During the Regency, an extremely fashionable item was the spencer, a very short jacket, resembling the bodice of the pelisse (see my earlier post on the pelisse) with long sleeves extending over the hands.
Designed to cover the chest, spencers were made of a variety of materials, including wool, silk, satin, and velvet. Many chose spencers with high, frilled collars, but some were collarless. In our day, the bolero, shrug, or cardigan serve the purpose of filling in a low neck, offering warmth for the chest, or simply completing an ensemble.
I find this item of apparel to be quite useful. Do you wear the modern version of the spenser, known as the bolero or shrug?