It's origins are dated to the 16th Century, and can be seen today in Women's fashion, The Bodice was considered a functional component of clothing - worn over a variety of dresses. Considered "retention clothing", it covered the back (as a Brace) and the sides - coming to meeting in the front. A series of lacing bound up the garment. Straps made of leather, lacing or ribbon, and were tied. Hooks were devised to replace simple open holes. Originally a two piece garment, they evolved into a single piece of stiffened fabric. Design (for Nobility), was made with fine fabric such as reinforced silk and velvet. Commoners (who imitated The Bodice), used cheaper cloth and linen. The primary goal of The Bodice was to minimize the female form, or rather - The bosom. This was based on Period Religious,and Cultural norms. The resulting "gathering" of the front of The Bodice, raised and pushed the bosom in and down. The Clothing style was not comfortable. Eventually, The Bodice would fall out of favor with Nobility, and be claimed for use as a type of "Laboring" Clothing. The Bodice would evolve into The Corset (used strictly as an undergarment). Nonetheless, The Bodice would continue as a fashion "staple" throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries.