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04.04.2014 04:32
celebrating 200 years antworten

celebrating 200 years out of the closet

Even Posh, so renowned for her love of high fashion, has posed on the red carpet with her lower half clad in just a big pair of black granny knickers. Not since Superman pulled on his briefs and went off to save the world have knickers been quite so on display.

This year knickers celebrate their 200th birthday and there can be no other item of clothing with so much status accorded to it. Certainly there is no other piece of clothing that all of us are under instruction to make sure is clean in case we get hit by a bus.

From angsting over the right pair to wear on a date (a la Bridget Jones) to the art of getting out of the car without flashing them, (a lost art if some Hollywood celebs are anything to go by) knickers play an important role in every girls life.

But a brief look at history shows that it was not always so.

At the start of the 19th century women were actually banned from the man's world of underwear on the understanding that pantaloons were a masculine garment.

The first 'knickberbockers' appeared in 1809 and referred to a long pair of loose fitting breeches worn by a fictional character called Diedrich Knickerbocker. But until the 1840s women were faced with wearing several layers of fake oakley sunglasses outlet petticoats to preserve modesty while the lads wore drawers for warmth and comfort.

It was only when a feisty American cheap fake oakleys bicycle enthusiast by the name of Amelia Bloom came along that women finally were brought in on the underwear act. Amelia's bloomers consisted of two long separate legs of material worn under skirts and tied at the waist. They were made of cotton but entirely crotch less, not for any kinky intentions but rather on the basis that air circulating in that region was a desirable outcome give the lack of frequent washing and ease of toilet ablutions.

Thankfully the Parisian French Follies and their cancan line up came along in the 1920s. In an uncharacteristic fit of modesty our Gallic cousins decided a crotchless pant was step too far, and sewed the original bloomers into oblivion.

Putting dancers' shorter, racier panties on display meant underwear stopped being about modesty and practicality and became intrinsically linked with sex and seduction.

Today pants are big business. Last year figures for the UK and Ireland show we spent 2.9bn on underwear and, according to perennial pants favourite, Marks Spencer, the bottom isn't going to fall out of the lingerie market oakley sunglasses outlet any time soon.

"People are always going to need underwear," says Carmel Breheny, M marketing manager for Ireland. "And even though we're in a recession there's been no decrease in our volume of lingerie sales nor do I think there'll be one."

In the UK it's estimated one in three people at any one time are wearing Marks Spencer underwear and with 19 stores now open in Ireland, their company continues to be one of the first places women will go to when buying pants.

"People trust the quality of Marks Spencer underwear," explains Carmel. "They know what they are getting and there's something there for every pocket and occasion.

'As well as offering one of the broadest ranges of styles we also cover a wide range of sizes, from eight to 24 and we're always bringing in new products and offers."

But it's not just in the high street that business is booming. Elle MacPherson, Kylie Minogue, Jordan and most recently the Pussycat Dolls are all falling over themselves to get us in their specially designed smalls. And high end lingerie store Agent Provocateur has bucked the economic downturn by raising their worldwide sales of erotic undies by eight per cent over the past year.

Women from Hong Kong to Dublin's Grafton Street are happy to fork out 23.5m on the brand's philosophy that "passion and intimacy should be indulged, and that exploring your inner desires and fantasies profoundly enriches your life".

Part of knickers' appeal is in selling sex after all, if love was truly blind then men would not delight in the mere thought of a skimpy red thong. But increasingly today's pants are more about women's attitude.

Suddenly knickers aren't about practicality or looking good, they are about power and how women feel in their own pants. The right pair can make a girl feel sexy, empowered, even a little bit naughty and keep a smile on her face all day long even if she's just sitting at cheap oakley sunglasses a desk. The wrong pair can leave her wriggling in her seat, ill tempered from a wedge of fabric that sends her rushing to the loo for readjustments.

Lady GaGa and co aren't prancing round in their giant knickers to please the boys, it's a statement about how they feel in themselves. So whether you're fan of cheeky thongs or comfy classics, take a moment to toast happy birthday to your favourite undies just make sure you're wearing a clean pair, you never know when that bus might hit.

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