A bodice is an article of
clothing for women, covering the body from the neck to the waist.
The term comes from pair of bodies (because originally made in two pieces that fasten together, frequently by lacing).
In common usage, bodice refers to a sleeveless upper garment, often low-cut, worn in Europe from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century, either over a corset or in lieu of one. To achieve a fashionable shape and support the bust, the bodice was frequently stiffened with bents (a type of reed), or whalebone. Bodices survive into modern times in the traditional folk dress of many European countries.
Bodice continues in use to refer to the upper portion of a one- or two-piece dress to distinguish it from the skirt and sleeves.