Over the centuries, women’s lingerie has gone through a continuous metamorphosis, adapting to the styles and needs of each generation.From the birth of bloomers to accommodate the full, flowing gowns of the Victorian Era to the thick, woolen knickers that became stylish after British female recruits began wearing them under their uniforms to keep warm on the battlefield during the First World War, underwear has always been designed for and defined by the outergarments for which it provides the underpinnings.
The Edwardian Age, when pencil-thin waists were in, saw the onset of the corset.
And as clothing became even more molded to the female form in the early 20th century, women began developing ways to accentuate and elevate their most obvious physical assets, with Mary Phelps Jacob officially inventing the modern brassiere in 1913 by sowing two handkerchiefs together with a piece of ribbon.
When the Roaring Twenties ushered in the then-scandalous flapper skirt, ladies’ knickers — which had previously extended well below the knee — were appropriately restyled to shorter, thigh-high lengths.
And with the advent of the miniskirt in the late 1960s, traditional garter belts and hosiery were displaced by the advent of the pantyhose.
In the 1990s, when skin-tight jeans were all the rage, thongs became popular because they left no panty line.
While most women are unaware of the fact, lingerie styles are still changing and adapting to accommodate outerwear fashion trends.
“Of course, lingerie has its own color and style trends which are reflected in each new season,” explained Gabriela Riviello, spokesperson for the high-end intimatewear line Fiorentina (part of Mexico’s largest lingerie conglomerate, Diltex, which has been making undergarments here for more than 60 years and currently controls 30 percent of the country’s 40-billion-peso-a-year industry) during a media preview presentation of the line’s fall/winter collection.
“But it also has to adapt to the realities of externalwear trends and our clientele’s changing lifestyles.”
This season, for example, Riviello said that most brassieres have cups that are lower-cut and with removable straps.
“Off-the-should styles are big right now, and traditional, higher cups and straps would show when these dresses and blouses are worn,” she said.
Riviello also pointed out that today’s urban women often go straight from work to the gym or vice-versa, and don’t have time to change brassieres in between.
Consequently, she said, many Mexican lingerie companies, including Fiorentina, are making their every-day bras more versatile, with wider, more-supportive backs and straps and plenty of comfort-minded latex that will stretch as needed.
Finally, Riviello said that, given the fact that so many Mexican women are now plus sizes (according to the national Health Secretariat, two-thirds of Mexicans are severely overweight, and a full 30 percent are obese), larger bra and panty sizes are now being incorporated into most lingerie portfolios.
There are also a lot more shapewear items that offer support in problem areas such as tummies, hips and thighs.
“Certainly, we are not encouraging women to be overweight,” Riviello said, “but we feel that just because someone is heavy, they should not be denied the pleasure of wearing quality lingerie, so we now have lots of plus-sized items.”
Riviello said that other outerwear style trends also dictate lingerie modes.
“This season, we will see a lot of lavender, burgundies and pinks in outerwear, so in addition to our traditional blacks, whites and nudes, our new line includes a lot of pieces in these shades,” she said.
“Fashion is an all-inclusive experience, and it doesn’t have to be limited to outerwear. Underwear can also be stylish, and, more importantly, it can serve as the ideal foundation on which to build the rest of your personal panache.”
Sephora has just released the first batch of its holiday gift sets, and there are so many enticing collections it will be hard to choose which ones to buy. Among the most tantalizing sets is Too Faced’s yummy Christmas in New York Chocolate Shop with cocoa-scented eyeshadows and blushes, as well as Better than Sex Mascara and Melted Chocolate Lipstick. Also to die for is the Kat Von D Metal Matte Eyeshadow Palette with nine metallic shadows and 13 mattes, all neatly nestled into a mini-coffin for a true KVD Goth appeal. Not to be missed is the Ole Henriksen Love the Winter set with Nurture Me cleansing cloths, facial water and a lush, skin-nourishing facial gel to undo the ravishes of cold weather. And you can definitely get your style on with the Stila collections of Stay All Day liquid lipsticks, which come with a glittering lip top coat and the label’s Morning to Night waterproof eyeliner trio in three stay-put colors.
The Mexican haute shoe brand Andrea has kicked off the season with its new fall/winter line, and the 1,000-style collection is all about mixing colors and textures. In addition to black and silvers, there are varying shades of reds, burgundies and mustard throughout the collection. Two-toned sneakers in metallic shades and fringed leather stilettos are accompanied by more subdued chunky-heel pumps and stylized lace-up work boots. Gladiator thong booties and hand-painted velvet heels are also included, and there are angle-high booties with faux reptile patches. The men’s and children’s collections, which are much smaller than the women’s line, also include plenty of patchwork designs and burgundy and mustard shades. Andrea also has a small but impressively stylish collection of clothing and a super-affordable, mineral-based makeup and beauty care line with blend-your-own anti-aging treatments. All Andrea products are sold exclusively by catalogue or through the company’s internet page.