The History of Lingerie


Underwear has been worn through nearly all periods of time. Both women and men wore garments for comfort or to enhance their shapes.

The aim of underwear in the 1800’s  was to change women’s figure completely, working to create what was seen as the ‘ideal’ feminine figure. This was done using highly uncomfortable materials such as steel cage structures called crinolines that supported wide hoop skirts. It left wearers hips bruised. In addition, most women who could afford to opted to wear corsets to shrink the appearance of their waist, often cutting off the oxygen flow, it became almost fashionable amongst young women to have your corset so tight that you fainted.

Image result for mary phelps jacobs bra

It was around 1890 when women’s underwear became less restrictive and women began opting for the brassiere, creating a feminine shape in a much more subtle way. The brassiere was first patented by Mary Phelps Jacob who invented it as a quick alternative when finding corsets too uncomfortable and heavy underneath her evening dress.
Jacob’s began selling her designs to friends and family before sale became widespread, the sales peaked particularly during World War One due to the preservation of metal halting corset manufacture. Since then although the designs have changed and other styles of underwear have come and gone the bra as we refer to it now still has a huge place in women’s lives. 

The modern styles of bra are much more suited for the individualist culture that is prominent in our current social climate. Agent Provocateur, founded in 1994, are known for their luxury, sexy lingerie. They specialise in ‘brazenly sexual’  underwear that pushes boundaries and empowers women through reclaiming their sexuality. On the other hand, stores like M&S that offer comfortable and practical underwear for the ‘everyman.’ It is affordable and therefore a much more mass-market alternative than brands such as Agent Provocateur. It does however allow for mmaller brands such as Isosceles lingerie to find their place in the markett, lingerie that is still fun, sexy but yet still fairly affordable.

You Might Also Like


Thank you so much