Women’s undergarments have shaped the fashion and intimate choices of women for centuries. Like all other fashion accessories, these also underwent massive changes in the last 200 years.
The reason for changes is apparent; Evolution. New things originate and take the place of ancient things that can no longer survive in the growing world. The nightmarish fashion choices became extinct when something better was invented, and so on.
One classic example of undergarment evolution is the shift from cage-like crinolines to today’s thongs, which feel light as a feather. This article explores the fascinating journey of women's undergarments , from restrictive corsets to the modern era of comfort and body positivity.
Changes in Women’s Undergarments Over Time
Women have been wearing clothes under their dresses for long. In the Greek and Roman eras, they wore simple silk or linen fabrics underneath as a sign of modesty. The middle-ages came with massive changes in these light undergarments, converting them into stiff structures.
The big differences in fashion choices and undergarments come with social, physiological, and cultural differences. It also keeps on modifying with the changing needs of intimation. Today, we know that these factors are secondary to comfort.
Corsets – The Restrictive Undergarment
From the start of the 16th century, women found an ultimate accessory to wear under their dresses; Corsets. These were heavy gowns made with metal or whalebone carved in a cage-like appearance.
The primary purpose of a corset was to shape and cinch the waist, creating an exaggerated hourglass figure. However, the heavy materials were too hard on the physical health of women. Some even reported organ damage and restricted breathing.
Still, this cruel undergarment remained in use till the early 20th century because primarily, 1. Women had no other undergarment option, 2. They loved the body shape it provided.
19th Century Undergarments
Efforts were made to introduce some new styles in the ladies’ undergarments. Some women used Petti-coats, which were skirt-like garments. These were sometimes embroidered, so women wore them on special occasions.
Another garment of interest, “Knickers,” got some attention. The name came from “knickerbockers,” the trousers men wore for sports. It was a knee-length or longer loose-fitting garment worn on the lower body.
20th Century – The Rise of Brassiere
The corsets still were the most used undergarments by the end of the 19th century. Its use finally started to cease when the U.S. military needed metal for battleships in World War 1. Women had to tend to some other form of undergarment. That’s when the brassiere started to rise.
Brassiere was a revolutionary undergarment designed to provide support and shape without the constraints of corsets. It was made with a comfortable fabric with straps to keep it in place. Pioneers like Mary Phelps Jacob and Herminie Cadolle introduced early versions of the brassiere, later shortened to bra, liberating women from the discomfort of corsetry.
Modern Day Bras and Panties
These bras, discovered a century ago, are still going strong in 2023. However, they adapted to many changes along the way.
The quest for bigger breasts led to the invention of padded bra in the 1940s, and women were appalled. These are still the most commonly-used bras in the 21st century. Padded bras have cushion pads in the cup area for enhanced shape and a bulky appearance. Similarly, cotton bras were made to provide utmost feeling of comfort.
Now, the bra has evolved into various styles, including wireless, underwire, push-up, and sports bra, catering to different body types and activities.
The knickers became shorter into boy shorts, briefs, and thongs. These are all considered ladies panties today, and women use particular ones according to the occasion and their unique body shapes and sizes.
Girl Nine - Embracing Comfort and Body Positivity
We believe every woman has a unique body of which she should not be ashamed. Body-positive undergarments help ladies embrace their true selves and feel more confident and self-sufficient in their own bodies. That’s what Girl Nine strives for through its remarkably comfortable undergarments collection.
Of all the undergarment brands in Pakistan, Girl Nine offers comfortable and body-positive products. Our ladies’ undergarments online come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles. The next time you go for online undergarments shopping in Pakistan, choose Girl Nine and embrace your true beauty.