History of Panties
Most of us don't give wearing panties a second thought. Unless we go commando, putting on a pair of panties is just part of our daily routine.
Whether you are in Australia or Great Britain and calling them "knickers," or in France calling them "lingerie."
Which means "made from linen" wearing panties seems to be universal.
We don't think about where they come from, how they evolved or how wearing them makes us feel.
In the Beginning
However, truth be told, panties actually have a very interesting history.
If we go back to the beginning and look at the first people who walked upright we find both men and women wore some king of loincloth around their wastes.
This makes me wonder what made them decide to only cover their genitals as opposed to the rest of their bodies.
Is this the first example of guilt and shame about our bodies known to history?
If you are looking for the earliest known use of underwear that resembles modern panties you have to go back to 4,400 B.C.
Statuettes from Badari tombs depict triangle shaped small cloths that covered the front but had very little cloth around the hips.
Perhaps these were the Egyptian's version of the thong?
For some unknown reason women went without anything under their skirts or dresses for a few centuries.
At least as far as we know.
Then in the 1400's women started to wear leggings under their skirts, most likely for warmth.
The leggings eventually morphed into loose fitting drawers or underpants.
Called "unmentionables" back in the day, these undergarments had cords to tie them around the waist.
Panties had nothing to do with sex at this point in history.
During the Renaissance Period panties were invented to help keep outer clothing clean but also to be used as a chastity device.
Saint-Laurent stated, "Panties were described at the time helping women keep clean and protecting them from the cold, they prevent the thighs being seen if they fall off a horse.
These drawers also protect them against adventurous young men, because if they slip their hands under their skirts they can't touch their skin at all."
Because panties came in direct contact with female genitalia there were considered the most risque item of clothing.
Interestingly it was considered more immodest to wear underwear because they not only concealed the vagina; it was felt they drew attention to it.
One result of this is that during this time they were worn mostly by prostitutes.
Oh the irony!
If we skip forward to the early 1800's women wore underwear called Pantaloons.
These reached to the knee or to the ankle due to modesty standards of the day and were often neutral flesh colored.
This period in history is called the Regency Period and even with the modestly standards pantaloons were daring compared to what was coming.
Enter the Victorian Era where table legs had to be referred to as "limbs" so it was less sexually suggestive.
The underwear women wore during this period were referred to as drawers and the most popular form was the Union Suit which covered a woman from neck to ankle and to her wrist.
Usually made from wool or muslin women wore these long johns long before they became popular with men on a cold winter day.
During the Victorian Era, sexuality, in particular women's sexuality was intentionally repressed and that is certainly evident in the uncomfortable, often hot underwear of the time.
Not only were they uncomfortable but can you imagine how difficult it must have been to get undressed to have sex?
Luckily for women Elizabeth Smith Miller came along in the 1890's and had the brilliant idea to invent bloomers.
Bloomers were loose fitting undergarments and got their name because they were made popular by Amelia Bloomer.
Women wanted less restrictive clothing and bloomers were loose fitting. These were usually made from cotton or linen.
The word "panties" was first used in the early 19th century because the under garments women wore consisted of two separate legs joined at the waist.
Although they were open between the legs.
For those women not adhering to the strict Victorian standards of the day, panties began to go from plain to fancy.
Lace and colored material found their way to panty development which is really the first examples of what has led to the variety of panties we see today.
Several exciting things happened with panties in the 20th century that started the roller coaster ride to sexiness that they are today.
Panties closed between the legs replaced the open panties of the 1800's.
Rayon was made to make panties for the first time in 1910. Shortly after that they were made from nylon.
By far one of the most important eras for panties was the Roaring Twenties.
The 1920's was a time of great change in the world. There was a great desire to become more modern and break with traditions.
This carried over into fashion including panties. They were shorter, down to the mid-calf.
Flappers needed panties loose at the legs.
These were called Step-ins and were usually white. As skirts shortened so did undergarments.
We can all give a big shout out to the French Can-Can dancers who, in the 1930's did away with the long style of underwear all together.
Those long pant legs just didn't work with the sexy short dresses the dancers wore, not to mention the high kicks while holding their skirts up.
However, they still wanted to protect their modesty so they simply cut off the long legs of underwear and came up with French Knickers.
This caused quite an uproar as their thighs could be seen. They started quite a trend and soon French Knickers made of silk popped up in stores.
French Knickers were truly one of the first sexiest pieces of lingerie to hit the planet.
They are still sexy today and just wearing them and feeling the silk against your skin makes a woman feel incredibly sensual.
Cruising Through the 20th Century
Still outside the world of burlesque women's panties were something that were not supposed to be seen. Women were supposed to keep them hidden.
Two of the most controversial, yet important moments in moving panties forward, were at the 1949 Wimbledon Tennis Championships when tennis player Gertrude Moran wore a ruffled pair of lace trimmed knickers under a short tennis dress and caused quite a stir making headlines around the world.
Then in 1955 film icon Marilyn Monroe revealed her panties in what is perhaps the most famous scene in a movie: the subway grate draft blowing up her skirt in The Seven Year Itch.
The wheel of time kept on turning and the 1960's brought us hip-huggers and bikini panties just in time for the sexual revolution.
This was followed by the G-string rising to popularity in the 1980's and then the thong in the 1990's.
Today we have a plethora of panty styles. Boy shorts, briefs, hipsters, classic, and tanga are just a few of the styles offered today.
Some interesting things happened along the way in the latter half of the 20th century.
Society started to change their views on sex and the female body. As this changed, so did women's underwear.
Lingerie became its own fashion statement as seen in Sex in the City where Carrie wears bras and panties dark in color through sheer light colored clothing.
Today, stores like Fredericks of Hollywood and Victoria's Secret market underwear specifically for sex.
Their products stress the beauty of the female body and encourage women to wear sexy lingerie for themselves and for their partners.
We've Come a Long Way Baby
Where once underwear was meant to be a hidden never discussed secret, it is now shown outright as evidenced by the hip level pants with thongs sticking out in the back.
Lingerie has helped women reclaim their sexuality. They are no longer forced to be restricted and instead can feel confident with their sexuality.
There are stores that cater to every type of lingerie you can imagine. Whatever your style, there is a shop that provides it, including fetish wear.
If you have not checked out a lingerie store I strongly suggest making a date with yourself to do so.
If you have not worn lingerie for yourself or your partner, you have been cheating yourself and your sex life.
Panties can be a great place to start when considering lingerie.
There are so many styles and colors to choose from you will absolutely find what fits your style or even find something racy that you want to take a risk with.
No one knows what panties a woman has on underneath her clothes and it can make for a hot surprise when your lover takes off your pants and finds something unexpected in the panty department.
Word to the wise, if you wear your panties with a garter belt and stockings put the panties on over the garters.
This allows him to take off your panties but keep on your stockings and garter belt which is really sexy!
If you want to try something new to make you feel confident and sexy there is no better investment than lingerie.
The right pair of panties can put the Va Va Voom back into a relationship, make the most of your assets and actually transform a woman from simple to sexy.
That is empowering.
Trust me when I say there are few things sexier and more pleasurable than having a man slowly pull off your sexy pair of panties.
Except perhaps having him practically rip them off!
Some men like the plain white cotton "good girl" panties and some like the fetish wear panties made of out latex, rubber or some other alternative material.
But basically men just like panties.
They like to see you in them and then they like to take them off of you and get to what is underneath.
Thank Goodness we live in an age where we can express our individuality and sexuality through the panties we wear!