10th of September 2012

The Evolution of Lingerie

Lingerie has evolved from practical or restrictive undergarments into symbols which define the feminine ideal of an era.

The world’s love affair with lingerie is an everlasting one whose origins go back to ancient times. It has long been assumed that, initially, intimate apparel was designed primarily to protect and obscure female sexuality. Nevertheless, the purpose of lingerie has evolved at the same time as its appearance, defining each century’s ideal of feminine beauty, as well as the ever changing perceptions of female identity.

It was during the Renaissance (around the 14th century) that women started wearing what we currently refer to as panties, and more generally, lingerie. But only at the end of the following century did the word underwear actually replace that of “body linen”; in turn, underwear is now considered “plain”, the seductive moniker being “lingerie”.

It was only a matter of time before lingerie entered the wardrobe as a clothing item in and of itself, therefore carrying its own social meaning. It asserted a more and more liberated behaviour, a healthier relationship with one’s body, a way to nonchalantly display what was formerly very intimate. This was a new role for underwear.

Today’s lingerie plays a double role: functional and seductive. By the end of the 90’s, the obsession was discretion. Showing a panty line or, to a lesser extent, the outline of a bra, was out of the question. Thus Lycra was introduced, bringing its elasticity to the plate, allowing for increased seamlessness. On the seduction side, lingerie goes the opposite direction and displays itself to the world forgoing the intimate in favour of the blatant.

Today, lingerie companies such as Victoria’s Secret have annual modelling shows and national commercials to promote their lingerie. Society has changed from hiding what we have on underneath to showing it off.

Many of the women that I am privileged to meet, express concerns about not feeling sexy in lingerie or not filling out  bras properly. Additionally, I see many woman whose bodies have changed dramatically after having children and whose breasts are either sagging or have lost volume after breast feeding. I offer a selection of effective and safe procedures for women who at different stages of their lives, want to look and feel good about themselves and be able to wear lingerie and fitted clothes confidently.


Contact Dr. Jane Paterson for more information.