History of Lingerie

The word "lingerie" comes from the French word "linge" or linen.  An essential part of a woman's wardrobe from the Middle Ages until about the 19th Century was the Chemise made from linen, a strong and comfortable fabric that could withstand the harsh laundry soaps of the day.  Unlike our outerwear garments today, many dresses could not be submerged in water nor would women have the time or changes of clothes necessary to wash their outer garments more frequently.  Chemises therefore were worn directly against the skin and helped to protect outerwear from the sweat and grime of unwashed skin.

By the 19th Century, lingerie was used to refer to undergarments like loosely fitting chemises and drawers with shaping garments referred to as corestry.

Cultural Representation

When you think about lingerie it conjures up memories, experiences, items we have worn, images we have seen, advertising we have witnessed, gifts we have received and this representation becomes our definition of "lingerie".  Whether we call it lingerie or intimate apparel it becomes a physical representation of our culture in which we reside and embodies a number of codes or rules - things that are usually unspoken but taken for granted.  More than any other category of fashion, lingerie is full of significance and meaning.

Perhaps this is why society gives us mixed messages about what lingerie is, should be and is not.  Some may have been told that lingerie is required for us to dress "appropriately" providing both disguise and form of our natural silhouette.  Many of us remember the furore of witnessing the young Princess Diana's see through skirt prior to her engagement to the now King Charles III - oh the shock and horror of being able to see through her skirt to the silhouette of her legs!  On the other hand, we are also told that lingerie can be frivolous, pointless and even foolish! 

Lingerie is a form of Self-Expression

At BOAH our discussions around lingerie have centred around lingerie being more than practical scaffolding for our outerwear but a way to care for, treat and pamper ourselves.  Lingerie therefore can truly be about dressing for yourself.  We believe that lingerie isn't called "intimate apparel" because it is hidden but because it can reflect your innermost self - your secret identity which is indeed very powerful.

BOAH has designed a relaxed, comfortable and sustainable lingerie (intimate apparel) that produces designs that are indeed all about you.  They are not defined by activity - a category of women's fashion - not something that is limited to a specific activity.  Our products are what you want them to be:  underwear, sleepwear, loungewear, shapewear, swimwear, athleisurewear. 

Just like our outerwear, your lingerie is a form of self-expression in the same way as your jewellery, makeup, shoes, handbags etc.  No matter what you show to the rest of the world, your  lingerie can be the truest expression of who you are - something worn because you want to, and that is incredibly empowering.

Our patterns have been selected to express your natural features and colourings which we have categorised in terms of seasons - Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.  Quite unsurprisingly, our own natural colourings reflect the natural climatic seasons which will be discussed in our next magazine article.  

In the meantime you may want to read about the partnership we would like to share with our customers and summarised in BOAH & You.


Until next time, 


August 10, 2023 — BOAH Admin

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