Sunday, December 31, 2006

[underwear] more than meets the eye

After my last piece on undies, it was about time to follow it up.

Loincloths were originally outerwear, first worn by cave dwellers, then Egyptians and Romans. In 1352 BC Egypt, the young Pharaoh Tutankhamun was buried with 145 loincloths. Surely that was an ample supply for the afterlife.

They were each a long piece of linen shaped like an isosceles triangle with strings meant to be tied around the hips. The length of cloth hanging down in back was brought forward between the legs and tucked over the tied strings in the front, from the outside in.

Around the 13th Century, pull on underpants were invented and underwear became an important garment. Not only did underwear help shape the wearer’s figure, it also kept their clean clothes from touching skin. In Europe the underwear evolution went into full swing – men started wearing corsets, cod pieces, stockings, long johns, undershirts and drawers.

Women’s underwear included garters, lace corsets, knickers, petticoats and stocking suspenders. The brassiere didn’t appear until the early 1900s, then flattener bras of the 1920s, layered petticoats of the 1950s, cleavage enhancing bras of the 1990s

As the 20th century began, most Americans wore union suits or “all-in-ones”—undergarments that combined pants and a top. In the 1930s, they traded their union suits for separates and easy elastic waists replaced button, snap, and tie closures. Boxers and briefs swept a nation, and the word "underpants" entered dictionaries.

"Day of the Week" underpants were a craze in the 1950s. Each pair of underpants in the set of seven was labeled with a different day of the week.

Now there are reversible undies. According to Man Lore, reversible underpants are good for at least four wears: front ways, the right way; back-to-front, the right way; front ways inside-out; and back-to-front inside-out. Just in case women turn up their noses at this, Bonds have come out with reversible undies - just for women.

As the boys move away from boxers but don’t wish to cut off their prime with “le slip”, the solution is the traditional white Y fronts, as worn by their fathers.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

6 comments:

Mark Adams said...

I'm sure this recent interest in undergarments would have nothing to do with your Google search ranking...

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

How informative! I can't imagine anything more horrible than reversible panties but maybe I've lived a sheltered life.

Have a very Happy New Year, James. And thanks for all you are doing for your fellow-bloggers. X

Mr Eugenides said...

Where the hell did you get that photo of me?...

james higham said...

DK sent it to me during that last binge in the pub. You remember? No, of course you don't. Trixi took it shortly after massaging your abs.

Liz said...

Oh please not white y-fronts.

And what about the thong? Surely the worst design on the planet?

mens wild underwear said...

how informative cant imagine live without panties! ha! You forgot to mention Girdles, my mother used to wear girdles! This is a brilliant post though. I didnt know all of this!

CHeers,
B