The Perspective of Lingerie as a Women’s Undergarment

The Perspective of Lingerie as a Women’s Undergarment

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor
Department of Fashion, Design & Arts
Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science (HITS)


What is Lingerie?
The term “lingerie,” is a word derived from the French word “linge” meaning linen, was first presented into the English language as a rewording for appalling undergarments. Its widespread history consistently shifts gears between feminine and masculine as well as painful and practical.

Fig: Lingerie

From the laced corset “wasp waists” and hoop skirts of the Elizabethan Era to modern day Wonder bras, lingerie has helped define what it means to look beautiful and reveals women’s varying role in civilization.

Lingerie is a word that is used for undergarments which are mentioned below:

  • Fascinating,
  • Appealing,
  • Erotic and
  • Fashionable.

It is different from other undergarments which are made of cotton (poplin, cambric, muslin, long cloth, light weight and slightly stretchable) and also the following fabrics are in usage as mentioned hereunder:

  1. Silk,
  2. Lace,
  3. Satin,
  4. Polyester,
  5. Nylon, and
  6. Lycra.

The clothing category loosely called lingerie (means ‘linen’ in French) is simply huge. From bras and panties to yoga togs and polished loungewear, corsets it keeps growing and expanding as our current wardrobe needs change and develop. The garment styles and shapes that make up the group known as lingerie are actually a wide and diverse collection of apparel in both traditional, predictable styles and modern, unexpected shapes.

Lingerie industry has been developing successfully and the demand from the customers compulsions the industry to continuously improve its design and manufacturing technology so as to drive for superiority to match the ever-changing market. In the present days, the firm of manufacture wide-ranging of lingerie consists of the following:

  1. Brassiere,
  2. Panties,
  3. Control briefs,
  4. Garters,
  5. Foundation garments,
  6. Corsets,
  7. Bustier.

Women’s underwear throughout history has caused them to be as mentioned below:

  1. Flattened,
  2. Confirmed,
  3. Molded,
  4. Plumped,
  5. Squeezed in and
  6. Pushed out.

Lingerie’s purposes include altering a woman’s shape, meeting hygiene needs and preserving her modesty.

Through the centuries, lingerie has always played an important role, not only covering private parts but also helping women creating their personality and giving them self-confidence.

Lingerie has always been a very personal matter. Especially today, women are able to choose between a variety of style options designed to accomplish the same purpose. While traditional styles may meet many of needs, there are no hard and fast rules. Whatever one feels most comfortable wearing is what does the job best. It supports your bosom, improves your figure, and it can emphasize the body’s strong points. With the right lingerie, one feels beautiful. A woman of the world, bursting with confidence.For every kind of woman, the right lingerie exists to do her body justice.

Today, lingerie is embraced in many forms; from the comfort found in sports bras and functionality of Spanx, to the ultra-sexy push-up bras and lacy corsets, there always seems to be something for every shape and occasion. But no matter the reason or season, women should always wear beautiful lingerie for themselves. According to the French philosophy, wearing a “pretty little secret” helps to exude confidence and sex appeal.

A History of Lingerie traced developments in intimate apparel from the 18th century to the present.

There are two types of lingerie, hard and soft.

Hard lingerie includes corsets, bustles, and structured bras, while soft lingerie consists of unstructured garments, such as slips, nightgowns, and panties. As the relationship between dress and the body has been redefined over time, so too have the purpose and appearance of lingerie.

Printed gown with floral designs in pinks, greens, and black with deep scoop neck, cap sleeves, and ribbon drawstring for empire bodice

The concept of underwear-as-outerwear is most commonly associated with the 1980s, but the look of lingerie has long served as encouragement for fashion garments. Exposed opened with several pairings of objects that emphasize that connection.

A nylon nightgown by lingerie label Iris was shown alongside an evening gown by Claire McCardell, created in a similar fabric and silhouette. Both date from the 1950s.

During the 1950s, the return of the hourglass silhouette demanded more inflexible foundation garments, such as corsets and stiff tulle petticoats. These styles were directly contrasted in the following decade, when unstructured lingerie in featherweight fabrics was worn to complement revealing, youth-driven clothing styles. The 1980s saw a return to luxurious undergarments, such as lacy teddies and provocative bustier, which were often inspired by designs of the past.

