Bustier vs. Corsets: Learn The Difference Here At Recollections



The bustier and the corset are both common historical undergarments that pair well with Victorian and Edwardian dresses. While the terms are sometimes used synonymously, in reality, they are two completely different undergarments used for different reasons.


The bustier and the corset share similar characteristics. They are closely fitted to the body and are usually boned. Both corsets and bustiers usually fasten at the front with hooks and eyes or a busk, and they lace up the back. However, the real difference between a bustier and a corset lies in the intent of the garment. Corsets, which were worn in Victorian times, were usually intended to give a smooth line from the cinched-in waist to the bust. There was usually no accommodation for the bust, and the garment was all one piece from bottom to top.


Bustiers, on the other hand, are intended to emphasize a lady’s curves, and tend to push the breasts up and together to create cleavage. Often the bustier has cup-shapes built in to the top part of the garment to facilitate definition of the bust, and the curved lines were more desirable than the smooth lines of a corset. The cups resembled the modern day bra, which also is meant to “boost” cleavage.


While bustiers and corsets are the most popular and known historical undergarments, there is a third garment known as a “cincher”. The cincher does exactly what the name implies, and cinches in the waist. Unlike either the corset or the bustier, the cincher stops below the bust line. So, you can imagine a cincher as just the bottom part of a corset or bustier.


Here at Recollections, we have a wide selection of Victorian undergarments. It’s important to have the right undergarments for each Victorian ensemble so that your outfit looks perfect and historically accurate. If you have any questions about if a bustier vs. corset would be better for your particular ensemble, give us a call. Our knowledgeable staff will be able to point you in the right direction.