History of Lingerie & its Variety
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“Lingerie” comes from the Old French word “lingere” meaning linen, and is defined as
women’s underwear and night clothes. In France “lingerie” applies to all undergarments for both genders. In the U.S. and England “lingerie” applies to women’s undergarments, solely created to be erotic or visually pleasing, using the like of silk and lace, and does not apply to sensible cotton underclothes.
The history of lingerie.
The concept of lingerie being visually pleasing is a relatively recent one. The glamorization of lingerie really only started in the 1960’s. The concept of sexy lingerie began to develop and by the sexual revolution of the 1970’s really took off. Interestingly, the 1960’s also saw feminists burning their bras. The feminists were convinced that women’s undergarments were created “to impose control and order of the fairer sex”.
In the first half of the 20th Century women’s undergarments had 3 purposes: modesty, hygiene, and to alter the female form through the use of corsets, girdles and bras. They were often large, bulky, extremely uncomfortable and often very physically restraining. By the 1950’s undergarments were becoming smaller and more form fitting.
The Corset. From the 16th to 19th Century various devices were used to squeeze women’ waists to astonishing measurements of 16-17 inches. Note that Kate Moss, Jennifer Anniston and Heather Locklear all list their waist measurements as 23 inches. The envied hourglass shape was achieved by compressing the body at the middle and literally transferring the flesh from the waist to the breasts and hips.
The Girdle. During the 1920’s the corset was slowly replaced by the girdle. These were more comfortable and less extreme. The girdle was considered an essential item, both for respectability and modesty. The girdle was designed to give a smoother more appealing line to the woman’s shape. The bottom of the girdle had fasteners on it to clip onto stockings to keep them up. By the 1960’s the girdle was replaced by the panty girdle and then again by control top pantyhose.
The Brassiere. There is some disagreement as to when and who invented the bra. Mary Phelps Jacob held the first patent, Feb 12, 1914, which contained the French word “brassiere”. Her invention was backless and held in place with straps that wrapped around the body and tied in the front. It was designed to be worn with backless evening gowns, hiding the top of the corset in front. However, earlier, in Jan 10,1876, a patent was lodged by Olivia P.Flynt, claiming to be “specially designed as a bust support and improver”.
Underpants. Aka undies, smalls, panties (U.S.), knickers (U.K.), bloomers, briefs, gorgeous gussies, and scanties. Until the 1940’s the only purpose of the “bloomers” was to protect and keep the outer garments clean. They were not sexy or attractive and were designed only to be functional. Until the 1950’s underpants covered parts of the thigh. When the thigh covering disappeared, the US term of the “panty” was created. However these were large, baggy, unattractive and white. Think “granny panties”. Gradually, the panty became more colourful and smaller, with string panties emerging in the 1960’s. Panties became an icon of sexuality once manufacturers started to use satin, lace and silk.
Nowadays, thankfully for all concerned, lingerie has become a lot easier on the eye. L lingerie has become a favored boudoir pick-me-up. Guys love the visual stimulation and girls love the fact that they can highlight their best attributes and conceal any worries. A true win-win sexual situation.
Terminology. Here is a lowdown on all those confusing terms.
Baby doll. A highly eroticized item. A short negligee that normally ends about 6 inches above the knee, although the length can vary. They are often see through and made of nylon, chiffon or silk. Trimmings include fur, lace ruffles, bows, ribbons and spaghetti straps. The baby doll was made popular by the 1956 movie of the same name. Due to its flattering cut, the baby doll is possibly the most popular of the erotic lingerie range. It has the ability to be trashy, naughty, see through, sensual or elegant. A sure-fire winner for him and her.
Bodysuit. An all-in-one leotard like garment which has snap fasteners at the crotch. Bodysuits are skintight and give a smooth line. They can also provide shaping support. Stretch lace bodysuits, in either black or skin tone, can be astonishingly seductive as well as practical. Equally suitable for the full figure and the svelte.
Bras. Unless you are certain of the size, can be tricky buying for someone else. Many styles, designs and fabrics to select from to showcase a girl’s most obvious sexual attribute.
Bridal. Traditionally made in cream or white. Bridal lingerie is usually meant to be both elegant and sexy. Wedding lingerie is often made from silk, satin or lace.
Bustier. A form-fitting, sleeveless, strapless item that ends at the waist. The primary purpose of the bustier is to push up the bust. Bustiers often lace up, or have fasteners up the front, with the bosoms perched over the top. The bustier is the ideal sexy lingerie for the girl looking for support or to boost the appearance of her breasts. Bustiers can also come in black leather which is perfect for kinky and fetish lingerie.
French Maid Outfit. Wildly popular in the fantasy lingerie range. They are usually based on the black and white French maid’s afternoon uniform of the 19th Century. The typical outfit is very short, trimmed with frilled white lace, and comes with a tiny white apron. The outfit should be short enough to reveal knickers (or not) when she bends over. Feather dusters, maid hair caps and cuffs are all great extras. This naughty lingerie should be worn with black fishnet stockings and black high heels. Perfect for the couple who enjoys a little play-acting.
Knickers. Crotch less lingerie, edible knickers, g string, see through, leather and luxury designer panties are all out there to keep the interest up. A flash of these during the evening will stop the television going on!
Merry Widow. Also known as a torsolette. This is a short strapless corset with half-cup bra and long garters attached to keep the stockings up. This outfit was made in 1952 for the Merry Widow movie starring Lana Turner.
Naughty and Nice. This is a 3-piece outfit containing matching baby doll, knickers and peignoir. Fairly self-explanatory name, I guess.
Negligee. The word “negligee” comes from the French word “negliger” which means to neglect or overlook. However, I don’t think there would be much neglection when she is wearing one of these. In the 1920’s the negligee started to copy the slinky single layer evening gowns which were in fashion at that time. The forerunner to sensual and erotic nightwear, negligees are made from sheer or semi-translucent fabrics and adorned with lace and or bows. Negligees are perfect seductive lingerie for all body types including the plus size.
Peignoir. A floor length night gown. They are usually made of chiffon and are sheer. Although they are usually sold with matching knickers, they are often worn without. This is the perfect intimate lingerie for the girl who is self conscious about her legs.
Stockings and Garter Belts. The ultimate indicator for a guy that this is going to be a hot date! A tantalising glimpse of these and he will be putty in a girl’s hand. The quick and easy access to the genital area seems to promise sexual spontaneity. The most popular color for the garter belt is red or black. While stockings come in all colors and designs, the two most desirable styles are the back seamed and the fishnet, both in black. Hot sexy lingerie at its most effective.
Teddy. A camisole and knickers all in one, usually with snap fasteners at the crotch. These can be tricky to purchase in the correct size due to body length differences. Unless it is made of stretch lace, this is one item that should be tried on before purchasing. Often perceived to be fine or luxury lingerie, especially when made in silk.
Where to purchase adult lingerie.
In this day and age, there is no need to be embarrassed about being spotted in the adult shop. Most department stores have a range of tame sensual lingerie. Lingerie boutiques have whole racks devoted to sexy lingerie. For the shyer folk, there are lingerie catalogues and numerous online sites where you can peruse to your hearts content. The mail order and website companies normally send your items in plain unmarked boxes.
Take the yawn out of your bedchamber! A passion pit is just at the end of the hallway!
Whatever your fantasy or fetish, erotic or sensual lingerie will add a spark to the slap and tickle.
Good Luck, Coco Swan.
by Coco Swan