The History of Underwear and How It Has Evolved Over Time

Most people don’t think about the history of their underwear, but it’s actually a pretty interesting story. It has come a long way since its early beginnings, and it shows no signs of stopping. From undertunics in the Middle Ages to girl boxers today, the evolution is truly fascinating. Keep reading to learn more about the history of undergarments and how it has evolved over time.

The 18th Century


Underwear in the 18th century was much different than it is today. For men, undergarments were typically knee-length linen shirts that were tucked into breeches. There was no such thing as boxer briefs or briefs—men simply went without boxers. For women, undergarments were a knee-length shift made of linen or cotton. This shift was often quite sheer, and women would often wear several layers of shifts to stay warm. There was no such thing as a bra—women simply went without. Undergarments were not typically washed very often, as it was considered to be quite dirty. In fact, many people believed that undergarments were the source of many diseases in the 18th century. As a result, undergarments were often quite stinky. Interestingly, it was not considered to be very indecent for either men or women to go without undergarments. In fact, it was not considered to be a big deal at all. It was not until the late 19th century that undergarments began to be considered essential pieces of clothing.

The 19th Century

Underwear in the 19th century was a very important part of a woman’s wardrobe. They wore different types of undergarments for different occasions. For everyday wear, women would typically wear chemise and drawers. The chemise was a long, white shirt that was worn under the dress. It was loose-fitting and had a high neckline. The drawers were a type of pants that fit snugly around the waist and legs. They were made of cotton or linen and were often decorated with lace.

The 20th Century

Underwear in the 20th century was a time of great change for the undergarments industry. With the invention of the washing machine, undergarments could be made out of cheaper and more durable materials, like cotton. This led to the popularization of briefs and boxer briefs, which were less likely to get dirty than traditional undergarments. Women’s undies also saw a lot of change in the 20th century. Bras were first invented in the early 20th century, and quickly became a popular item for women. Panties also became more popular, and manufacturers began to experiment with different designs and materials.

The 21st Century


Underwear has come a long way in the last hundred years or so. What once was seen as a purely functional piece of clothing is now often seen as a fashion statement in its own right. And while the basics (briefs, boxer briefs, and bras) have remained largely the same, the materials and styles of it have changed dramatically.

For one thing, undies are now made from a wider variety of materials. Cotton is still the most popular choice, but you can also find undies made from silk, lace, nylon, and other materials. And unlike in the past, when undies were often plain and utilitarian, now you can find all sorts of fun and colorful designs. Undies have also become a lot more comfortable in recent years. The materials are softer and the designs are more forgiving. This is especially true of bras, which are now often made from stretchy materials that fit snugly and provide lots of support. Finally, undies have also become a lot more affordable. You can now find good quality undies for a fraction of the price you would have paid a few decades ago.

Overall, the history of underwear is an important topic as it reveals a great deal about societal norms, changing fashion trends, and the development of new technologies and materials.