The Historical past of the Chemise

The chemise is one of the apparel things that grew to become a regular undergarment in 1800s fashion. The expression has been customarily referred to as a dress minimize straight at the sides and remaining unfitted in the midsection. It was a fundamental garment created to be worn closest to the skin, blocking the outer clothing from sweat and bodily oils. It is the precursor of modern day shirts.

The term “chemise” is a loanword from the French. It might audio alluring in French, but it only basically usually means “shirt.” Approximate equivalents to the chemise include the Latin camisia, the Italian camicia, and the Spanish camisa, all of which are probably derived from Celtic.

Traditionally, chemise was created from soft and smooth fabrics like silk and cotton. Today, chemise can also be created from synthetic materials and other resources, these as polyester.

Origins of the chemise

Until eventually the late 18th century, chemise (or change) was the primary undergarment for gals. It was the only underwear worn until the conclude of the Regency period in the 1820s and the only piece of apparel that was commonly washed. Most chemise at the time ended up unfastened, knee-size undergarments with a straight or a little triangular condition. 

white chemise, 1830
Chemise from 1830
white chemise, 1863
Chemise from 1863

The time period “chemise” was 1st used to refer to an outer garment in the 1780s when Marie Antoinette, queen of France, popularized a type of unfastened-fitting informal gown made of sheer white cotton, resembling the undergarment chemise in both equally cut and content. It arrived to be regarded at the time as chemise à la reine. Throughout the early 19th century, the expression “chemise” also arrived to refer to as an outer garment.

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Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette donning a dress that arrived to be identified as “chemise à la reine”

Chemise in the 20th century to present

As the 20th century loomed, the chemise dwindled in attractiveness in favor of the newer sorts of undergarments, this sort of as the brassiere (bra), girdle, and the complete slip. Gals at the time also started off to have on panties.

Having said that, the chemise however exists and is worn largely as an undergarment. But the modern chemise is remarkably distinctive from the chemise of the olden times. At present, the chemise costume has turn into an essential aspect of women’s lingerie. 

a woman wearing a purple chemise

As opposed to the conservative-wanting chemise of the 18th and 19th hundreds of years, today’s chemise looks a good deal sexier — unfastened, sleeveless (primarily with spaghetti straps), with a low-cleavage minimize, and normally going up earlier mentioned the knee. Of course, being a aspect of lingerie, chemise dresses are offered in a wide variety of hot kinds as they are created to be provocative, flirtatious, and sensual.

Contemporary chemise attire are manufactured of several elements, these kinds of as lace, metallic threads, shiny leather, flower lace styles, sheer mesh, and a whole lot more. Chemise has occur a long way from a basic, conservative undergarment to a pretty lingerie item. Some of them are very small, skimpy, and provocative that leaves tiny to the creativeness!