On this page ...
In Emporium Group sites ...
In our catalogue ...
Outside this site ...
Lingerie, derived from the French word 'Lin' meaning linen textile, is a general term used to describe all sorts of underwear, basques and nightdress.
Did you know that the first pieces of underwear can be traced to the ancient civilisations of Egypt and Greece; where the women on the island of Crete used to wear corsets to support their breasts.
Over the centuries, women's underwear has undergone numerous changes; some quite radical ones have come about in the last 90 years. For more historical information, please refer to our lingerie history page.
Most modern 'day to day' lingerie is designed for modesty and comfort; however, some like those within this site have only one purpose ... to be evocative and to arouse as much carnal desire as you could possibly want.
Please remember that the majority of nightwear in our catalogue does not meet the UK flammability performance requirements.
Consequently, in accordance with the UK 'Nightwear Safety Regulations: 1986', bear the legend 'KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE'.
For your safety, we recommend you heed this warning, which equally applies to cigarettes as it does to naked flames.
When making a purchase, do not forget to choose the correct size and please feel free to use our size guide.
After using fig leaves, several thousand years B.C. humans started wearing loincloths, the earliest manufactured undergarment. As these seem to form the basis of most modern lingerie, we can safely say that not much has changed.
Lets expand on that a little ...
Ever since Eve swaggered around covered only by her fig leaf, women's undergarments have only served a practical function, without accentuating sensuality or femininity.
Any attempts over the centuries to enhance the feminine form had generally resulted in uncomfortable undergarments.
For example, corsets made of bone, which were worn from the 16th to 19th century, were designed to tighten the waist and enhance the bust line by pushing up the breasts. To achieve this effect, they were very tightly laced reducing the wearer's waist to a mere 40 to 45cm and in the process often made women prone to swooning.
Around 1913, fashioned from silk handkerchiefs and pink ribbons, the brassiere or bra for short, was first patented. It really enhanced the bust line and set the trend for the following years to date.
However, the less constraint fashion of the 1920s, with boyish figures becoming popular, meant that during this decade ladies often wore no upper undergarments at all hence bringing a new dimension to the term 'swing'. This period also brought the word 'lingerie' into use for the first time.
The 1930s saw a rising popularity in girdles; which with the use of advanced elasticised materials shaped the body to a much more natural form which I turn lead to the re-discovery of the bra.
The ensuing war years forced women into traditionally male dominated workplaces, so necessitating a new attitude to clothing forcing a more functional style with the use of newly invented artificial fabrics.
So much for covering the upper torso, now let us move down to the lower region.
Women first wore panties during the French Revolution.
Although over the intervening years panties have gone through various stages of design, evolving into a key fashion garment à la lingerie, they have been the subject of curiosity and ridicule; not to mention being taken as a sign of sexual promiscuity.
However, most folk still regard them as the most comfortable form of underwear, while others consider them to be the ugliest. Irrespective of opinion, their ability to fully cover the rump is undeniable.
Overall, modern lingerie design is far more fluid, with many taboos now being regarded as acceptable; style and sensuality have overtaken the need for modesty and comfort.
Men's underwear has also gone through many changes over the centuries since Adam's use of the fig leaf.
As an example, the Egyptians wore leather loincloths, while the ancient Greeks preferred to wrap their bodies, from the neck down, with a large woollen wrap.
In the 13th century, there was a major change with the common usage of pull up underpants called 'braies'. Many styles evolved from the braies, including the padded codpieces favoured by Henry VIII.
The Victorian era saw the dawn of a two-piece design, which in America was adapted into the 'Union suit' with a buttoned opening flap at the rear. Strangely enough, women and children also favoured this garment.
The boxer shorts gained immense popularity in the 1930s and were soon adapted into the 'Y front vented' shorts that have remained in use to date.
In recent years, there has been a trend toward unisex styling with thongs gaining a firm foothold or perhaps better termed as 'crotch hold'.
The trend of making briefs even briefer has continued to the point that the use of underwear has fully disappeared, i.e. men have begun 'free-balling'.