BY ALLIE GREEN
LONG LIVE LINGERIE
The love affair for lingerie is back. Historically restrictive of one’s natural femininity, lingerie has been reinvented to delight the modern-day woman. The modern-day woman comes in all shapes and sizes. And lucky for us, lingerie does too. The misconception that lingerie is solely for supermodels is an outdated and false stereotype. In this day and age, lingerie is meant to celebrate your body, to make you look and feel good. It is not for your partner; it is for you.
The evolution of intimate clothing traces back to the 18th century with something familiar to almost all Victoria Secret shoppers. The earliest form of the corset rose in popularity as small waists became fashionable. Originally made out of whalebone, its rigid nature was accompanied by discomfort and restriction, frequently resulting in women fainting from the pain. Breathing was optional. In the 1900s, with a rise in health, more relaxed and restful undergarments became the norm. Camisoles, petticoats, brassieres, and bloomers were designed and marketed by women for women. These styles of lingerie showed more skin, alluding to a more feminine aesthetic. Even with lingerie now enhancing the female figure, large fashion houses such as Frederick's of Hollywood saw men as the mastermind behind such intimate designs.. With widespread popularity for "sexy" lingerie, the undergarments became socially acceptable and readily available for consumers. This scandalous rendition of feminine wear was a turning point in history as we began taking control of our destinies and left behind our objectified pasts.
Lingerie is about women taking over a man's game. Gaining back control and confidence from unrealistic beauty standards and, instead, celebrating the different forms of the female body. The impractical and sexualizing undergarments once used to modify women have transformed into an empowering movement geared towards body positivity. Society fixates on popular standards that influence how women treat, view, and accept their bodies. Body confidence isn't about constantly feeling good in your skin; it's about acceptance. Accepting yourself for who you are today, as you are, and your imperfections. Standards are constantly changing, and as a woman, the pressure of continually looking a particular way has had self-deprecating effects. Social media only exacerbates the issue. Scrolling endlessly, comparing instead of uplifting, is not healthy, and neither is resenting yourself for not looking like the models on the cover of Vogue.
Dialogue circulating how we embrace ourselves for who we are and not what we look like is a conversation on the rise. Lingerie was once meant to be hidden, kept away from public view. In recent years, we see pieces once reserved for the bedroom now being featured as street style. Luxury brands such as Givenchy, Alexander Wang, and Vivienne Westwood are adopting this trend, and fellow celebrities champion this shift, with society at large following in their footsteps. Gigi Hadid, Irina Shayk, and Emily Ratajkowski are just some of the famous faces endorsing the corset 'for a night out' look. Even underwear straps have become the new accessory to low-rise jeans, making headlines as females embrace their natural curves. Not only used as a way to feel good in bed, lingerie is turning what fashion designers consider streetwear inside out.
The restrictive history of lingerie is no more. Lingerie shouldn't confine us because our femininity doesn't either. It empowers us. It's not about how you look but how you feel. When you put on a pair of lace underwear, do it for yourself and not for your partner. Self-love and respect come from within, not what others think or propagate throughout the media.