A bustier is a form-fitting, bosom-to-hip corset-like piece of lingerie, tightening against the upper midriff and forcing the breasts up, while gently shaping the waist and pushing up the bust. Handy if you want to increase the fullness of a slender bust with a thin waistline. Bustiers also highlight the breasts by utilizing underwire cups that can offer support for the fuller breast, presenting a sense of plenty in the bust area, think serving wenches ample bosom.
Similar to a corset, bustiers can include detachable garters, flexible boning, shoulder straps, and lace-up closing. Bustiers are also related to a basque, but is shorter almost long line bra, reaching down only to the ribs or waist, promoting a slim silhouette.
Bustiers worn by women for centuries, was also known as a merry widow, based on the 1952 film, "The Merry Widow," starring none other than foundation-queen Lana Turner. Maidenform capitalized on Turner's well-known assets by naming a foundation garment after her, and the name stuck. By 1970’s the corset became purely a seductive piece of lingerie as its function wasn’t required any more so too followed the bustier.
Bustiers enjoyed a comeback during the 80’s and 90’s, thanks to designers Vivienne Westwood and Jean-Paul Gaultier. Fashion also encouraged the bustier to be worn as outerwear: with or without straps, made from varying fabrics, the effect is particularly spectacular, feminine and sculptures the body when fitted correctly.
Today the bustier is usually worn under strapless or low cut apparel.It might also be worn as a push-up bra under a low-backed dress, or as outer wear with jeans. The bustier can also be worn under sheer upper garments providing modesty whilst being revealing and sexy. A classic bustier usually is strapless, though some can include straps in various forms such as spaghetti straps, halter neck or cross over.
Cup size is the most important element of a bustier, the fitting and measuring process is similar to bra fitting. A bustier can be adjusted to fit your frame as long as the bra cup fits well. The shape and structure of the bustier is created by stiff material and boning which can be metal or plastic rather than real bone as in previous years. Extra boning in the bodice and cup of the bustier is needed for the full-figured woman, while less boning and mesh panels can suffix for the less endowed woman. The bustier is versatile enough to accommodate all body shapes and sizes.