Loungerie Fashion Term by Apparel Search - Fashion Terms of Interest to the Fashion Industry

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Loungerie is a relatively new fashion term (2010/2011) that defines lingerie-like apparel and underpinnings that were intended to remain inside the boudoir. Some fashion items that can be classified as loungerie include camisoles, slip dresses, garter tank tops, and lace-top stockings, which were originally designed to remain underneath it all. 

Rather than being tucked beneath another layer of clothes such as cardigan sweaters, low-cut dresses, and sheer apparel, these loungerie items are doing more than playing peek-a-boo. Sexy, romantic, and feminine, these loungerie-like items are making quite a fashion statement as they are being worn on the outside rather than as a layering piece. The trend can be traced back to the 1930s when the “flapper" movement had relaxed its rigid rules about wearing restricting corsets. At that time, designers began introducing slip dresses, which had a fitted bust and a narrowly fitting dress.

Although this term is a recent addition to the fashion dictionary, the trend for flaunting outerwear on the outside is certainly not a recent contribution to fashion. Aside from its debut in the 30s, the loungerie look also made a comeback during the 80s when Madonna flaunted the bra-look while performing on stage. During the “Like a Virgin" era, millions of young girls around the world emulated Madonna as they flaunted bras worn as outerwear, as well as lace and fingerless gloves, fishnet stockings, and tulle skirts.

During the 90s, satin slip dresses with adjustable straps became quite popular again. Women often layered them over t-shirts.  Pop icon Gwen Stefani is also renowned for wearing underwear-inspired looks during this era.

Flaunting underwear on the outside is certainly a trend that has proved that it has staying power. In fact, pop icon Rihanna took fashion cues from Madonna when she wore a Zac Posen dress with a cone bra in 2008. A host of other designers and brands introduced slip dresses, among them Stella McCartney, Juicy Couture, Benetton, and beyond.

Written for Apparel Search by Regina Cooper February 2011.

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