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Of Corsets Sexy
Wait, when did Marge get a waist? And cleavage?!

Now, a corset can do a lot for a lady
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

Of course a corset is sexy. Designed to shape a woman's silhouette, it has captured people's attention for centuries for its ability to shrink the waist, define the hips, and to create heaving bosoms where there were once none. Even after they stopped being ubiquitous in the early 20th centurynote , they remained a feature in period films and fetish magazines. More recently, they have gone through a renaissance of sorts-—now oftentimes as outerwear—thanks in part to the popularity of movies like Moulin Rouge! and the rise in popularity of things like the Goth and steam/dieselpunk genre and the resurgence of the burlesque scene.

In older fiction, corsets were sometimes used as a way to provide mild fan service—after all, getting to see a woman's corset meant seeing a woman in a state of undress. While they are still sometimes used in this manner, corsets are now also something the costumers go for when they want something unconventionally sexy but doesn't require them to show a lot of skin.

Can involve Impossibly-Low Neckline, Sexy Coat Flashing. See also Of Corset Hurts for another common use of the garment in fiction.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    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 ∀ 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 ViVid 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: This is deliberately invoked by 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.

    Comics 

    Films 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Carmela strips to a black corset and stockings for an examination by doctor Peter Sellers in The Millionairess.
  • 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 sashays around wearing only a snug corset, long white gloves, 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 do 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 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Padme Amidala wears a black dress with a mermaid skirt, leather corset, and feather shawl in the fireside scene.

    Literature 
  • 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 Överenskommelser. 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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. Vampire Willow was an extreme example.
    Willow: It's a little binding. I guess vampires really don't have to breathe. Gosh look at those.
    • Anne wore one when she was going through her "Chanterelle" phase.
  • 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.
  • Considering her Mata Hari 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.
  • Corsets are a staple for Kenzi on Lost Girl.
  • 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.

    Music 

    Pinball 
  • The backglass for Black Rose shows Captain Rose going into battle wearing a cape and a blood-red corset.
  • The dominatrix Rider of Bally's Centaur wears a tight black leather corset.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Daffney wore corsets when hosting Shine 3 and Shine 5.

    Toys 

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 
  • Lucy, the Daiva of Lust, in DevilBear wears a corset as part of her standard wardrobe.
  • Amber in Shortpacked! wore this during her sexy phase (while Robin filled in for her as the Meganekko).
  • 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.
  • Agatha in Girl Genius is known to wear corsets over her clothes. They work very well for her.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • 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

Mechanical MonsterSteampunk IndexZeppelins from Another World
Nude-Colored ClothesFanservice CostumesPainted-On Pants
Of Corsets FunnyUnmentionablesPanty Shot
High-Class GlassIndex of Gothic Horror TropesOpera Gloves
Hourglass HottieThe Edwardian EraOld-Timey Bathing Suit
Of Corset HurtsJust for PunObsessed Are the Listmakers
Of Corpse He's AliveImageSource/Western AnimationPerson as Verb
Of Corsets FunnyCostume TropesOfficial Cosplay Gear

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