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LUXURY LINGERIE ROOTS PART 1

~WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE WORD LINGERIE?~

According to good ol’ Wikipedia the word is taken directly from the French language, meaning undergarments, and used exclusively for more lightweight items of female undergarments. [3] The French word in its original form derives from the old French word linge, meaning ‘linen’. Lingerie as a word was first used to refer to underwear and bras in 1922. [4] Informal usage suggests visually appealing or even erotic clothing. Although most lingerie is designed to be worn by women, some manufacturers now design lingerie for men.

In addition to this we can read on and go into more detail on the online etymology dictionary ( www.etymonline.com) which explains the following:
1835 (but not in widespread use until 1852), “linen underwear, especially as made for women,” from French lingerie “linen goods, things made of linen,” originally “laundry room, linen warehouse, linen shop, linen market” (15c.), also the name of a street in Paris, from linger “a dealer in linen goods,” from Old French linge “linen” (12c.), from Latin lineus (adj.) “of linen,” from linum “flax, linen” . Originally introduced in English as a euphemism for then-scandalous under-linen.

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20th Century luxury lingerie

So, there you go, now you know and we can swiftly dive into the history of what we nowadays lovingly call luxury lingerie!

~HISTORICAL LOOK AT THE ROOTS OF LUXURY LINGERIE~

Yes, underwear has kind of been around!
Even in prehistoric times, we had the urge to cover and embellish our bodies with the likes of jewelry made out of wood, stone, bone, fur or leather.

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Prehistoric clothing for women


In ancient times, around 4500 years ago, we could talk about the first bra in Crete.
This bra-like contraption was made from soft leather or straps of linen, wrapped tightly around the chest and was called ‘strophiae’.
Its main function was to strap the boobs in to stop them from jiggling during sporty endeavors by greek and roman athletes!
They were also inclined to wear a ‘subligaculae’ – a form of loincloth.

4000 years ago we find something that resembles underpants in Sumeria (current Iraq) only worn by men.
Again, usually made out of linen, and men used to drape these bands of material between their legs and up to then fold it around the waist.
These early lingerie items, these types of bras and underpants, were only worn for practical reasons and protection back then!

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Greek/Roman sports garments



~TIGHT CORSET TIMES~

Of course, these very early examples above seem a far cry from current luxury lingerie, but then we fast-forward to the Middle Ages where women started to wear tighter clothing, often with quite a number of underskirts underneath.
In the 16th century, women figured out that with a breathtaking kind of undergarment they could emphasize the feminine figure!
So, they started wearing a predecessor of the corset, made from silk, wool, cotton (or sometimes even iron!), reinforced with whalebones and strung very tight around the waist!and upwards!
Yes indeed!they apparently preferred flattened their bosom in Medieval Times!crikey!
The fashion was all about straight and tight.

Around 1770 the whalebones in these corsets were replaced by iron boning, so the corsets could be stringed even tighter than tight!
This, however, resulted in health problems like deformities of the waist and chest, putting pressure on the organs such as the lungs, causing breathing troubles and a lot of fainting under women.

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Georgian corset


It was only in the Victorian era that the shape of the corset changed, now it became all the fashion to push up the bosom and only tighten the waist to resemble an hourglass waspy figure.
Around 1890 the waist was strung tight at its smallest to a mere 40cm (15,75 inches).
But still in this way it would actually give support to the chest and women were finally able to breathe a bit better.

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Victorian corset



~FINALLY HEADING FOR LUXURY LINGERIE?~

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, a reform movement arose encouraging women to burn those restrictive undergarments and all obstructive clothing for that matter, basically demanding freedom and more rights for women in society.
And, yes indeed, that burning of the corsets might sound familiar to you, as at the end of the 1960’s/start of the 1970’s bra’s were burned for similar reasons!

So, what came next in the -until now not yet so- luxury lingerie -queendom?
Curious?
Then please keep a peep out for the next blog…

End of Part 1 of Luxury Lingerie Roots.

~*~

Sources: a variety of sources
Images: Pinterest

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