Saturday, December 29, 2007

lingerie glossaries

The Panty Drawer Dictionary
We have panties for everything, and our reasoning isn't to be questioned (is it ever?). It's all about having panties, more panties, and just in case we don't have enough, spare panties. Furthermore, if there's one thing we know for sure in this unsure life, it's that the words firefighters and granny panties should never be uttered in the same sentence.

Proper panty selection is critical at all times and usually a female sixth sense. But, I understand that most men can't relate, so to be of assistance, I've taken the liberty of developing the Panty Drawer Dictionary complete with basic definitions and sidebar commentary.
Lingerie Diva posted these hosiery videos in her Diary. One is a clip from the 1957 movie Silk Stockings (this is a signature clip involving dancing with stockings); the other is a sexy stocking ad.

A lingerie glossary from Kinky Nites.

This simple glossary, with graphic representations, is from Mio Destino, an UK e-tailer.

One of our most popular sections of our Lingerie Glossary. Lingerie shopping just got easier. Find the exact lingerie and matching accessories you want fast using the Lingerie Glossary.
The Lingerie Glossary makes it easy to find your favorite lingerie, lingerie definitions, and lingerie descriptions you always had questions or or wanted to see a visual diplay of what it actually is. Simply click on a letter to discover elegant, sassy, naughty, and sexy lingerie. If it’s lingerie, we’ve got it defined here in the Lingerie Glossary! Baby dolls, shelf bras, g-strings, you name it!
This glossary from Fresh Pair is one the most complete I've found so far. I'm sure we've all plagiarized each other for completeness.

Her Room Lingerie posted this lexicon.

The Glamour Dictionary
entry for "tightlacing" includes a comprehensive--is anything really comprehensive--fashion dictionary.

bras organized by brand.

A bra glossary from Intimate Guide.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Top 10 most expensive Lingerie includes a C. Gilson set that includes: Robe, bra, chemise, panty and garter for $2,684 (£1,538, €2,253, 118,391 rupees, C$3,098, A$3,637) that can be purchased at When I tried to load the site, nothing came up. So....

There was also promise of the 100 top lingerie designs--all I got was a e-tailer site & no pointer to any design gallery.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ribbon Corset

Originally, ribbon corsets were worn on the *outside* of clothing. This accentuated how small a woman's waist was.This unique style corset is from the Victorian era, and serves more as a fashion statement, rather than being suitable for serious tight-lacing. It laces down about 3-4-inches in the waistline, and does not create an hourglass waist profile, but rather a gentle, U-shaped profile. The Ribbon is suitable for wear over dresses and gowns much like a wide belt.
The front busk is about 9-inches tall and the sides are about 3-4-inches tall. Almost any fabric can be used for the front and sides, and a coordinating ribbon color may be chosen (six standard colors in stock but many more available).
Ribbon corsets were popular amongst thin women who did not need the support of a full corset but just wanted their waist nipping in. Silk ribbon corsets were also used as negligee as a relief from a full boned corset while ribbon corsets made out of stronger material such as cotton twill, were favored during sporting activities.

B. Altman and Company Ribbon corset is a French-made ribbon corset from 1900-1908 is posted in the Antique Corset Gallery.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Random Bikini History resources

Bikini Science is a comprehensive textbook on the development and variety of the swimsuit. Since swimwear and underwear are so closely related this site is a good source of information. It is very well done, covering the subject with depth & breadth.

Sky News, a UK television news program, produced a web piece for the bikini's 50th birthday. It includes an overview of the development of the bikini. Included are protest bikinis--some made of lettuce or flowers.

TIME magazine produced this photo essay to celebrate the bikini.

R is for Rudi Gernreich is a post on the designer of the topless bikini.
No-Bra Bra & See-Throughs. No designer these days reveals more than California's Rudi Gernreich, 45, the man who shocked the world in 1964 with his topless bathing suit. No stylesetter has capitalized with more flair on the current vogue for exposure; but even his critics grant that Rudi's topless was only an incident in his rapid rise to leadership as the most way-out, far-ahead designer in the U.S. When he was inducted into Fashion's Hall of Fame this fall the sixth U.S. designer to be so honored he was hailed by the selection committee as "one of the fabulous originals," the designer who has been so consistently a front runner that "like World War II's Kilroy, wherever one looks in fashion, it seems 'Gernreich was here.' "

Gernreich (which he pronounces to rhyme with earn quick) made his mark by being not only the first U.S. designer to raise skirts well above the knee but also the first with such trend-setting styles as colored stockings, now so overwhelmingly popular, which he showed as part of what he called "the total look," with dress, stockings and sometimes a hood all matching. Along the way, he has introduced vinyl clothes developed out of a material that looks completely "today" and a series of freeing designs aimed at giving back to the female body its natural look and curves, including his knit tank suits, his No-Bra bra, and sheer, see-through nylon blouses.

Wicked Alternative. For last month's spring showings, Gernreich arrived togged out in one of his favorite zippered Pierre Cardin "cosmocorps" suits, looking every bit as futuristic as his fashions. Standing fully erect, his 5-ft. 6-in., 138-lb. figure poised with a lithe dancers grace, he told the buyers and press: "A woman today can be anything she wants to be a Gainsborough or a Reynolds or a Reynolds Wrap." Then came a preview of the provocative choices ahead. First was a series of simple knit dresses simple except for the clear vinyl bands that saucily bared the navel and the underslope of the bosom. Nor were the bathing suits that followed any letdown. Clear vinyl was at work again to make them the nudest since the topless.

Gernreich confronted the problem of the miniskirt head on. Tights may take care of modesty in the wintertime, believes Rudi, but for summer they are simply too hot. "Since skirts as such are really disappearing, they have to have a different look," he announced, and proceeded to prescribe either puffy bloomers or Siamese skirts with a security panel wrapped between the legs. For braver women, he offered a wicked alternative: a black bikini bottom to match the briefest tent dress ever. (Up, Up & Away, Time Magazine, Friday, Dec. 01, 1967)

Peggy Moffit modeling the famous Rudi Gernrich “No Bra” bra--"Vintage mid 60's Rudi Gernreich 'No Bra' Bra, size 32C. Classic nylon bra with adjustable shoulder straps and 3 adjustments to the size at the back hook. Looks and feels if your wearing absolutely nothing. Soft and semi sheer."
sources Hippie Goddess, Glamoursurf

[added 20 April 2008, revised 09 April 2009]

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Wonderbra

History sketch for the Wonderbra, from invention in 1935 in Canada to the present.

During the course of my serious work on the lingerie dictionary I've noticed 1) that Wikipedia is not given credibility (although, the site owners are addressing that issue) & 2) many website owners lift pages directly from Wikipedia for their own sites.

Wonderbra has done enhanced work in advertising. Here is a magazine ad with a gimmicky pull string demonstrating "how-it-works". Here is a clever ad for Wonderbra France proving that a third hand is not always necessary.


Corset History

An extensive museum/history of the UK corset can be found at Ivy Leaf's Tribute to the Corsetiere. It appears to be an exciting collection of corset material with links and historical graphics. Much too much material to incorporate into my current project--which is limited to 80 pages and an alphabetical listing of items.

Zona--The Girdle Zone is another good site.

The Victoria & Albert Museum includes this collection detailing the transformation of the Corset into the bustle. Shapewear from the ages.

The Long Island Staylace Association (LISA) is a regularly updated resource on all things corset. Modern and historical information and galleries that include member contributions.

And a Corset Dictionary from

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Lingerie in the modern Middle East

Don't know how to classify this post:

How about modern Arabic lingerie or Middle Eastern sexuality?

Anyway, try Dangerous Lingerie and Other Mid East Street Stories that Spook the West to preview an upcoming book about the role of lingerie in Syrian sex. “The secret Life of Syrian lingerie: Intimacy and Design” This book will be published together with Scalo Publishers by the end of 2007. Photo by Omar al-Moutem.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Panty Variations (unusual styles)

Try these panty variants to prevent VPL (Visible Panty Line):
  • C-String Panty from C-String Direct;
  • Backless Lingerie Invisible Thong;
  • Nundies
    What are Nundies?

    Nundies are a one-time use, pantyless panty that adhere to the inside inseam of a woman's pants. Nundies are a great fashion solution product for women who want to go bare-down-there without the discomfort of itchy clothing. Nundies also save women from the embarrassment of tacky panty lines and from having to wear uncomfortable thongs.

    Brought to market by Dallas–based Advanced Materials, Inc. in October 2006, Nundies marked a new product line for the company known for its success in manufacturing medical products, such as diet patches, mammography pads, and single–use ice packs.

    The tulip–shaped panty comes in packages of five for a suggested retail price of $15 each. Whether it's 5 Naughty Black Nundies, 5 Blushing Buff Nundies, or 5 Sassy Assorted Nundies, there's a color to suit every need.

  • The Buttocks Bra and the "Hip Lift Tanga" panty (pictured below) are Japanese products designed to shape the buttocks of Asian women trying on Western styles. There is also a version for men [B. Man, that will make you a "Man of Men"]

Bra Ads

Fashion Flashbacks-exploring retro style walks through some of the changes in brassiere advertising.

Here's an interview from Terry Gross' Fresh Air:
Jane Farrell-Beck and Colleen Gau

Listen Now: [18 min 15 sec]

Fresh Air from WHYY, February 19, 2002 · Jane Farrell-Beck and Colleen Gau, authors of the book, Uplift: The Bra in America. It's a sociological and historical look at the undergarment. Farrell-Beck is Professor of Textiles and Clothing at Iowa State University. Colleen Gau is President of CPRTex, Inc., a home-based conservation of textiles business, and a writer.

How about an ad from the cinema (circa 1970s) from VidJar?

or National Geographic's Secret History of the Bra video (also from VidJar)?

Here's an article about dating vintage textiles/clothing that can come in handy for collectors. It is located on the vintage clothing re-seller Vintage Slips 4

And a link to the updated "I Dreamed..." Maidenform campaign.

I've been all over the internet recently searching for the "I Dreamed..." ads. This campaign ran for 20 years, but relatively few have been scanned and posted--most that have are for sale for about $7 to $10 bucks each. presents some of the most common (the set is linked/stolen/re-posted everywhere); she also links to more fun bras to check out.
Bandeau Boudoir with links and scans that are disappearing as the web changes:
"Welcome to
Bandeau Boudoir
An Image Collection Specializing in
Classic Bras and Foundation Garments!
Last Updated: 3/6/99 - Click Here for Update Information.
(Bra Links page last updated 7/12/99)"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hosiery history links

I expected to find too much hosiery history--beyond the porn and retail sites--and was not disappointed.

here are some sites to check out:
Museum of Hosiery presents a comprehensive look at stockings in the modern era. There are a number of grammatical errors distracting the reader--hope they get an editor--from an otherwise informative site. There is a glossary, historical overview of 20th century hosiery--focusing primarily on the WW2 era and the introduction of fashion legwear. The site is extensively linked and includes plenty of historical pictures. Maintained by a retro-style retailer.

"TIM Bulgaria - fine stockings and pantyhoses

TIM Bulgaria is a hosiery company established in 1993. With nearly 15 year experience we are continuing to meet the requirements of the European woman. New technologies are giving us the opportunity to be dynamic and precise in the design of our fashion collections, provoked by the worlds fashion tendencies.

The company's product list include: Classic, Elastic and Fashion Pantyhose, Footless Tights and stockings for woman and children."

For a view inside a working American Hosiery mill: Our Stocking & Hosiery Factory

The History of Nylons is an original looking article posted on My

HCI Direct Inc.
company history

If you want a list of companies on the internet (hosiery, lingerie, and swimwear) check out Fashion Mission.

Wikipedia is a good place to get information. They have begun noting new articles and articles without references. Print references are highlighted. All the better for building credibility in a cynical world. The Brassiere site is totally rebuilt in the last few months, expanded some of the tangential bullshit removed. Just a little unnerving though when you think an entry is familiar & re-learning is required.

Wikipedia lists lingerie pieces and a long article on the Wonderbra.

Spanx power panties--shapers--has a unique "herstory", brought to you be entrepreneur Sara Blakely, that can be read here.

A directory of hosiery brands at My's hosiery glossary and historical overview with links to visual entries.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Lingerie History--new sites found

spending some time this morning on a project that craves completion--a dictionary of lingerie-related terms including pictures and historical information. An appreciation of clothing design, marketing, fashion and organization bursts from this project. Designing the presentation and editing all the information collected (mostly off the internet, but not completely) is a job. Anyone who has done a little research and writing can relate. The creative process has been interesting and fun. I'm looking forward to the "finished" hardcopy.

Here's what I found today:
  • Love to Know's Lingerie Community is a wiki group ranging wide, but necessarily deep, across the underwear landscape. The history section is scanty & questionable--as always, cross check your sources. It does feature a "panty gallery" presenting some of the variety offered to men and women.
  • Serge Lingerie "Explore Your Lingerie World! If you are looking for information on everything related to lingerie fashion browse Serge Lingerie your guide to a bright and brilliant array of lingerie styles, designs, textures, and colors. We combined the convenience of the Internet with an ever-changing world of lingerie and created your ultimate information resource of women's lingerie online."
Site includes a glossary of terms, pictorial dictionary, European size charts and historical overview. Nice presentation focused on the modern bra.

A celebration of the 100th anniversary of the bra from (with a partnership with Maidenform) with a very nice graphical timeline.

John Walsh put together the nicely written survey, A Social History of the Bra, in Aug 2007 for the 100th anniversary of the garment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The "Petite Coquette" blog

The "Petite Coquette" thread: The "Luxe Lingerie Blog"

"All infos about lingerie on line: sites, shops, collections, but also news around new collections, sales and curiosities. All you need to know about the "dessous chics"..."

a fun, sexy, glamorous site for sexy glamorous lingerie with brands and shopping guides. Fun for browsing and shopping. Showcasing lingerie art photography.

For historical content, the retail site Knickers At Mio Detsino, presents a brief overview. But the promised links and pictures are not included; creating curiosity about where they lifted it from.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Panty Fun

Lingerie Party Fun with posts like "5 Items You can Turn Into Underwear", "25 Wild Things You can Make out of a Bra" and "Literacy Uncovered - The Lingerie Story". The latter is a story about how books were printed on rag paper--and the seduction (?) of underwear books. Its a fun look at underwear.

"TFI:True Femmes Invisible
Women whose bodies vanish while their garments remain visible" presents a collection of film and tv moments featuring invisible women with visible clothing (usually underwear).

From Sista SoFine's blog about fashion & lingerie comes a post touting Fluorescent underwear of chantilly lace that glows under a black light--just the thing for 70's sexy fun. Check out Deborah Marquit's shop for color selections.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Style Lexicon

Writing about the history of women's intimate clothing gives me an excuse to pay attention when good taste and manners say not to. So, I act like I do this for research reasons. The truth is that it is an interesting topic.

A topic that covers a lot of territory. There are styles and fabrics and manufactures and retailers and gender issues and sexuality and sociology and design and more.

I have written in this column about the evolution of the panty and the bra. Then I find out that what I've written is at best incomplete. So often information is not available. It is a search to find apparel history in bookstores. The internet is a useful tool, but original research and sources that have not been recycled or massaged for marketing purposes is scarce.

Because of its name the Maidenform company captures my imagination. They were part of the founding of the commercial bra market & made several innovations that brought the bra to mainstream America. For a look at company history as compiled by the company.

One of their greatest achievements is the "I Dreamed..." ad campaign. I am building a collection of these ads as my next project in my history research. Many can be found on ebay and other collector sites for about $10 each +shipping. Here is the list of "I Dreamed..." ads.

For those who are a little confused about styles and what name signifies what garment here is a link to the Maidenform lexicon.

Fashion Flashbacks is a site claiming to be a student resource for ads across the century related to intimate fashion. however, the bra ad gallery is just a little bit of text and not useful at all.

Sunday, March 04, 2007 is a uder interactive bookseller

Two book sellers (Amazon and Barnes & Noble) are fighting it out on the web for best site. I know they are not the only sites, but they are comprehensive. And, since I'm not writing reviews of book sellers I don't have anything to say about other sites right now.

Anyway, I get lots of B&N gift cards. Its all good--I build my collections with other people's money. Is there any better way?

But, is way more cool and shopper interactive. They recommend books and other items based on your browsing history--sometimes this is not so good--but also have lists of related titles by shoppers--which is a good feature. Browsing through titles that are not clearly presented is frustrating and tiring. With listmania other people link titles together and give a clearer idea of what books are really about. Keywords turn up titles from children's books to romance novels to how-tos to all kinds of themes when all I want are histories.

So I bought a couple cheaper priced volumes today. I'm trying to save up to buy more expensive books--anyone that wants to contribute please feel free.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Lingerie styles and changes never end->always looking for the next thing. Well, is a site that helps. They are "cooking up style and shopping for the real world." For my purposes I like the pages that talk about various underwear styles to solve fashion problems.

  • Bust Haves is a Spring 07 bra guide featuring bras by body type.
  • Underneath It All presents a variety of problem-solving garments from backless bras to ways to smooth lines and bumps.
Links are included so you can spend impulsively.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Bikini

The bikini (bēkē`nē), or "hip-hugger”, panty is a style of brief that reaches to the hips, leaving the waist and belly exposed. Sides can be anything from a string to a thicker side panel; back coverage can vary with fashion or style. While the original bikini was a string bikini, "traditional" bikinis provides full coverage—a full brief with reduced belly coverage—perhaps for comfort and security.

"The difference between a two-piece and the bikini is that the bikini exposes the navel, which is the zone of contention," Bensimon says. "That's why it became really provocative."

Patterns for the bikini are reported back to 1600 BC wall paintings (Bellis)and bikini models are depicted on ancient mosaics dating back over 2000 years. "The first recorded use of bathing apparel in Greece around 300 B.C.", asserts Liz Heart. However, the story of the modern bikini is itself classic fashion capitalism:

With the increased interest in athlecticism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, swim wear fashion changed beside all other fashions. In the 1930s young women wore two piece bathing suits. Sun worship and tanning, as well as youth pushing boundaries of taste, had women adjusting their beach wear to maximize exposure.

In 1946, while the United States was testing atomic bombs in the French Marshall Islands, on Bikini Atoll, Cannes couturier designer Jacques Heim created "Atome -- the world's smallest bathing suit"--proclaiming his innovation with skywriting on the world's largest billboard. Three weeks later, mechanical engineer Louis Reard (1897–1984)--who was running his mother's lingerie business at the time--countered with a second skywriter proclaiming "Bikini -- smaller than the smallest bathing suit in the world." Réard promoted his bathing suit by selling it in a matchbox and declared, “A bikini is not a bikini unless it can be pulled through a wedding ring.” Jacques Heim, swim wear innovator is pictured here.
However, it wasn't until the late 1950s, when actress Brigitte Bardot created a sensation by wearing a bikini in the 1958 film "And God Created Woman" that bikinis went mainstream. For her efforts Bardot became her emminence The Bikini Girl.

On 05 July 1996 the bikini celebrated its 50th anniversary. "In 2006, American women spent $8 billon on bikinis" reports

Amelia Bloomer and the Reform Dress Movement

Amelia Bloomer

Amelia Bloomer (1818-1894) was active in the reform period of American politics when women sought the vote, prohibition and freedom from constricting clothing. She also have been the first woman to publish a newspaper. However, her name lives on due to a controversial clothing style she advocated.

The Lily was published by Bloomer from 1849 until 1855. Articles on issues of importance to women appeared regularly. Among these issues were recipes, temperance, the right to vote and the Rational Dress Movement. In 1851 Bloomer began to publish articles concerning women's clothing. The success of Bloomer's paper translated to speaking engagements and having articles published in the New York Tribune.

Female fashion at the time consisted of tightly laced corsets, layers of petticoats and floor-length dresses. Bloomer began to advocate the wearing of clothes that had first been worn by Fanny Wright and the women living in the socialist commune, New Harmony in the 1820s. Bloomers were conceived by Libby Smith, cousin of noted feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who modeled them on the comfortable outfits worn by women recuperating in Swiss sanitariums.

Fashion reformers touted the bloomers as a way to "physically and spiritually free women of the cumbersome hoop." They argued that the costume was economical since it required less fabric than traditional frocks, was comfortable to wear, and was "conducive to health, by the avoidance of damp skirts hanging about the feet and ank[l]es since they would be clad in a boot." As a later historian wrote, "Hers was a spirited effort to free women from their voluminous and constricting haberdashery: heavy skirts raking the muck of the streets, multiple petticoats, bustles, miscellaneous padding, and lung crushing whalebone-all told, some fifteen pounds."

The new style contributed to the Rational, or Reform, Dress movement, but never gained a foothold in mainstream society. Advocates, realizing that negative publicity and ridicule were counterproductive, switched tactics. The Bloomer Uniform included loose bodices, ankle-length pantaloons and a dress cut to above the knee. The name stuck, and in the 1880s bicycle craze “bloomers” were sought after.

Camiknickers arrived in the 1920s as a combination chemise and panty. They had closures at the crotch for modesty and freedom. Often visually representing a slip with separate legs.