Lingerie is a term, derived from the French language, for women's undergarments. They are heavily eroticised in Western culture.
Babydoll (sexy lingerie)
A babydoll is a short nightgown or negligee intended as nightwear for women. The garment is often trimmed with lace, ruffles, appliques, Marabou fur, bows and ribbons, optionally with spaghetti straps. Sometimes it is made of sheer or translucent fabric like nylon or chiffon or silk. The garment's hemline is usually about six inches above the knee like a minidress and may have a scoop-neck. They are usually considered provocative.
It is said the name was popularized by the 1956 movie Baby Doll starring Carroll Baker in the title role, which essentially marked the beginning of the enduring popularity of the style for adults. At the same time, new synthetic fabrics and boutique retailing made the form both affordable and easy to purchase.
Short daywear dresses of a similar style are sometimes called babydoll dresses; the name is sometimes two words, baby doll, and sometimes hyphenated, baby-doll. Some styles are similar to what is worn by dolls in the form of infants, and by some infants; the gown is short enough that diapers are easily changed. Thus, it is a common garment for those who indulge in sexualized play-acting around ideas of infantilism. However, there may be an alternative origin for the style, if we consider the lineage of lace-trimmed shortie bed-jackets and bed-capes of the 1930s and 1940s.
It is now a highly eroticized item of adult apparel, often classified as a form of lingerie. When worn by an adult woman there is great contrast to when worn by an infant; the legs are fully displayed and some styles emphasize or deliberately expose the breasts as well. The gown is often sold as a set with matching panties (UK - knickers) as a typical babydoll is short enough that underwear is visible if worn . Styles of the same general length but not intended to emphasize sex appeal are sometimes called shortie nightgowns.
Babydolls are now available in a sufficiently wide variety of styles that many lingerie retailers consider babydolls a distinct department. Modern babydolls often vary considerably from the styles of the 1960s and 1970s. Baby doll negligees from the 1950s to the early 1980s are now collectible items.
Some babydolls open up in front and resemble more of a robe or peignoir.
Another type of Babydoll is the Babydoll T-Shirt, which is nothing more than an extra long T-shirt worn as a nightie.
A provocative Babydoll is called the "Fembot" which is made up of a marabou clad bralette with pleated chiffon for skirt and marabou strip for hemline. It got its name from the movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, where feminine robot androids wear such Babydoll nightgowns.
Brassiere (uk lingerie)
A brassiere or bra is a foundation garment for women which supports and covers the breasts.
The female breasts have very little internal support, being composed largely of adipose tissue (or fat). It is believed that the primary anatomical support for the breast is provided by the Cooper's ligaments, with the skin covering the breasts offering some additional support. However, this anatomical support is usually insufficient to hold the breasts up (especially in older women), and to prevent movement of the breasts, which can cause pain and discomfort. Thus, the primary reason for wearing a brassiere or similar foundation garment is to provide external support for the breasts, increasing comfort and mobility.
Bras are believed by some to help preserve the youthful shape of breasts (which naturally sag as women grow older), an opinion which is promoted by bra manufacturers. However, there is some doubt over this amongst the medical community, and while a woman may choose to wear a bra for comfort or for social reasons, there is no conclusive evidence to support the notion that a woman's breasts will sag lower over her lifetime if she doesn't wear a bra. 
Some medical professionals believe that wearing a bra can actually increase breast sagging later in life because the chest muscles that support breasts are used less and atrophy from lack of use. Health benefits of breast motion and sagging have also been suggested but not substantiated — for example, some researchers claim that breast movement, which is restricted by a brassiere, stimulates the lymphatic system and helps remove toxins from the body .
The concept of covering or restraining the breasts dates back to 6,500 years ago in Greece. Minoan women on the island of Crete 4,000 years ago wore garments that partially supported yet revealed their bare breasts. A band of cloth known as an apodesmos, or mastodeton was worn by ancient Greek women to bind down the breasts for exercise in those city-states that supported women's sports, such as Sparta. Also, a belt could be fastened over a simple tunic-like garment or undergarment, just below the breasts, in order to provide some support. Another word for a breast-band or belt was strophion.
