Little history of the basque

The basque is a feminine underwear that combines, in a single piece of lingerie, the functions of the bustier (i.e. supporting the chest) and the garter belt (fasteners used to fix the stockings on the hips). Nevertheless, it takes less support on the hips than the garter belt.

Indispensable element of the New Look of the 1950s, the basque did not long remain a must in everyday life.


The history of the basque however begins in Antiquity with its ancestor: the corset. The second millennium BC has, in fact, already discovered this "under linen" supporting the breasts at their base. Obsessed with harmony, the Greeks opposed the idea of the drooping breast, like the Romans whose fascia imprisoned the breasts essentially to slow down their growth, giving way, if necessary, to the mamillare, a soft leather bra responsible for crushing the breasts of matrons. No, women's lives weren't supposed to be easy every day...

The fall of the Roman Empire and the great Celtic and Germanic invasions marked the freedom of the bust.

The Middle Ages and the Renaissance

In the 12th century, with the fashion for tight-fitting clothes, freedom was over: cut close to the body, laced, the bodice encloses the bust like a cuirass. The clothes again strangle a chest that medieval puritanism would prefer to erase (I would never have understood that one can oppose or mistreat this element of femininity...).

Three centuries later, new upheaval: showing the birth of the breasts is something allowed, if not desired. Even if certain preachers and the clergy are offended by it, the breasts are drawn up, highlighted (between the puritanism of before and the provocation of then, could not they have found a compromise?).

The attitude becomes virtuous again under Charles Quint then Henri II. Women are trapped in dark dresses closed to the chin and are forced to re-thread a corset that really has nothing to do with an erotic accessory. A century later, Cardinal Mazarin would go so far as to issue, in 1654 and 1656, two edicts against trimmings and items of female toilet. Father Jacques Boileau, brother of Nicolas, publishes De l'Abuse des Nudités de Gorge, a violent charge against low-cut women. Intolerance threatens.

The reaction will come first from the Regency. No more controversies around the throat. Libertine speeches replace them, and if the corset remains relevant, more flexible and more numerous whales contribute to make it less restrictive, the necklines bloom again.

Similarly, whalebone corsets (instruments of torture as they were then called) rarely made it into the middle of the nobility. Indeed, in the countryside, women of modest means gave it up long ago, preferring the laced corselet, not too tight, which they put on over their skirts and shirts so that they would not hinder their activities.

An omen for the future...

Modern times

Considered too restrictive, the basque did not fit well with the boyish attitude of the Roaring Twenties (the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century) and the practice of cycling by women around the 1910s.

When the First World War arrived, women swapped the old corset for a more convenient, more pragmatic model: the bourgeoises swapped their corset for a sheath, more flexible, therefore easier to put on, where the whales were replaced by rubber springs. . The corset will not recover, definitively sacrificed on the altar of convenience.

The arrival of the basque

It will still be necessary to wait until 1946 for the very fluttering corset to appear. Fashioned in a couturier's workshop to embody frivolity, it has managed to combine comfort and glamor to pamper ladies' waists by enhancing them and magnifying the curves of their breasts.

However, it is clear that apart from being an erotic accessory, a naughty delicacy or the essential coquetry to wear under a wedding dress to spice up the wedding night, the corset will never have imposed itself as an undergarment. garment to be worn every day, the star having been robbed of her by a certain bra... Why this state of affairs? Lifestyles have changed, women have swapped skirts for pants and stockings are no longer essential. Why bother with a garter belt in this case?


Text from the forum Rechercher