What Is A Chemise?

In today’s lingerie fashion, a chemise is a provocative and very delicate women’s garment that is often made of sheer fabric, like nylon, chiffon, silk, satin or lace. Chemises are undergarments which are generally sleeveless and loose fitting, short like a mini-dress and not fitted at the waist. A chemise is very comfortable since it does not have zippers or buttons or any other kind of fasteners but is just a slip on over the head.

History of the Chemise

The garment is not new to the world since it has been around since the Middle Ages in Europe. It first started as a Roman ‘tunica’. It was used more as an undergarment worn beneath their robes or gowns. It was most definitely an undergarment till the 18th century and also the only kind of underwear used by women till the end of the 1820s – that is the Regency period. Being a daily wear item of clothing, it was regularly washed and used. Only during the early twentieth century was the chemise replaced as an undergarment by figure enhancing underwear like brassieres, panties, slips and girdles. In the olden days, chemises were stitched at home by the ladies. Some rich women wore voluminous chemises made of fine smooth linen.

The word ‘chemise‘ means ‘shirt’ in French. In the Middle Ages, it was commonly worn by both men and women to protect against the cold. It was worn next to the skin. It also used to be referred to as a ‘smock’ or a ‘shift’. In the 19th century Southern US, it was colloquially known as a ‘shimmy’. Since bathing daily was not usual in the middle ages, the chemise was the undergarment which would absorb the body oils or dirt and it was much easier to wash and wear regularly than the heavy ornate outer garments.

Chemise Lingerie

In the modern world though, the chemise has become a favorite lingerie piece of clothing, due to its versatility. It can not only be worn as lingerie, but also as seductive sleepwear or as a top over tight pants or leggings. Chemises are made to look very sexy and to accentuate the curvy nature of a woman’s body. Silks and satins and sheer nylons in pretty colors with lace trims make chemise lingerie very attractive and desirable. Fashion designers have made it big time and have become well known by focusing on designing sexy chemise lingerie and nightwear.

Although the chemise is still used as an underskirt worn under a dress, in latest trends it is more commonly used as nightwear or as an erotic and sensual lingerie item. A chemise made of sheer or see-through lace material also looks great and very fashionable if worn over a plain top or bra as clubwear or party wear. A huge variety of different styles, materials and colors are the reason that every woman should have a larger number of chemises in her lingerie collection. When used as a nightgown, a chemise can be a full length garment or a short but loose fit garment.

The Difference Between Chemise and Babydoll

The chemise is similar to the babydoll, but not the same. A babydoll typically falls loosely from the chest down to just above the hips, thereby exposing a woman’s panties and buttocks. The chemise on the other hand is more tightly fitted to the body and extends over the butt area – similar to a mini-dress.

Unlike the babydoll which often have decorative ribbons attached to a bra brief, a chemise can be a more plain and simple, yet very sexy piece of clothing.

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