One of the earliest depictions of something closely resembling a modern bra, an 1881 illustration which claims to show an early 19th century garmentA bra-like device to give a symmetrical rotundity to the breasts was patented (nr 24,033) in 1859 by Henry S. Lesher of Brooklyn, New York; although it is recognisably a bra, the design looks uncomfortable by current standards. In 1889 Herminie Cadolle of France invented the first modern bra, a two-piece undergarment called le bien-être (the well-being). The lower part was a corset for the waist, the upper supporting the breasts by means of shoulder straps. By 1905 the upper half was being sold separately as a soutien-gorge ("breast-supporter", using a euphemism for breast that usually means "throat"), the name by which bras are still known in France. Cadolle's business is still going strong. 
The brassiere was at first an alternative to the corset, for negligée or at-home wear, or for those women who had medical or political objections to corsets. However, after the straight-fronted corset became fashionable in the early 1900's, a brassiere or "bust supporter" became a necessity for full-busted women, as the straight-fronted corset did not offer as much support and containment as the Victorian styles. Early brassieres were either wrap-around bodices or boned, close-fitting camisoles (both worn over the corset), and were designed to hold the bust in and down, the corset providing upwards support.
In the United States, Mary Phelps Jacob was granted a U.S. patent (nr 1,115,674) in the newly created patent category for "brassieres", in 1914. She was aided in this work by her French maid, Marie. Their invention was a lightweight, backless bra suitable for wear under low-cut evening dresses. Although it was not the first bra to be commercially produced in the U.S., the use of the name "brassiere" (rather than the older term "bust supporter") has led to the misconception that Jacob's invention was the first bra, or the first American bra; in fact, U.S. bra patents appear in the 1860's. After making and selling a few hundred of her brassieres under the name "Caresse Crosby", Jacobs sold the patent to the Warner Brothers Corset Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, for $1,500 (or over $25,600 in today's money). Warner's did manufacture the "Crosby" bra, but it does not seem to have been a popular style and was eventually discontinued.  Later commentators would assert that Warner's made millions off of Jacob's invention, but this appears to be untrue.
As corsets became lower during the later 1910's, the bust received less upwards support and a low, sloping bustline became fashionable. Brassieres from the late 1910's and early 1920's were merely slightly shaped bandeaus, holding the bust in and down by means of a clip attached to the corset. This culminated in the "boyish" silhouette of the early 1920's, with little bust definition.
In 1922, Ida Rosenthal, a seamstress at the small New York City dress shop, Enid Frocks, along with shop owner Enid Bissett and husband William Rosenthal, changed the look of women's fashion. The "boyish figure" then in style downplayed women's natural curves through the use of a bandeaux brassiere. Their innovation, designed to make their dresses look better on the wearer, consisted of increasing the shaping of the bandeaux bra to enhance and support women's breasts: hence the name "Maidenform",   a play on the name of an earlier company, "Boyishform". A later innovation was the development of cup sizing for brassieres. The company they founded became the Maidenform manufacturing company. 
In 1943, Howard Hughes designed a cantilevered brassiere for Jane Russell for her appearance in the movie The Outlaw, although Russell later asserted that she never wore it.  This "lifts and separates" design went on to influence later commercial brassieres.
During the Civil Rights Movement, as the "monokini" came into play in Europe and free love became more popular in the United States, many women publicly discarded their bras as an anti-sexist act of female liberation. The act of "bra-burning", however, in which crowds of women would make a trash-can bonfire, line up, and take off and discard their bras one by one into the fire, was not a widespread practice, although it did get quite a bit of video coverage from the mass media at the time. 
Bustier (nightwear lingerie)
A bustier is an article of clothing for women, which is form-fitting and is traditionally worn as lingerie. Some people wear it as an outer garment. Bustiers can slim the wearer's waist, while enhancing the bust. Bustiers often have detachable garter straps for holding up stockings.
Camisole (online lingerie)
A cami or camisole is a woman's undergarment which covers the top part of the body. It is sleeveless and tight fitting in contrast to a loose-fitting babydoll or chemise. The materials of choice in which they are manufactured are satin or silk.
A camisole can be worn over a brassiere or without one. Some camisoles come with a built-in underwire bra which eliminates the need for a bra. In modern times, the camisole has been transformed from simply being an undergarment to outerwear, with the fabric changing more into cotton based materials.
