Merry widow is a short, strapless corset with half-cups for the breasts and long garters. Merry Widow description narrates, that
it was first made by the lingerie company Maidenform in 1952, to coincide with the 1952 film, The Merry Widow, starring Lana Turner. The original Merry Widow foundation garment was a full-length corselette, cut with attractive panels of black and white lace, incorporating slim panels of black elastic yarn net. Merry Widow materials included a heavy-duty zip, which was inserted behind a velvet-backed hook-and-eye flange, and the whole garment was lined with nylon voile.
According to Merry Widow description nine long spiral wires were cased in black satin. Turner is reputed to have said, "I am telling you, the Merry Widow was designed by a man. A woman would never do that to another woman." To this day, merry widow is the generic term for a corselette bra in the United States.
Merry Widow is much like a waist-cincher, but extends upwards to support the breasts. As Merry Widow
description tells, it was in use as light corset for sleep, and another type for light summer corset, used next to the skin or outside of the summer dress. But also a elastic waist cincher was in use on the outside of corseted dress. The Merry Widow was in fashion from 1860 to 1907, particularly 1900 to 1907 and was very rare from 1911 to 1947 and from 1960 to 1985.
Dior's New Look brought it back to popularity around 1947. It became the quntisential undergarment for wearing the nipped-in waists popularized by that style. For a few years, it reigned mainstream.
While the idea of applying force to the waist for aesthetic reasons has fallen out of favor, there were some advantages to the practice,
when using Merry Widow materials. In line with Merry Widow description, postural support and pressure to the hip and sacroiliac joints helped women maintain health. Childbearing weakens the ligaments in the pelvic area, and the waist cincher is the mid-19th century version of the "girdle" or "kirtle" used for more than a thousand years to improve stability of the mid-section and trunk. Bipedalism, in humans, makes for weakness in the torso. Men wore waist cinchers and corsets (and a variety of other earlier garments) for similar reasons. According to Merry Widow description, Prince Albert, the Consort of Queen Victoria, wore very tightly laced waist-cinching corsets, and brought them into vogue for gentlemen's wear.
The Merry Widow went beyond mere structural support, though, and into maintaining the distinctly feminine proportions anthropologists now understand have strong sexual appeal. Merry Widow materials comprise flexible material (like cloth or leather) stiffened with boning (also called ribs or stays) inserted into channels in the cloth or leather. In the Victorian period, as Merry Widow description says, steel and whalebone were favored. Plastic is now the most commonly used material; spring or spiral steel is preferred for high-quality corsets. Other Merry Widow materials
used for boning include ivory, wood, and cane. (By contrast, a girdle is usually made of elasticized fabric, without boning.)
The characteristic features that need to be included in the merry widow description are following: the presence of a rigid corset, for the main part short and strapless.
Another of the elements that is very often left out in modern merry widow description is the wires that though were initially cased in satin, were quite a challenge to bear, being long and spiral.