It's corset 101: wearing a liner to keep your corset from directly touching your skin is a must! Or is it?
So, first up – here's what a corset liner is and does:
A corset liner is any lightweight layer (typically a slip or a camisole) worn under your corset. By adding this layer, dead skin cells, sweat, and oil are absorbed into the liner instead of the corset itself. This prolongs the life of your corset, by preserving the integrity of the fabric as well as minimizing the frequency of cleanings. (Cleaning a garment is actually inherently somewhat destructive as it abrades the fibers.)
That sounds pretty good, right? But like a modesty panel, some find the bulk of a liner to be uncomfortable. As you tighten the laces, your liner will crumple up inside the corset. These interior wrinkles can irritate sensitive skin. Plus, if you're wearing your corset to compress your waist, adding more thickness is a bit counterintuitive!
And actually, some styles of corset just aren't intended to be worn with one! For outerwear overbusts (especially eveningwear styles), it may be tricky to get the liner, well, lined up with the neckline. With a mesh corset, it may even defeat the purpose of the peekaboo fabrication!
Whether or not you can get away with not wearing a liner depends on several factors. Most of these have to do with your body chemistry. If you don't sweat much, you won't need to protect your corset from sweat. Same with body oil – some people produce more, or less, than others! You also don't want your dead skin cells rubbing off on the corset, though, so if you have dry skin you may want to reconsider going liner-less. If your liner is snug enough, it can be smoother against your skin than all the seams of the corset. And the final thing, which most people don't consider, is that each person also has their own PH level. If you find you tend to wear out t-shirts, panties, and tights at an alarming rate, you'll probably want to stick with a liner.
So at the end (or beginning) of the day, a corset liner offers many benefits... but you don't have to wear one. As always with corsets, just listen to your body and the rest is up to you!