Valentine’s Day gift guides often include sexy little things, like fancy panties or pretty sleepwear. Lingerie is a pretty foolproof gift for the chick in your life, but how has it evolved over the years? Here are some fun facts you may not have known about lingerie.
1. Open-crotch panties were once de rigeur for women; they didn’t wear them because they were sexy, but instead because closed-crotch underwear were only for men.
2. Agent Provocateur was created by Vivienne Westwood’s son.
3. In French, the word “lingerie” applies to men and womens’ undergarments.
4. Wonderbra was trademarked in the ‘50s, but it didn’t become a phenomenon until the ‘90s.
5. We may have the ancient Greeks to thank; they’re the first society who show record of women wearing a garment to support their breasts.
6. In the early 1900s, a “monobosom” was a popular look for women. Their breasts were hoisted and supported in such a way to appear as though they had one large bosom.
7. A man and his wife created Victoria’s Secret as a way to popularize sexy lingerie for every day wear and to create a place where both men and women could comfortably shop for lingerie in their hometown malls. It began as a mail-order catalog but quickly expanded into brick and mortar stores.
8. Mary Phelps Jacobs may have created the bra as we know it in 1914. However, Herminie Cadole from France is said to have created the bra in 1889. Christine Hardt holds the patent from 1889, so it’s not safe to say any of them can take 100% credit. Either way, thanks, ladies!
9. Women in the UK wear the largest bra sizes.
10. Women in Japan have the smallest bra size on average.
11. Gaultier created Madonna’s famous cone bra, which was modeled after the popular “bullet bra” of the ‘40s and ‘50s.
12. The bullet bra is credited with creating the “Sweater Girl” aesthetic. Lana Turner is the most popular “Sweater Girl.”
13. Maidenform began in the ‘20s after the “flapper” silhouette led women to ditch their corsets and look for something simpler.
14. The average bra size in the US is a 36C.
15. The average American woman has 21 pairs of underwear. Do you have more or less?
16. Corsets were often made with whalebone, which led to the near-extinction of the baleen whale.
17. Dita von Teese has been wearing corsets for over 20 years and she can squeeze her waist down to 16 inches!
18. The cup size system as we know it began in the ‘30s.
19. Britney Spears launched the Intimate Britney Spears last year, proving that she can do anything.
20. Italian women often wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve for good luck.
21. Women who wear G-string underwear are said to be more sexually creative.
22. Women wore girdles almost daily from the ‘20s to the ‘60s. The control aspect was later replaced by pantyhose.
23. Men in ancient times wore girdles to hold weapons.
24. The sports bra debuted in 1975.
25. The thong was created by a man who thought that exotic dancers of the time were showing too much skin.