A TIMELINE OF BRAS AND PANTIES
By Tim Lambert
Early Bras and Panties
4th century BCE
Greek women wear a form of bra called an apodesme
1st century CE
Roman women wear a form of bra called an strophium of mamilare. They also wear a loincloth or shorts called a subligaculum.
Late 16th century
Women wear corsets made of whalebone. They wear a frame of wire or whalebone under their dress called a farthingale.
Women do not usually wear panties. Their only underwear is a long linen garment like a nightie worn under a dress called a chemise or shift.
Women begin to wear drawers (so called because they are drawn on). They consist of a pair of separate legs joined at the waist. So we say a pair of knickers or panties.
Amelia Bloomer advocates loose trousers for women called bloomers. Later women's underwear are sometimes called bloomers.
Some women begin to wear colored drawers
The word knickers is used to describe women's underwear in Britain
Poor women in Britain make knickers from flour bags
The word panties is used to describe women's underwear in the USA. However the word panties never catches on in Britain.
Rayon (artificial silk) is used to make stockings
Mary Phelps Jacob invents the modern bra
Modern Bras and Panties
Panties become shorter, down to mid thigh rather than down to the knee
Nylon is invented
Nylon stockings are first sold
Panties become still shorter and briefs are fashionable. During the Second World War women in Britain use parachute silk to make knickers.
Frederick Mellinger introduces the padded bra
Frederick Mellinger introduces the push up bra
Gertrude Moran known as Gorgeous Gussie plays tennis at Wimbledon with frilly panties
Tights (called pantyhose in the USA) are introduced by Allen Gant
The wonderbra is invented in Canada by Louise Poirier
The thong is introduced in the USA
Thongs become fashionable in Britain
A timeline of clothes
A timeline of cosmetics
A history of underwear