August 5 is National Underwear Day! Let’s celebrate with five frivolous facts about unmentionables.
1. Undies got their start in Egypt.
According to lovetoknow.com, the concept of having a second layer of clothing between the skin and the outer layer of dress came from ancient Egypt. The inner layer was worn more as a status symbol than for any erotic or practical reasons.
2. Baby, it’s cold outside!
Until the nineteenth century underwear in Europe and North America had two main functions: to protect outer garments from the dirt of the body, as bathing was infrequent, and to add an extra layer of insulation.
3. No Victoria’s Secret necessary
The first items of underwear in Europe and America were unisex and classless linen shifts with no particular erotic connotations.
4. Then came those crazy 1800s.
For women undergarments became an exoskeleton helping to achieve the fashionable silhouette by constraining the body and coding certain parts as sexual. The corset, for instance, was used to compress the waist while drawing attention to the breasts and hips.
5. Meanwhile, in the men’s department…
In America the union suit held sway for men until the 1930s, when the first shorts with buttons on the yoke became more available.