The 1700s & 1800s: Corsets
For much of the 18th century, the classic corset governed ultimate. And the earliest version often referred to as a “stay,” was crafted not with stiff cloth, but with whalebone—which meant breathing was simply out of the question. And while these garments did their due diligence in streamlining the waist, they were hardly sexy. They more precisely look like shield than they ensured the corsets of today.

The 1910s: Drawers & Nightgowns
It’s hard not to read “drawers” as the butt of a joke (ha!). But the fairly rotund underwear for bearers were certainly significant to the lingerie prospect in the early 20th century.

While we’re all more than familiar with the contemporary slip dress, the introduction of slips as undergarments in the ‘20s certainly signified a move towards sexual liberation. When the fashion of the era gave way to flapper dresses rather than ball gowns, a more boyish natural figure went into style—which meant we could do away with the whole corset deal in favor of a far more comfortable silhouette.

The ‘50s saw the appearance of pin-up advertisements: Suggestive models in sultry poses dressed in beautifully rendered undergarments that were meant to be seen. These ads, which appealed to both men and women, marked the first time undergarments could be properly celebrated and shopped .

As a high-end brand that treated undergarments like jewelry, it added a new level of class to the lingerie market.

The 1970s: Victoria’s Secret
In the wake up of  La Perla, 1977 saw the arrival of Victoria’s Secret—a more affordable, accessible lingerie option. Roy Raymond, the company’s founder, claimed he despised the process of shopping for lingerie in department stores. He wanted an option that was neither dowdy nor reserved for special occasions like; Call it the people’s lingerie.

The 1980s: Brights & Boas
Like with all things in the ‘80s, this particular decade gave way to some newfound minimalism in the lingerie department. In line with the fashion of the era, we began to see bright colors, louder textiles, and most importantly, lots of feathers.

While lingerie-for-show had certainly been normalized by the ‘90s, this was the first time we saw undergarments donned as proper fashion. Beginning with Madonna’s iconic Jean-Paul Gautier conical top, began to see slip-dresses on runways and at movie premieres that were intentionally sheer to reveal undergarments.

This was also the decade in which the famed “wonder bra” came into style—among the first, widely popularized push-up bras—giving way to a whole new era of fashion that prized lifted, perky breasts more than ever before.

2020-Present: Sporty Sets
Even pre-quarantine, a more comfortable iteration of lingerie had come into style. And of course, thinking specifically of those Calvin Klein matching sets. But here’s the exciting thing: In the grand history of lingerie, this is possibly the first time we’ve praised comfort and ease in the “intimates” monarchy without discounting sex appeal. As it turns out, the whole sporty spice look is still a serious turn-on.

The concept of lingerie as a visually appealing undergarment was developed during the late nineteenth century. Lady Duff-Gordon of Lucile was a pioneer in developing lingerie that freed women from more restrictive corsets.

Bras can now be designed for support or for appearance and enhancement. Those that are made for support maximize comfort and minimize movement, such as a sports bra. Bras that enhance figures can lift the bust line, give you cleavage that you’ve never had before and some also feature extra padding to add to your overall bust size. Interchangeably, there are even minimizing bras designed to make the breasts appear smaller.

Now lingerie can be delicate, sensual and help spice up your life, giving the number of styles and types to choose from. Now corsets and girdles can be made for appeal rather than binding and tightening and can also come in all colors and designs. A bustier is a strapless bra that has garter straps attached at the waist and can be made of fabrics such as silk or satin.

The teddy, one of the most popular types of women’s lingerie, is a short nightgown that falls just above the upper thigh and can be made of a variety of sheer or silky materials. Teddy’s also usually come with a matching pair of panties to complete the look.

A chemise is another common piece of lingerie and types a straight-cut with the gown falling just above the knee. A chemise is usually made of a very light material and has spaghetti straps. A longer gown, the peignoir, reaches to the ankle and often comes with a robe of a similar design.

You may also like:

  1. Present Scenario of Women’s Nighty Wear
  2. Importance of Comfort in Intimate Wear for Women
  3. How to Choose Right Underwear for Purchasing
  4. Basic Requirements of Bra Fitting | Bra Fitting Techniques

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1 thought on “The Perspective of Lingerie as a Women’s Undergarment”

  1. The perspective of lingerie as a women’s undergarment has evolved over time, reflecting changing attitudes towards gender, sexuality, and personal expression. Whether worn for comfort, function, or as a form of self-expression, lingerie remains an important and widely-used garment that continues to play a significant role in women’s lives.


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