"Now, a corset can do a lot for a ladyThe corset, that most evocative of undergarments. Of course it's sexy. Designed to shape a woman's silhouette, it has captured the erotic imagination for centuries due to its ability to shrink the waist, define the hips, and to create heaving bosoms where once there were none. Even after the corset fell out of fashion in the early 20th centurynote , it has remained a feature in period films and fetish magazines. More recently, the wily corset has gone through a renaissance of sorts—now often worn as outerwear—thanks in part to the popularity of movies like Moulin Rouge! and the increased public interest in things like the Goth and steam/dieselpunk genre, not to mention the resurgence of the burlesque scene. In older fiction, corsets were sometimes used to provide mild fanservice — yes, everything's covered, but a woman's corset is still part of her underwear. Newer works get a similar reaction because corsets today are fetish or specialty wear — a 21st-century woman in a corset has a certain exotic allure without showing too much skin. Can involve Impossibly-Low Neckline, Sexy Coat Flashing. See also Of Corset Hurts for another common use of the garment in fiction.
Especially when a lady's got a lot
And a lady can do a lot for that cor-set
By filling in the bottom and top."
Especially when a lady's got a lot
And a lady can do a lot for that cor-set
By filling in the bottom and top."
— "A Corset Can Do a Lot For a Lady", The First Travelling Saleslady
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Anime & Manga
- Ruby in Rosario + Vampire wear one of these as a default outfit, when she's not in a costume for the lulz. She's quite aware of the sexiness factor, and quite often uses this to her advantage as well.
- Moka's mother Akasha combines a fiery corset and a pair of short shorts under her dress, as revealed during her sacrificial attempt to go Medieval on Alucard's ass.
- Though she changes her outfit regularly, Mai Valentine of Yu-Gi-Oh! always keeps a basque/bustier as an accessory.
- Male example: Loran Cehack from Turn A Gundam is ordered to show up at the party arranged by the Moon Race as the Turn A Gundam's pilot, though the Moon Race were told he was a female pilot named Laura. Kihel thought Loran was feminine enough and filled out a dress well, but added a corset just to make it more convincing.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!:
- Asuna and Setsuna are forced into this, and despite the obviously awkward structure of the outfit itself (never mind the undergarment), they managed to fight at full strength.
- Far later in the series, Yuuna is shown fighting in this as well as it is included with her pactio.
- Einhart Stratos of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid wears an underbust corset as part of her standard outfit.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: There's the resident Dark Action Girl Adiane the Elegant who combined a corset with her tail whip and eyepatch for maximum sexiness.
- One Piece has Team Mom Robin, wearing one of these, possibly a gift from her previous boss, Mr. O, since running around ruins in that and fishnets is hardly practical.
- In the first episode of Texhnolyze a bizarre, bionically augmented woman wears a red one as she has sex with Ichise.
- Slan, the only female member of the Godhand from Berserk pretty much wears one as her only article of clothing. And it's an underbust. To make it even kinkier, she wears a neck corset too.
- While every woman in Victorian Romance Emma wears a corset, one scene in the manga stands out: Emma's employer, Dorothea Meredith, is being dressed for the day, when her husband, Wilhelm, enters the room, and proceeds to lace his wife's corset, as a prelude for impromptu sexy-time.
- The author's commentary for that particular scene enhances the sexy part, with the author musing about the sexual implications and intimacy brought by a male lacing his wife (or his French Maid)'s outfit.
- A very unique example, the Slime girl from 'Deadline Summonner'' wears one as her default outfit. Why? We don't know.
- In a very unusual instance, the male Villain Protagonist of Death Note, Light Yagami, wears a corset under his shirt for a portion of the story... in order to hide his favorite murder weapon. Of course, in the anime version, he finds an equally awkward place to keep it.
- The Big Bad of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, appropriately named Corset, pretty much makes it a mission in life to avert the hell out of this trope as hard as he possibly can. Of Corset Hurts, though... but he wouldn't have it any other way.
- Ghost Talkers Daydream: Seen in the anime's cover art◊, which shows Misaki in her S&M attire, which she almost always wears under her street clothes, since she's a dominatrix.
- In Knights of the Old Republic, the female members of the Crucible all wear dominatrix style outfits.
- Batman villain White Rabbit wears this, and very little else.
- In X-23 when Laura is taken in she is offered to pick from Megan's clothing. She picks out gothic fetish wear and has rolled with this ever since.
- This is part of Screamqueen's (who is a goth girl vampire) standard outfit in Scare Tactics, and she is definitely the sexiest member of the band.
- Lady Mechanika's central character is a Steam Punk Cyborg Action Girl who is never seen without her corset.
- Depending on the Artist Zatanna is sometimes depicted as wearing one. This is the route Grant Morrison went with in Seven Soldiers.
