Thought I would start this discussion as my quick search indicated that it hadn't yet been covered.
Since I was first able to afford a waist cincher in college, some type of corset has been a vital part of my outfit. I wouldn't even consider going out in public without it. There are many types available out there, but my personal recommendaiton is to stay away from corsets you get in local lingerie shops, or from Fredericks of Hollywood. They are mostly lighter weight and designed for natural women, who are not interested in serious waist cinching, and already have some semblence of a figure. Some of my sisters who are well established in their transition, and have developed a feminine figure, may be able to wear these, but they are not nearly heavy-duty enough for me. For those of us not blessed with a feminine figure, you want to find a heavy duty corset that is designed for serious waist cinching, and designed to last. Look at the cordage or ribbon supplied, the eyelets or closures and look for reinforced stiching to determine if you think it is going to hold up. To tight-lace correctly, the corset needs to be able to withstand a serious amount of pressure, especially if you intend to sit, move, cough or sneeze in it. I've know a simple sneeze to literly blow out the closures of inferior model corsets.
The issue here is price. None of these are cheap, but you generally get what you pay for. My recommendaion is to save up your money and pay the extra to get a good, quality, heavy-duty corset from a place like Romantasy in San Francisco. http://www.romantasy.com/
They make some models specifically for men or the Transgender community, and know what is required. Ann Grogan, is both knowledgeable and helpful, and will get you what you need. The Romantasy web page will step you through the process of collecting measurements (if you can't personally go to San Francisco). From these measurements, they will send you a pattern, to check the fit, before your corset is hand-made to your individual measurements.
I wear a 1901 type corset, because it provides a greater degree of rib-cage control. I've included a picture of myself to show what is possible. In this picture, I am wearing a control slip over the corset to create a seamless figure effect. Notice how reducing the waist gives the effect of hips, even if you don't really have any. However, you could easily wear hip padds under the slip. I am also wearing silicone brest inserts under the slip.
Let me stress, this is an un-doctored image. I normally have about a 38" waste, but can easily get it down to 32" or so with relative comfort. (I've been doing this a while.) More is possible with training, but a reduction of 5" seems to be the norm for starters. I find that it helps to be a little "soft" in the middle. So while I try to minimize body fat, especially in the mid-section, I try not to do too many crunchs, as the abdoninal strengthing seems to limit your ability to cinch.
Just my personal thoughts. Hope they are helpful.
@Auriel Kitsu .. thank you soooo much for sharing this! I totally fell in love with Fran and love her work. Must order!
My waist is 27.5 '', but I would like to have 26''. Recently I 've got from England Victorian Dress. I love medieval dresses made of the modern materials very much, especcially with ribbons and laces. But this dress has a corset effect by pulling of the ribbons under breast and in the waist. The ribbons are white and the dress is deep purple. But the ribbons are hidden by a white pinafore.
Good info Gretta! I also own a corset, and in the pictures of me in my albums I have it own underneath my clothes. I bought mine from http://www.corset-story.com/. I love the thing. I've been very happy with it and it appears to be well made. I've had it about two years now and it has held up well. It was not expensive ($55 on sale) . It does not measure up to one they one would have custom made to ones measurements like the site mentioned above in Greta's post or in the Auriel's post, but you can get a well made waist training corset for $50 to $100, on sale maybe even cheaper. If you haven't worn any corsets this would be a good way to get a good one to see if you like them before putting down a chunk of change for a custom made corset. One day I would like a custom made one, love the look of the summer corset at the contour corset company (thanks for that link Auriel!).
Wise words. NEVER try to cinch down your waist to the max allowable with your corset or cincher..approach it cautiously over a long period of time and when you get one be sure to mention you are beginning to start cinching. Its a matter of your health and safety. Waist cinching can be fun and yes useful to do but remember moderation is important! To many start at the max point and tighten too severely at first. CAUTION IS IMPORTANT.