What Is the Difference between Underwear and Lingerie?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
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  • Last Modified Date: 28 December 2019
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The words underwear and lingerie are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are a few differences between the two. Technically, all lingerie is underwear, but not all underwear is lingerie. Underwear is worn for practicality and comfort by both genders, while lingerie is typically worn by women because it is attractive. Regular underwear is usually less expensive than lingerie, and it has been around much longer.

Underwear is considered any type of garment that is worn next to the skin, beneath a person's clothes. These undergarments have several functions. They help keep a person's outer garments clean by absorbing sweat and oils from the skin. They can also help keep a person warm in the cold climates, and they often offer some type of support.

Men may choose from among few types of underwear. Boxers and briefs are typically the most common options, along with boxer briefs, a hybrid of the two. These typically offer some support for the male genitals. Women can choose both underwear and lingerie in the form of bikinis, briefs, thongs, and brassieres, which offer support for the breasts.


The French word lingerie actually means underwear, but in English-speaking countries, the term has come to be associated with more attractive or sensual underwear. One big difference between underwear and lingerie is the reason it is worn. Although lingerie is usually worn beneath the clothes as well, it is not usually chosen for practicality or comfort. Instead, lingerie is chosen because it is fashionable or enticing. Women often wear lingerie that they believe will be attractive to their lovers.

Another difference between these two garments is the price. Generally, regular underwear is more economical. It is typically made from inexpensive cotton, and can be purchased in packs containing a number of undergarments.

Lingerie, on the other hand, is typically a bit more expensive. It is often made from more expensive material, such as silk or lace. Another difference between underwear and lingerie is the intricacy of their designs. Regular underwear is typically quite simple, while lingerie is usually a little more detailed.

The origins of underwear and lingerie are also quite different. Underwear is believed to have been around since ancient times. Historians believe that ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all wore undergarments. In fact, a loin cloth is also considered to be a primitive type of underwear.

In the 19th century, undergarments were typically not spoken of in polite society, and it was bulky as well as unattractive. Lady Duff-Gordan, a prominent fashion designer, decided to change this. She began to design women's undergarments that were smaller, less restrictive, and more attractive. These alluring types of underwear eventually became known as lingerie.


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Post 3

@SarahGen-- You have a point but there is no way I could wear lingerie all the time. Most lingerie is made of lace or synthetic materials. It looks pretty but it's uncomfortable and unhygienic. I need to wear 100% cotton underwear to be comfortable.

I don't mind wearing lingerie once in a while for my husband, but that's about it.

Post 2

@fBoyle-- I wear lingerie even though I'm single and not dating right now. I think it's wrong to think that lingerie is just to attract or surprise a partner. I think women need to stop thinking this way.

I wear lingerie because it makes me feel beautiful. I do it for myself, not because anyone is going to see me in it. I like to spoil myself and buy nice lingerie once in a while. The great part about lingerie is that they can be bought in sets with matching bras and underwear. Lingerie is much more feminine that regular innerwear. Every woman should own lingerie.

Post 1

So lingerie is just fancy women's underwear. Is there any reason to wear lingerie aside from looking attractive for a partner?

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