29 Apr Evolution of Underwear as Fashion Piece Statements
It’s time to mark your calendar, because a few short months from now is National Underwear day. That’s right, August 5th is that one time every year where we celebrate the undergarment. But like every holiday that we squeeze into the calendar, the spirit should be year round. Sure, Valentine’s day is just a single day, but also a reminder that we should prop our significant other up every single day through small romantic gestures. Let’s not just relegate the things or people we love to a single day. That’s why we’re going to spend today unpacking the evolution of underwear as a fashion piece statement. From the codpiece to the whale tail, to the sexual liberation movement of the 60’s, undergarments have snuck their way into the fashion forefront time and time again, and it’s good reason. It’s only natural to want to flaunt if it looks good!
Early influences lead to modern trends
Ever since undergarments existed, they’ve made their way into the wheelhouse of fashion accessories, most notably the codpiece from the medieval man and the corset for the Victorian era woman. While utilitarian by design these are both prime examples of underwear becoming outerwear. As time went on, codpieces became more decorative and elaborate, while corsets became more and more like outerwear. Corsets stopped becoming about posture, and body support as designers explored more relaxed and flexible fabrics.
Women eventually phased out the corset in favor of looser clothing. Lace bras, underwear, and stockings became a part of performative fashion. The popularity of flappers and burlesque dancers influenced the idea of slip dresses being worn as outerwear as well. While the popularity of the corset waned for some decades, we saw a resurgence during the sexual liberation movement, though this style was mostly worn by goth and punk subcultures. We’ve also seen pop Icons like Madonna sport a corset in the 80’s
It should be no surprise that the trans community are also celebrating National Underwear day. We’re now seeing the chest binder being integrated as outerwear, and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Much like the corset transitioning from a practical garment that was once concealed with outerwear, the chest binder is now making waves. Wearing a binder as a shirt is becoming a new norm, which is nothing short of thrilling! If you didn’t know this already, think of all the ways you can mix and match your wardrobe before stepping out for the day!
If lace is where your heart lies, there are inclusive lingeries that may very well be the next piece you pick up for your trendsetting wardrobe. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for intimate apparel, trying to be the next pop sensation, or just want to keep it low-key hanging out with friends. The bottom line is comfort, both physically and emotionally.
If National Underwear Day can teach us anything as a community, it’s that we all deserve to feel comfortable in our own skin. Whether we’re trying to look sporty or seductive, practical or relaxed, there’s a look that works for everyone. While we celebrate underwear as a fashion piece on August 5th, let’s not forget to be mindful of each other year round. National Underwear Day comes but once a year, but the spirit should be year round! If fashion isn’t your thing, then you at least owe it to yourself to wear the most comfortable ensemble you could find. Why not? It’s a holiday after all.