into (or out of) something comfortable did not used to be a simple matter. The layers of
clothing inhibited facile stripping. In fact, many of the undergarments we take
for granted only came about through modern technology. The history of nylon and
nylon underpants is one tied closely to technology and the sexualization of
women’s underwear. Enter the nylon panty.
Vintage Lingerie - The History of Nylon Panties
The late 19th and early 20th century was a time of natural materials. It also saw two innovations. Mass production made clothing more readily available. This started around 1840 but the availability of sewing machines and advancements in assembly production made ready-made underwear more prominent after the 1860s. The Victorian mentality stifled freedom in many aspects of dress, including undergarments. However, the following period - 1890-1913, the Belle Epoque, produced extravagant, lighter and more sensual underwear. During this period of history, the word lingerie came into usage as a term to describe all forms of undergarments. Lingerie could come as a set: knickers, bust bodice, chemise and petticoat, all in one color and material.
For the working and the lower classes, the materials remained cotton and flannel, although wool and a wool-cotton blend were popular for “health” reasons. The wealthier began to experiment with cambrics, merino, and silks. These materials remained important and, for many, an extravagance. Lingerie was expensive to own. WWI upset the supply up materials but it was not until the arrival of the Great Depression that the old order was overturned. This, in part, was due to the emergence of synthetic materials such as the sometimes-explosive nitrocellulose (cotton and nitric acid), the more reliable rayon and the polyamide fiber - nylon.
Nylon but did not emerge as a commercial product until the late 1930s. It began as a practical substance. After its invention between 1927 and 1938 by the Du Pont laboratories, nylon functioned in various capacities. During World War II, nylon performed as parachute material. It became used as glider tow-ropes. There was no such thing as nylon panties – nylon knickers in the United Kingdom, until the 1950s. This is when this manmade fabric began to dominate in the production of underwear by such companies as Cooper’s Inc. (Jockeys). Initially non-porous, the formula of nylon was altered to meet the new demands.
Nylon Panties For Men
Meanwhile, male undergarments tended to play up the stereotype of men and protect “the boys.” As a result, men began to wear nylon briefs before women - nylon panty products for men were the norm.
The technology made such things as slinky, sheer nylon panties possible. Yet, the initial concentration was on nylon panties for men. This focus on freeing men’s genitalia while utilizing the most modern material has been a common thread throughout fashion history. Female garments tended to restrict movement and/or emphasize the specific role of women in the culture and period. Throughout history, it can be argued women sported underwear for one of 3 reasons:
- To alter their shape to suit the ideal
- To ensure they met hygiene standards
- For modesty
Vintage Nylon Panties
With the arrival of the sexual revolution in the late 1950s and the 1960s, women began to change their approach to there underpinnings. The short mini-skirts of the 1960s produced equally brief women’s nylon panties. The availability of nylon increased the use of this product and many chose the "new" nylon panty. It was inexpensive and provided a sense of freedom. Black nylon panties added a sexual allure while short, snug white nylon panties created a feeling of innocence and daring at the same time. Today, these early models represent vintage nylon panties, part of the clothing revolution.
The 1970s escalated the preference of women for comfortable nylon pantie sets. The 1980s and 1990s saw the arrival of nylon thongs. Popular first in South America, notably Brazil, the style had spread throughout North America in the 1990s. Today, thongs help women revealing the dreaded nylon panty line.
Types of Nylon Panties
The arrival of nylon and the sexualization of women coincided to create a variety of different types of undergarments. The nylon panty is not a singular style or shape.
- A person may prefer traditional full cut nylon
- Alternatively, they could avoid full nylon panties for high cut (French cut) nylon briefs.
Types of Nylon Briefs
Nylon briefs, themselves, come in different styles.
- There are the
- There are also the hipsters. These ride on the hips rather than
sit on the waist.
- Lower down, still, are the bikini briefs. They offer modest
protection and a sensuous feel. Other options on this brief subject are the
more daring innovations.
- You can wear thongs, tongas or even G-string underwear. You can find many a nylon thong in a woman’s underwear drawer. Some are flimsy-looking, but durable items. They are part of both everyday wear and erotic lingerie ensembles.
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Undergarment fashions have traveled a long way since their introduction in the 18th century. Nylon panties are one in a long line of gradual improvements.
While nylon still acts as fishing lines, today, someone wearing nylon panties troll for their own prey. Silky nylon panties provide excellent bait for certain species. In fact, feeling attractive, sexy and comfortable close to the skin is the prerogative of both men and women. Underwear is a fashion statement and the nylon panty is no exception. It is an issue of comfort. It creates a sensuous sensation. It is also a practical item of apparel.
A hidden component of apparel, nylon underwear may reveal a side of character previously unknown. While your CEO may wear a button-down-suit, beneath, she may have a nylon thong.
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