is literally a "band", in French
, worn around a woman's breasts
. In the 1920s this referred to a simply shaped brassiere
, usually of a soft fabric and delicate trimmings providing little support or shaping. It might even be made of an elastic material to flatten or suppress the breasts. When the "boyish" silhouette went out of fashion, the word "brassiere" or later "bra" became the term for more shapely support garments. By the 1950s, it came to refer to a structured outer garment worn around the breast area, following (or improving) the contours of the body, but still retaining a relatively simple circle or band shape, emphasizing the bare midriff
. A bandeau top was usually worn as part of a swimwear or sportswear ensemble and paired with a cropped jacket or bolero
, lending a glamorous or "fast" air to the wearer.
Variations and relatives