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What is a Brasselette?

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  • Written By: J.S. Metzker Erdemir
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2016
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A brasselette is a piece of lingerie similar to a corset or bustier. It usually has brassiere cups and covers from the breasts down to the waistline. Many types of brasselette have removable shoulder straps and garter suspenders. Like a corset, a brasselette accentuates the form of a woman’s body, but it generally is not as tight or restrictive.

Also called a torsolette or Basque bodice, the brasselette is not quite as long as a corset, as the corset usually covers the body to the hips. These garments often have stiff metal or plastic stays along the sides, but they can generally be put on by one person whereas a corset usually requires a helper to tie up the laces in back. Brasselettes are slightly longer than bustiers, which extend only down to the bottom of the wearer’s ribcage and lift the breasts by squeezing the midriff. Brasselettes are designed to accentuate the curve of the waist rather than raise the bustline.

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The term brasselette is most widely used in the bridal apparel industry to refer to very fancy items of lingerie designed to be worn under wedding gowns. Bridal brasselettes are not intended for everyday use, and instead may be made of silk, lace, satin, or other fine material. Some types may even require a second person to lace up the back, which hearkens back to their Victorian-era origins. Bridal brasselettes are made to suit a variety of gown cuts so that they may be worn with low-backed, strapless, or plunge-necked gowns.

There are a few variations of the brasselette. One type, called a bandeau, is made of soft, stretchy fabric and intended for everyday use. Bandeaux often do not have stays to push on the ribs or waistline, but the fabric itself helps create a smoother silhouette and eliminate bulges. Some versions of the bandeau have a V-shaped wire in the front to emphasize the cleavage. Most bandeaux do not have brassiere cups, and they can be worn as lingerie, tube tops, or swimwear.

Another variation is a longer brasselette called a corselet. Corseletes are also referred to as foundation garments and the cover the body from the breasts to the middle of the thighs. A corselet is a bra and girdle combined into one piece. Modern corseletes are designed to control the shape of a woman’s body, usually by lifting the breasts, narrowing the waistline, and smoothing the hips and buttocks.

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Discuss this Article

orangey03
Post 7

I had struggled with a ring of fat around my waist for years before I found out about brasselettes. It was becoming increasingly harder to find loose dresses, but I hated to wear a snug one with my belly bump bulging out.

A friend told me about brasselettes, and I wore one of my snug dresses to a store to try one on. It flattened out my waist, and I was so happy that I bought three of them!

It’s so much easier to shop for dresses now. I don’t have to worry about the fit so much anymore, so I have a much greater selection of colors and patterns!

OeKc05
Post 6

@wavy58 - I have a figure sort of like yours. While I found the brasselette to be quite comfortable, it did look strange on me.

My crazy friends all wore brasselettes and jeans to my bachelorette party, and they made me wear one, too. As I looked around the table, I could see that I did not have the shape for it. Everyone else looked so shapely, but I just looked like I had been stuffed awkwardly into a garment.

I can see how they would really help most women look better in a dress. My shape just can’t be modified.

wavy58
Post 5

I wish I could wear a brasselette, but my figure isn’t like that of most women. I have a very straight waist that does not curve inward at all. This has created problems with finding jeans and trousers that don’t cause me to have a muffin top, and I’m not even overweight!

I tried on a brasselette once, and it made me look awful and feel very uncomfortable. It tried to push in parts of me that would not yield, and it wound up pressing what little fat I did have out beneath it.

Anytime I wear anything snug, it makes my guts hurt. I could not wear the brasselette for more than a few minutes. I’m sure that they are comfortable for most women, but I’m just extra sensitive in that way.

seag47
Post 4

One great thing about a bridal brasselette is that there is no need to buy lingerie for your honeymoon night! Many brasselettes come with matching panties, and they are lacy and elegant.

You can find them in white or off-white easily. Bridal stores offer the best options, but if you are strapped for cash, you could find one at a department store.

I wore one that was solid white on the cups and sheer and lacy everywhere else. It had no straps, so I didn’t have to worry about them peeking out around my sleeveless gown. The matching panties were also lacy, and I could not have found more beautiful lingerie!

JaneAir
Post 3

I actually really like bandeau brasselettes. I despise wearing a bra, and a bandeau is really, really nice alternative for me. I can go braless without my nipples sticking out and attracting too much unwanted attention!

I have to say though, bandeaus just aren't as flattering as a regular bra or a brasselette with actual cups. Since bandeau's lack cups and are basically just a stretchy tube top like the article said, they don't really offer any support or enhancement. Also, sometimes they can give you that oh so lovely uni-boob look.

But I personally don't care, so they work great for my purposes!

SZapper
Post 2

@sunnySkys - I don't know. I could see wearing a brasselette under certain "regular" circumstances. Maybe under a form fitting dress or shirt to smooth out your figure? A lot of dresses these days are form fitting and no one wants to look bulgy and lumpy under them.

I suppose a corselet might be a bit better for that purpose, but they sound downright uncomfortable to me. A brasselette seems like it would be a nice alternative to wearing a corselet under tighter clothing. It would still help you look better, but wouldn't be nearly as restrictive.

sunnySkys
Post 1

I've seen brasselettes in lingerie stores plenty of times, I never had any idea what they were called though! I kind of thought they were just a longer bustier, but I suppose it makes sense that a brasselette would be it's own kind of lingerie.

I personally don't see much every day use for a garment like this though. I think most brasselette's these days are probably used for wedding, like the article said, or for fun. But I don't know a single woman who likes to wear brasselette's on a daily basis. For most people, a regular bra works just fine!

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