Undergarments Fashion History

Fashion History

By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com

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The Fashion History of Undergarments

A costume history of underwear from stays, paniers, corsets to crinolines, bustles, bras to girdles.

Click on the headings to go to individual web pages.

Early Corsetry

A look at corsetry fashion history from classical Crete, to Medieval and C16th iron corsets, farthingales, bum rolls and boned stays.

C18th Paniers

Historical development of the sack dress. Styles of panier hoops and developments to the polonaise.

 Stays to Corsets

The costume history changes from stays to corsets at the start of 1800 to early Victorian era.

Please scroll down


Various Victorian crinoline styles and the differences between style silhouettes in fashion history.

 The history of the cage crinoline of 1856.  Pictures of crinoline frames and early bustle supports.


How to spot the differences between bustle styles. The costume history of the first and second bustle eras.

Pictures of bustle mesh frames.

Edwardian Corsetry

Edwardian S-bend corsets, mono bosoms, long corsets, elastic improvements and bust bodices. Veblen's corset theories.

Undergarment History
Knickers Fashions

During the Regency era women began wearing lower undergarments.  Drawers were made of more feminine cotton lawn fabric and laced at the waist.

1950 Underwear Adverts

1950s Petticoats & Stocking Adverts


Bras and Girdles Before 1950

The fashion history of bras from the first bra and historical changes in bras and girdles in the early 20th century. 

Bras After 1950

A fashion history of Bra slips, bodysuits, teddies, cleavage, Wonderbras and Bioforms after 1950.

 Read more about 1950s girdles, petticoats, bras and stockings in the 1950s section.

 Invisible Silicone Bras

A fashion history look at one type of invisible modern silicone skin bra known as a magic bra because it has no straps and it self supports the bust.



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Fashion-Era.com looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era. Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values, homelife and politics have all contributed to lifestyle trends which influence the clothes we wear. These are the changes that make any era of society special in relation to the study of the costume of a period.

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