10 Things You Never Knew About Lingerie


Crotchless Pantalones in the 18th Century - Courtesy of Metropolitan Art Museum

1. Crotchless underwear have been around. That’s right.  Women have been wearing exposing underwear for centuries.  Some even open up generously at the thighs.  Of course, this revealing form of underwear wasn’t worn to increase sex appeal; it was worn for functional purposes.  The underwear prevented fabric from dresses from bunching up.  It seems even the women from the past knew about wedgies.  Crotchless underwear also helped with going to the restroom when the wearer did not want to touch the toilet bowl.  Look ma - no hands!


db08c2772. The first reference to the term “Thong” appeared in 1939 when the NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia demanded strippers to dress more appropriately.


5285_THUMB_IPAD A Map of Avg Cup Sizes Around the World

3. In just 15 years, average bra size has increased from 34B to a 34DD. 1


4. Each woman owns about 6 bras.  How do you stack up? 2



images Roy Ramond, Founder of Victoria's Secret

5. The famous Victoria’s Secret wasn’t always a lingerie store for women.  Victoria’s Secret was originally created to help men avoid the embarrassment of purchasing lingerie and underwear for their female lovers.  Roy Raymond started the business by recognizing such need for men.  However, after a rocky start, he sold the nearing bankrupt company and used the proceeds to invest in a Children’s Toy Store.  Unfortunately, the company filed bankruptcy and in 1993, Raymond committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.



AthensArtmeis Criss-crossed breast bands on a bronze statue of Artemis (mid-4th century BC)

6. An early ancestor of the bra was a criss-crossing breast band that helped accentuate the shape of the bosom.  Invented by the Ancient Greeks, the band was called a Strophion.


Pompeii_Fresco_Brassiere Detail from a wall painting at Pompeii, 62–79 AD

7. Ancient Romans, on the other hand, believed big boobs were not sexy.  In fact, they invented a single breast band that secured the breast tightly against their chests to reduce their size for young Roman girls.

8. Around the mid-17th century, breastfeeding was not in.  The wealthy wore corsets and hired nurses to breast feed infants.  People believed firm breasts to be an indication of status.


Sad-Woman-520x346 All she wanted was a comfortable bra.


9. According to bra-fitting experts, approximately 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. 3



10.  Lingerie can kill.  Literally. A woman by the name of Berbel Zummer was killed by lightning during a store.  The culprit-- her wire enforced bra made her a lightning rod and super conductive to electricity. 4




Works Cited:



3. “Panty Raid!” Lingerie Blog. April 16, 2012. Accessed: November 9, 2012

4. Shaskan, Kathy. 2007. How Underwear Got Under There: A Brief History. New York, NY: Dutton Children’s Book.

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