The halter top is a shirt (half shirt really) that supports the bosom without the confines of a bra. The back is always exposed, unless you wear a sweater (which is defeating the purpose of a backless shirt). The shirt fastens at the neck with well-built ties and around the lower waist. Sometimes the midriff is exposed, sometimes it is worked into a dress or into a pantsuit and the belly is covered up. Halter tops are made from a variety of fabrics from cotton to denim to silk to leather.
  • The halter top came into being in the 1930s, showing up on fashionable evening wear.
  • By the 1940s it had moved to the comfortable beach styles. It was also doing your part for Uncle Sam. Less material was needed for these top covers leaving more for the war time efforts.
  • The long halter type dresses and pantsuits came back into style during the late 1960s and early 1970s. A good thing considering the number of bras being burned by the "Men will not enslave me" crowd.
  • Today it is still a favorite top, baring the backs of women.

Before kids, I used to wear this white cotton halter dress. It had deep purple straps that looped through the bra section and tied behind the neck at the nape. Just above the right breast were two butterflies in deep purple/orange/yellow. This was the only color on the dress. If you caught the sunlight right, you could see through it. The back was scooped very low to just below the waist. It was puckered/gathered in the back almost like a seersucker. The dress came to just below the knees. It flowed along curves accentuating them, clung at the top form fitting. Almost like it was painted on.

Tan skin looked darker, eyes looked brighter, teeth looked whiter even. I used to wear it with my hair up in a braided bun to show off the back. Very smooth evenly tanned skin. I used to also wear a pair of 3 inch wedge heeled white strappy sandals. I felt GOOD in that dress. Loved how my back looked, accentuated it. I was shameless about that. My back one of my best features. I loved the feel of hands tracing the lines of the spine. (still do.) Did not happen often back then. I was shy yet trying not to be, a hard combination.

I wore it to work exactly ONCE, with a white sweater over it buttoned at the front because I worked in an office in a car dealership. No back showed during work hours. I took the sweater off when I went outside for lunch to let the sun reach it. I ate alone on the hill enjoying the warm spring day. When I came back in from lunch, my boss took me aside (a male) and told me in no uncertain terms that I was never to wear it to work again. Very embarrassing to me because I didn't understand why he was so upset about it. I was clueless at 18, seriously. I didn't know consciously about the effect a woman could have on a man. Perhaps I was flirting with the idea, testing out the waters.

I STILL have that dress. I could not part with it, though I haven't worn it since having kids. It's a symbol, I suppose. "Flaunt what you got", something I said for a few years when I was trying to focus on the things I liked best about myself. That dress was about confidence. That dress was about attitude. That dress was about leaving childhood behind and entering adulthood.

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