The History of Lingerie

Posted by admin1 16/12/2019 1 Comment(s)


The History of Lingerie | The Evolution Through The Ages.



Lingerie is a bold fashion statement, a confidence builder and an advertisement. Lingerie has become a universal symbol of women’s sexuality.

When did it all start? Did you know that the first lingerie styles were so bulky and heavy that women who wore them could hardly walk?

The definition of “sexiness” has changed over time and so has lingerie. Let’s take a look at the history of lingerie!


Lingerie Model

In the Beginning


Our story begins in the 1700s in France, where monarchy reigned supreme. At that time, the ideal figure for a woman consisted of pushed-up breasts and tiny waist.


To get this ideal figure, women had to wear a type of bulky and uncomfortable undergarment that went by the name of “stays”, or otherwise known as a whalebone corset.


Stays Lingerie


Because a whalebone corset is a rather sophisticated piece of work, only wealthy, or “proper” ladies at that time wore this lingerie.


At this point in time corsets were not purely undergarments, but they also had ritualistic undertones as well. As noted in Colleen Hill’s book, Exposed: A history of lingerie, the French routinely performed a toilette ritual in which ladies dressed and undressed before the court. This ritual also involved putting on a stay, so it is safe to say that stays were a part of the upper-class lifestyle in this era.


Toilette Ritual


Corsets really took off during the Victorian era in Britain with the advent of S-curve corsets, which pushed the breasts forward and bring out the hips by arching the back.


In spite of their beautiful and intricate design, these corsets were not healthy for a woman’s body. They caused several cases of crushed ribs, organ deformation, and even miscarriages. However, as it was important to be beautiful, especially for wealthy bachelorettes, many would still pay for a good corset to bring out their figure.


S-Curve Corset


The First Bra's


A breakthrough in the history of lingerie came in the 1910s when the first lightweight bra was invented and patented by Mary Phelps Jacob. Although corsets had gradually become smaller and less bulky in the late 19th century, it was this invention that brought bras to the general public.



The First Bra


This transition from bulky corsets to lightweight bras was accelerated by the First World War. The Great War claimed the lives of many men, and women were forced to take up roles that had been traditionally given to men. It was hard to perform manual labour wearing bulky corsets, and the newer and lighter bras became the norm.


The Sex Revolution


A huge breakthrough was achieved in the 1950s when lingerie gradually became synonymous with the term “sexy”. Lingerie was considered taboo, and exposing yourself in your lingerie was considered a heinous act. With the advent of pin-up girls in the 50‘s, images with ladies in underwear slowly became more acceptable and widespread. The corselets, girdles, and bustiers all emphasized and celebrate the natural curves of a woman.




Sexy and Comfortable


Lingerie designs in the 70s returned to its one-piece design, with looser fabrics and more comfortable designs. The era also saw the debut of Victoria’s Secret, the famous fashion brand which made sexy lingerie available to middle-class women.


Victoria Secret 1970's


Lingerie in the 80s was very sexy, to begin with. The trend returned to thongs, g-strings, bodysuits, and most specifically the famous teddies, which had gone out of style in the 60s. These teddies were particularly famous with businesswomen who wore them beneath suits inspired by menswear as a means to celebrate their femininity.


1980's Lingerie


In the 90s, the Wonderbra was made famous. It had been around as a brand has been around since the mid-20th century, but the push-up bra as we commonly know it wasn't popularized until the '80s and '90s. The effect was attention-grabbing. This is a great example of Eva Herzigova with her own plumped up cleavage in this 1994 billboard ad for Wonderbra.


1980's Lingerie


The Modern Woman


Modern lingerie has focused on liberating women of all shapes and sizes. The stereotypical ultra-skinny lingerie models are disappearing and advertising is more focused on what the majority of women look like. There is a growing movement to promote plus size lingerie to cater to for more curvy ladies out there.


Today women are free to be themselves, to have careers, to be independent and be wanted. The choice of lingerie reflects this, with styles that flatter all body shapes, express their personalities, and build confidence.


Throughout the ages, lingerie has been more than just pieces of clothing. From a reminder of an impossible beauty standard to the tool which helps women achieve sexual freedom, lingerie reflects women’s long fight to regain their voices, a long journey that has yet to end. Though styles may change, one thing doesn’t: lingerie will always be a lady’s best friend and her best tool.


Modern Lingerie


A Guide to Choosing Lingerie:


Today the choices in lingerie are endless, and for those new to buying lingerie might be overwhelmed. Here’s a guide to some of the types of lingerie on offer.


Babydoll: a short nightgown intended as nightwear for women. It is often worn with panties. Babydolls have a fitted bodice and a loose-fitting, high-waisted short skirt.


Baby Doll Lingerie


Bloomers: baggy underwear that extends to the knee. Bloomers were worn for many decades during the first part of the 20th century, but are generally not worn today.


Bloomers Lingerie


Bodystocking: a one-piece tight and stretchy stocking. Bodystockings may cover just the torso, or they may be worn over the thighs and abdomen as well.



Bra or Brassiere: a close-fitting garment that is worn to help lift and support a woman’s breasts.



Bustier: a fitted garment used to push up the bust and shape the waist.



Camisole: sleeveless and covering the top part of the body. Camisoles are typically constructed of light materials and feature thin "spaghetti straps".



Chemise: a one-piece undergarment that is the same in shape as a straight-hanging sleeveless dress. It is similar to the babydoll, but it is fitted more closely around the hips.



Corset: a tight piece covering the body from the neck to the waist. Corsets are often low cut in the front to reveal cleavage. The back is often connected with laces or hooks. Corsets may also be reinforced with steel or bone to provide greater breast support and alter the waistline.



G-string: also know as a thong, is a type of panty, with a narrow piece of cloth or string that passes between the buttocks and is attached to a waistband. A G-string or thong may be worn as a bikini bottom or as underwear.



Garter belt: also known as a suspender belt is used to keep stockings up.

Garter Belt


Girdle: historically, the girdle extended from the waist to the upper thigh. Modern styles more closely resemble a tight pair of athletic shorts.



Panties or Knickers: a generic term for underwear covering the genitals and sometimes buttocks. Available in many shapes, fabrics, styles and colours.



Petticoat: an underskirt. Petticoats were prominent throughout the 16th to 20th centuries.



Stockings / Hosiery: close-fitting, elastic garments that cover the feet and legs.



Teddy: an undergarment that resembles the shape of a one-piece bathing suit. It is typically sleeveless, and sometimes strapless.

Teddy Lingerie


What lingerie is best for me?


That comes down to your budget and the style of lingerie that suits your needs.  You need to ask yourself, what do I feel most comfortable wearing? You want a piece that makes you feel sexy and confident. 


If you have any questions, please contact us. We are always happy to help out. Check out or range of lingerie here.



1 Comment(s)

16/02/2020, 07:57:22 AM

Thanks for the ideas!

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