Underwear, or innerwear, is any garment that lays
directly against the body and that is always covered by an outer layer. The main focus is functionality. Underwear has
precisely the function of protecting the outer layer of clothes from getting
soiled by the wearers body. This allows clothes such as pants and dresses to
be worn multiple times between washes. Historically, this stems from fancy,
elaborate clothes being problematic to clean, which created a need for an
inner layer that could be changed often. Often in opaque materials, with
cotton being the most popular for its breathability characteristics. Garments sometimes have "underwear" in their name to emphasise their usage, e.g. "underwear romper".
Lingerie can be considered a subgroup of underwear,
not intended to be worn in public. Although lingerie can be functional in a
similar way as underwear, the focus lays more on presentation.
Lingerie is primarily meant as romantic, intimate wear and includes many
product types such as nighties, lace panties and more racy items such as
bodystockings - basically, all items that are more "exciting" than
plain underwear. Whereas underwear tends to be opaque, lingerie is often made
in delicate and sheer materials such as satin, tulle, lace and fishnet. Garments sometimes have "lingerie" in their name to emphasis their usage, e.g. "lingerie waist cincher".
Bra components and sizes
Bras are probably the most iconic but also complicated lingerie garment we wear with details that require careful and accurate definitions.
Band is a component of a bra goes around the torso, parallell to the ground. It connects all the bra parts together and can be considered to be the "foundation" of a bra. Bra band is sometimes called circumference, however, this term should not be used as it refers to a measurement while band refers to bra component.
Cup is the part of a bra that holds, covers and/or encapsulates the bust to a varying degree. Bra cups come in many shapes and styles.
Bra size is the cup size and band size written together, for example, 70D. There are different bra size conventions that label similar bra sizes in different ways, for clarify, the convention abbreviation is often written together with bra size. For example, EU 70H and UK 30F are European and British bra size conventions that refer to the same actual size of a bra.
Band size is the numerical part of a bra size, for example 70 (for EU) or 32 (for UK). Band size is a "label" or "name" of the band size. These designations differ between bra size conventions. A band size is NOT synonymous with a measurement. For example, EU 70, AU 10 and UK 32 all refer to the same circumference measurement.
Cup size is the alphabetical part of a bra size, for example D-cup.
Underwires is attached to the bottom size of a bra cup to give them shape and stability. Underwires are optional. If a bra has underwire it's usually one per cup. Some bras, however, have a monowire one single underwire for both cups.
Shoulders straps are attached to the cup, go over the shoulders, and attach to the band on the back. They are often referred to only as "straps".
A closure is the mechanism for how the bra band connects around the torso. The most common closures are hook-and-eye on the back and front closure hook.
Bridge / Center gore
The part between the cups.
The upper part of cups.
The side of the band, below the armpit.
Side bone / boning
Plastic och metal "bone" sewn into the wing which prevent the wing to roll and instead helps the wing to lay flat on the skin.
Padding, or more specifically, cup padding refers to an additional layer in the cup, usually made of foam. The padding is a like a thick lining. The padding smoothes out the cup shape and, depending on the padding thickness, can enhance the fullness of the bust. Push-up is a padding type that is intentionally extra think to increase the appearance of the bust by one or two cup sizes. Cups can be unpadded or padded. Padding and insert/inlay are not the same thing.
Cups often have a lining on the inside made of cotton. This lining is the fabric that touches the skin and has the function to keep the skin dry and comfortable. Lining and padding is not the same thing. Lining is normally just a thin layer of fabric, while padding is intentionally thicker.
