A TIMELINE OF UNDERWEAR
By Tim Lambert
c 100 AD Roman men and women wear shorts called subligaculum. Women also wear a band of leather or cloth around their chest called a strophium or mamilare.
13th Century Men begin to wear linen shorts called braies. Women wear a nightie like garment called a shift or chemise under their dress. However women do not wear knickers.
1600 Many women wear a frame of wire or whalebone called a farthingale under their dress. The cheaper version was called a bum roll. It was a padded roll worn around the waist. Wealthy women wear silk stockings.
1800 Women begin to wear knickers for the first time. At first they are called drawers because they are drawn on.
1860s Some women begin to wear coloured drawers and petticoats although white is still popular.
1880s In Britain drawers for women are now called knickers and men’s underwear is called pants. Men also wear vests or sometimes combinations, pants and vest in one garment.
1900 Some women are so poor they have to make their knickers from sacks used to hold food like flour
1910 Knickers and stockings are first made of rayon
1913 The modern bra is invented by Mary Crosby who uses two handkerchiefs joined by a ribbon
1920s Knickers become shorter. They rise from the knee to the mid-calf.
1935 Y fronts are invented
1939 Nylon stockings are first made
1940s Fashionable women wear briefs. However in Britain clothes are rationed from 1941-1949. During World War II women sometimes make their knickers from parachute silk.
1959 Tights (pantyhose) are invented
1964 The wonderbra is invented
1968 The wonderbra is introduced to Britain
1974 The thong is invented
1990s Thongs become popular in Britain