and corset wearers
there are really two kinds of people who wear corsets (some argue that there are actually 3 or 4 categories of corset wearers, but i've only split them in 2 for simplicity's sake). there are those who wear it for fashionable reasons, including cross dressers, and then there are those who wear them more for the masochistic pleasure of body modification. fetishistic tight lacers are, naturally, far fewer in number, but far more interesting as well. in addition to the traditional corset, there are also penis corsets (tubes of leather or rubber that lace down the middle) and neck corsets. corsets are erotic. not just for tight lacers, but for many people. simply stated, they're women's underwear. just the word corset evokes images of svelte, beauties - buxom breasts, small waists, rounded hips. all the signs of a young, fertile woman. its femininity is the reason why a cross dresser may enjoy wearing one - it makes him feel womanly. they're not just feminine, they're evocative of strength as well. the boning up and down the corset is hard and inflexible, the steel busks in the front, too, are cold and hard, almost like a cage holding you in. it makes you stand straighter and walk taller, and like high heels, juts you out in a sexually provocative manner. who wouldn't be turned on? and the materials they're made out of are rich and sensual. velvet, brocade, leather, rubber, satin - soft and very fulfilling to touch.
fashionably speaking, both submissives and dominants wear corsets. for the dominatrix, her corset becomes her armor, giving her a look of inpentrability -- the slave may look, but cannot touch. the slave on the other hand, experiences the corset as a punishment, as bondage. men also wear corsets, and there are indeed modern men such as fakir musafar (aka the modern primitive) and pearl who are well known tight-lacers (both reduced their waists to 19 inches).
tight lacing as a form of body modification requires significant commitment. to be serious about corset training you must wear your corset 24 hours a day. you can take it off briefly to bathe, but then it must go right back on. ideally, you should diet and exercise in addition to wearing the corset so that you lose any excess weight.
when you purchase your first corset (and you generally can't get a decent one for much less than $300), you should buy one that is four inches smaller than your current waist size. for example, if you have a 28 inch waist, you would want to buy a 24 inch corset. gradually, if you're serious about training, you'd have to buy smaller and smaller corsets.
when you put your corset on for the first time, you'll want to lace it tight. in a couple of hours, after your body adjusts, you'll need to tighten it again and then again. if you really want to modify your body, you need to be disciplined. it's about your clothes taking control over you; your corset takes control over you and your behavior. there are certain things you just can't do with a corset on - slouching, for instance, is impossible.
health problems related to tight lacing are virtually non-existant if you do it correctly (that is gradually and with proper diet and exercise). most claims of corset induced diseases have been either greatly exaggerated or are simply invalid. and as for the rumor about victorian women removing their ribs, well there simply is no evidence that it's true.
besides pearl and fakir musafar, the empress elizabeth of austria (1837-1898) is another famous tight lacer. she had a waist measuring 19.5 inches. she was 5ft 7.5 in, 110 lbs and was obsessed with dieting, exercise, and tight lacing. the most famous modern tight-lacer would be ethel granger, of peterborough, england. over several years, she reduced her waist from 23 inches to 13, and is even listed in the guinness book of world records as having the world's smallest waist. she was 5 ft, 3in, and about 100 lbs (she died in 1982).
since the mid 80's, corsets have become much more prominent in mainstream fashion. big time designers such as vivienne westwood, jean-paul gaultier (who designed madonna's shell-pink satin corset with the very pointy breasts), thierry mugler, azzadine alaia, betsey johnson, christian lacroix, valentino, and karl lagerfield all have made corsets.
models can be seen wearing corsets up and down the runways and on magazine covers. most recently (and this is several months back), i saw a cover of the spice girls and one of them (who knows which one) is wearing a corset that looks very much like one from versatile fashions in, i believe it was patent leather. however, many "modern" corsets tend to be made with flimsier materials, and many often just zip up instead of actually lacing, but they've become more acceptable now, especially as outerwear - if you're going to wear a corset, why not show it off?