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Which corset tops should you buy for winter?

It’s tempting to retreat into baggy sweatshirts and jeans when the cold starts to creep in. But once the holiday season gets into full swing, plenty of occasions require a more formal style. Whether you’re headed to the office holiday party or a night out with friends, corset tops let you add a chic look to your outfit. Combine one with some light layers to keep the chill off your skin, and you’re on to a winter fashion winner.  

What is a corset top?

Corsets were developed to give women an hourglass shape by cinching in the waist. Until the 20th century, they were worn only as undergarments. Corsets were made from stiff pieces such as whalebone, overlaid with material that was then wrapped around the torso and laced up to tighten the corset around the waist. 

These days, corset tops have a much broader meaning. The term refers to tops that convey the shape and structure of a traditional corset, but often without the rigid structure or lace-up fastenings. 

Corset tops can be worn on their own or layered under or over other tops. Depending on the fit and style, you can wear a corset top with jeans, pants or skirts.

What to consider before buying a corset top

  • Fit: Corsets are typically long and cover from the cleavage down to below the waist. However, today’s fashionable corset tops also include crop tops that are more like a traditional bustier. Depending on the fit of your bottoms, you can pick a long or cropped corset top. Cropped corset tops look great with high-rise bottoms, for example.    
  • Material: The sky’s the limit when it comes to materials for corset tops. For everyday casual wear, you might like a soft cotton or polyester blend. More formal occasions might call for a satin corset top or something with lace detail.
  • Structure: Lots of corset tops take on the shape and aesthetic of a corset, but without stiff material or boning. Alternatively, you can go for something super-structured, with a full bustier and a laced bodice. 
  • Sleeves: Although corsets don’t traditionally have sleeves, many corset tops do. If you’re layering under a light jacket or blazer and want extra protection from the cold, you can choose a long-sleeved corset top. Some corset tops also add extra detail using sleeves such as a lace sleeve or an off-the-shoulder effect.

How to layer a corset top in winter

Layering is a staple of fall and winter fashion, and there are a few ways you can add corset tops into the mix:

  • Over layers: Using a corset top as the focal piece, you can add light layers such as a blazer on top. For more casual looks, an oversized cardigan works, too. For a night out, a sheer blouse, either buttoned or unbuttoned, is great to layer over your corset top. 
  • Under layers: Corsets can also be layered over other tops. For casual looks, try a fitted, long-sleeved top with a sleeveless or short-sleeved corset top over it. If you have a more structured corset top that cinches in the waist, you can layer it over an oversized shirt. 
  • Accessories: If you’d rather keep your corset top as your outfit’s focal point, you might want to layer over some statement accessories rather than outerwear. Try long chains around the neck or big statement earrings to finish off the look.

8 corset tops to buy this winter

Best Charmian Women's Gothic Punk Satin Corset Top

Charmian Women’s Gothic Punk Satin Corset Top

This is made from spandex and nylon overlaid with satin fabric and closes with a zip. The added buckle closures and sturdy material provide plenty of structure, but with a comfortable fit.

Sold by Amazon

Best Lieedrsf Floral Lace-Up Corset Top

Lieedrsf Floral Lace-Up Corset Top 

This has more of a traditional corset or bustier feel, but with all the style of today’s fashion in a pretty green satin fabric. The drawstring closure, ruched waist and shoulder ribbons add plenty of detail, whether you want a corset top for casual wear with jeans or a more formal outfit. 

Sold by Amazon

Best Alivila.Y Women's Steel Boned Retro Steampunk Corset

Alivila.Y Women’s Steel Boned Retro Steampunk Corset

This steampunk corset top can be used for waist training or worn as outerwear and layered with jackets and blazers. With lace-up fastening at the back and zip closure at the front, it’s boned with steel for plenty of structure. 

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Best Meladyan Long-Sleeved Mesh Crop Corset Top

Meladyan Long-Sleeved Mesh Crop Corset Top 

Pair this long-sleeved corset top with your outerwear of choice over a pair of high-waisted pants for a winter night on the town. The top is pull-on, and you can remove the mesh long-sleeved overlay if you want to wear the crop top alone. 

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Best Lemononstore Women's Satin Renaissance Lace-Up Corset Top

Lemononstore Women’s Satin Renaissance Lace-Up Corset Top

This pretty floral corset top has plenty of detail, such as satin laces at the front and shoulder ribbons, but uses neutral tones for a more classic feel. It’s pull-on and can be machine-washed.

Sold by Amazon

Best Zhitunemi Princess Renaissance Corset Top

Zhitunemi Princess Renaissance Corset Top

This has enough structure around the bodice to give an hourglass shape but the satin material keeps it comfortable. With sheer lace sleeves and lace trim at the waist, it can be worn casually with jeans or paired with a skirt and heels for more formal events.

Sold by Amazon

Best Frawirshau Plus-Size Black Bustier Corset Top

Frawirshau Plus-Size Black Bustier Corset Top

If you’re looking for a corset with full support and waist training, this sleeveless top laces at the back and contains plastic boning for a smooth hourglass shape. You can wear it as underwear or pair over a shirt to cinch in the waist.

Sold by Amazon

Best Corski Women's Bustier Corset Top

Corski Women’s Bustier Corset Top

This cropped corset top closes with a zip at the back and has spaghetti straps and a cowl neck to add some extra detail. It is hand-wash only, with light boning for added structure.

Sold by Amazon

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Lauren Farrell  writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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