Make sure it's clean!
January 30, 2005 3:42 AM   Subscribe

Beyond boxers or briefs: Undergarments vary much more than the current styles we find in the nearest haberdashery department or at Victoria's Secret. Mormons have the temple garment. Suffragettes invented bloomers, the next bold step after pantaloons. But throughout modern Western history, women tended to wear dress-like undergarments, (with or without accompanying drawers) though both 19th century men and women wore the union suit, an earlier type of long-johns.

Of course, there's always the earliest of them all, the loincloth, worn by the ancient Egyptians and Tarzan. Similar is the malo worn by some Pacific Islanders, the Japanese fundoshi (warning: excess of manflesh), and the more elaborate Indian dhoti, the male companion to the sari.

And we mustn't forget the bra! Though not a lower-body garment, it has had a long--if tumultuous--history worthy of quick mention.
posted by lychee (9 comments total)
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:03 AM on January 30, 2005

How could you ignore panties?
posted by mischief at 8:22 AM on January 30, 2005

Beautiful entry! Thanks for the pornogr-- history!

Seriously, I love the links. You really did your homework.
posted by NickDouglas at 8:43 AM on January 30, 2005

heh, you talk as though the loincloth were a thing of the past or of other than western cultures...some would disagree.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:36 AM on January 30, 2005

the illustrated history of pants
(er, there are a couple of tiny indiscreet cartoons.)
posted by hydrophonic at 9:56 AM on January 30, 2005

I'm out there and I'm lovin every minute, baby!
posted by papakwanz at 11:07 AM on January 30, 2005

A question: can a dhoti really be considered an undergarment, since it's pretty "outer"? I'll give you that it's the male equivalent of a sari, but I think men go commando under their dhotis. I've seen dhotis wrapped so they darn near go down to the ankle, and others wrapped just around mid-thigh area. I don't know whether it's because of personal preference, caste, or just because on some days you're working in the field (or wherever) and just don't want it in the way.

If it weren't Sunday, and I weren't feeling lazy, I might go find some links.

As for myself, I like the basic "hipster," as Jockey calls them. I figure I'm too young for full fledged granny panties, yet too old for some ridiculous piece of string up my ass.
posted by MiHail at 2:27 PM on January 30, 2005

It's important to note that Bloomers (aka the Bloomer) are not underwear. They're outerwear. They were originally proposed as a way of allowing women more freedom of movement and activity, and resembled a calf-length, roomy skirt which was split in the middle, like very full slacks, to allow bike riding and similar athleticism.

It's a common misconception that "bloomers" means underwear, partly because Bloomers were sometimes covered with a thin, sheer overskirt. But they were different in appearance, material, and purpose from true underwear, which consisted of a chemise (longish camisole) atop a pair of drawers (short leggings ending just below the knee). The chemise and drawers were thin and usually made of muslin. You'd never wear them outdoors.
posted by Miko at 3:31 PM on January 30, 2005

What about the fastest growing undergarment segement in the United States?!
posted by PissOnYourParade at 10:08 PM on January 30, 2005

« Older Lehitraot, Ephraim.   |   And I thought a few hours of jet lag was bad. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments