Vintage Lingerie: The Merry Widow Basque

Vintage Lingerie: The Merry Widow Basque

Glamour Nouveau Merry Widow

Designed to cinch your waistline, support your bust with both detachable shoulder straps and suspenders: meet the Merry Widow.

If you're new to retro style hosiery, or hosiery of any kind, then the terminology can be confusing - but help is at hand!

Check out our guide to hosiery and all will be revealed.

Designed to Cinch and Support

merry widow basque
vintage merry widow basque
vintage black basque

The Merry widow was originally introduced in 1953 and it was made by Warners lingerie company, named after film of the same name Merry Widow staring Lana Turner.Throughout the the 1950s, Warners designed various Merry widows and in the US especially the name Merry Widow is commonly used as opposed to ‘basque’.

Merry widows were extremely popular during the 1950s because there were so many off the shoulder tops and strapless dresses. If you look at our Rita Dress, it would be ideal worn with the Merry widow, if you want to wear it off the shoulder. Back in the 1950s, bra fit wasn't as great as it is today so by wearing Merry widow you'd have support for your bust all the way down through your torso as opposed to just your narrow bra band.

Plus, of course, back in the 1950s you didn't have the silicone band to keep the strapless bra up.

The original Warner's Merry Widow had a tape around the waistline to cinch you, so it's not just about supporting the bust, it's also about accentuating your hourglass shape. The original tape was non-stretch and a nice touch is that it was red, so you could see it through the black lace.

With our Merry Widow, we've used a one inch strip of elastic because we want it to move with you and your waistline is pulled in by a narrow non stretch ribbon it will pinch! We wanted something comfortable enough for you to wear all day and as well as the inch-wide bit of elastic and also we've got another layer of powermesh on the waistline to to give you a gentle cinch.

warners merry widow basque
1950s merry widow basque
warner's merry widow

1950s basque
1950s black basque
retro black basque

Merry Widows traditionally had a low back, and in our previous versions we kept with tradition and gave the our Merry Widow a low back. When you have a low back there's less support for the bust. With our Glamour Nouveau Merry Widow, we have given it a higher back and most of the support for your bust should come from the band. Because the straps are optional, we have made this as high as possible and it should sit at the height of your normal bra band for support. With me as a 34C, I feel very, very secure in this however, if you are a bigger cup size, you will feel less secure. If you are a D cup or smaller than then you should be able to wear it quite happily without a top as I am, without the straps, without any worry about falling out. I do have vintage bustiers in my collection and when I wear them, I mean when you bend over the whole, the whole bra comes apart from your torso, so you have to be very, very careful about how you move around in

them whereas with this one, you can move around and lift your arms up and bend over and not have to worry about falling out at all.

Another question we get asked quite a lot is what is the difference between Merry Widow and our Corselette? The Merry Widow is designed to support your bust and shape your waistline and finishes on the hip, it has detachable straps so you can wear with or without straps, it's fully steel boned and the suspenders or garters are detachable too. Our Glamour Corselette has no boning at all and it's designed to finish just below your bottom. It’s designed to give a smooth line under clothing. If you're wearing a really tight wiggle dress, then you'd go for a Corselette.

The Merry widow really is designed to be worn with a full skirt accentuating your waistline and works really well with a strapless or off the shoulder top.

basque corset merry widow shapewear waist cincher

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