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The Evolution of Lingerie: From Hidden To Showcased

Aug 4, 2008
Today's lingerie plays a double role: functional and seductive.

It's during the Renaissance (around the 14th century) that women started wearing what we currently refer to as panties, and more generally, lingerie. But only at the end of the following century did the word underwear actually replace that of "body linen"; in turn, underwear is now considered "plain", the seductive moniker being "lingerie".

It was only a matter of time before lingerie entered the wardrobe as a clothing item in and of itself, therefore carrying its own social meaning. It asserted a more and more liberated behavior, a healthier relationship with one's body, a way to nonchalantly display what formerly very intimate. This was a new role for underwear.

As years went by, elegance was replaced with seduction, which has, in turn, been replaced with a sensuality that shows itself with no taboo whatsoever. Lingerie is a flagship product of the fashion industry, and as such it boasts a number of attributes desired by every woman: seduction, embellishment, imagination, pleasure, well-being and beauty.

As previously mentioned, today's lingerie plays a double role: functional and seductive. By the end of the 90's, the obsession was discretion. Showing a panty line or, to a lesser extent, the outline of a bra, was out of the question. Thus Lycra was introduced, bringing its elasticity to the plate, allowing for increased seamlessness. On the seduction side, lingerie goes the opposite direction and displays itself to the world forgoing the intimate in favor of the blatant.

Women tend to belong to one of two categories: the ones that like lace, embroidered fabrics, sensitive to the sexy, seductive aspect of lingerie, and the ones that only care for absolute discretion under the skin-tight clothes, with no regard for the fabric itself. Nevertheless, the the jury is out as to whether a thong or g-string should be shown or not. Although certain people consider it to be vulgar, it is unanimously recognized that it has an undeniable aesthetic effect that brings out the curves and guarantees the absence of panty lines. It's probably a moot point, because when a woman is wearing a thong, it's obvious. Not necessarily because she shows it, but merely because the absence of panty lines pretty much underlines it (no pun intended).

Today, lingerie companies like Frederick's of Hollywood and Victoria's Secret have annual modeling shows and national commercials to promote their lingerie. Society has changed from hiding what we have on underneath to showing it off.
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