The first pieces of underwear can be traced back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece, when it seems their use was widely functional. Women of Crete were and are known to have worn a simple corset that supported their breasts at the base and a very early prototype of the bra, known as a strophium, was in use in Roman times. Unlike lingerie in 20th century, during the nineteenth century, the extent and style of underwear worn by women reached extremes, and women's figures were completely exaggerated: vast full sleeves, a miniscule corseted waist, followed by whalebone hoops and crinolines covered with yards of fabric, flounces and trims. The bustle highlighted women's bottoms, and frilled pantaloons and multiple layers of petticoats created full skirts. So unobtainable did the female body become beneath the layers of underwear that taking it off created its own form of sexual anticipation and spawned the first striptease shows.
By the 1980s, a rounded breast and the padded bosom were back with a bang, and wired bras became a top sales item. The fitness craze continued, and the well-cut and contoured bra essentially grew from the sportswear worn in fitness and health clubs of the eighties.
Sex and lingerie popularised by the television series heralded the trend towards designer wear. Professional women wore stylish modern lingerie with high-heeled shoes and rigorously tailored jackets together with the now famously padded shoulder. Underneath women wore silky camisoles and lacy bras.
Retailers of lingerie in 20th
centure grew in prominence, as women demanded a softer styling and sensuality returned, bringing back a basque revival together with its matching briefs and stockings. Women at this time longed to wear modern lingery, something lacy and luxurious underneath their outerwear.
Avant-garde designers of modern lingerie started to play with the concept of underwear as outerwear, where corsetry and bras were utilized as fashionable outerwear, inspired by the punk street fashions of the late seventies. The publicity and exposure that ensued guaranteed that the corset was to make a comeback in the 1990s.
The centre of interest in sex and lingerie during the 1990s was without doubt the bust. It was the decade of the supermodels and the contradiction between slim almost anorexic bodies and the well-endowed bosom. Modern lingerie companies responded to the needs to those with a larger bust, with a new line of "second skin" underwear in flesh colours, designed to expose and camouflage the breast at once. A trend of
lingerie in 20th century
developed for slip dresses, made of satin and lace, and indicated the revival of the petticoat, but as with the corset, no longer were these slips to be hidden under layers of our outer clothing.
Modern lingerie designers
continued to use the traditional corset as a source of inspiration for their haute couture designs and a sexual "look-but-don't-touch" fashion asserted itself
The society nowadays realizes that modern lingerie is a very potent way of expressing one's sexuality and lingerie in 20th centure was widely accepted and extremely popular. In modern fashion sex and lingerie are intertwined to an utmost degree and inevitably produce a very potent effect on each other, fueling the development of lingerie in 20th century, introduction of new bright and innovative ideas. Modern lingerie selection no longer places women under any pressure in terms of acceptability and obscenity. Today's woman is more knowledgeable about lingerie than ever before. She is confident enough to wear the latest lingerie sets that complement her outerwear perfectly, or to choose her favourite items of underwear and mix them up to suit her mood or purpose. Modern lingerie is perfect for those who would like to spice up their nights with their partners and deliver an overt message about their sexuality.