From the early 19th century through the Edwardian period, the word waist was a term common in the United States for the bodice of a dress or for a blouse or woman's shirt. A shirtwaist was originally a separate blouse constructed like a shirt; i.e., of shirting fabric with turnover collar and cuffs and a front button closure. In the later Victorian period, the term became applied more generally to unlined blouses with relatively simple construction and usually of a cotton or linen fabric, but often highly ornamented with embroidery and lace.
From the mid-20th century, the term shirtwaist referred to a dress with the upper portion (the bodice and sleeves) fashioned like a man's shirt, with a turnover collar and buttons down the front. Different embroidery were added to the shirtwaist, like rhinestones and different patterns.
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