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FAQ: Are these real corsets?

are these real corsets

FAQ: Are these real corsets?

This is a question we get fairly regularly and I’m never totally sure how to answer it. The answer is yes but there seems to be a little bit of an exclusionary attitude when it comes to corsets so I thought I would break down what a corset is and let you make up your own mind.

What exactly is a corset

Traditionally, a corset is a tight fitting undergarment that is designed to cinch the waist and typically had boning and lacing. They have been used for fashion and medical purposes and have been worn by both and men and women. Underbust corsets or waist cinchers are worn below your bra. Overbust corsets can be worn in place of a bra or over your bra depending what you’re comfortable with. Today, corsets are worn as an undergarment or shapewear, or corsets can be worn as a top.

are these real corsets

Boning

Boning is used to give the corset shape on your body. The more boning and the closer it is together, then the more cinche you will get. People generally think of whale boning when they think of corsets but today steel, flexible steel and plastic are generally used. Plastic boned corsets are the least expensive and typically what you would find at big box stores like Forever 21 or La Senza. Plastic boned corsets are great for costumes and causal wear however the boning is prone to kinking. Flexible steel boning is a nice middle of the road option. Corsets with flexible steel boning will give you a great shape but still let you move comfortably and they’re not terrible to wear for hours on end. Really heavy duty steel boning is great for people who are really serious about corsetry. They give amazing shape and they generally take a little bit of practice to wear for a long period of time.

Bonus: How to Tie Your Own Corset

What we do

Handmade Venus & Mars corsets fall somewhere between the flexible steel boning and the heavy steel. They give great shape due the heavy steel boning on the sides but the front and back have flexible steel boning so you can still move and bend and breathe comfortably. They are available online and in store. In our brick and mortar, we also carry imported flexible steel boned corsets as well as plastic boned corsets. We liked to carry a variety of options at different price points so that corsets can be accessible to everyone.

Corsets are fun to wear and they can make you feel sexy or powerful or whatever you’d like. They are great as shapewear or on their own. Corsets are a great tool for cosplay or costumes and they look excellent as part of a steampunk outfit. Like anything, I feel like when you start to take corsets too seriously or narrow the definition to a point where it excludes people it stops being fun. What do you think? Am I totally wrong? Let us know in the comments. Better yet, come down to the store and try a couple on. Then you can decide for yourself whether or not our corsets are real.

Like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the latest scoop on what we’re up to. You can also sign up for the Steampunk Tempest in order to get awesome, secret deals.

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Christmas Party Outfit Ideas for the Ladies

Costco, Michael’s and The Bay have had their Christmas displays up since like August, but now that it is officially after Remembrance Day, we can start getting into the nitty gritty of Christmas. When I worked in an office, our Christmas Party was one of the only days of the year when I felt like I could dress like myself. Monday to Friday, I had to cosplay as a secretary but once HR had a couple of sips of eggnog I was free to be my corseted self. If you’re anything like me then you’re ready to let your freak flag fly in the office. Last week we covered outfit suggestions for guys, this week these are my suggestions for Christmas Party Attire for the ladies.

Underblouse and Cincher

This is one of my favorite combinations. The underblouse has three quarter length sleeves that give you a bit of coverage on your shoulders and upper arms but the sheer fabric helps you feel sexy. The underbust feels like a hug when you wear it. Bonus, the boning will make you stand up straight. If you wear this combo with a camisole and pencil skirt then people will hardly even notice that you’re wearing a corset.

Queen Anne Corsetlet and Princess Skirtprincess skirt

If you’re feeling dramatic and you want everyone to know, then I suggest a Queen Anne Corsetlet and Princess Skirt.  You will look like the royal you suspect everyone knows you are. You’ll look formal enough for any venue you visit. Don’t worry about being overdressed, when you’re a queen everyone is simply under dressed.

christmas partyCorset Waist Belt and any little black dress

If you’re feeling a bit shy and you don’t want to go balls out bizarre around your muggle coworkers, try a corset waist belt with a little black dress. The waist belt will show off your curves and the lace up in the front gives the appearance of a corset without all that pesky boning. You’ll be able to eat and drink as much as you like and dance the night away. Win!

