Is Lingerie a Recent Invention?

Is Lingerie a Recent Invention?

Lingerie might seem like a modern innovation, but the truth is, intimate apparel has a long and fascinating history that stretches back centuries. Let's take a journey through time to uncover the origins and evolution of lingerie, from ancient civilizations to the stylish and sophisticated designs we adore today.


Ancient Beginnings

The concept of lingerie dates back to ancient times. In ancient Egypt, women wore linen tunics called "kalasiris" which were often pleated and draped elegantly. These garments were designed for both comfort and modesty, reflecting the sophisticated fashion sense of the era.


Ancient Greece and Rome

In ancient Greece, women wore a garment called the "strophion," a band of cloth wrapped around the chest, serving as a primitive bra. Similarly, Roman women wore "fascia," bands of cloth tied around their busts, often paired with a "subligaculum," an early form of underwear. These early intimates were practical and functional, designed to support and protect.


The Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, women's undergarments became more elaborate. The chemise, a simple linen underdress, became a staple. It was worn beneath gowns and served to protect outer garments from body oils and sweat. Additionally, corsetry began to emerge, although it would not become widespread until later periods.


The Renaissance and Beyond

The Renaissance period saw a shift towards more structured undergarments. The corset became a symbol of beauty and status, shaping the waist and emphasizing the bust. By the 16th century, corsets were made with whalebone and steel to achieve the desired silhouette. Petticoats and farthingales were also introduced, adding volume to skirts.


The Victorian Era

The Victorian era brought significant advancements in lingerie. The invention of the sewing machine in the mid-19th century revolutionized garment production. Corsets became more intricate, often featuring lace, ribbons, and embroidery. Bloomers and drawers were introduced, providing women with more practical undergarments for everyday wear.


The 20th Century: Revolution and Liberation

The 20th century marked a period of liberation and innovation in lingerie. The early 1900s saw the decline of the corset and the rise of the brassiere. In 1914, Mary Phelps Jacob patented the first modern bra, which offered a more comfortable alternative to the restrictive corset.

The Roaring Twenties

The 1920s brought flapper fashion and a new attitude towards lingerie. Women embraced looser, more comfortable styles, including chemises and step-ins. The iconic flapper look emphasized a boyish silhouette, leading to the creation of bandeau bras and silk stockings.


Mid-Century Modern

The mid-20th century saw lingerie becoming more glamorous and playful. Pin-up culture and Hollywood icons like Marilyn Monroe popularized sexy, figure-flattering designs. The introduction of nylon and other synthetic fabrics allowed for more affordable and durable lingerie options.


Contemporary Lingerie

Today, lingerie is a blend of fashion, function, and personal expression. Advances in fabric technology and design have given rise to a diverse range of styles, from everyday comfort to luxury and couture pieces. Brands like Betty are committed to providing high-quality, stylish options that make you feel confident and beautiful.



Lingerie is far from a recent invention; it's a rich tapestry of history and innovation. From ancient civilizations to today's modern designs, intimate apparel has continuously evolved, reflecting changes in fashion, technology, and societal norms. At Betty, we celebrate this evolution by offering timeless pieces that honor tradition while embracing contemporary style.



Explore our latest collections and discover how Betty lingerie can add a touch of elegance and comfort to your wardrobe. Follow us on Instagram for more fashion insights and behind-the-scenes looks!