All the corsets are made to order and come in a variety of fabrics and styles. My whims were graciously attended to by the lovely Andrea, who didn't waste time rolling her eyes at my squeals of delight every time I happened upon a new treasure (striped ruffled bloomers, for instance) and asked me if I wanted to try on one of these handmade creations. Um, yes.
A few minutes later I was tightly laced into this half corset style in black poplin that retails for $250. And was it uncomfortable? Well, no actually. Andrea informed me that it's only supposed to feel like someone is hugging you very tightly. If it's any more restrictive than that, it doesn't fit right. And I have to say, I have posture akin to Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, and I enjoyed the fact that the corset made it literally impossible to round my lower back into its customary slouch. Oh, and did I mention that my waist instantly lost 3 inches?? And that my stomach was as flat as a board? And that the corset instantly transformed my ho hum shirtdress into a sexy little cocktail number? Yeah, I'm sold.
Even more fascinating is that I learned that people with back problems like scoliosis actually go to this store with a prescription in hand. I can hardly blame them for wanting to don a corset in place of one of those awful medical back braces, and apparently the physiological benefits of wearing one are the same as that of their ugly medical counterparts. In addition, there have been studies done on the effect of corsets on people with extreme anxiety disorders. Apparently wearing a corset can cause a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of panic attacks.
So basically I'm now more obsessed than ever, and determined to return to this little oasis to unload some of my tax return. Anyone in the Bay Area should seriously make the trip in here to see Andrea and try on one of these miraculous clothing items.
The most well-known modern ambassador of the corset, Dita Von Teese, has worn corsets from Dark Garden. According to Andrea, her waist cinches down to an astonishing 18 inches. But don't go starving yourself just yet--apparently Dita is also about 4 feet 11 inches tall and somewhere in the neighborhood of 95 pounds. Yes, elves have very small waists.