Going Mobile in Boston - iPhone vs. Droid
Take it from TreeBeard; social responsibility is for everyone

The Evolution Of Undies


Article by Chloe Spencer 

Undies, underwear, underpants, panties, knickers, briefs: whatever you call 'em, we know we're all talking about same thing. Have you ever thought about who the heck even came up with the idea for undies? Where they originated from, and why? Well, it's exactly a normal thought. But then again, after glancing at the title of this article you felt a strong urge to click on it…

So! Obviously you are interested in learning all about the piece of clothing we wear around our crotch and bottom! I bet I have quite an interesting crowd here... Well, I can't talk myself, I was the one who sat down at my computer, pondered over what to write about and instantly thought, "Undies!"

So let's start at the beginning. And I'm not talking about Tarzan wearing a loincloth. Well, maybe it did start there. In fact, it did! Back when Man (or should I say Woman, I'm tired of all this "Man" business since the beginning of time) first started to use tools, we began the trend of wearing loincloths made of animal skin to cover our reproductive organs. Later, the Ancient Egyptians, as well as Ancient Greece, Rome, and Japan, were known to still be wearing loincloths, depicted in drawings and mosaics, although no longer worn as an outfit by itself by anyone with any class. Strutting around in just your undies was in fact a great way to get attention, but in perhaps more of a negative way.

These first real undergarments were often made of wool, leather, or linen; or silk if you were royalty or very wealthy. King Tut was buried with 145 loincloths. Why? That is an excellent question. He was also buried with an array of jewelry, jars, and furniture, probably all goodies to take with him into the Afterlife. He was also buried with 400 statues of servants whose purpose was to clean said undies in case the Afterlife didn't have enough undie-servants. Well, at least we know he never had to suffer that unfortunate event of having to put on a dirty pair of undies from the laundry basket.

Later on, undies got HUGE! And I don't mean popularity-wise, I mean women started to wear HUGE UNDIES! I'm not talking 'bout so-called "granny panties" by the way, the high-rise briefs made famous in the movie Bridget Jones' Diary. Medieval women in the 16th century started the trend of wearing Giovanni_Battista_Moroni_codpiece undergarments that jutted out from body with reed or willow rods to give their skirts a fuller shape. This was called a farthingale.

Men then got jealous of women's ability to create an illusion of a more flattering body shape, so they created the codpiece and stuffed it so their crotch housed a conspicuous bulge, smugly thinking they were creating an optical illusion of well endowment. Women just chuckled to their selves as the men trotted about with a loaf protruding from their pants, misty eyed from laughing tenderly at how adorably stupid men were. It was so dear.

During the early 19th century, the union suit was born, which later evolved into long johns quite like we know them today. This huge undie suit conveniently housed a flap in rear for easing toilet trips, especially if you had to go urgently. I hate it when that happens, when you're forced to hold it in the car or a bus or in line somewhere until you're about to burst into tears. And in that suit before the butt-flap was invented I can't imagine the distress of being in a stall doing the "toilet dance" with your legs desperately crossed as much as possible, while furiously trying to rip off that damned suit.

The early 1900's brought about the beginning of women starting to ride bicycles and become more athletic, which spurred the invention of the more practical "bloomers", putting an end to the every day use of restrictive corsets and bustles. But bloomers still weren't exactly "sexy".

So when did this idea for underwear being erotic come about? It was actually the 1920's flappers who were the first to popularize the first "lingerie" (which is just the French term for underwear) in the U.S, which were pleated chiffon and satin panties. But by far more scandalous than anyone had ever seen were the thong swimsuits taking the Brazilian beaches by storm in the 70's. Which actually sparked the creation of thong underwear in America, which in turn brought thong swimsuits onto U.S beaches just recently.

So here we are, back to baring our bottoms to the world whilst galloping around like gorillas. Well minus the galloping around like gorillas part. That was just for visual effect.  

Although, some so-called "lingerie" of today which I call "pointless random pieces of stuff covering absolutely nothing", would have us hanging our heads in shame if looked upon by our ancient cousins. Some so ridiculous such as the horrific string suit that consists of 2 spandex strings that go over both shoulders and meet in the crotch area to a panty if you can even call it that! It's so ludicrous I don't even want to go on typing any more about it because the harder I try to explain this abomination the worse of a job I do and the more of a weirdo I seem for trying to explain such a contraption and what the hell it is and why it even exists! I don't know why, just to clear things up.