Some wearers shy away from the outerwear camisole because they fear their bra straps will be exposed, though of late several celebrities are indicating that it is fashionable to do so.
Corset (plus size lingerie)
It has been suggested that Waist cincher be merged into this article or section.
Hourglass corset from around 1880. It features a busk fastening at the front and lacing at the back.A corset is a garment worn to mold and shape the torso into a desired shape for aesthetic or medical purposes (either for the duration of wearing it, or with a more lasting effect).
The most common use of corsets is to slim the body and make it conform to a fashionable silhouette. For women this most frequently emphasises a curvy figure, by reducing the waist, and thereby exaggerating the bust and hips. However, in some periods, corsets have been worn to achieve a tubular straight-up-and-down shape, which involves minimising the bust and hips.
For men, corsets are more customarily used to slim the figure. However, there was a period from around 1820 to 1835 when an hourglass figure (a small, nipped-in look to the waist) was also desirable for men; this was sometimes achieved by wearing a corset.
Woman having her corset laced tight, from an 1899 stereoscope card. Original caption: Reducing the Surplus. "Now, Pull Hard!" A small waist between a full bust and ample hips, such is the shibboleth of fashion, and the poor girl that relies on her figure to make a good impression, is sorely put to it, if nature has denied her the shape of a wasp or if she has not learned to rely on physical exercise to model her frame. A vigorous walk of ten miles a day, supplemented by ten minutes of lung gymnastics, would do wonders for her.An overbust corset encloses the torso, extending from just under the arms to the hips. An underbust corset begins just under the breasts and extends down to the hips. Some corsets extend over the hips and, in very rare instances, reach the knees. A shorter kind of corset, which covers the waist area (from low on the ribs to just above the hips), is called a 'waist cincher'. A corset may also include garters to hold up stockings (alternatively a separate garter belt may be worn for tha)).
Normally a corset supports the visible dress, and spreads the pressure from large dresses, such as the crinoline and bustle. Sometimes the corset has been supported by a corset cover.
French maid (designer lingerie)
A basic French maid costumeFrench Maid ensembles, worn by women, are an occasional subject of sexual fetishism. They are a form of ladies' fantasywear that depending on design details can be classified as lingerie. They enjoy a wide popularity and are available from many sources. Commonly included in the costume is a push-up bra to enhance the female bust to fit the stereotype which has come to follow with the typical French Maid.
The name derives from their being worn by stereotypical characters in risqué burlesque dramas of the bedroom farce variety.
A wide variety of costumes are manufactured and marketed under the "French maid" description today. These range from comparatively modest dresses extending well down the thigh or above the knees to transparent chiffon nightgowns or outright lingerie ensembles that cover almost nothing. Some costumes are marketed to transvestites.
The classic French Maid costume, however, is a very short and clingy dress (ideally silk satin, or closely resembling it) trimmed with shirred white lace. Typically, they include a tiny white apron attached to the dress; sometimes, the apron is even shaped like a heart, with white lace fringes on the hems and revealing neckline. The skirt area of the dress is usually pleated. If panties are worn with it, they are usually white and ruffled, and the dress is sometimes short enough to display them, especially when the woman bends over.
Common accessories include a frill worn in the hair, or a tiara, a feather duster, and sometimes white lace cuffs and collar. If the dress has sleeves, they are usually short and puffed shoulder puffs. A corset or a layered white petticoat may be worn under the dress. The ensemble is almost always completed with black fishnet stockings and black high heels.
The costumes are sometimes worn to costume parties and sometimes in BDSM sexual roleplay (whether on brief occasions or as a routine form of servitude to the woman's lover).
G-string (sexy lingerie)
A G-string, thong, or string tanga is a narrow piece of cloth or even leather that passes between the legs, usually between the buttocks, and is attached to a band around the hips, worn as a bikini bottom or as underwear by both men and women.
The first known appearance of the term in English, as geestring, is from 1878, for the string that holds up the loincloth worn by American Indians. The present spelling G-string is first attested in 1891 — perhaps influenced by the homonymous musical term for a violin string tuned to a G — as American English slang to describe the loincloth of Philippine natives. Others also suggest that the "G" in G-string stands for the groin, which it covers. This style of loincloth was the traditional 3+ meter long wound strip. Later, probably through a chain of social contacts through the US military, the term "G-string" was applied to the breechcloths of American Natives overseen on reservations. Only in 1936 is the first use recorded for female (stripper) underwear.
