A camisole is normally worn by woman and is a loose-fitting under garment with thin, spaghetti-style shoulder straps that is usually sleeveless and extends down to the waist. It is usually made of lightweight fabrics like satin, silk, nylon, spandex, Lycra or cotton.
In the past, a camisole could be a jacket or overshirt and could be worn be both men and women. Today, a camisole, or as it is sometimes called, a cami, is a piece of clothing shorter than a chemise that is usually cropped to show a woman's midriff area, but may be a bit longer.
A camisole can be worn with or without a bra, but since 1989 some have been produced with built-in underwire bras. There have even been some types that are now meant to be worn as regular tops, not under garments. This sort of camisole became a fashion item during the 1990s.
It is also popular to wear a camisole underneath a suit jacket or matched shirt. These types are more like tank tops and are usually worn with a bra.
Some are meant to be worn as shape wear and give medium support over the torso area from the bust line and sometimes clear down to the waist. They are used to smooth out the body so the top covering lies smoother on the wearer's body and hides body flaws.
A camisole is also a popular style of lingerie. These are decorated in lace and are usually silk or polyester. Some are sold with a type of pants called tap pants. Sometimes they are sold combined with shorts a summer pajama set. They are made in many colours and prints are also popular.
A camisole is a very versatile piece of clothing. It can be worn under a sweater to prevent chaffing or protect expensive fabric like cashmere from body sweat and oils. You can even buy a camisole made of a wicking material that will hold in the sweat for even more comfort, and a camisole can also be worn under sheer clothing for a layering effect. A camisole can also be worn instead of a slip if you wear what is called a long-line camisole.
Overall, a camisole is a very versatile and useful piece of clothing that can be made in several styles, colours and fabrics and worn as lingerie, outer clothing or a loose fitting top.