Venus & Mars is a small business located in the heart of Gastown, Vancouver, BC. We have been providing quality, handmade, alternative clothing since 1993. Everything Venus & Mars is designed by shop owner, Sanne Lambert, and made in Vancouver. We started out making Goth and Victorian alternative formal wear but over the past decade we have morphed into including pieces for steampunk, cosplay, festival costumes, and LARP gear. Now, we provide awesome people with clothing for weddings, grad, Burning Man, conventions are everyday life. We have also been featured in some film and television. Please visit our About Page for a comprehensive list. Want to stay up to date on what we’re up to? Join our mailing list to get weekly blog posts delivered to your inbox. Or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Halloween Steampunk Costume Suggestions!

steampunk halloween costume

Oh my gosh it’s almost October.  Do you know what that means? Do you? It means it’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right it’s just about Halloween month! It’s the holiday of our people: the spooky people. There’s going to pumpkins everywhere and skeletons and little bat friends. What’s not to love? In addition to all the spooky awesome, we also get to dress up in costumes! I’m so pumped I can barely contain myself.

October also means we’ll have a ton of people looking for steampunk costumes so I thought I’d jump the gun a bit and post some Halloween Steampunk outfit ideas to get October started right.

brown steampunk halloweenClassic Steampunk

So I think when most people think of Steampunk they think of three things: goggles, gears and the colour brown. This super cute steampunk outfit hits all those notes. I really like this look because it’s monochromatic but still interesting to look at. Ivette is wearing a brown satin peasant blouse with a brown reversible waist cincher, a brown lace circle square skirt and, a steampunk bustle pocket belt. We added a brown derby hat with bronze cybersteam goggles on top and black glovets and a choker to balance some of the black in the pocket belt. It’s a little Victorian, a little bit western and definitely ready for adventure. You’ll be immediately recognizable as steampunk in this outfit and you’ll be so much more unique than someone who bought a bagged costume.

Steampunk Watch Makersteampunk peter halloween

This dapper steampunk look may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of steampunk but it is just as steamy. The uniqueness and unexpected all black look makes it interesting. Peter is wearing a military frock coat with a black ruffle poet shirt. We added a pair of round spectacles and a pocket watch to give him a little bit more a nerdy, elegant look. We suggest pairing these items with a pair of black bondage pants, a black pocket vest and a pair of boots. You’ll be the classiest person in the room in this costume regardless of where your end up going.

Out of the Box Steampunk Mage

If you really want to try something out of the box then why not make your version of a steampunk mage? Ivette is wearing a pair of sleeves with a black bandeau, a wine waist cincher, a multipoint pocket belt and satin princess skirt. We kept the accessories pretty simple with a pair of red spectacles and a leather corset choker. This is a show stopping look.  I guarantee that no one will look as cool as you in an outfit like this. It may not be instantly recognizable as a character or traditional Halloween costume but everyone will recognize that you have the coolest costume in the room.

So there’s three Halloween Steampunk outfit suggestions for you. Which one is your favourite? What are you dressing up as for Halloween? Let us know in the comments below.

Like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the latest scoop on what we’re up to. You can also sign up for the Steampunk Tempest in order to get awesome, secret deals.

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Featured Product: Kilt Pin Skirts

Every once in a while someone will ask me: What is your favourite thing in the store?

How could I begin to answer that? I love cloaks because I feel like they transport me to a fantasy adventure whenever I put one on. I love corsets because I become a sexy femme fatal when I lace one up. And I love kilts because really is there anything sexier than a man in a kilt? How could I possibly choose just one thing as a favourite?

