Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Categories: Culture | Fashion

Why do we wear underwear? To take care of health, for hygienic purposes or playing along with fashion trends — one way or another, the history of the development of underwear is directly related to cultural changes in society.

Despite this, bras and underpants are still considered something indecent and rarely become a topic of discussion. Perhaps this is because even the most puritanical and practical of them are still imbued with eroticism due to the specifics of their purpose.

We have prepared for you a short excursion into the history of underwear from antiquity to the present day.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Underwear in the current sense was not known in ancient times. An obvious analogue of its purpose and form was a loincloth.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

In ancient Rome, the loincloth was not an obligatory part of the costume, and the role of underwear was usually played by a tunic, over which the Romans wore a cloak or toga.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

However, actors and speakers (during public performances), as well as gladiators, wore a subligaculum (subligaculum) — a loincloth made of leather.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Women of ancient Rome during sports wore leather loincloths and strophium — the prototype of a modern bra.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

In the Middle Ages, the role of underwear was played by braes (fr. braies) — linen trousers secured with a cord. They often wore chausses — tight trousers attached to the belt.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Also in the Middle Ages, both men and women wore a kameez (from the French chemise) — a long loose-fitting undershirt.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Long shirts and evolved breeches — long johns — served as underwear in the age of Enlightenment.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

A variety of corsets have become very popular among ladies.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Some fashionistas at that time decorated themselves with stockings with garters.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

However, long johns were still a predominantly male part of the wardrobe. They became part of women's underwear only by the XIX century.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Men's linen shirt and long johns, Great Britain, 1775.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

By the end of the XIX century, corsets and undershirts became more form-fitting and revealing.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

However, the pantaloons did not lag behind.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

A variety of long johns have become popular among men.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

By the beginning of the XX century, prototypes of a modern bra, supporting the chest and worn over a corset, had spread among women.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Corset, 1895.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Cotton corset, 1914.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Women's intimate fashion of the mid-1940s — 1950s of the XX century was distinguished by a compromise between the usual understanding of underwear as an element of the wardrobe and rational practicality.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

The middle of the XX century was in some way a turning point in the history of underwear development. The sexual revolution and the liberalization of views did their job and changed the usual view of the intimate part of the wardrobe: the styles of panties and bra became more and more explicit, often to the detriment of practicality.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

Models in lingerie of the world-famous Victoria's Secret company.

Sex, Gender and Morality: The Unknown History of underwear

A set of Tamila underwear from the Soire collection of the famous Agent Provocateur brand.

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