"I naturally have a really small waist," the actress explained. "The skirt's big and the corset pulls me in, and that's the point. That's the shape [costume designer] Sandy Powell created."
Earlier this week, James revealed to E! News that it was difficult to eat when she was wearing her corset. "When [the corset] was on we would be on continuous days so we wouldn't stop for lunch or a lovely tea like this—you'd be sort of eating on the move," she revealed. "In that case, I couldn't untie the corset. So if you ate food it didn't really digest properly and I'd be burping all afternoon in [Richard Madden]'s face, and it was just really sort of unpleasant. I'd have soup so that I could still eat but it wouldn't get stuck."
Still, in spite of her strict diet (and the current waist-cinching fad) the Downton Abbey star finds the corset questions unnecessary. "I think it's all very hypocritical, and they contradict themselves, and they're drawing more attention to it," she told the L.A. Times. "I think all that stuff's so negative, and you've got to let it wash over your head."