When one thinks about the history of women’s fashion, lingerie is usually a segment of the industry that is completely overlooked. Lingerie is divided into two sections, Foundations and Intimate Apparel. Foundations refers to bras, girdles, shapewear, and garter belts. Intimate Apparel is a term for loungewear, nightwear, undergarments, and body shapers. Christian Dior once said, “Without foundation there can be no fashion.” Dior has also stated, “Lovely lingerie is the basis of good dressing.” Truer words have never been spoken…
Lingerie ads throughout the 20th century were beautiful. They showcased women’s bodies in such a classy way, they were creative and original, true works of art. I think that magazines today lack lingerie ads of this nature. I say let’s bring back the beauty and artistry that lingerie once possessed!
In 1900 the S-bend health corset defined the Edwardian hourglass silhouette. The S-bend eventually led to the long-line corset which not only slimmed the waist, but hips as well.
In 1914 Coco Chanel popularized loose-fitting chemise dresses. This became a staple of the 20s and allowed women to wear less constricting undergarments. The “lean line” look of flappers was achieved by wearing bust-reducing brassieres. During the prohibition era, women used garters to hold up their stockings as well as hide small flasks of liquor.
In 1929, Gordon introduced proportioned stockings. Their slogan was, “For each her own individually.”
In 1935, Warner Brothers Corset Co. introduced standard A, B, C, and D bra sizes. In 1940, the iconic nylon stockings were available to American women nationwide. The G-string bikini bathing suit made a scandalizing appearance in 1946 thanks to Louis Reard. In 1949 the bullet bra was introduced.
Pantyhose and lycra were both introduced in 1959.
Fredrick Mellinger founded “Fredrick’s of Hollywood” in 1946. The brand has been known for its racy advertisements throughout the decades. Recently, Fredrick’s has scaled back on their provocative persona to compete with Victoria’s Secret.