Insert / Inlay
Some cups have a pocket on the inside to accomodate an insert/inlay made from foam or silicone that is meant to enhance the size of the bust. An insert/inlay differs from cup padding in the sense that it is removable and almost always shaped similar to a chicken breast.
with bra cups
Any underwear or lingerie garment that have
distinctive bra cups. This attribute is mentioned only if the garment
traditionally lacks distinctive bra cups. Compared to a garment with real bra
cups, garments with bra cups (not that the word "real" is omitted)
don't specify the size with traditional bra sizes but rather use general
clothing sizes S, M, L etc.
with real bra cups
Garment that have an integrated bra that offer
bust support equivalent to a real bra. These garments almost always come
in bra sizes (e.g. "EU 80D / UK 36D" instead of
"Medium"). This terminology is used for items that normally don't
offer real bust support. Lingerie with real bra cups is particularly popular
among women with larger bust. For example, chemise with real bra cups.
Nursing or maternity
Any garment that is especially adapted for breast
feeding (or pregnant) women. For example, nursing bra and maternity
Easy open cups
Any garment with bra cups that are easy to open and reveal the bust without taking the garment off. They are normally found in underwear for nursing moms to help with breast feeding.
Any garment that have a higher waist than the
garment type in question traditionally is. For example, high waist
Shapewear, shaping, control or slimming
Any garment that are specifically created to changes
the form of the body. For example, shapewear waist cincher and panty
with tummy control.
Also called lightly slimming. Lightly
shaping garments offer a very light shaping, slimming but mainly smoothing effect. It is quite common that a relatively "normal" garment has a
lightly shaping effect as a secondary function, e.g. lightly shaping
Also called slimming. Shaping garments
offer a moderate shaping, slimming and strong smoothing effect, e.g. high
waist shaping panty. Shaping garments are a balance where the esthetical
look of the garment is equally important to the shaping effect.
Shapewear garments offer a strong shaping,
slimming and smoothing effect, e.g. shapewear waist cincher.
They focus primarily on the shaping effect, meaning the esthetical style
becomes of secondary importance.
Control refers to which body part is shaped or
slimmed, e.g. panties with tummy control.
Also called imitation. The word faux is used for attributes, especially fabrics, that are made to resemble the original but without the intention to deceive. Some examples are faux fur and faux leather. Compared to the word "fake", "faux" does not imply any negativity. Faux fabrics usually have the intention to be a more environment or animal friendly alternative, especially when it comes to animal furs and leathers.
Some garments have patterns that are made to resemble an attribute but does not have its actual functionality. E.g. mock suspender pantyhose means that the pantyhose has a pattern that looks like suspenders but the suspenders are merely a print.
built-in / integrated
The terms built-in or integrated refers to garments consisting of multiple merged together items that are normally separate. E.g. pantyhose with integrated panties, dress with built-in bra and bustier with built-in garter belt straps.
Garments that are intentionally made to reveal parts
of the body than what is normal for that garment type, e.g. revealing bra that don't cover nipples.
Garments that cover substantially less than what is
normal for that garment type, e.g. minimal panties that offer
minimal coverage in the front.
Garments that are particularly sexy (or even
vulgar), e.g. sexy mini dress.
Garments made in fabric that are partially see-through, but not fully transparent, e.g. sheer dress.
Garments with one or several parts made more
resilient to wear and tear, e.g. pantyhose with reinforced toes.
Garments suitable for both women and men, e.g. unisex
Garments that are particularly shorter or less covering
than normal for that type of item, e.g. mini dress or mini
Garments that are of medium length coverage for that
type of item, e.g. midi briefs. The term is normally only used to
emphasis that a garment is neither maxi nor mini.
Garments that are particularly longer or more
covering than normal for that type of item, e.g. maxi dress or maxi
Although not actually a lingerie item, handcuffs are seen as a playful accessory for romantic occasions.
Either made from rigid materials or made in fabrics, often lace.
Arm wraps cover the forearms but not the hands like gloves. Thermal arm wraps are often used in sports. In fashion they are
used as aesthetical accessory.
More specific, fake eyelashes or false
eyelashes. Eyelashes are a make-up accessory that are temporarily
glued on the wearers existing eyelashes or eyelids to create a longer
and fuller appearance.
