Underneath It All: A History of Women's Underwear PDF by Amber J. Keyser

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Underneath It All: A History of Women's Underwear
by Amber J. Keyser

Table of Contents 
Introduction
Beyond Frippery and Lace.....................4
Chapter One
Leather and Linen........................................8
Chapter Two
Brace Yourself........................................... 19
Chapter Three
Nineteenth-Century Upheaval...... 30
Chapter Four
Innovation and Invention................... 42
Chapter Five
Bombers and Bombshells.................. 50
Chapter Six
Big Business and the Bra.................. 58
Chapter Seven
Inside Out....................................................... 68
Chapter Eight
The Perfect Body..................................... 76
Source Notes 87
Selected Bibliography 90
Further Information 91
Index 93

Preface
Did you know that the world’s first bra dates to the fifteenth century? Or that wearing a nineteenth-century cage crinoline was like having a giant birdcage strapped around your waist? Did you know that women during WWI donated the steel stays from their corsets to build battleships?

For most of human history, the garments women wore under their clothes were hidden. The earliest underwear provided warmth and protection. But eventually, women’s undergarments became complex structures designed to shape their bodies to fit the fashion ideals of the time. When wide hips were in style, they wore wicker panniers under their skirts. When narrow waists were popular, women laced into corsets that cinched their ribs and took their breath away.

In the modern era, undergarments are out in the open. From the designer corsets Madonna wore on stage to Beyoncé’s pregnancy announcement on Instagram, lingerie is part of everyday wear, high fashion, fine art, and innovative technological advances. This feminist exploration of women’s underwear— with a nod to codpieces, tightywhities, and boxer shorts along the way—reveals the intimate role lingerie plays in defining women’s bodies, sexuality, gender identity, and body image. It is a story of control and restraint but also female empowerment and selfexpression.

You will never look at underwear the same way again.

INTRODUCTION

Beyond Frippery and Lace
From the bust-flattening apodesme of the ancient Greeks to the elaborate corsets of the Victorian era to Madonna’s famous cone bra from the 1990s, the history of women’s underwear is far more than a bit of frippery and lace. In the beginning, these clothes protected the body from rough outerwear. They also protected outerwear from sweat. But over the centuries, intimate garments took on a much more complex role in women’s lives. They shaped women’s bodies to fit the ideals of female beauty. They also became a focus of eroticism within intimate relationships and in art, film, and advertising. Lingerie eventually provided a way for the wearer to express individual style and personal empowerment.

EXPOSED IN PUBLIC
On a warm August day in 2015, twenty-four-year-old Jae West made her way to Piccadilly Circus, a crowded, central hub in the city of London, England. While cars and double-decker buses were rumbling past and tourists were taking pictures, feeding pigeons, and eating lunch, West peeled off her blue, flowered sundress and tied a scarf over her own eyes.

Tentative, trembling, and wearing only a black bra and matching panties, she held out a handful of pens for the strangers on every side. She propped a sign next to her. It read, “I’m standing for anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or self-esteem issues like me. To support self-acceptance, draw a heart on my body.”

To West, those first minutes felt like hours. Her heart raced. What if no one stepped forward? What if someone made fun of her? What if, instead of acceptance, she was met with scorn? Utterly vulnerable, blindfolded, and nearly naked, West waited.

And waited.
On every side, she could feel people moving and hear them whispering. Suddenly someone took a pen from her hand. She felt the tip on her bare skin, tracing the shape of a heart. Emotions swelled through her—relief, gratitude, love—and tears spilled down her cheeks.

Soon all the pens were gone. On her chest, thighs, belly, and back, people were drawing hearts.

“You’re very brave,” one stranger said. “It’s amazing what you’re doing.” A father brought his children forward and told them, “Everyone should love themselves exactly as they are.”

It is US$10. To get this book send email: textileebooks@gmail.com

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