Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours of Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic Sites

Silk Bodice from the 1770s

Silk bodice from the 1770s

Silk Bodice from the 1770s

This silk bodice from the 1770s is from France and reflects the fashion of the period and the French style.

A bodice covered the body from the neckline to the waist and was a fashionable upper garment that was common in Europe during the 16th to the 18th century.

The term, Bodice, derives from a pair of bodies because the garment was initially made in two pieces that fastened together, often by lacing.

The bodice was different from the corset of the time because it was intended to be worn over the other garments.

In historical usage, a bodice indicates the upper part of a dress that was constructed in two parts but of matching fabric to wear the two pieces as a unit connected by hooks and eyes.

This fashionable garments had the advantages of allowing a voluminous skirt to be paired with a close-fitting bodice. The bodice was often stiffened with reeds or whalebone, to achieve an elegant shape and to support the bust.

A one-piece bodice became more frequent after 1900, due to the trend for looser, simpler constructed clothing with narrower skirts. Bodices survive into modern times in the traditional or folk dress.

They are also commonly seen today as the upper part of a stylish dress and designed to distinguish it from the skirt and sleeves.


How to Dress 18th Century: 1780s-1790s Robe a l’Anglaise

18th Century Layers (1740-1770)

Explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art

MET European Paintings Collection

MET Modern and Contemporary Art Collection

MET Greek and Roman Art Collection

MET Egyptian Art Collection

MET Asian Art Collection

MET Ancient Near Eastern Art Collection

MET American Wing Collection

MET Islamic Art Collection

MET Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas Collection

MET European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Collection

MET Medieval Art Collection

MET Drawings and Prints Collection

MET Costume Institute Collection

MET Arms and Armor Collection

MET Photograph Collection

MET Musical Instrument Collection

Explore the MET

Getting dressed in the 18th century


“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable.
Style is more about being yourself.”

– Oscar de la Renta


Photo Credit: 1) Metropolitan Museum of Art [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Popular this Week

Ancient Artifacts - Virtual Tour
Museums, Art Galleries & Historical Sites - Virtual Tours
Mesopotamian Art and Artifacts - Virtual Tour
Japanese Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
Greek Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
Mission San José - Virtual Tour
Russian Proverbs and Quotes
Korean Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
Mexican Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
"Portrait of Martin Luther" by Lucas Cranach the Elder