Inner garments are the base clothing we wear beneath other clothing which directly touches our body, such as singlet, undershirt, shorts, bra, etc. Inner garments are indispensable as they can help to absorb sweat, reshape the bodyline, support the body, keep warm and protect the body from being attacked by various external factors. Sometimes, they are seen as the item that differentiates the gender. Sometimes, religion may affects the selection of inner garments.
We are referring inner garments to bras in the booklet.
- The origin and development of inner garments in China
Inner garments are made up of thin cloth, creating flickering images and illusion, revealing the beauty of the female body, creating passion and desire for it. In China, the inner garments from the ancient days were of more elegant designs and could help to create the desire and romantic feeling. They helped to create desire by adding imagination and creative designs on the piece, glorifying the elegancy of the Chinese culture.
In the ancient days, inner garments were called “Xie Yi” which means clothes that have direct contact with the body. The first Chinese character “Xie” means thin and undignified. This was the concept of inner garments during the ancient Chinese days. The history of Chinese inner garments goes back a long way. Below are the introductions of some ancient inner garments, started from the `Han’ Dynasty.
The “Han” Dynasty called it the “Holding Clothes” or “Heart Clothes”
“Heart Clothes” followed the design of “Holding Clothes” which was hanged not by thin straps, but a hook or a crotch at the shoulder area. The similarity of these two items was that they revealed the entire back of the female body. Weaved silk was commonly used to create the “Holding Clothes” or “Heart Clothes” during the Han Dynasty. Most of the designs were filled with stitched, colorful motif made up of colorful threads. We called this technique “Embroidery”. The designs were usually formed by items representing love and passion. It was uncommon to find inner wears made up of plain fabric at that time.
The “Wei Jin” Dynasty: “Liang Dang” (which means double usage)
The difference between “Liang Dang” and “Bao Fu” and “Xin Yi” was on the back of the clothing. It covered both the front and the back, offering double usage from the item. It was made up of thick, double layered and padded colorful woven cotton. In the beginning, “Liang Dang” was the apparel of the Nomadic at the North. It eventually got into the Central region and was recognized as an external culture.
The “Tang” Dynasty: “He Zi”
Before the Tang Dynasty, all inner garments were with straps. Strapless inner garment was discovered during the Tang Dynasty. They called it the “He Zi”. The name represented the uniqueness of the item from its external appearance. Ladies of the Tang Dynasty liked to wear clothing that half reveals their shoulders. Their skirts were folded to their waist line and were tied with a thick cloth under their bust line. They liked to reveal half of their shoulders and the top portion of their front and back, with thin tulle over it, creating flickering effect. Because of this, the selection of material and design had become crucial. This is similar to today’s trend of revealing the inner garments slightly with a thin or loose top. In order to match the outfit, the inner garments had to be strapless. The material used for making a “He Zi” was “Zhi Cheng” (means woven into) as it is resilient and thick. It was put on by tying two thick belts over the lower bust line. “Zhi Cheng” enabled “He Zi” to hold up the breasts firmly, creating an attractive appearance for its users.
The Song Dynasty: “Mo Xiong”
“Mo Xiong” (meaning covering the breast) covered up the entire front part of the female body, including the breasts and the abdomen. It was also called “Mo Tu” (meaning covering the stomach). It was connected by buttons or straps. The commoners used cotton as the material while the rich and famous preferred using silk with embroidery. They could come in single or double layered, with various designs.
Yuan Dai: “He Huan Jin”
“He Huan Jin” is wrapped from the back to the front, making it the uniqueness of this inner garment. To put this one, one would have to start from the back to the front. There were a series of buttons/straps in the front to hold the garment together. The usual material used to make the “He Huan Jin” was cotton filled with designs at its four corners.
Ming Dynasty: “Zhu Yao”
“Zhu Yao” looked like a singlet, with lapels. Both the lapels have three straps. A crotch is used to hold the straps at the shoulders. A lot of straps were found at the waist area so that they can be tied to tighten the waistline, showing the beautiful female figure.
