-enhanced.

Furthermore, much of the information out there concerning corsets makes simplistic, unsupported, and unsupportable statements. If you want to learn practical information about waist training, you need to distinguish carefully between generalities that might not fit you and specific statements that do.

Finally, some web sites and so-called “doctors” or “experts” give pat answers and advice about how to use corsets to waist train, but you’re unique. Your goals and the specific steps to reach them must be realistic for you.


In this book I’ve used only real, unretouched photos (well, maybe a wrinkle or two in the face of a model have been softened, but the body and waistline reductions are accurate), true case histories, and health-conscious and correct advice to show you the way to eventual and moderate waist-shaping success. I focus on reputable web sites with substantial expertise behind the information they publish, web sites that are likely to be around for some time. Even though some of those may be out-of-date or off-the-air when you read this book, their information will likely remain helpful for a long time to come.

Please use common sense, which, as Will Rogers said, is “exceedingly uncommon,” to ensure your continued good health and to see whether what I advise is right for you.

It’s easy, simple, fast, and fun.

* * * *

Now, please join me as we explore that pesky “Corset Question,” and put it to rest forever. I think you’re going to have a lot of fun!

Pictured right is M. Xavier and Ann at M.’s graduation after three months of waist training, celebrating M.’s three-inch waist reduction and three-pound weight loss, at the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco spring, 2005.


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