If you are born in 1950s, can you imagine that women just wear lingerie and hang out for high-tea? Maybe you will look like a freak by dressing that way in 1950s, but for now, everybody wears it! The role of lingerie in women’s closets has changed over the years and the rising trend of lingerie inspired outfits has enabled them to communicate their sense of self to the world.
Lingerie was originally invented to meet hygiene needs as well as to support and shape the body. The earliest form of lingerie was from ancient Greece, between 800 and 500 B.C., where women wore bands of cloth across their chests for support. The first undergarment designed for aesthetic purposes was the corset, where it sought to create an hourglass shape for women rather than fitting the shape of the user. Subsequently came the creation of the brassiere in 1913, where it enhanced the chest instead of flattening.
Over the years, styles of lingerie have become more provocative and consumers began to incorporate it into their daily outfits. Stars such as Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire and Rachel in Friends, began wearing lingerie inspired outfits in film and television works, allowing it to gradually be accepted by the public. Being the world’s first lingerie fashion show, the appearance of the Victoria’s secret fashion show in the 1990s also contributed to the rise in such outfits. Today, Lingerie inspired outfits have become a part of fashion. Many celebrities have collaborated with various apparel brands to produce wearable lingerie lines such as the Kendall and Kylie Jenner and Topshop collaboration in 2017.
The trend of lingerie inspired outfits has become increasingly prevalent in society as seen in the clothing items worn and sold by celebrities, social media influencers as well as retail shops. The red carpet has given celebrities the chance to be adventurous with various sheer and figure hugging looks. In 2014, this trend was made ubiquitous by Rihanna who went braless, donning a completely sheer gown at an awards show. Whilst many were shocked at Rihanna’s bold outfit choice then, this trend has now been incorporated into mainstream culture and is no longer a form of resistance. Today, many celebrities feature this trend in their casual outfits and is no longer limited to the bedroom, or red carpet.
In addition, social media influencers jumping onto this trend has shown audiences that it is not just exclusive to stars. Both international and local YouTubers such as Claudia Sulewski and Shani Grimmond have participated in lookbooks and clothing hauls featuring lingerie inspired outfits. Instagram influencers such as Yan Yan Chan and Olivia Jade have also modified this trend into something more “wearable”, allowing viewers to participate in the trend and express their identity and sense of style without feeling self-conscious about exposing their bodies. Consumers who view these videos and posts are inspired to also purchase similar cloths.
Finally, the third group who are responsible for popularising this trend are offline and online retail shops. This trend is no longer exclusive to high fashion runway shows such as the 2018 Dolce and Gabbana summer and spring collection. Global and local fast fashion stores such as Zara and Princess Polly have given consumers the chance to purchase items once deemed as high fashion, at an affordable price. The launch of Victoria Secret’s campaign, “The New (Un)dress code” in 2016 has also encouraged women to feel empowered and liberated through their dressing. Research has shown that consumption practices have allowed individuals to form an identity, increasing self-efficacy and self-esteem. Hence, the gendered self is illustrated through the consumption of lingerie inspired outfits as women are given the freedom to express themselves through bold lingerie inspired outfits.