The History of Women’s Underwear

Underwear is one of the essential items of clothing a person can own. It provides comfort and coverage, and…

Underwear is one of the essential items of clothing a person can own. It provides comfort and coverage, and it can be worn in a variety of styles and colors. Underwear has been around for centuries and has been worn by both men and women. While the exact origin of underwear is unknown, it is believed to have originated in ancient people.

From women’s boxer briefs to Spanx and thongs, today, women have a variety of underwear options to choose from, but it wasn’t always this way. In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of women’s underwear and how it has evolved over the years. Keep reading to learn more!

5000 BC: Loincloths

The use of loincloths can be traced back to ancient times, with the earliest examples dating back to around 5000 BC. These early ancient loincloths were likely made from simple pieces of cloth or animal skin and were likely used more for functional purposes than for fashion. However, as time progressed, loincloths began to be made from more elaborate fabrics and were often decorated with beads or other adornments. While loincloths were once widely worn by both men and women in many different cultures, they are now most commonly associated with indigenous peoples or those living in tropical climates.

Middle Ages: Chemises

The chemise is a basic undergarment that was worn by women during the Middle Ages. It was usually made of a simple, lightweight fabric like linen or wool and was designed to be comfortable and practical. The chemise was typically worn under a dress or other outerwear and served to protect the wearer’s clothing from body oils and sweat.

The chemise was an important part of a woman’s wardrobe during the Middle Ages and was often seen as a symbol of modesty and chastity. In some cultures, the chemise was also believed to have magical properties and was used to ward off evil spirits. The chemise was a simple garment, but it played a vital role in a woman’s life during the Middle Ages.

Renaissance: Corsets


The first recorded instance of the corset undergarment was in the 14th century when both men and women wore it as a way to slim the waist and accentuated the hips. By the 16th century, the corset had become more of a feminized garment, with the primary purpose of reducing the waistline. Corsets were often made of linen or cotton and were boned with whalebone or reeds to give them structure.

In the late 18th century, the corset underwent a transformation thanks to the French Revolution. As a result of the revolution, many of the constraints on women’s clothing were lifted, and they were able to dress more freely. The corset, however, remained. It was during this time that the corset began to be seen as a symbol of female oppression, as it was seen as a way to control women’s bodies.

The 19th century was a time of great change for the corset. It was during this time that the corset began to be used as a way to achieve the desired hourglass figure. Corsets were made of increasingly stiffer materials, such as steel, and were often laced tightly to achieve the desired effect. This practice was controversial, as it was seen as a way to harm women’s bodies.

The 1800s: Petticoats and Pantaloons


During the 1800s, the most popular undergarments for women were petticoats and pantaloons. Petticoats were typically made of lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen and were worn under the dress to provide extra warmth or coverage. Pantaloons were also worn under the dress and were usually made of heavier fabrics like wool or silk. They were often embellished with lace or other decorations and were meant to be seen.

The 1920s: Lingerie


The 1920s were a time of great change for women, and this was reflected in their underwear. In the early part of the decade, most women still wore the traditional corset and stockings. However, by the end of the 1920s, the look had changed dramatically. The corset was replaced by the much more comfortable brassiere, and stockings were replaced by tights or pantyhose.

This change in underwear style was largely due to the changing role of women in society. In the 1920s, women were becoming more independent and active. They were working more and participating in activities such as sports and dancing. They needed underwear that was more comfortable and less restrictive.

The brassiere was invented in the early 1900s, but it really came into its own in the 1920s. It was more comfortable than the corset, and it gave women a more natural shape. The stockings of the time were also very uncomfortable, and they tended to fall down. Tights and pantyhose were a much more practical solution.

The changing styles of the 1920s were a reflection of the changing role of women in society. They were becoming more independent and active, and they needed underwear that was more comfortable and less restrictive. The brassiere and tights were a big step forward in the history of women’s underwear.

The 1980s: Bikini Briefs and Thongs

Bikini briefs and thongs became popular in the 1980s as women sought to show off their bodies in a more sexy way. These styles of underwear allowed women to do just that, as they hugged the body in all the right places and left little to the imagination. While thongs became especially popular in the 1990s, bikini briefs continued to be a staple in many women’s underwear collections throughout the years.

Today: Spanx, Underwear, and Boxers


Today, women’s underwear is much more comfortable and stylish. The most popular styles are Spanx, traditional underwear, and boxers. These garments are made from a variety of materials, including cotton, nylon, and lycra. They are available in a wide range of colors and styles and can be bought from a variety of different retailers.

Overall, the history of women’s underwear is an important part of women’s history. It has been used to control women’s bodies and their sexuality and to mark them as different from men. Underwear has been used to communicate messages about women’s worth and their place in society. Despite these messages, underwear has also been a source of comfort and self-expression for women.