If you rephrase that question and ask what I have gotten the most wear out of then hands down, no contest, the answer is the kilt pin skirt. Seriously, I have half a dozen different colours of kilt pin skirts and I love them so much. You may be wondering how I keep my outfits so fresh and interesting if I just keep buying multiples of the same item. Fear not, I have some suggestions to give your kilt pin skirt some different looks.

kilt pin skirtKilt Pin Skirt + Nerdy Graphic Tee = Match Made in Heaven

My absolutely favourite thing to wear with my kilt pin skirt is a nerdy tee shirt, some stripey tights and doc marten boots. It looks super cute together and lets you show your personality. As an added bonus, your nerdy shirt can act as a filter to decide who you want to talk to. In other words, if you know what “the angels have the phone box” means or why bowties are cool then we’ll probably have lots to talk about.

kilt pin skirt

Kilt Skirt + Corset = Awesome Sexy Power Outfit

If I’m going out somewhere fancy and I want to step up my game then I will go for a kilt pin skirt with a corset. I love the sophistication of the corset with the flirty kilt pin skirt. You can feel sassy and stylish without being too exposed. If you really want to step up your game add some fishnet stockings and a pair of boots!

wizard glovesKilt Skirt + Underbust Holster Vest = Magic

So if you haven’t tried one of our underbust holster vests then you should get your butt down here and try one on. They are amazing and awesome and you will love it. Do you know what goes great with one? A Kilt Pin Skirt! The kilt pin skirt is basic enough that it will let a cool piece like the underbust holster vest shine. If you want to kick it up add some cool gloves and a choker.

Venus & Mars is a small business located in the heart of Gastown, Vancouver, BC. We have been providing quality, handmade, alternative clothing since 1993. Everything Venus & Mars is designed by shop owner, Sanne Lambert, and made in Vancouver. We started out making Goth and Victorian alternative formal wear but over the past decade we have morphed into including pieces for steampunk, cosplay, festival costumes, and LARP gear. Now, we provide awesome people with clothing for weddings, grad, Burning Man, conventions are everyday life. We have also been featured in some film and television. Please visit our About Page for a comprehensive list. Want to stay up to date on what we’re up to? Join our mailing list to get weekly blog posts delivered to your inbox. Or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Back to Cool (How to Express your Individuality with a Dress Code)

Going back to school can be a bummer. Luckily there is a shining beacon of hope: Back to School Shopping! You can get awesome, new, fabulous outfits that lets you express your individuality. Sometimes navigating school dress codes can be tricky. Don’t worry, I have your back and I have come up with some different levels of outfits to test the boundaries of your school’s dress code.

Level One:

Try a purple plaid kilt skirt with a purple velvet tank, a lace up crop and a black pocket belt for a super sassy back to school look. There is nothing more luxurious than wearing velvet. When you’re stuck at your desk, watching the minutes tick by you can feel like royalty. The lace up crop shrug lets you hide your bra straps (if that is an issue at your school) while still being a little risque and sexy with the lace up in the front. The pocket belt lets you carry all your important things like your wallet, keys, phone, pens and pencils so you can carry your books. Bonus, you don’t have to worry about lugging around a backpack!

Level Two:

If you managed to sneak past the authorities in the first outfit then you can crank up the intensity with a kilt pin skirt, Queen Anne Corsetlet, and black velvet shrug. The kilt pin skirt is longer in the back so you don’t have to worry about it being too short to wear at school. The Queen Anne Corsetlet has the look of a corset with the laceup front. The velvet shrug will hide any bra straps and cover the shoulders.

Level Three:

If you’re feeling daring then you should try a peasant blouse with a waist cincher, vest and a kilt pin skirt. The peasant blouse will cover up enough for school. The waist cincher might not be dress code but since it’s an under the bust it does not give the same oomph that a corset. It might just sneak under the radar. If you do get in trouble, just button up the vest and problem solved.

What you planning to get for your back to school wardrobe this year? Let us know in the comments below.

Do you want the inside scoop on other events that we will be attending?  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Want super secret deals and tricks and tips for building your wardrobe? Don’t forget to sign up for up the Steampunk Tempest.