Lingerie is intimate apparel that is meant to be worn under a woman’s clothing, or in the privacy of her bedroom. If you agree with this statement then please read on because lingerie is no longer just for the bedroom or under a skirt or blouse. It has historically been worn as a foundation that distorted a woman’s form to conform to the style of the day. Corsets, waist cinchers, and similar garments were to make a woman’s body appear to have a slender waist, hourglass figure, or the appearance of smaller breasts or whatever the style was of the day. Panties were worn for the sake of modesty, but primarily for sanitary purposes. After all, preventing one from soiling a garment was one of the primary purposes of underpants or panties. Through the 19th and early 20th century, lingerie was meant to be worn as an unmentionable, under the skirts or blouses of women, and certainly out of view of others.
Styles began to change in the early 20th century with the invention of the bra, such as it was, and women’s needs also changed with more women entering the work force during the first and second world wars. Lingerie changed along with the women that wore bras, panties and hosiery. Fabrics were invented that allowed garments to stretch and give, with comfort being more and more important, and the idea of women with freakish waists became viewed as virtually ancient.
The women’s movement and women’s changing views of fashion in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s signaled a change that has led us to where we are today. Although very few women ever actually burned their bras, the movement encouraged women to reevaluate many of society’s views concerning women, and fashion was no exception. A combination of changing values and fashion shifts among women, as well as the advent of modern fabrics and manufacturing techniques have given women the freedom to create today’s sensual and often fashion trends.
In general lingerie has become more form fitting, softer, and arguably erotic. Panties have gone from full bottomed, cotton or natural fabric tent like garments often identified as “granny panties” to the skimpy, stretch thongs and g-strings women wear today. Corsets and bustiers in the past had boning, often made of whale bone, to maintain the integrity of the garment that was primarily used as a girdle or figure contorting device. The objective then was to create garments that confined, while today the objective is stretch to fit, body hugging, garments that are extremely comfortable to wear.
Just as lingerie, fashion and women have evolved, so has the acceptance of wearing lingerie as outerwear. Let us begin with bustiers and corsets. While corsets are still purchased by brides to be to be and worn under a wedding dress, many corsets today are colorful, made of stretch spandex and are made to be seen. Many are strapless, are easy to take on and off and look very sexy under a blazer or alone with a skirt or jeans. This early garment has made it into the work place as well as the red carpet as it is a versatile lingerie item that isn’t just for the bedroom. The movie Moulin Rouge is just one example of actresses on the big screen leading a fashion trend that has lead to an acceptance of women wearing lingerie outside of the boudoir, and as outerwear.
The camisole is another garment that does double or triple duty. It is in many women’s wardrobes as a fashionable piece that is worn under a sweater, or with a lace bra and under a jacket or all alone. The camisole is part of the emergence of form fitting clothing that is comfortable and worn by body conscious women to the delight of men. There is a blurring of lines with former items competing with traditional outerwear for women’s attention and expendable income.
The ever present, functional bra is now worn as outerwear. Like a lot of fashion trends we may never see elderly women wearing their Playtex bra peeking out of their low cut blouse, while millions of younger women have seen the trend as worthy of following. The practice of wearing a bra, preferably lace or sheer under a snug fitting top, generally in a contrasting color is widely accepted. Wearing a bra under a sheer blouse, beneath a button down jacket or all alone is no longer unusual. In the past a woman would never consider wearing a bra where her bra straps were showing, or heaven forbid the entire bra. The idea of revealing a woman’s bra was taboo only 20 years ago. Today, women wear their lace or sheer bras as a fashion accessory.
Next are the wildly popular items known as thongs and g-string panties. While panties are not designed or sold to be worn outside a woman’s garments, the low rise jeans are more revealing than ever. Women’s fashions are trending to slimmer, more body conscious styles, thus previously unseen lingerie is visible.
Stockings or thigh high hosiery is another item that can proudly announce that it has been let out of the closet. Women today wear skirts with thigh highs that are deliberately exposed. The practice of showing ones thigh high stockings is common with women wearing costumes, and other leg exposing clothing. The truth is that pantyhose are not as popular as they once were. Thigh highs, on the other hand are gaining in popularity due to the changes in fashion we are discussing.
It should come as no surprise that lingerie, previously regarded as unmentionables, should emerge as outerwear. Women have demanded more figure flattering, colorful garments and lingerie manufacturers have responded. With more body conscious styles, perhaps it was inevitable that the sexy underwear would peak out of women’s blouses, jackets and jeans. To some it is kind of naughty, while to others simply a means of self expression. Women’s fashion has always been the subject of ridicule, fascination and criticism. The jean wearing women of the sixties ushered in a 40 year ongoing love affair with denim. While the bra burning feminists of the sixties and seventies did not have a lasting effect on women wearing bras, the emergence of women in the work place and equal rights have led to some unforeseen consequences.
Women wear and don’t wear what they please. Fashion is no longer dictated by the first lady or by runways in fashion capitols. That is not to say that the influence of the runways of Milan, New York and Paris are not important, in many ways. Young women are creating fashion on the streets of Los Angeles, New York, Miami and another fashion explosion may be around the corner with the release of another rock video, or a movie release with young women in the lead. At Intimates Fit Style you will find a variety of intimate apparel that will fit every need.
Lingerie worn as outerwear is not a passing trend. The evolution of women’s underwear or lingerie has been trending towards skimpier; more body hugging and less is more for many years. Women have embraced wearing beautiful and exciting clothing regardless of what it is called, and wearing it out of the bedroom was inevitable and a welcome addition to the fashion landscape.