Corsets have long since been a staple in fashion history. While they may be most associated with the intricate dressings of the 16th and 17th centuries, corsets date back to 1,000 B.C. and were worn by the Minoan people on the Greek island of Crete, according to the Hagen History Center. Back then and now, corsets were used to create the appearance of a small waist. In the French courts, an era where corsets are often associated, they were worn as undergarments and over clothes as an accessory.
In the present day, corsets, in the traditional sense, are worn as lingerie. But there are many corset-inspired tank tops that have found their way into wardrobes. The modern fashion corset adds a touch of femininity and sexiness to any outfit. Many people pair the top with jeans for a dressed-up but casual look. Because of the thin straps — or even no straps — on the top, the question of whether you should wear a bra with a corset often arises. The answer all comes down to support. Backless Push Up Bra
If you have the image of women pulling the strings of a corset around tight to slim the waist, you're probably thinking of an underbust corset. As the name implies, underbust corsets sit on the midsection and do not cover the breast. This kind of corset helps to slim the waist but doesn't offer support on its own, so you'll want to wear a bra with an underbust corset. Underbust corsets can cover your entire torso or sit only on your waist.
Regardless of the style of the underbust corset, you want to avoid pairing it with a bra that has an underwire. The corset under the bra's underwire can create pinching, making the corset uncomfortable to wear. Of course, you can also go braless if you prefer. Some underbust corset styles have boning in a rounded shape to offer some support to the breast. This style, however, will still not have the same amount of support as a traditional bra.
The other (possibly more common) corset type is the overbust corset. Overbust corsets cover your breast and often offer support and lift on their own through boning. Boning is hard, thin pieces of plastic in a garment or corset that add shape and structure. Corsets may also have wires similar to a bra that creates built-in supportive cups. Because of this, you won't need to wear a bra with an overbust corset.
However, wearing a bra will provide additional support if that's what you're looking for. Like an underbust corset, you'll want to avoid a bra with an underwire to avoid any unpleasant pinches. You'll also want to consider the support that an overbust corset offers. If a corset top is tight and has boning or underwire, it may be able to support your breast without a bra. But you may prefer more support or lift through a bra if the corset top isn't tight enough or doesn't have built-in support.
As stated, if your corset has built-in underwear or boning, you'll want to avoid bras that also have underwire. But the kind of bra you pair with your corset depends on the look you're going for. If you want to add some cleavage, a push-up bra is the better option. Padded bras can also be a good choice with an underbust corset, especially if you're wearing a top, such as a button-down or a t-shirt, under the corset. However, a padded bra isn't the best option for an overbust corset because the extra padding can feel too tight under the ensemble.
Perhaps the best type to pair with any corset is a t-shirt bra because of its smooth, molded cups. The bra is made to be worn under tight-fitting clothing, so pairing it with a corset is ideal. Look for one that's seamless to ensure a smooth fit under the sultry top.
For many, one of the reasons to avoid bras with corset tops is the bra straps. These small details can often be seen as an outfit ruiner. If you need the extra support but don't want those pesky straps peaking out from under the top, opt for a strapless bra. The strapless bra is one of the best bra options for a strapless dress, so it's no surprise it will work for a strapless corset, too. But if you avoid the strapless bra out of fear it'll end up around your waist by the end of the day, you may simply need a few tips to get the fit right.
With a strapless bra, the band is the most important part of the support. You want to have the right bra size, but particularly the correct band size that will keep the bra from sliding down. The addition of no-slip grips on the cups and on the band can also prevent bra movement. Strapless bras can be the ideal option for corset tops with thin straps or ones that don't have built-in support with wire and boning.
Maybe the corset is strapless or sheer; for some reason, a bra isn't an option. But you still prefer to have support or some coverage when wearing a corset top. In that case, you may want to consider bra alternatives like an adhesive push-up bra, breast tape, or bra pads. Adhesive push-up bras stick to your breast and can help create cleavage. These also have the benefit of being backless, which is ideal for corset tops with an open or tie-up back. On the other hand, breast pads stick to the shirt rather than your skin. This alternative works best with tight-fitting tops, like corsets, as they don't offer much support on their own.
Wireless Bra Breast tape is the most customizable option, as you can tape for any support or any style of shirt, including backless and plunge styles. However, breast tape can be tricky to work with and will usually require some playing around to get the technique right. But once you figure out how to use breast tape to fit your body and clothing, it can be a great tool to help you style that corset top for any occasion.