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Hold your breath: Corsets are making a comeback

Nadine Kalinauskas
Shine On
November 28, 2012

'Tis the season to force a tiny waistline. Corsets are back.

While corsets are certainly not new — Marie Antoinette comes to mind, with Mad Men and then Downton Abbey helping usher in a more recent shapewear resurgence — ones made from from high-tech fabrics used in Formula One car seating and scuba material are.

Italian brand Oh My Corset! uses materials capable of literally holding back avalanches to create super-strength, stretchy, breathable one-size-fits-all corsets that already are "rumoured" to have a slew of famous fans.

Skinny waists don't come cheap.

Also see: The Internet's most popular fashion brand

"The corsets, which range from £325 ($516 CAD) to £940 ($1494 CAD) and are available in Paris and London boutiques, combine the modern fabrics with detailing and materials originating from traditional Italian couture like silk, satin, wool yarns, pearlage embroideries, crystals and glass stones," the Daily Mail reports.

Not everyone is impressed with the trend.

"Yes, ladies, for just £325 to £940 apiece you can fight pesky extra pounds or bothersome things like having a rib cage with the power of the mesh made to hold back avalanches," Blisstree's Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes.

While a corset with stretch sounds more comfortable than one that keeps its shape with rigid whale bone, health professionals still warn that wearing a corset for long periods of time can be detrimental to your health.

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"If you're wearing a corset 24/7, it can do a couple of things to your body," Dr. Sara Gottfried, a gynecologist who's been treating women for 20 years, tells ABC News.

"Namely, it will be squeezing your ribs so much that you can't take a deep breath. Corsets can squish your lungs by 30 to 60 percent, making you breathe like a scared rabbit. They can also put a kink in your organs and cause constipation."

She advises that all corset-wearers be over 21, consult their doctors to ensure their lungs and liver are healthy, and that you introduce corset-wearing slowly, starting with short periods of time.

When it comes to getting the waistline you want, a gym membership might require more time and effort of you, but at least you'll get a thumbs-up for your doc.

Or just dress strategically. Here are 12 easy ways to define your waist without resorting to corsetry.

Don't you want to be able to eat — and breathe, for that matter — at your company's holiday bash?

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