February 3, 2018

What's the Difference Between a Corset, a Bustier and a Bandeau?

In the previous article we discussed the difference between a corset and a girdle - important to know when writing about the nineteenth century.  A distinction between these garments and the bustier and the bandeau are important to know, not only for writer's of history, but for contemporary ones as well.

(Wiki Commons Public Domain)

Corsets and bustiers are quite similar.  Both can be either clothing or lingerie (in other words, worn outside as clothing versus inside as an undergarment).  The difference comes in the intent.  The bustier is worn to emphasize the wearer's curves and to create cleavage.  Corsets are intended to produce a smooth line from waist to bust and to reduce, over time, the size of the waist.
Contemporary bustier
(uploaded to Wiki Commons using Flickr upload bot on 27 February 2012, 17:34 by Infrogmation. On that date, it was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the license indicated.)

Today, we are familiar with the bandeau as a sleeveless, strapless, strip of cloth worn around the breasts, such as the top of a two-piece swimsuit or bikini.  However, in the 1920"s, a bandeau was worn under the clothing to flatten the breasts in order to achieve the "boyish" silhouette in fashion at the time.  Thus it was the exact opposite of the bustier.

Bandeau of the 1920"s
(Wiki Commons - Public Domain)

References and Additional Reading: