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A Short History of Women’s Undies

A Short History of Women’s Undies

Alright, underwear can be outright uncomfortable sometimes. Who invented this tiny piece of fabric that rides up in between (both) cracks? Before the devil invented middle seam underwear, or at least I think the only person responsible for such discomfort would be the devil, women’s underwear supported and celebrated our fabulous curves for centuries. Let’s dive into the history of women's underwear to see what it’s all about.

Picture this: it's the ancient world, where togas and tunics were all the rage. That was about as extensive groin coverage was back then. In this time, underwear actually started as an outer garment. Especially in colder climates, the loincloth was a basic necessity for protection of the intimate areas. 

But fast forward to the Middle Ages, where fashion took a wild turn. Corsets made their grand entrance, shaping bodies and making waistlines the talk of the town. But hold your breath (literally), because it wasn't until the Renaissance era that real underpants danced into the spotlight. Women wore long linen garments under their dresses called ‘chemises’. These also provided extra warmth and comfort under their clothing. 

After about 1800, women began to wear drawers. Elizabeth Miller invented loose trousers to be worn by women under their clothing. It was closest to what we’d wear today as long underwear. Amelia Bloomer promoted the idea from 1849 onward and they became known as bloomers. 

Today we call them panties. Want to know why? Because in the early 19th century women’s underwear consisted of two separate legs joined at the waist. That’s why we say “a pair of panties”! It was quite literally a pair. 

But with this design, the underwear was open between the legs. (Okay, open crotch?) Eventually, closed underwear replaced them. Stockings were invented in 1910 and made of rayon. But then nylon was invented by Wallace Carothers in 1935 and the first nylon stockings were sold in 1939. Later panties were also made of nylon, but we know now, synthetic fibers like rayon and nylon aren’t breathable for our “downstairs”. Every gyno will agree: cotton is the best textile to touch your tutu. 

The 20th century rolls on in and designers like Mary Phelps Jacob, aka Caresse Crosby, set the stage for a lingerie revolution. Legend has it that she fashioned a bra out of two handkerchiefs and a bit of ribbon, creating a breakthrough in women's underwear comfort! Who knew that creativity and resourcefulness could change the course of lingerie history? Girl boss slay. 

In the present day, women's underwear sort of lost its original purpose of coverage and comfort. It morphed into something worn for the male gaze, getting tinier and more uncomfortable as years went on. LIKE WHO INVENTED MIDDLE SEAM UNDERWEAR? I get it, it gives you instant cameltoe which men love, but it’s not practical for vulva owners. Victoria’s Secret became a reference for lingerie turned into everyday wear and furthered the impracticality of it all. Yes, Victoria’s Secret was created by a cis-man which explains a lot. 

There’s so many underwear brands on the market now. You can find a brand that suits any style! Cherri undies create a canvas for self-expression, body positivity, and embracing our unique, beautiful selves. From comfy briefs to lacey thongs, we have a smorgasbord of choices to suit every mood, outfit, and vulva. 

Now that you’ve learned a snippet of underwear history, you can appreciate the little things in your underwear drawer. A girlboss long long ago set the scene for your snatch to embrace the undies you love today and we will be forever grateful. 


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