I would like to introduce you to Karen Wright.
I found Karen via Internet and facebook searches looking for modern riding corsets and other general information for this blog! This is a sampling of what I found!! Blew me away!
Previously - the only thing I found that was labeled "riding corset" looked like this.. which is beautiful, but not cut high over the hip and not as cinched in the waist as I wanted. This is not one of Karen's corsets.
I interviewed Karen and this is what she told me:
"I have always loved corsets from a far back as I can remember. As soon as I was old enough (and had some money!) I bought my first off the peg corset from a company in Brighton. I loved this but wasn't quite satisfied with the fit, it could be very uncomfortable and dug in and on further investigation I found other people found this too, unless they were a perfect shape, with shop bought corsets."
This is a picture off of an ad for a typical sidesaddle riding corset from the very early 1900's.
"Whilst studying for my degree in costume, I went on work experience with Michael Garrod of 'True Grace' corsets and learned to make made to measure corsetry. I also went to work for C&S Constructions, which are a company that deal with very tight lacers and from here I learned alot about ladies and indeed gent's rib cages and how far a person could go with tight lacing corsets. This was how my love of corsets began and I still get a thrill from making a corset for someone and seeing their beaming smile for their 'new waist'.
However, my love of side saddle riding presented a new problem, finding a corset one could comfortably and safely ride in. I experimented with a lot of shapes and suffered sore ribs in the process but finally came up with a modern version of an 1880's riding corset. This corset is cut high on the hips to allow for movement in this area, it also supports the back and the bust! I also included a elastic side panel over the rib area, which doesn't affect the waist but gives an all important degree of breathing room!"
You can see the elastic panels in this photo.
..and the construction of the garment in this photo.
"I and most of my side saddle friends have given this design a thorough testing, jumping, hunting, and gymkhana games are just some of the things we have managed without having to suffer for our vanity!"
"Corsets aren't every one's cup of tea but I would recommend if you are going to wear a corset, to make sure it is comfortable and that you enjoy it!
"The basic riding corsets are £100 but can go up to £200 depending on fabric etc. They are cut high on the hip to allow movement and have a cunning elastic panel over the rib cage to allow you extra movement and lung capacity without compromising the shape at all! It's all in the cutting! I always wear one myself when riding and have hunted in it, jumped and well wouldn't be without one."
She is currently working on a website at the moment. She will be specialising in side saddle riding corsets would be very happy to make a corset for anyone if they are interested, or indeed pass on recommendations for companies that she knows to be very good and answer any questions you may have.
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen, please keep us updated and remember to give me your new web address when it is done, so I can post it for all the readers to enjoy!