From the days of the Roman empire when underwear was used for warmth and hygiene, to present-day 2022, we’ve seen a whole host of lingerie fashions come and go over the last 200 years.
In this article, we step back in time to discover the evolution of feminine underwear.
The Georgian era is widely known as the age of the corset. These were vastly popular garments across the 1800s, right up until the 19th century. Originally tube-like contraptions, they compressed the natural waistline to make it look smaller.
According to historical reports, the first corsets were first structured with whale bone, which was later subbed for steel rods for ultimate compression. In the late 18th century corsets changed to adorn an hour-glass shape, when slim and curvaceous figures became highly fashionable.
In the roaring 20s, we waved goodbye to tight corsets and hello to more comfortable clothing. Garments, such as flapper dresses, were created – adorning looser cuts that hung from the body. These shapeless silhouettes went hand in hand with the shift of boyish figures being more sought after among women.
By this time, women had been introduced to the first modern bra, thanks to Mary Phelps Jacob. Lace and silk slips were worn beneath dresses, so as clothing became less covered, undergarments had to shrink to accommodate this. Girdles and corsets were still at play, but for the opposing reason of flattening women’s curves instead of enhancing them.
During World War II shortages, women resorted to drawing stocking lines on the back of their legs to create the illusion that they were wearing tights. It was S. H. and Company that first invented the first-ever cup size and band measurement bras – this was soon adopted by Warner’s who quickly became the industry standard producers of cup-sized bras.
After World War II metal shortages ended, we also saw the introduction of underwired bras in the 40s. This made way for the first-ever strapless bra, which was made using underwiring as support to stay in place.
Today, underwear has evolved across the 21st century to consider comfort, style, sexuality, shape, and function. From matching sexy lingerie sets to comfortable ribbed loungewear, it’s safe to say that modern female underwear caters to all requirements.
Whether you’re looking for something lacy and racy for a night of romance or cool and casual cotton set for everyday wear, there are countless styles available to suit female needs. We’ve seen the arrival of padded and push-up bras to give a fuller-looking breast, alongside wireless triangle bras for increased comfort.