A backless dress is a dress designed to expose the wearer's back. A backless dress is most commonly worn on formal occasions or as evening wear or as wedding dresses and can be of any length, from a haltertop to a miniskirt-length to floor-length.
Backless dresses first appeared in the 1920s. In the 1930s, the style became associated with the sun tanning fashions of the time, and the backless dress was a way of showing off a tan, usually without tan lines. The wearer usually had to be slim to be able to pull off the effect.
A backless dress can be held up in a number of ways. The most common is by a single piece of cloth or strap which passes behind the wearer's neck, halterneck-style. The neck strap can itself be covered by the wearer's hair, leaving the impression from behind that nothing is holding the dress up. Alternatively, the dress may be held up by short sleeves or by the use of spaghetti straps, which hold the dress up by the shoulders. A stick-on dress or nude netting  are other ways that a dress can be held up.
The amount of the back exposed by a backless dress can also vary, with some styles leaving the upper or upper and middle back uncovered, and exposing the shoulder blades. Some backless dresses plunge nearly to the buttocks.
Different backless styles
The backless style is also found in the choli, the upper garment worn by Indian women along with saris and ghagras. The back is either "partially exposed" with a low cut or "fully exposed" by use of strings. It was created mainly due to the influence of Western fashion. It takes a sophisticated woman to carry off this without feeling self-conscious. It was made popular by Madhuri Dixit when she wore it and appeared in the Dhak Dhak song. "The drape and the blouse make the saree a sexy ensemble, and my blouses are always low back because I love the peep of the skin against so much fabric." - Indian Actress Vidya Balan
Different backless styles of cholis
Breast support is an issue for many women when wearing a backless dress, especially for women with larger breast sizes. Bra designs are available that offer breast support with backless dresses. Some bra designs use convertible styles, adhesive bras, underwire and strapless bras. Some bra designs can also be worn by women with larger cup sizes.
- 1930s Fashion History
- Starpulse.com: AnnaLynne McCord wearing a backless dress
- Olivia Wilde using nude netting dress at the Emmy Awards: Front view and back view
- Pink backless draped dress
- Plunging backless dress
- Dhanwanti Keshavrao (October 8, 2005). "Dressed for dandiya". The Tribune. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- "Choli check". Times of India. Jul 21, 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Sandhya Iyer (Nov 4, 2002). "Fusion saris". Times of India. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Kutti Ramaniah (Feb 13, 1949). "Charm of the Choli". The Indian Express. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- "Choli ke peeche kya hai!". Times of India. Jun 15, 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Nimisha Tiwari (Jun 19, 2011). "The choli lowdown!". Times of India. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Elan Image Consulting: A Great Bra for ‘Busty’ Women
- "Breakthrough Backless Bra"