And what is a garter really for these days? Oh yes, look at the beautiful random feather strapped to my leg. Now I know, garter belts were originally worn to hold up stockings and attach to a corset to hold it in place, which later turned into a tradition for brides to wear, but when and why did it ever evolve into a random sparkly feathery thingy teens wear to Prom and on those days when, you know, you just wake up and think, "You know what, today I'm going to strap a huge preposterous feather to my leg."?

A perhaps more intelligent creation of the last few decades is the nude-colored seamless thong, which saved many of my outfits from the mortifying "visible panty line" while wearing white or slightly sheer dresses, shorts, skirts, etc. Calvin Klein and Commando both make exceptional seamless thongs, which are un-detectable under your clothing, for those ladies who have heard not of these ingenious creations.

I've also heard many a woman rave about Spanx. For those who haven't heard of this brand, they are famous for creating stretchy high-rise undergarment shorts and body suits that cover your tummy, behind and thighs, for the purpose of slimming, smoothing and shaping your curves. Probably a man's creation, just like high heels and the bikini. Pfft. Well, today I am inventing the "Hot Bod of a God" clothing line that's going to take the streets by storm; men's t-shits that are lined with ab and peck enhancers so every man I look at will look like Batman. Thank you. Thank you.

And we are back again to slightly less intelligent creations by morons today. For example, suddenly popular are undies that proclaim terrible, embarrassing exclamations and phrases, like "Best Kisser", "OMG WTF!", "Above Average" and "Hey You, Call Me?" like you're going to be prancing around the mall in this underpant on the hunt for future dates, hoping they catch sight of your bottom asking them out to dinner. The "Above Average" one makes me laugh. Just above average? That’s all? And you're going to strut around in those? How will it make you feel when the girl next to you in the locker room is wearing underwear that say "Drop Dead Gorgeous"?

With a grunt of dismay and failure, "Damn, should've bought those."

Embarrassing enough on my part, I happened to startle a couple of tweens at Pink by Victoria's Secret by laughing out loud at the pair of undies they were holding up for consideration. It said, "Are We There Yet?" What is that supposed to mean? 12-year-olds shop at this store! What are these people trying to say?! Are kids on their family road trip going to shove their bottom in their mother's face to save time asking questions?

We can all agree that undies have gone from barbaric to breezy to bizarre to boastful to brutal to baffling and back to barbaric again. But I think we all learned an important lesson today—that no matter 800px-Knickers1 what undies, panties, knickers, or briefs we wear on our bottoms, whether frilly, sexy, comfy, or hideous, we get the opportunity to express ourselves in so many creative ways, it's amazing!

That's what it's all about! Expressing ourselves. And we as women have so many opportunities to be creative every day with only what we wear, from our eye shadow to our earrings to our undies. Go buy a pair of crazy undies tomorrow. Every time you wear those undies you'll feel like a million bucks. Every day you'll be wearing them! Well, not literally, or else you might have to borrow some of King Tut's undie men. But just imagine that at the next big event you attend, you have on a pair of frilly leopard-print knickers with pink bows and no one knows but you. It'll give you something to chuckle about at odd moments, and you'll find that you have a great night all night! It may sound silly, but you'll see, as soon as you enter the room you'll feel like Bette Midler on stage. Just try it! You'll never know until you do…

Wow. I can't believe you read an entire article on undies! I'm pleasantly surprised I could keep your attention this long on the subject, actually. I feel quite proud. Quite! Quite so!

If you've enjoyed this article don't forget to share it on Twitter and Facebook, or email it to your girlfriends.

Ok my undie ladies! Now run along and go have your lunch or your shower or whatever you've been putting off to read this descriptive evolution of the undies!


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Milly May

I loved this! So funny!

The whole part about the codpiece had me laughing out loud!!


I like how you say lingerie is a pointless thing that covers nothing. You nailed it!


Haha! This made my day! :)


I prefer t-back so comfy and light

Calypso Bay

I love tback , thong, brief and boxers.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)