What is Lingerie?
- by Riley Speers
What is the history of lingerie?
Lingerie is a niche category of women's clothing that includes undergarments (mostly bras and panties), sleepwear (pajamas, baggy shirts and pants), loungewear and lightweight robes (commonly made of silk or satin materials). The choice of the word lingerie is usually associated and motivated by the intention to imply that the women's garments are alluring to the eyes of onlookers, in-fashion or a combination of the both.
Lingerie is made out of many various materials which are often lightweight, smooth, stretchy, sheer or specialty decorative fabrics such as extravagant silks, satins, chiffons, charmeuse, lycra or (typically) lace. These materials can be made of natural and organic fibers such as silk or cotton, or they can be made of common synthetic (man-made) fibers such as nylon or polyester materials.
Where did the word lingerie come from?
The word lingerie is a word taken directly out of the French language (every time you spell the word "lingerie", you're writing in French!). The direct translation of lingerie in French means undergarments (underwear) and is used exclusively for more lightweight forms of women's underwear.
Although the vast majority of lingerie manufacturers design lingerie to be worn by women, many manufacturers are now design and making lingerie for men (26% of men have reported wearing sexy lingerie at some point in their life!)
How do you spell lingerie
The most common spelling of lingerie is exactly how it's spelled -- lingerie. This is both the correct spelling in the English and French languages.
Lingerie became a commonly used word starting in 1922 when referring to lightweight underwear and bras. Common informal usage of the term suggests erotic or visually appealing underwear.
How do you pronounce lingerie
The easiest way to pronounce lingerie is to sound it out as "lahn-zuh-ray", this is the common way to pronounce lingerie in the English language.
How did lingerie originate?
The concept of lingerie is a visually appealing piece of underwear that was developed during the late nineteenth century. Lady Duff-Gordon of Lucile was a famous pioneer in the development of lingerie that helped free women from corsets (the common sexy style of underwear at the time).
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, women usually wore underwear for only 3 main reasons: to help alter their outwardly body shape (first with corsets, then girdles and bras later-on), for hygiene reasons or for modesty.
The Market Structure of the Lingerie Industry
The lingerie market at the turn of the 21st century was strongly driven by the invention of modern technologies and new fabrics that assisted in designing and manufacturing new products such as laser-cut seamless bras and molded bras. Lingerie designers are now putting greater emphasis on richer-looking fabrics, lace-materials, embroideries and brighter lingerie colors.
The global lingerie market (as of 2003) was estimated to be worth $29 billion. During the 2005 period, bra sales accounted for a total of 56% of the entire lingerie market and briefs accounted for a total of 29% of the entire lingerie market. The largest lingerie retailer and supplier in the USA is Victoria's Secret - operating nearly-exclusively within the North American market.
Bra Sizing becoming More Accurate
Since the 1990's, women have had more-and-more choices in bras sizes and focus has shifted greatly from customers choosing bra sizes in standard sizes to wanting to wear bras that actually fit perfectly to their chests.
Men's Lingerie Becoming More Popular
In early March 2020, The Guardian reported a strong increase for demand in male lingerie in the fashion industry and predictions as to how likely male lingerie will become common in high street fashion stores in the coming years.