A bandeau is a garment comprising, in appearance, a strip of cloth. Today, the term most frequently refers to a garment that wraps around a woman's breasts in sports or swimwear.
The bandeau emerged as the top part of a two-piece swimsuit during the 1940s. In the 1950s the bandeau incorporated foundation so as to structure (or improve) the contours of the body, while still retaining a relatively simple circle or band shape, emphasizing the bare midriff.
Swimwear is clothing designed to be worn by people engaging in a water-based activity or water sports, such as swimming, diving and surfing, or sun-orientated activities, such as sun bathing.
Its popularity in swimwear declined during the string bikini era, but it reappeared in the 1980s, especially with Spandex and other stretch fabric blends. Side stays, v-wire in the center front, O-rings, and the twisted top are popular design elements for bandeau swimwear.
Additional uses of the term Bandeau:
Wearing a bandeau to support a woman's breasts may date back to ancient Greece, where they were called apodesmos, later stēthodesmē, mastodesmos and mastodeton, all meaning "breast-band".
A strapless bandeau, or tube top, was also worn as casual wear and sports wear starting in the 1970s, and is sometimes worn as part of a sportswear ensemble.
It is accepted as the top part of formal wear with pants or a skirt. It is similar to a tube top, but narrower. It is usually strapless, sleeveless and off the shoulder. It is commonly made from elastic material to stop it from slipping down, or is tied or pinned at the back or front. In the first half of the 20th century, a "bandeau" was a narrow band worn by women to bind the hair, or as part of a head-dress.
Women can shop for bandeau swimsuits online or at many different fine retailers.
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