Qing Dynasty: “Du Dou” (Stomacher)
The bras during the Qing Dynasty were also called “Du Dou” (Stomacher) which were in diamond shape. There were straps to hold the stomacher at the neck area while the two straps at the waist area were tied at the back, forming a triangle shape at the bottom, covering the navel and the abdomen. The materials used were usually cotton and silk. The straps holding the piece together can either be strings, gold chain (for the rich and famous) or silver or copper chains for the middle class. The young ladies from lower middle income group usually liked to use silk straps. Many beautiful designs were embroidered onto the stomacher. Red was a common color.
The 20’s and 30’s: Small Vest
“Small Vest” was tight fitting garment with lapels. There were buttons at the lapels. When putting it on, the ladies had to tighten their waist and breast areas. As time went by, “Small Vest” adapted the Western culture and evolved into the bra that we have today. The usual materials were mainly cotton and silk.
- The origin and development of inner garments worldwide
Inner garment is also called Lingerie in English. Thiswas because most of the inner garments during the olden days were made of thin linen. And Linen in French is called Linge, hence the name “Lingerie”. Linen was found during ancient time. Its density was about 10/cm. But during that time, there was not much difference between inner garment and outer garment. It was used to cover up the body and keep warm. More than 4000 years ago, the density of linen was already about 24/cm. Following the evolvement of silk technology, inner garments started to demonstrate their differences from the outer garments, hence the discovery of “Bra” and “stomach wrapper”.
From the lady portray showing the embroidered, low cut, thin linen under garment, we would be able to notice the design of inner garments during the Tang Dynasty. The inner garments from the Song Dynasty, which was held together by a strap at the neck and a diamond-shaped stomacher could be seen from “Xi Xiang Ji” (The West Chamber). The stomacher was used to cover up the grace and charm of the ladies of that Dynasty. Nevertheless, China was a country with conservative culture until the end of Qing Dynasty, with the arrival foreign yarns and clothes to the country. It was till then that the Chinese ladies began to put on western inner garments.
The first bra was discovered in Rome.
The inner garments in the 16th Century were made of iron and wood. The ladies during this era suffered badly, until the invasion of the Crusader. The development of spinning technology followed. At the end of the 16th Century, the materials used to make this tight inner garment were changed to manes, wires and rattan.
During the 30s at the 16th Century, the famous fashion included the garter, tight body cloth and panniers. These reflected how serious Westerners were towards inner garments. The functions were no longer limited to keeping warm, but to portray a beautiful bodyline. The designs too were complicated. It could take hours just to put on the inner garment.
During the Imperialism (monarchical rule from 1804 — 1825), the tight body clothes were simplified. During the “Basel” era (from 1870 — 1890), the designs of inner garment had improved and became more beautiful with laces, silk, linen. However, the body structuring function of the bra had begun to fade off, because it was found that the wires in the inner garment were not good to the human respiratory system.
In the 1900s, Charlotte had come out with healthy inner garment.
In 1907, females had started to release the tight binding at the waist area.
In 1910, the best inner garment placement was set to 10 — 40 cm above the hipline.
During the 40s in the 20th Century, strapless bra began to come into trend.
50s and 60s were the eras when female beauty was reflected through the wearing of pumps and thin belts with flat tummy and round hip. It was at these eras that tight clothing and body structure inner garment were in trend. The latter was the mother to today’s breast enhancing bra.
The 70s was believed to be the `dark age’ of inner garments. Braless, without covering, and gender equality started. Females went for clothing that were simple, practical and comfortable. “Body suit” was in fashion.
The 80s called for the return of beauty. The females during the 80s went through self release and recognition. Everyone was doing soul search, trying to recognize her own value and esteem. The society started to focus more on individualism.
Female beauty was accepted, triggering the wave of inner garment. Design of inner garment began to create trend and designers were braver, more exposing, revealing the female beauty.
The 90s – The second ‘skin’ generation: Following the evolvement of inner garments, people were searching for high technology products. Cotton products were no longer in trend. “Microfiber” was known as material for the second ‘skin’, creating the second wave in the inner garment history.
