A TIMELINE OF UNDERWEAR

By Tim Lambert

Early Underwear

c 100 AD

Roman men and women wear shorts called subligaculum. Women also wear a band of leather or cloth around their chest called a strophium or mamilare.

13th Century

Men begin to wear linen shorts called braies. Women wear a nightie like garment called a shift or chemise under their dress. However women do not usually wear knickers.

1600

Many women wear a frame of wire or whalebone called a farthingale under their dress. The cheaper version was called a bum roll. It was a padded roll worn around the waist. Wealthy women wear silk stockings.

19th Century Underwear

1800

Women begin to wear knickers. At first they are called drawers because they are drawn on.

1860s

Some women begin to wear colored drawers and petticoats although white is still popular.

1880s

In Britain drawers for women are now called knickers and men's underwear is called pants. Men also wear vests or sometimes combinations, pants and vest in one garment.

20th Century Underwear

1900

Some women are so poor they have to make their knickers from sacks used to hold food like flour

1910

Knickers and stockings are first made of rayon

1913

The modern bra is invented by Mary Mary Phelps Jacob who uses two handkerchiefs joined by a ribbon

1920s

Knickers become shorter

1935

Y fronts are invented in the USA

1938

Y fronts go on sale in Britain

1939

Nylon stockings are first made

1940s

Fashionable women wear briefs. However in Britain clothes are rationed from 1941-1949. During World War II women sometimes make their knickers from parachute silk.

1959

Tights (pantyhose) are invented

1963

The wonderbra is invented

1968

The wonderbra is introduced to Britain

1974

The thong is invented

1990s

Thongs become popular

A timeline of clothes

A history of underwear

A history of panties

A history of shoes

A history of hats

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