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A corselet, or corselette, is a type of foundation garment, sharing elements of both brassieres and girdles. It may incorporate lace in front or in back. The term originated by the addition of the diminutive suffix "-ette" to the word corset.
The corselet was originally a piece of armour, covering the torso; the origin of the English word comes from cors, an Old French word meaning "bodice". The corselet as an item of women's clothing began to gain traction in 1914, as a substitute for wearing two separate pieces (a brassiere with either a girdle or a corset). The bust uplift cups were first introduced in 1933, but did not become common until 1943.
The original merry widow was a corselet incorporating slim panels of black, elastic yarn netting. A heavy-duty zipper was inserted behind a velvet-backed hook-and-eye flange, and the entire garment was lined with nylon voile. Nine long, spiral wires were encased in black satin.
Lana Turner is reported to have said, "I am telling you, the merry widow was designed by a man. A woman would never do that to another woman."
"Merry widow" is the generic term for a corselet bra in the United States.
Interval and rebirth
VARIATIONS AND RELATIVES
To read more about corselets, please click on the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corselet