11 Oct 2012


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

When a young man complained to me that his girlfriend hasn't worn any underwear in her garden when it was hot, and he asked me if this is "normal" I thought he is rather old fashioned, although he could be my son by far ! Anyway this made me curious and I wanted to know since when people used to wear underwear, because my ancestors ran around in furs and I think they were naked underneath. But apparently they wore a loincloth which is the simplest form of underwear and was probably the first undergarment worn by human beings.

loincloth                                            a modern nightmare remake !

In warmer climates the loincloth was often the only clothing worn and was an outer garment rather than an undergarment,  but in colder regions the loincloth often formed the basis of a person's clothing and was covered by other garments. Anyway in most ancient civilizations, this was the only undergarment available. It must have been worn by both sexes, because I couldn't find any female underwear. Apparently women wore nothing special, or maybe the chastity belt when their men went on crusades.

After the loincloth men (still nothing mentioned about women) wore braies in the middle age

a knight, King Henry VIII and even ol' Bush wore codpieces !

By the time of the Renaissance, braies had become shorter they were usually fitted with a front flap that was buttoned or tied closed. This codpiece allowed men to urinate without having to remove the braies completely.

Of course codpieces were really not adapted for women as they have no family jewelries.

Over the upper part of their bodies, both medieval men and women usually wore a  a chemise in France, or a smock or shift in England. Women wore a chemise underneath their gowns or robes.

ancient                                     new fashion corset

In the 16th century wealthy women's nightmare started with the corsets  which refers to a stiffened decorative bodice worn on top of another bodice stiffened with buckram, reeds, canes, whalebone or other materials which must have been very comfortable and really not made to work on a field or raise 10 children !

women underwear in 1800

The bra is an abreviation from brassiere which was worn after the corsets, and was only invented beginning 1900, and mass production started in 1912 in Germany.

Before the 1950s, underwear consisted of simple, white pieces of clothing which were not to be shown in public  ! In the 1950s, underwear became a fashion item in its own right.And now you have the choice in patterns colors and shapes !


Dominique@Dominique's Desk said...

Really interesting history of the Underwear. Didn't know that it was only invented in the 19 Century.

A Lady's Life said...

Darlin, I never wore underwear except when I went on dates because men are pigs.lol Then I packed it on thick down there lol My Momma taught me well. lol One can learn a lot about men this way. You see how they handle this.lol
Men come to these conclusions that going on a date means you are ready for sex.
Why is that? Are women so desperate or gullible?
Why can't women respect marriage?
A man is married, so he is out of circulation.Period.
A woman is married. Period.

jfb57 said...

What an interesting post! I had no idea there was so much history in pants!

Linens and Royals said...

So now we can thank global warming for getting rid of corsets and wearing lighter underwear! OK, I'll go along with that.

Cathy Kennedy said...

Unmentionables have changed a great deal over the years and not quite so private any longer. I just loved the cartoon at the end. Great 'U' post!

Come check out my Alphabe-Thursday 'U' post entitled, Our Universe.

Maribeth said...

My grandmother always told me to wear clean underwear, because you never know when you might have an accident and a medic would be called! Heaven forbid you have dirty underwear! lol!

SarahBeth said...

Um, it would be rather interesting, as you walk down the street, to encounter that guy in the first photo! LOL!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Love learning things while I'm laughing at the same time. Fun (and surprising in many ways) ... thanks for doing the research and presenting it so well.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I never thought much about the history of underwear. Thanks for the lesson! Undeniably interesting...

jesh StG said...

Wow, you went out of your way for your "U" post! Entertaining;)

Loree said...

I knew your post was going to make me smile today. Lots :)

Anonymous said...

This really was interesting. It's amazing the bra has only been around since 1900.

SandyCarlson said...

This was informative and amusing. hanks, Gattina.

ImagesByCW | OceanDreamIllustration said...

What a great informative and amusing post. Thanks a lot for digging up this information!

This is my Alphabe- Thursday: Underwater photos @ ImagesByCW

Cheryl D. said...

Thanks for the history of underwear!

anitamombanita said...

Loved it! that was splendid!

Judie said...

Gattina, you and I think alike! On Sept. 7, 2011, I wrote a post about the history of underwear!

Jenny said...

What fUn!

I didn't know very much of this!

I was spellbound by this history.

And I think I'm really going to appreciate my Hanes a lot more now!

Thanks for linking.