Sleep masks cover the eyes to shield them from disturbing
light but also to warm and soothe the eye area, leading to relaxation.
Both these functions are meant to help sleeping, hence the name. Sleep masks
are also used as playful lingerie accessory, in which case they are decorated
with lace. Compared to face masks, sleep masks cover only the eyes while face
masks cover primarily the month and nose area.
Also spelled baby doll. A badydoll is a
short night shirt that usually end at the hips. It always has a
characteristic slip opening in the front that starts from the bust. This
slit is the specific attribute that separates it from a nightie. Badydolls are solely intended as a romantic item and are therefore usually
made in sheer materials.
Also called body, which is just a commonly
used abbreviation. A bodysuit is a form-fitting top with integrated panty
part specifically without legs. It's always opaque and can therefore
be used both as a (visible) top together with pants or skirt or as underwear
under a sweater or shirt. Bodysuits come with and without sleeves. The cut is similar to a teddy, but teddies are lingerie items
made in revealing fabrics and are not suitable to be worn in public. A
simplified but important distinction is that a bodysuit is opaque while a
teddy is sheer.
A bodysuit adapted for pregnant or nursing moms.
A bodystocking is stockings that extends to cover
the torso. The distinctive characteristic is that it's made of fabrics
normally used to make stockings or pantyhose, meaning it has at least some degree
of sheerness. Common fabrics are sheer nylon, lace and fishnet. Bodystockings
come with or without sleeves but almost always cover the entire legs and
feet. It's meant solely as intimate wear for romantic occasions. As part of
the aim to make it racy, bodystockings often have an open crotch.
Suspender bodystocking is a popular style of
bodystockings where the upper and lower part are joint with suspenders or
garter bands. Alternatively, the bodystocking has cut-outs in the crotch and
on the hips to give the impression of suspenders. In both cases, both the upper
and lower parts are permanently joint, making it one single item.
The word bra is an abbreviation of brassiere,
originating from French. A bra is a tight-fitting underwear top intended
to support the breasts. A typical bra consists of cups, that the breast
rest in; band that goes around the torso; and shoulder straps. Bras come in a
wide variety of styles and functions. They can be both plain and serve as
everyday underwear, but also be designed primary as sexy lingerie with
intricate fabrics and details. In the latter case, the supporting ability can
become secondary to give way to esthetics. Bras are arguably the most complex
of all everyday garments.
The name is derived from the French meaning
"little balcony", which is why it is also known as "balcony
bra". This bra type has horizontally cut cups, making the breast
rest in the cups, as if on a "small balcony". Balconettes are
considered to create a natural looking bust.
Bra band extenders are functional accessories that
allows for the enlargement of the bra band size (circumference).
Bra band shorteners are functional accessories that
allows for the reduction of the bra band size (circumference).
Big cup bra
Any type of bra that is primarily made and adapted
for big bust. Normally, big cup bras use stronger materials and have
designs that allow for better stability and weight distribution than their
small cup counterparts. If these adaptation for big bust are not made, the
bras would lose its shape and become very uncomfortable. Note that big cup
bras and big size bras are not necessarily synonymous as a bra can have big
band size but small cups.
Bra band converter
Bra band converters are accessories that allow
for different placement and wrapping around the torso than what the bra
was originally designed for.
Bra for backless dresses
Bras for backless dresses have their band and/or
shoulder strap adapted to minimize their visibility when wearing
Bra pads are accessories that can be put on the
inside of the bra cups with the goal to create a bigger looking bust.
Often made of silicone for natural feel.
Bra strap clip
Bra strap clips are used to pull shoulder straps
towards the center of the back, which is often needed if you wear a
sleeveless top and you don't want the straps to be visible.
Bra strap cushions
Cushions are placed on the shoulders, under the
shoulder straps to protect the shoulders from pressure and pain. The
cushions achieve this by distribute the pressure making it less noticeable.
Popular among women with large bust.
