A modern camisole

A camisole is a sleeveless undergarment for women, normally extending to the waist. The camisole is usually made of satin, nylon, or cotton.


Historical definition

Historically, camisole referred to jackets of various kinds,[1] including overshirts (worn under a doublet or bodice),[2] women's négligées and sleeved jackets worn by men.[3]

Modern usage

A young woman in a vest top. Lycra led to closer fitting vest tops in the late 2000s.[4]

In modern usage a camisole or cami is a loose-fitting[5][6] sleeveless woman's undergarment which covers the top part of the body but is shorter than a chemise. A camisole normally extends to the waist but is sometimes cropped to expose the midriff, or extended to cover the entire pelvic region. Camisoles are manufactured from light materials,[7] commonly cotton-based, occasionally satin or silk, or stretch fabrics such as lycra, nylon, or spandex.

A camisole typically has thin "spaghetti straps" and can be worn over a brassiere or without one. Since 1989, some camisoles[8] have come with a built-in underwire bra or other support which eliminates the need for a bra among those who prefer one. Recently, camisoles have been known to be used as outerwear.[9]

A variety of sleeveless body shaping undergarments have been derived from the camisole shape,[10] offering medium control of the bust, waist and/or abdomen. Such control camisoles are the most casual of shaping garments, covering the torso from above the chest to at or below the waist. They look similar to tight-fitting cotton or silk camisoles, but the straps are usually wider, the hems longer, and the stretchy, shiny fabric provides a smoothing touch.

Camisole (usually "camisole de force") is also a clinical term for a straitjacket.[3][7][11]

See also


  • Barbier, Muriel & Boucher, Shazia (2003). The Story of Lingerie. Parkstone. ISBN 1-85995-804-4
  • Saint-Laurent, Cecil (1986). The Great Book of Lingerie. Academy editions. ISBN 0-85670-901-8


  1. ^ Little, William G.; Coulson, Jessie Senior; Fowler, H.W. (1975). Onions, C.T.. ed. The shorter Oxford English dictionary on historical principles. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 272. ISBN 0-19-861126-9. "1816.... 1. Formerly applied to jackets of various kinds. 2. A woman's underbodice 1894." 
  2. ^ Timothy J. Kent (2001). Ft. Pontchartrain at Detroit: A Guide to the Daily Lives of Fur Trade and Military Personnel, Settlers, and Missionaries at French Posts. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 553. ISBN 9780965723022. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  3. ^ a b "camisole definition: Unabridged (v 1.1)". Random House Unabridged Dictionary. Random House. 2006. Retrieved 2009-01-15. "1. a short garment worn underneath a sheer bodice to conceal the underwear. 2. a woman's negligee jacket. 3. a sleeved jacket or jersey once worn by men. 4. a straitjacket with long sleeves." 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "AskOxford: camisole". Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2009-01-15. "a woman’s loose-fitting undergarment for the upper body. — ORIGIN French, from Latin camisia ‘shirt or nightgown’." 
  6. ^ Scott, Lucretia M. (1987-09-22). "Camisole underwire bra garment description - US Patent 4798557". Retrieved 2009-01-15. "Up until the present time when a woman wished to wear a camisole due to its loose fitting nature and she still required support for her breasts, she was required to wear a bra underneath her camisole to achieve the desired results." 
  7. ^ a b Thatcher, Virginia S., ed (1970). The New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary of The English Language. McQueen, Alexander. Chicago: Consolidated Book Publishers. p. 116. ISBN 0-8326-0021-0. "A short light garment worn by ladies when dressed in negligee;strait jacket for lunatics or criminals condemned to the guillotine." 
  8. ^ US patent 4798557, Lucretia M. Scott, "Camisole underwire bra garment", issued 1989-01-17 
  9. ^ Ruth La Ferla (25 October 2007). "Now It’s Nobody’s Secret". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  10. ^ "Composite support system - Application 20060166600". Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  11. ^ Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, 5th edition

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • camisole — [ kamizɔl ] n. f. • 1578; camizolle 1547; provenç. camisola, dimin. de camisa « chemise » 1 ♦ Vieilli Vêtement court, à manches, porté sur la chemise. ⇒ brassière, caraco, casaquin, gilet. 2 ♦ Camisole de force : chemise à manches fermées garnie… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • camisole — CAMISOLE. sub. fém. Chemisette. Camisole de ratine, de toile, de futaine, de basin, etc …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • camisole — (n.) 1816, from Fr. camisole (16c.), from Prov. camisola mantle, dim. of camisa shirt, from L.L. camisia shirt, nightgown (see CHEMISE (Cf. chemise)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • camisole — Camisole. s. f. Sorte de chemisette. Camisole de ratine, de toile, de chamois, d ouatte &c …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Camisole — Cam i*sole, n. [F. See {chemise}.] 1. A short dressing jacket for women. [1913 Webster] 2. A kind of straitjacket. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • camisole — ► NOUN ▪ a woman s loose fitting undergarment for the upper body. ORIGIN French, from Latin camisia shirt or nightgown …   English terms dictionary

  • camisole — [kam′i sōl΄] n. [Fr < Sp camisola, dim. of camisa < LL camisia: see CHEMISE] 1. a woman s sleeveless, often lace trimmed undergarment for the upper body, worn as under a sheer blouse 2. a woman s short negligee …   English World dictionary

  • Camisole — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Camisole peut référer à : Une camisole, un chandail sans manches. Une camisole de force, une pièce de vêtement destinée à immobiliser les bras d une… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • CAMISOLE — s. f. Chemisette. Camisole de ratine, de toile, de futaine, de basin, etc.   Camisole de force, Espèce de camisole qu on met quelquefois à certains aliénés, pour leur ôter l usage de leurs bras, et les empêcher de se blesser ou de frapper ceux… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • CAMISOLE — n. f. Sorte de vêtement du matin, court, à manches, qui se porte sur la chemise. Camisole de ratine, de toile, de futaine, de basin, de flanelle, etc. Camisole de force, Camisole à manches bouclée par derrière qu’on met quelquefois à des aliénés …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)