Although it was worn for decades by exotic dancers, the thong first gained mainstream popularity in South America, particularly in Brazil in the 1970s. In Brazil, where the buttocks ("bundas" in Portuguese) are especially admired and emphasized, it was originally a style of swimsuit whose rear area was so thin—often just a string—that it would disappear between the wearer's buttocks.
Its earliest form was a strip of cloth between the legs secured by a string around the waist and called a "G-string", a name that was in use at least as far back as the late 1800s. Today, a G-string is generally thought of as having a "T" back whereas a V-String has a "V" back.
The origin of the word "G-string" is uncertain. Some speculate that it may have been an analogy to the thickest string on a violin or a euphemistic abbreviation of girdle string or groin string. G-strings can be seen being worn in some old photographs.
The origin of the word thong is from Old English thwong, a flexible leather cord.
It is sometimes derogatorily called Buttfloss.
Many tribal peoples, such as some of the Khoisan people of southern Africa, wore a similar style of clothing for many centuries. Their word for it, tanga, is used in languages such as Spanish to refer to the garment, sometimes specifically the type with cloth through the legs and string around the sides. (In English, tangas are briefs that have full rear coverage but only a waistband at the sides.)
Knickers (erotic lingerie)
In the United Kingdom, Ireland and some fellow Commonwealth nations, knickers is a term for panties or similar women's undergarments: "Don't get your knickers in a twist" (i.e. "don't panic," or, in US usage "don't get your panties in a bunch."). George Cruikshank, whose illustrations are classic icons for Charles Dickens' works, also did the illustrations for Irving's droll History of New York when it was published in London. He showed the old-time Knickerbockers in their loose Dutch breeches, and by 1859, short loose ladies undergarments, a kind of abbreviated version of pantalettes or pantaloons, were knickers in England. After World War I, very loose ladies' knickers were called "taxi treats", when the driver was asked to take the long way round the Park.
The British sense may have supplanted the American sense as of 2005, at least among younger users; though not widely used in the United States, the British form is at least widely understood.
Negligee (uk lingerie)
The negligee is a form of womenswear intended for wear at night and in the bedroom. It is a form of nightgown; first introduced in France in the 18th Century, where it mimicked the heavy head-to-toe style of women's day dresses of the time.
By the 1920s it began to mimic women's satin single-layer evening dresses of the period. The term "negligee" was used of a Royal Doulton run of ceramic figurines in 1927, showing women wearing what appears to be a one-piece knee-length silk or rayon slip, trimmed with lace. The word comes from the French négliger, meaning to neglect, to disregard or to overlook. Although the evening-dresses style of nightwear made moves towards the modern negligee style (translucent bodices, lace trimming, bows - exemplified in 1941 by a photo of Rita Hayworth in Life), it was only after World War II that nightwear changed from being primarily utilitarian to being primarily sensual or even erotic; the negligee emerged strongly as a form of lingerie.
Modern negligees were often much looser and made of sheer and semi-translucent fabrics and trimmed with lace or other fine material, and bows. Multiple layers of fabric were often used. The modern negligee thus perhaps owes more to women's fine bedjackets or bed-capes, and up-market slips than to the nightgown. It spread to a mass market, benefiting from the introduction of cheap synthetic fabrics such as nylon and its finer successors. From the 1940s to the 1970s, the trend was for negligees to become shorter in length (e.g. the babydoll of the 1970s). Negligees made from the 1940s to the 1970s are now collectible items.
In the UK at 2004, negligees account for only four per cent of women's nightwear sales, women's pajamas having dominated since the mid 1980s. However, UK negligee sales are said to have been the fastest increasing sector of the market since 1998 (Source: BBC, Dec 2004).
Teddy (sexy lingerie)
A teddy is a form of bodysuit-like lingerie, often worn in the boudoir. Unlike a bodysuit, it is typically looser and more sheer, and may be designed to slip off from the shoulders, rather than to open at the crotch. The teddy is normally worn for the seductive look, rather than practical reasons.
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