Also called bra shoulder straps. Straps
that go from the back, over the shoulders and to the front of the bra.
Most bras have straps that may or may not be removable and adjustable.
Bralettes are tops with limited coverage and
support with a mostly open back. They are shaped like a triangle cup bra.
While they arguably look like a bra, they offer marginal or no support for
the breast and should probably not be considered real bras. Traditionally,
they were used a "first" bra by girls that started to develop
breasts. In recent years, bralettes have become a fashion item.
Used for its esthetics, cage bras consist fully
or partially of crossing straps giving the appearance of a
Full cup bra
Bras that cover the breast fully, and not
partially. The advantage is that the breasts are kept in place even when you
move a lot or bend down. Popular among women with big bust.
Bras that are elongated below the cups but to
so much so it would be considered a bustier (that usually elongated until the
Maternity bras are adapted for pregnant or breast-feeding
moms. The adaptation usually concerns fluctuating breast size and may or
may not have flap cups that make it easy to breastfeed without taking the bra
Minimizer bras make the breast less prominent.
This is useful for women with large breast that want to wear garments that won’t
fit their bust.
Multi-functional bras are highly adaptable.
They are intended to solve multiple issues and can be adjusted to the needs
in question. Usually this means that they have very versatile shoulder straps
Nipple cover / patch
Small patches, often self-adhesive to help make nipples
less visible wearing tight clothing. They are usually used when not
wearing a bra but can be useful when wearing thin, unpadded bras. Can be used
as racy lingerie accessory, in which has they will be decorated.
Open cup bra
Open cup bras cups are fully open, meaning they
don't cover the bust at all. Always with underwire. Open cup bras cups are
normally only indented to be used as "playful" lingerie.
Plunge bra / U bra
Bras with very low bridge (the part between the
cups) are specifically made to be used with deep neckline dresses and
tops. The "U" refers to the characteristic U-shape between the
Also called only push-up, without
"bra". Push-up bras intend to make the bust more prominent,
have a more attractive shape and look bigger in general. The cups have pads
that may or may not be removable. This push the breasts "up", hence
the name. Usually the breasts are also slightly pushed together for an enhanced
cleavage. Push-up bras are especially popular among women with smaller or
medium sized bust. Arguably the most popular bra type.
Any type of bra that is self-adhesive.
Usually this means that the bra has no shoulder straps or band going around
the torso. The breast support ability is very limited and usually only usable
for women with smaller bust.
Self-adhesive bra patch
Self-adhesive bras patches cover more than nipple
covers but less than self-adhesive bras. Depending on type, they can have
some lifting ability.
Shelf bras have minimal cups that do not cover
the nipples. However, they are not entirely "open cups". Shelf
bras offer some support. Primarily suitable as "playful" lingerie.
Always with underwire.
Soft bras have no padding in the cups and no cup
Soft cup bra
Soft cup bras have cup underwire but no padding in the cups. Usually the cup fabric is particularly thin and sheer.
Spacer bras are made of special foam material
called "spacer". The term "spacer" is used in
internationally as a loan word.
Any bra that is specifically adapted to be used
for sports or rigorous physical activity.
T-shirt bras have smooth cups which make the
bra less prominent when wearing tight clothing.
Bra without padding in the cups.
Also spelled bustiere. Bustiers are tops with distinctive bra cups and
bottom part that cover the midriff. They are always form-fitted.
Traditionally only used as underwear or lingerie, they are now also used as
outerwear tops. The type of cups, underwire and shoulder straps can differ
meaning that the level of breast support differ. Any of these parts can also
be absent. Depending on bustier type, they can be slightly shaping or soft
and stretchy, and sometimes with garter straps. Bustiers can look very similar to corsets. Corsets squeeze and shape the
torso, which bustiers don't. Bustier are form-fitting, but not shaping.
A bustier with unpadded cups and without
underwire. This aspect changes the amount of breast support the garment
offers and can be crucial for some.