- Emma Frost look when she was the White Queen in the Hellfire Club.
- The page quote comes from the 1956 musical The First Traveling Saleslady, starring Ginger Rogers and Carol Channing. Paradoxically, Rogers spends most of the movie trying to hawk barbed wire in Texas (and eluding ranchers, including her love interest, deeply opposed to same) while disguising herself as what she originally was, a corset saleswoman!
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: Elizabeth is made to wear one in an early scene because it was "the latest fashion in London" and she was going to meet a suitor. In the audio commentary Keira Knightley says her cleavage was painted on.
- Quickly shifts into Of Corsets Painful because, being unaccustomed to corsets, she passes out from the sudden lack of oxygen less than ten minutes later.
- Rita Escobar, love interest of both of the main characters from Wild Wild West and several other gorgeous women in corsets as one of its better points.
- Underworld. Selene wears a corset over her black leather (pleather? latex? vinyl?) catsuit. The sequel implies that the corset has an actual function: being bullet-resistant, which comes in handy when the character gets buckshot straight to the chest. The corset comes away with only minor damage, and Selene just gets pissed off.
- Several of the characters from The Rocky Horror Picture Show appear in corsets and fishnets for the final act, albeit under mind control.
- Maggie Cheung spends much of her screen time in Irma Vep wearing a fetish bodysuit with built-in corset. At one point, her body double complains that the corset is too tight, but Maggie replies that she feels fine in hers.
- Jane Smith wears a corset as part of her dominatrix outfit (which she wears to get to a mark) in Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
- As if she needed any more help catching male viewers' attentions, Lilah in Jonah Hex wears a couple of shockingly tight corsets.
- Sophia Loren strips to a black corset and stockings for an examination by (and an unsuccessful attempt by her to seduce) doctor Peter Sellers in The Millionairess.
- Marias I and II become stage sensations and inadvertently "invent" striptease by undressing down to their corsets and stockings in a key scene in Viva Maria!.
- Clotilde and Madeleine wear corsets in several scenes in the 2011 version of Bel Ami; Madeleine has sex with Georges in one scene while wearing her pink satin corset, and Georges laces Clotilde into her powder-blue corset after a tryst.
- Miriam strips down to her corset (and then removes it, slipping under the sheets nude except for black silk drawers) during her first bedroom scene in The Great Train Robbery.
- The intense desire of Patti Robinson to be allowed to wear corsets as a mark of her transition to young womanhood is a key plot point in the early-1950's musical Two Weeks With Love. She wants to wear corsets so much, in fact, that she even has fantasies about them, set to the music of the aria from The Chocolate Soldier; she swans around wearing only a snug corset, long white gloves, fishnet tights, high heels and a picture hat, drawing the attention of every man around her like a lodestone!
- One scene in the 1962 comedy It Happened In Athens features Eleni Costa stripping down to her underwear, revealing an impressively tight corset. It is in that state of undress that she first meets and tries to seduce a young man, Spiridon Loues, whom she finds taking a shower in her bathroom.
- Lina Cavalieri fights a sword duel while stripped down to her camisole and corset (with a pair of tight pants and cavalier-style boots) in one scene in La Donna Piu' Bella Del Mondo ("Beautiful But Dangerous"), and is clearly tightly corseted in several other scenes under her Gorgeous Period Dress.
- Odette is shown donning a corset (with the help of her maid) in an early scene in Swann In Love.
- In Attack of the Clones Padme Amidala wears a black dress with a mermaid skirt, leather corset, and feather shawl in the fireside scene.
- In The Legend of Frenchie King, Maria Sarrazin is conveniently wearing one when her rival forces her into singing in front of the entire village.
- One of the first shots in Curse of the Golden Flower is a line of lady servants getting their corsets cinched up. The empress also wears a corset-like garment. There are a lot of heaving bosoms in this movie. A lot.
- The protagonist of John Varley's Steel Beach adopts corsets when she moves into a Victorian-era historical reenactment community (even though period underwear is not required) on the theory that anything worth doing is worth doing right. She freely admits the titillation factor played a significant role in her decision.
- In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett's corset wearing skills are such that she has the smallest waist in the region, which is cited as one of the main reasons for her appeal. Later on (between and after pregnancies) she absolutely refuses to let go of that waist and demands her servants to lace her up as before.
- Swedish writer Simona Ahrnstedt goes back and forth between this and Of Corset Hurts in her debut novel Íverenskommelser. If a woman shapes her body as much as possible, men will of course find her more attractive. But we also get several allusions to how uncomfortable it can be to wear a corset, but a lady is expected to do it anyway.
- Tavin, in Witchell A Symphony has a bit of a thing for corsets, but is aware that they take training, time and a great deal of effort. His older brother makes rude comments about tight-lacing (something polite young men aren't supposed to know about, let alone talk about!) The trope gets palyed with, however, because the main corset-wearer in the book is Ben, who is a Drag Queen.