In 1997, DuPont launched a breakthrough product with extra flexibility fiber “Lycrasoft”, making lingerie fitting perfectly onto the body without any tenseness, allowing the users to move flexibility and comfortably. Finally, females were able to have refined, beautiful bodyline.
What is the new philosophy of lingerie today?
Low-V cut with lace was outdated. Nowadays, people do not only look at the sexiness in lingerie, but also concern about its healthcare and beauty functions, as well as its function to help refine our bodyline. This has become the main trend in today’s lingerie world.
3. The different categories of Lingerie
(1) Lingerie categorized according to cup:
1/2 Cup: With this cup, the breasts would appear to be half rounded. The uniqueness of the 1/2 cup is that tip and bottom of this bra are parallel. 95% of 1/2 cup’s bras come with detachable straps. This type of bra is less stable with low effectiveness in breast enhancement. It is suitable for those with small breasts, and best used when wearing bareback or straps.
3/4 Cup: This cup is of medium effectiveness among the bra designs. It does not cover the entire breasts, revealing 14 of them. It also reveals the cleavage, giving a sense of sexiness. The uniqueness of this type of bra is that it comes with V opening and it is filled with reversed and side padding, putting more pressure on the straps. It is suitable for everyone and fits well with all two-piece and dresses.
Full Cup: The breasts would appear in full round shape when wearing this bra as it covers the entire breasts. It is suitable for people with big, soft and saggy breasts. It gives strong support and is the most effective type when it comes to breast enhancement. Usually, it comes with C, D and E or bigger sizes and is suitable to wear with exercise or leisure outfits.
(2) Lingerie categorized according to functions:
Generic: A generic inner garment comes with only one function – to cover the breast. It does not firmly hold the breasts. As there is no elasticity in it, it is unable to protect our bodyline, allowing fat to grow into all areas. In fact, it could damage our bodyline. Common inner garments and shorts, such as singlet, “Ma Jia” and sweat shirts, are within this category.
Fashionable: This inner garment helps to add fashion to the bodyline, hence it is usually come in various patterns, models, and colors. Its uniqueness is to emphasize and highlight the sexy components in the human body. This type of inner garment attracts attention, but does not protect the body. It is not suitable for everyone. Only those with high quality and potential could wear it. It could reveal the imperfection of the person when used wrongly, damaging the initial potential of the inner garment. This type of bra highlight the appearance, but it is not fitting, allowing fat to develop into all areas. This type of inner garment is usually used during special occasions, and cannot be used daily. The examples include seductive lingerie, sexy bras, transparent inner wears, bikini etc.
Generic body shaping inner garment: This type of inner garment can offer body shaping effect with some simple functions. It helps to enhance the breasts, tighten the waistline, flatten the tummy, lift up the hips and control the thighs. Most of them are tight and uncomfortable. Some body-shaping inner garments give strong and heavy pressures to the users, causing problems such as hard to breathe, breath shortages and damaging the inner organs, affecting the health of the users.
Body shaping inner garment: Body shaping inner garment was developed combining the wisdom from different areas, including medical, fat analysis, physic and design.
Through prudence and precise design, it is able to reshape our damaged bodylines, stabilize the fat in us and help to reshape our posture. The difference of this inner garment compared to the above three is that this type of inner garment is able to help those with less beautiful body shape to restructure and reshape their bodyline while protecting the figure of those with beautiful bodyline.
A high technology device that combined the functions of body shaping with healthcare.
Canai Spectrum Shape-Up System is developed and designed according to the human body structure. It does not compress and limit the development of the human body, offering total comfort with fashionable, trendy design. It helps in breast, waist, and hip enhancement while flattening the tummy and keeping the contour of the thighs. It uses advanced materials such as the Cleancool accessories, Titanium Germanium and Titanium Germanium memory strips combining the use of Spectrum technology and Solar Energy Stones to reflect and absorb electrons to increase blood circulation, activate skin cells, enhance immune system, offering total healthcare benefits to the body. In additional, it also helps to restructure and reshape the bodyline at a relaxing mode, giving the solution to people who have been looking for ways to restructure their bodyline. Most importantly, it offers valuable healthcare benefits to its users of all ages.