Taking Lingerie Beyond the Bedroom
Your lingerie collection should empower you. From supportive bras to sexy sets, each piece in your wardrobe serves a purpose. Each piece highlights a part of yourself, whether you wear it in or out of the bedroom. Though modern styles and new fabrications have shifted the cultural conversation around lingerie, we can still honor the positive aspects of its roots.
The History of the Bra
Most women don their bras in the morning without considering how it came to be. The bra has had a complicated history. Archeologists have discovered bras that date back to Ancient Greece when thick bands of material supported women who took place in athletic events. We didn’t see the introduction of the more modern double-cup with shoulder straps style until the late 14th century.
This now-standard style didn’t catch on when it was first introduced. The public expectations around lingerie were centered around corsetry, which wasn’t designed for female comfort. Emphasizing impossibly small waists and an ample bosom, the corset reigned supreme until the early 20th century. The constrictive undergarment, paired with many layers of additional fabric, was designed to contour a woman’s figure to what men of the time deemed desirable and hide a woman’s body from view. This contradiction created a pervasive expectation that women contort their bodies for the sake of men and to create the ideal shape of the time period, even if it caused ailments like frequent fainting and muscle atrophy.
After corsetry, bras continued supporting society’s ideal body type. As thin, straight figures came into fashion in the 1920s; we saw the introduction of compressive bandeau bras meant to minimize the bust. When curvier figures came back into fashion in the 1950s, the iconic bullet bra and other shapely styles. After the 1950s, bras went through a revolution. They started shifting from forcing women into a certain shape to focusing on providing support and comfort.
Today’s lingerie serves a new and exciting purpose. Modern innovation in fit and fabrication has changed the world of lingerie, refocusing on and prioritizing women’s needs. Soft, stretch fabrics like polyamide and elastane have allowed lingerie to change from constrictive to comfortable. The wide variety of current styles—from everyday bralettes to contouring push-ups to sexy lingerie sets—has opened up the world of lingerie for joyful exploration. Women today can find the styles that work for them and fit every aspect of their lifestyle.
The Bra and Women’s Liberation
Historical bras weren’t made for women. They were intentionally created to promote conformity. This took two forms. The first was to hide and diminish women’s bodies so that men would not see women as distracting. When we speak about women’s fashion through the ages, there are often jokes about showing a scandalous ankle. While we now see that as laughable, the expectation for women to cover up for the sake of men has been a pervasive attitude for centuries.
The second function of historical lingerie was to shape a woman’s figure to the current body ideal. The restrictive, harmful corsets that drastically altered women’s bodies gave way to the minimizing bandeaus of the 1920s and the harsh, shaping underwear of the 1950s. Much like fashion trends, trendy body shapes are in constant flux. Even in the last 30 years, we’ve seen dramatic shifts. Thin, flat tummies were popularized by pop stars until we saw the return of curves and the introduction of underwear made to enhance an hourglass figure.
Traditionally, bras have served as a metaphor for the constraints of the patriarchy. “Bra-burning feminist” has been a caricature of women fighting for liberation since the 1960s. In reality, bra-burning was a fake trend invented by journalists looking to discredit and reduce demonstrations advocating for women’s rights to a shocking headline. Any bra-burnings following the initial headlines were rooted in the idea of shedding the constraints of men’s expectations and protesting objects of female torture, focused on the longstanding tradition of lingerie that confined and harmed women’s bodies.
Modern feminists view lingerie differently. With softer fabrics and women’s comfort as the top priority, lingerie now offers many styles. Today, many women find their own liberation through choice. Current lingerie trends celebrate a woman’s relationship with her body and her sexuality. Buying lingerie is considered an investment in yourself for women who find enjoyment in it. True liberation is about making the choice that feels right for you in whatever way makes you feel confident and empowered.
Modern Lingerie as Self-Expression
At UCA, our lingerie is all about self-expression. Our women-designed products are created to celebrate every body and focus on providing sexy styles with superior comfort. While in the past, lingerie has been seen as a way to bind women to societal expectations, UCA makes lingerie that opens up women to new opportunities. Women deserve every opportunity to appreciate and adorn their bodies without worrying about fitting in with trends. Your lingerie should give you joy while celebrating what makes you and your body special. Your lingerie should be about expressing your beauty through support and empowerment.
Today’s lingerie doesn’t have to stay in the bedroom. While attitudes around women’s lingerie have typically expected that it remain hidden, cultural attitudes and trends around lingerie have created a total shift. Women see lingerie as a fashion statement and a way to enhance their wardrobe. Modern, less constraining corsets and bra tops are seen on runways and widely available in stores. With intentional coverage and superior support, UCA delivers woman-centered pieces that are made to show off.
These sexy styles create so many outfit opportunities. Bodysuits make it easy to create clean lines while wearing tight denim and other form-fitting pieces. This seamless style means you can look and feel great without worrying about keeping a top tucked in. Many bra tops are also perfect when paired with your favorite skirts or trousers. Longline bra tops are a popular way to wear lingerie in everyday situations. The longline style provides back support, extra coverage, and comfortable shaping.
One of the most popular ways to wear lingerie as everyday clothing is pairing it with a layering piece. Dressing down a bodysuit or corset top with a denim jacket makes your lingerie look effortlessly trendy. Many women also find comfort in pairing wireless bralettes with a comfy cardigan, which is the perfect choice for loungewear or at-home date nights. Often seen on celebrities, pairing a bra or bralette with a matching power suit makes a trendy statement that pairs femininity with female strength.
How UCA Celebrates You
As lingerie has shifted from teasing men to empowering yourself, women have been able to use it as a tool to explore their sensuality. Celebrating your inherent sex appeal doesn’t mean that you have to give up comfort. With recycled materials, soft lace, and stretch fabrics, UCA creates products that help you embrace every part of yourself. We offer pieces that can empower you to be bold or celebrate your softness. Let your lingerie make a statement and feel like an extension of yourself. Don’t be afraid to stand out - wear the pieces you love!