Chemises are lingerie tops with characteristic
form-fitted, covering hips or partially covering buttocks. They are
arguably a tighter and shorter version of a nightie. Chemises are not dress
long. They tend to be sleeveless and with shoulder straps, like camisoles.
Chemises are primarily intended as seductive lingerie.
Corsets are form-fitted tops used to hold or
train the waist. They cover the torso including the bust. Corsets are
used for esthetics, often with the goal to make the waist looks slimmer. To
achieve this, they are made or stronger and stiff (non-elastic) fabrics,
usually with lacing on the back that are used to tighten the corset into the
desired shape. Depending on model, they will often have thin, flexible rods
sewn in vertically. These rods, called corset boning, help to create a
smoother silhouette. The difference between corsets and the similarly looking bustiers is that the latter does not hold and shape
the waist, burstiers also lack corsetry boning. (Medical corsets exist and are used to support the torso, usually
after trauma or surgery.)
Costumes are popular both for dress-up parties but
also as themed lingerie for playful, intimate occasions. Costumes can
consist of any outerwear and lingerie, e.g. bra and panty sets, babydolls
etc. French maid, nurses and Alice in Wonderland are just some examples of
Dresses are the most classical of women's outerwear.
A dress cover both the upper and lower body without leg separation, to
a varying degree depending on style.
Also spelled mini-dress and minidress.
A dress with the hemline (the lower edge of a garment) reaching approximately
to the middle of the thighs.
Also spelled midi-dress and mididress. A dress with the hemline reaching
to the knees or just above.
Maxi dress / Long dress
Also spelled maxi-dress and maxidress. A dress with the hemline reaching
to the feet or longer. Usually called long dress.
Bodycon dresses are tight-fitting and made of
heavier and somewhat elastic fabric. This allows for the dress to hug your
body and smooth out any lumps, including the tummy. Bodycon dresses are
never loose. The name derives from "body conscious".
Skater dresses have a distinctive skirt part that
start high above the waist with a snugger fit which then become looser as
it elongates downwards. This allows the skirt to flow easily in the wind
or even when walking. The hemline usually reaches just above the knees. The
name derives from the lightly flowing figure skating dresses. It's also known
as A-dress due to the shape of the skirt part that is narrow at the top and
wide at the bottom, like an (capital) "A".
Tank dresses has the characteristic look of a tank
top that reach at least as far down as a mini dress.
Tube dresses are usually above-knee long and have a clean,
horizontal cut on top that don't cover the shoulders or have thin or
sheer shoulder straps, making the dress look like a "tube".
Wrap dresses have characteristical layers overlapping each other as if having been wrapped around the body,
similarly to a robe. They are not necessarily put on by actual wrapping, but
rather styled and sewn as if they had been wrapped.
Garters are narrow bands that fit snugly over the
thigh and over the top of stockings to prevent the stockings from sliding
down. With the advent of modern materials, mainly nylon, garters are no
longer needed but are still used as a stylish accessory, most commonly as
bridal-wear and playful lingerie.
Also called [garter] suspender belt. Garter
belts are worn around the waist with attached straps. These straps hang
down and have clips on the bottom end that are attached on stockings or garters
to prevent them from slipping down. The straps are either permanently
attached or removable. Garter belts almost always include straps which is why
the straps are not mentioned but are simply assumed, similarly to bras and
Garter belt strap
Also called garter straps, suspender or stocking suspender. Straps that connect a garter belt with garter or stockings. Garter belt straps are almost always included with the garter belt. Some lingerie tops, e.g. bustiers and corsets, sometimes have removable garter belt straps.
Gloves are garments covering the wrist, hands and
the lower arm; or only some of these. In lingerie, gloves are primarily decorative
and made of lace or satin.
Finger loop gloves
Jumpsuits are one-piece garments that cover the
torso, arms and separated legs, usually loose fitting or at least not skin-tight.
