The chemises of today are hot lingerie items. Soft and luxurious, they can be worn as nightwear, undergarments or even outerwear. Like many of today's naughty lingerie pieces, chemises were once practical, functional pieces. Provided here is a guide to chemises through the centuries.

Ancient Cultures
In Ancient Greece and Rome, tunic-style garments were worn by both men and women. These simple gowns are believed to be the prototypes of modern chemises. However, the garments were worn alone, therefore functioning as outerwear.

Middle Ages
The medieval period marked the true beginning of chemises' use as undergarments. At that time, chemises were unisex garments. Women wore them long, underneath skirts and bodices or full-length gowns. Men wore them as somewhat shorter undershirts, paired with braies (a form of leggings) and covered by doublets, robes or other garments.

At that time and for many centuries to follow, chemises served an extremely practical purpose. The chemise was one of the earliest incarnations of underwear. It protected expensive outer garments from sweat and bodily oils. In those days, the chemise was the only piece of clothing that was regularly washed.

Evolution of the Chemise
Chemises remained an important and practical undergarment until the early 20th century. As fashions changed, so did the chemise. Women's styles evolved into the camisole (once used to cover the corset) and full slip. Men's chemises gradually became shorter and more fitted, eventually becoming the undershirt of today.

Homemade Chemises

Throughout much of the history of the chemise, women made these garments at home. A reasonably talented home seamstress could create a chemise out of a single piece of cloth, lessening waste. Working class people of both genders generally wore rough, simple chemises in linen or other common fabric. Wealthier aristocrats enjoyed supple, voluminous chemises in luxurious fabrics such as silk.

Chemises Today
Today's chemises are luxury items, crafted of rich materials such as silk and designed to enhance sex appeal. Some chemises retain practical value, offering a sleek, clean line under thinner dresses and blouses. Others are designed strictly as nightwear or naughty lingerie, offering such daring options as lace and fishnet.

Today, there is little difference between chemises and camisoles, and many people use the two terms interchangeably. Chemises may also resemble negligees, particularly the babydoll style. Chemises historically provided sleeves, although many of today's more risqué styles are sleeveless.

Fitting chemises is extremely easy, making them popular gift items. A chemise is designed for a loose and flowing fit, as opposed to the precise measurements that are required for pieces such as corsets. Chemises are generally sized according to dress size, although some are marketed as "one size fits all."

Chemises can be traced to Ancient Rome, although they have undergone many changes since that time. The chemises of today are luxurious and multifunctional. Today's chemises are thin, comfortable and appropriate for sleepwear, naughty lingerie or simple underwear, offering a range of uses for any woman.

Author's Bio: 

Amanda Cotterill has been involved in the erotic lingerie uk market for many years. This article outlines the benefits of women wearing sexy chemises as if that needed much explaining!