A corset dress is a short, form-fitting garment worn to train and hold the body in a preferred position, traditionally to support the bust or smaller waist, or for either cosmetic or physiological purposes. This garment has long been a staple piece of clothing for women of all ages, although this fashion item has been in fashion since centuries ago. The word corset came from the French words ‘cotonne’, meaning ’round’, and ‘coton’ which mean ‘loft’. This term has been translated into English as ’round-bust corset’.
From the Victorian period onwards, corset dresses were usually long, narrow and straight; they were originally designed to support the bust, and were often made of lace trimmed with satin. During the Second World War, the US armed forces adopted the corset dress for its utility, providing additional support to the abdominal area. The corset dress continued to be used by women in the 1950s, often as a method of hiding under a large bust lift. In the last couple of decades, many women have become increasingly concerned about their appearance, especially when they attend bridal and wedding events. The corset dress is no longer only worn at evening functions; it is also used as a fashion statement by some. This garment, which has been in fashion for over four thousand years, is now seen as feminine and chic.
Although most people think of corset dresses as being the same as the full-length gowns, they are not actually the same. The full-length dress is often referred to as a ballgown, whereas a corset dress is more closely related to a bodice and does not include any sleeves. The corset dress may also have a bustier or train attached to the bodice, which is another option.