What is the bustier and how is it different from the bra or corset?

The world of women's lingerie is very broad, and sometimes the boundaries blur between two very similar garments. Bustiers , for example, are often confused with corsets and other female undergarments such as bustiers.

To clarify the doubts, in this post we will see the difference between two garments and what is their origin.

What is a bra?

The bodice is a feminine garment that has no sleeves and tightly covers the upper body: from the shoulders to the waist. In general, it is usually open at the front, where it has a lace or button closure, and at the back it is completely closed.

Did you know that the word "corpiño" is of Galician origin, and means 'little body'? This helps us to get a little idea of what he means!

To this day it is found in the traditional costumes of many countries. Sure sounds like you, right?

Of course, it must be differentiated from the corset or bras. The bra is used over clothing, and must be differentiated from the bustier, which does not go over clothing, but is just another undergarment.


History and evolution of women's bras

The women of Crete, in 1,700 BC, already used a kind of corset: some garments similar to the corset that kept the breasts elevated, as if it were a kind of bra, although it did not cover the breasts, but rather highlighted them.

In the Roman Empire, women wore cloth bands around their chests. It was typical of civilized women, not barbarians, who were the ones with free breasts. It was, therefore, a distinctive garment.

In the Middle Ages, the garments were similar, worn only by women of the upper class and the nobility. Commoners, peasants and vassals did not use this type of garment.

In the 16th century, we find its most recognizable predecessor: the corset. They were garments built with steel rods or whale bones that served to narrow the waist of women, while enhancing and supporting the bust. It was quite a tortuous garment because it crushed the diaphragm, in some cases even deforming the lung cavity and displacing the organs. Despite this, it was a very popular and used garment since it helped to stylize the figure and served to maintain very defined beauty canons.

At the end of the 19th century, Herminie Cadolle, a young French seamstress, came up with the idea that she could cut the garment in two parts, which would help to liberate the women's bodies. That was the origin of the first bra.

So what came first, the corset or the bustier? Actually, we are talking about ancestors in different centuries and geographical areas -different, therefore, from our current concept- until the 19th century. We could say that the corset is prior to the bodice, although we have seen that the garments of antiquity shared characteristics with both. From this moment we clearly differentiate corset and bustier: the first is usually inside; the second, external.

The modern bra

However, it wasn't until 1914 that the first bodice design was patented by Mary Phelps-Jacob, an American writer and designer who was also known as Caresse Crosby. Its design was very similar to the one we use today. Given its great success, he sold the patent to stores and the garment began to creep into many women's closets.

Its design worked because that same year the First World War began, which turned everything upside down: women had to join the world of work and began to be in charge of production in factories, something incompatible with the little freedom of movement that the corset allowed. In addition, it was made using metal, something appreciated by the arms industry, which is why, in 1917, the United States War Industries Board asked women to stop using these garments, thus helping men win the war .

Since then, the bra has had many styles and uses (worn as an outer or undergarment), and also became an erotic garment.

Why has the bodice fallen into disuse?

In the 1960s, the revolutionary era par excellence, bras ended up at the stake as a symbol of protest . In 1968, on the eve of the Miss America beauty pageant, which took place in Atlantic City, many women feminists and civil rights advocates organized a bonfire to throw out all the sexist symbols that stereotyped women: bras, makeup, false eyelashes, copies of Cosmopolitan magazine … At present, in Spain it is associated with traditional regional costumes.

Don't confuse it with the corset

The corset is another garment that is used to shape, stylize or modify the silhouette. It used to be an outer garment, over the blouse or shirt, between the 16th and 17th centuries. Then it gave rise to different garments: gossip, corset or bra.

Its current mission is not to be another layer, but rather it is more aesthetic or medical. It is usually used as underwear, although fashion trends tend to use it in a different way: a corset combined with an American jacket or over a shirt, for example.

The types of corset that we can find, roughly, are:

  • Corset that fits under the chest
  • waist corset
  • medium bust corset
  • Corset over the bust
corset de cintura

"Waist cincher", waist belt or waist corset. Ideal for shaping without suffering or for exercise.

What do we understand by bustier?

A bustier, meanwhile, is a combination of bra and corset that adjusts to the shape of the waist. Many have a hook closure on the back like the one we can find in regular bras.

Is a bustier the same as a bra?

How are these two garments different?

The main difference is that the bustier is only an undergarment , while the bustier bra can be worn both inside and out , and has a mainly aesthetic function. The bustier, for its part, is an undergarment that helps keep the chest elevated.

The next difference is the length of the garments: the bustier is a bra with a wider band than conventional bras. The bodice, for its part, is longer, being able to reach the waist or lower.

The bustier is underwear. It does not modify the silhouette, but enhances it, and it is shorter and more flexible than the corset. Although if it's made of thick material with a double layer of material, it can flatter your upper tummy a bit, like this strapless bustier bra , which has an inner layer of compression material.

Bustiertype lingerie that you will love

type bras are garments that stylize the figure of women, accentuating the waist. That is why they are a great ally in women's lingerie.

Strapless Bustier Bras

Within the bustiers, there is a wide range of models and designs. If you want to wear it with strapless garments, this 360º perfection bustier is ideal. You will show off a heart-stopping neckline thanks to its cups, since, being preformed, they will help you shape your bust. Its technology guarantees that it does not move from the site, despite not having straps!

bustier with removable straps in your closet , this is ideal. In addition, the cups have a fabric on the side that will allow you to shape the bust as you wish. And to show off cleavage!

bustier sin tirantes

Bustier type bralettes, sensuality

Lace lingerie lovers will find an ally in the bustier-type bralette. Sensuality, elegance and sophistication: that is its definition. The cups, made of soft foam, allow air to pass through and will make you feel comfortable and fresh at all times. In addition, thanks to the high coverage of the back and its materials, this area is well covered and looks very slim and smooth.

bustier tipo bralette

Push up bustier bras

Who says that the bustiers are incompatible with the push up? Unlike! And for sample, a button. This bustier-type bra is made with the finest and most sophisticated lace. Its cups create a very delicate push up effect that will highlight your figure.

If you need a bustier to wear under a pretty strapless dress, this option is perfect, since it has removable straps that you can remove when you need it. In addition, it also has a low back, so it is perfect to wear with that summer shirt that you love so much for having an open back.

In case you want a bustier that also enhances your figure, at Leonisa we have this bustier bra with removable straps with a wide base and side rods. You can wear it with tight dresses.

In Leonisa you will find underwear for everyday, but also bustiers for special occasions. Take a look at our catalog and choose the garment that best suits you!

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