- Gemma Doyle: The covers of the first and last novels of the trilogy both have the backs of corseted girls.
- Abby on NCIS has a few; they go rather nicely with her tiny miniskirts and combat boots.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A requirement for female vampires. Who don't have to breathe, as noticed by Willow Rosenberg when Dressing as the Enemy (in this case, her Mirror Universe counterpart, Vampire Willow).
Willow: It's a little binding. I guess vampires really don't have to breathe. (looks down at her chest) Gosh, look at those. (male Scoobies all look embarrassed)
- This seems to extend to The Vampire Diaries, as sexy vampire Katherine wears one even when she's in bed. Sorta justified, as she lives in Civil War America. She seems to have ditched them in the present though.
- Just about all the actresses, both lead and extra, in Dracula wear corsets under their gowns and dresses, or visibly in some scenes.
- Mrs. Peel wore one in the episode "A Touch of Brimstone" of The Avengers, which was about a resurrected Hellfire Club.
- In Coronation Street, Rosie Webster tries to seduce someone while wearing a basque. This got the "ban this filth" brigade at the Daily Mail hot and bothered, and they promptly printed a picture to accompany said article.
- Edie Britt wears a lot of corsets in Desperate Housewives. Also, Susan when she resorts to cleaning in lingerie on the internet when Mike runs the family into debt.
- Considering her Femme Fatale Spy status, it is not too surprising that Sydney Bristow ended up in one on more than one occasion. One incident involved Sydney singing in a nightclub (it wasn't apparently that good), sidling her way over to The Dragon during it, with the objective being to get his biometric data for later use in cracking his security system.
- In one of the Babylon 5 TV Movies (River of Souls), a shady businessman runs a holo-brothel Down Below. One of his more popular models is Captain Elizabeth Lochley in a corset. It's especially popular with the female customers.
- In "Western Show", an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, not only does Theresa say she likes the corset she's wearing, but then Jerry asks why he doesn't have one.
- Aside from the 'corset-as-outer-wear' that the Queen wears as part of her costume, Queen of Swords (being set in 1817) also features the female cast wearing corsets as the more traditional undergarment. Naturally the writers never pass up an opportunity to show The Vamp Vera lounging around in her corset waiting for her lover.
- The Smallville episode "Spell" has the witches in corsets, as mentioned in the commentary, and when Lana's boyfriend asks her why she's dressed like that she says it makes her feel sexy. At the end of the episode Clark says that the witch who had possessed Lana had been aggressively sexy so Lana calls her an evil slut.
- Lost Girl: Kenzi regularly wears corsets as outerwear, usually on top of her shirt. This is no small part of her Perky Goth image. In the first four seasons, she is rarely seen not wearing one, except when she's going undercover in a mundane role.
- Inspector George Gently: Wanda Lane dons a merry widow and fishnet stockings when she attempts to seduce Gently in "The Burning Man".
- All three of the Halliwell sisters wear them in season 3 of Charmed, Phoebe in particular.
- Castle's Detective Kate Beckett dons a couple of corseted costumes in the episode "Once Upon a Time in the West" as she gets into the spirit of the cowboy-themed resort she and Castle are investigating, the first time leaving Castle tongue-tied upon initially seeing his new wife.
- Doctor Who: The 2012 Christmas special, "The Snowmen", features a scene where Clara Oswin Oswald changes clothes in a carriage, with a brief view of her corset in the process.
- Emilie Autumn is very, very big on corsets. And she doesn't skimp on how tightly they're laced, either, even during concerts.
- Sharon den Adel, lead singer of Within Temptation, who designs all her stage clothes herself (she studied fashion before becoming a professional singer) usually wears a corset on stage.
- Corsets are pretty much staples in the wardrobe of any lead female singer of most Gothic Metal, industrial, darkwave, or related music acts.
- Cherie Currie of the Runaways wore a white corset/basque as her trademark stage gear, as a quick google of her name immediately demonstrates.
- Madonna: The woman was infamous for her corsets back in the '80s.
- Former Versailles bassist Jasmine You wore these. This is notable mostly because he was a man... a man who could pull off a corset better than most women can.
- Standard part of Lady Ophelia's ring gear.
- Daffney wore corsets when hosting SHINE 3 and SHINE 5.
- Downplayed by April Hunter in SHINE, who frequently wears her corset somewhat loose and on top of something else.
- Averted a UCW Zero by Fella Twin Chip, who wore a Batman Corset as part of a Halloween event in 2014.
- Yashiro in The World Ends with You wears one, although curiously she wears it over her shirt.
- Yggdra and Monica from Yggdra Union are both drawn wearing corsets (and Yggdra starts out with an item called the Silk Corset equipped). Seeing as the game is in a vaguely medieval-renaissance-industrial-revolution-type era, it only makes sense that Yggdra (as a princess) might have to wear one. Seeing as Monica is a peasant, though, she shouldn't be able to afford hers...
- Batman: Arkham Asylum puts Harley Quinn in one as part of her Naughty Nurse Outfit.
- Fable II has it as an option, if worn by a female hero, it raises the attractiveness stats by a considerable amount. when worn by a male hero on the other hand...
- Mabinogi has several NPCs and supernatural non-humans in corsets. Most notable are the Succubus, higher level versions of which drop a (non-wearable) corset; and NPC nightclub singer Rua, who wears a rather brief version.
- Among other stripperific costumes, most of the modded heavy armor in the Neverwinter Nights mod A Dance with Rogues turned into external corsets and panties. And nothing else.
- One of these is Casey Lynch's alternate costume in Guitar Hero III.
- Gun-toting She-Fu extraordinaire Saika Magoichi from Sengoku Basara wears a backless corset that only seems to stay on through sheer force of will.
- Trish from Devil May Cry wears one with a giant slit down the front.
- Young Lescanzi Witches in Dungeon Siege III tend to favor this look, including playable character Katarina and her sister Leona. Also confirmed by a Where Are They Now segment if you turn control of Gunderic Manor over to Leona.
- Natasha from Rusty Hearts wears a midriff-baring one.
- The female prostitutes at the Blooming Rose in Dragon Age II wear variously colored corsets and nothing else... as does, perhaps surprisingly, the wide-eyed innocent Merrill if you romance her.
- Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite wears one under her shirt, and then without a shirt after her original outfit is soaked with blood. The game even makes you cinch it up for her at one point after it becomes loose. Worth pointing out that it's rarely, if ever, played for fanservice (and that goes double for the bit where you have to cinch it up).
- Femme Fatale Belleza from Skies of Arcadia wears one over a turtleneck.
- A zigzagged version of the trope appears in Fallen London, where one can buy a dress that comes with a corset. Due to the nature of the game, you won't get to actually see anyone wearing the corset, but the text does acknowledge that it does "wonders for the figure" (and can also stop a knife).
- The Matrix: Path of Neo has an unnamed Lady of Black Magic who wears a red, purple and black corset.
- Squigly in Skullgirls wears a corset that gives her an improbable Hartman Hips figure. It's quite possible the corset is actually crushing her organs, but as an adorable magically-animated zombie, she doesn't need them.
- Lucy, the Daiva of Lust, in DevilBear wears a corset as part of her standard wardrobe.
- Agatha in Girl Genius is known to wear corsets over her clothes. They work very well for her.
- Pato from M9 Girls! wears a corset-like super-heroine costume. It fits perfectly her buxom looks.
- An early arc in Queen of Wands involved Kestrel and Shannon shopping for corsets as a sexy-time thing for Shannon and Felix's anniversary.
- Amber in Shortpacked! wore this during her sexy phase (while Robin filled in for her as the Meganekko).
- Robin in the Coga Nito Hallowe'en special mentions she's wearing one as part of her Vampira outfit.
- Kimchi Cuddles: Nora is delighted to learn that her new girlfriend Crystal is wearing a corset under her clothes.
- Adding a corset is the only nod Sparkle from Sidekick Girl makes to an Evil Costume Switch.
- A few characters from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe wear these as part of their costume:
- Internet babe Vinyl Meow (also known as Amy Villainous) is almost never seen without a corset. This might be one reason why she looks nowhere near the 200 pounds her modelling profile lists (the other being her enormous breasts).
- The Nostalgia Chick will wear a corset once in a while.
- In The Nostalgia Critic review of "Moulin Rouge", Lindsay, Nella, and Elisa show up wearing corsets and feather boas.
- In To Boldly Flee, the Chick shows up at Critic's house with a corset and fishnets for a Rocky Horror Picture Show review. Critic tentatively asks if she's going to be wearing it and Chick grins cheerfully and tells him nope. Sadly, due to Critic's sudden existence failure, we never get to see it.
- The host of Vampire Reviews, The Maven of the Eventide, loves wearing corsets. Her 10 Good Things About Twilight review features a corset so tight you can see her chest going up and down as she breathes, and it prevents her from staking herself to get out of the review.
- Ruby Rose of RWBY wears a corset as part of her usual ensemble of clothes. It does not hinder her combat skills in any way, shape or form. Pyrrha also wears one that's attached to her chest armor.
- The The Simpsons picture above comes from the episode "Helter Shelter" where the family becomes the star of a 1900's House-style reality show. The scene in question shows Marge getting laced into a corset and initially being satisfied at its effects on her figure, before realizing that the stays had made her feet swell up to twice their normal size.
- Gwen from Total Drama that wears a corset-like black top with blue and green sleeves.