The bodice refers to the upper part of a woman’s dress or blouse, covering the body from the neck to the waist. Historically, it was a separate garment, but in modern fashion, it’s typically an integral part of a dress or a top. The bodice is a critical element in the structure and style of a garment, shaping the silhouette and often providing the main decorative or style features.
Bodices can vary greatly in design, featuring different types of necklines, sleeve styles, and construction methods. They can be fitted, using darts, seams, or structured panels to contour the body, or they can be more loosely structured, providing a relaxed and comfortable fit. In formal or couture fashion, the bodice is often a focal point for intricate details such as embroidery, beading, lacework, or ruching.
In historical and some traditional dressmaking, the bodice was often stiffened with boning and laced or buttoned at the front or back to ensure a snug fit. In contemporary fashion, while the bodice may still be structured, more flexible and comfortable materials are typically used, allowing for a broader range of movement and styles.
The design and fit of the bodice are crucial for the overall appearance and comfort of a dress or top. A well-designed bodice not only enhances the wearer’s figure but also sets the tone for the garment’s style, whether it’s casual, business, formal, or festive.
Types of Bodices
Here are some of the most common types of bodices:
Princess seam bodice: This type of bodice has seams that run from the shoulder to the hem, following the natural curves of the body. It is a very flattering and versatile style that can be used for a variety of garments, from dresses to blouses.
Strapless bodice: This type of bodice has no straps and is held up by boning or an internal structure. It is a popular choice for formal wear, such as wedding dresses and evening gowns.
Grecian style pleated bodice: This type of bodice is inspired by ancient Greek clothing and features soft pleats that drape across the bust. It is a romantic and feminine style that is perfect for summer dresses.
Empire bodice: This type of bodice has a high waistline that sits just below the bust. It is a comfortable and flattering style that is perfect for all body types.
Asymmetrical bodice: This type of bodice is not symmetrical, meaning that one side is different from the other. It can be a modern and eye-catching way to add interest to a garment.
Peplum bodice (Casaque bodice): This type of bodice has a flared peplum at the waist, which is a short, gathered skirt that extends outwards from the waistline. It can add a touch of whimsy and femininity to a garment.
Ruched bodice: This type of bodice is gathered or pleated to create a textured effect. It can be a way to add visual interest to a garment and to flatter the figure.
Dropped waist bodice: This type of bodice has a waistline that falls below the natural waistline. It can create a relaxed and elongating silhouette.
Basque bodice: This type of bodice is tight-fitting and extends below the waistline, sometimes even down to the hips. It is often boned to create a cinched-in look.
Draped bodice: This type of bodice is made of soft, flowing fabric that is draped across the body. It can create a romantic and ethereal look.