Si Pantalone, more than a comedy act

Have you ever wondered where your underwear comes from? Here at UnderMyPants we want to provide some answers and delve deeper into the questions that have always been wondered, yet never answered. Earlier this year we did a blog on why we wear underwear? This blog answered the questions about the purpose of underwear. This week, we look at the history of underwear. Where did it come from, why is it called underwear and much more!

The name

As all good legends and myths, the story of ‘underwear’ starts with an Italian comic named Pantalone. This legend of the industry has his name sketched in history as he performed a comic act and wore ‘pants’ under his clothes. These pants would go all the way to his ankles and showing these off to the crowd were part of his comedy routine. As such, underwear became known as ‘pants’.

It wasn’t until the 19th century, were underwear was renamed to ‘underwear’. The English called them pants, and they were soon known as underwear as they were worn under clothes. Originally, they started as underpants (this name continues in some countries) and slowly moved to underwear.

Different eras of underwear

The ancient Egyptians were not only building pyramids and taking over the world but they were also wearing loincloths. These were one of the first documented pairs of underwear. However, this was only sometimes. I can imagine in that heat and with all the building they were doing, sometimes you’d like to just freeball. Let it all out, you know? The Romans, not to be outdone, were the first full time wearing civilianization to wear underwear. Perhaps that was Julius Cesar trick to getting a delicious salad named after himself?

During the middle ages men wore linen shorts as underwear, while, women didn’t wear any ‘knickers’ until the 19th century. Prior to that, women simply wore corsets underneath their dresses.

Fun Fact

The bra was invented by Mary Phelps Jacob who used two handkerchiefs joined by ribbon. What a resourceful women and what an impact she has had on society!

Through the ages

From the 19th century through to the 20th century, underwear became shorter and more of a fashion item. As companies like Jockey, Triumph and Bonds appeared, they had designers who would shorten the corsets and long leg underwear and make them more visually appealing. Second fun fact, companies like Jockey, Triumph and Bonds have been around for over 130 years! They are staples in our lives and continue to create underwear that supports us all.

Underwear is a fascinating concept and one which has been around through ages. Starting with a joker in Italy and ending with fashion icons like CK. Underwear will continue to play a role in our lives and is something we at UnderMyPants are passionate about.


April 15, 2018

Posted In: facts, underwear

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