The distinctive characteristic is that it must be one-piece. The name derives
from suits used by parachuters (that make jumps). Jumpsuits are not to be
confused with unitards (distinctively skin-tight with or without sleeves) or
rompers (legless). Depending on style, jumpsuits exist as outerwear or
lingerie. Compared to bodystockings, lingerie jumpsuits are
Catsuits are shiny, skin-tight one-piece garments
that cover the torso, arms and separated legs. They are normally made of elastic
materials such as Spandex or less elastic materials such as PVC or leather.
Catsuits are always characteristically shiny or "wet-look" to some
degree, and traditionally black. The word is thought to derive from either
the "slinkiness" of a cat due to its form-fitting, or as a
reference to the garment worn by the movie character Catwoman.
Unitards are skin-tight one-piece garments that
cover the torso and separated legs but without sleeves. The distinctive
characteristic is that it has to be skin-tight.
Leggings are skin-tight leg garments that can be
worn as outerwear on its own as (as a form-fitting alternative to pants),
or in combination with skirt or shorts. They are not to be confused with
sheer, footless pantyhose which would never be worn on its own as outerwear.
Stirrup leggings are identical to leggings with
the addition of stirrups (bands) that stretches over the side of the
ankles and around the bottom of the foot. This helps the leg part of the
leggings to stay in place.
Face mask / Mouth cover
Any mask that covers mouth and nose, with an
unspecified special functionality (if any). Normally, however, it refers to
non-medical breathing masks.
Classical underpant briefs for men, without legs. With or without a fly. The name derives
from "brief", meaning "short".
Men's boxer briefs
Boxer briefs for men are popular men's underwear
with 1/4 legs or shorter and are characteristically form-fitting.
Men's boxer briefs will normally have an anatomically shaped pouch in the
front, which women's boxer briefs don't have. The name derives from the style
of garment popular among boxers. Due to its fit, the fabric will always be at
least somewhat elastic. The difference between boxer briefs and boxer shorts
is the fit, the first is form-fitted while the latter is loose.
Men's boxer shorts
Boxers shorts for men are loose fitting men's underwear, normally with 1/4-1/3 leg length. The loose fit allows
for non-elastic fabrics such as satin or silk; and, for the same reason,
there is also no anatomical pouch (found in boxer briefs) as the loose fit
makes it redundant. The name derives for shorts popular worm by boxers. The
difference between boxer shorts and boxer briefs is the fit; the first is
loose while the latter is form-fitting.
Men's midway briefs
Midway briefs are long boxer briefs that cover
at least 1/2 of the thigh. They are sometimes referred to as bike short. However,
bike shorts are outerwear sports garment while midway briefs are typically
underwear. Midway briefs are mainly intended to prevent inner thigh chafing.
Men's tanga briefs
Called tanga briefs or just tanga.
Men's tanga briefs have slimmer sides than regular men's briefs.
Often, the sides consist only of a wide elastic band that go around the hips.
As a result, tangas cover less than briefs. Compared to women's tangas, the
men's version has a front pouch that is anatomically adapted for men.
Men's thong doesn’t cover the buttocks. The back
side consists of a thin strip of fabric that goes between the buttocks.
Usually, the front looks like tanga briefs, with slim elastic bands on the
side. Compared to women's thongs, the men's version has a front that is
adapted for male anatomy.
Men's tank top
Men's tank tops are sleeveless with cut-out
shoulders, making the remaining part covering the shoulders look like
shoulder straps. They are normally worn as underwear under shirts or as a
very informal outerwear. Tank tops are usually form fitted and made of breathable
fabrics such as cotton or modal.
Muscle shirts are form-fitting, sleeveless tops. This style of men's tops are particularly
popular as gym-wear. Compared to tank tops, muscle shirts do not have cut-out
Men's waist cincher
Men's waist cinchers are worn around the waist to
give an instant slimming effect. Usually, they cover the torso from just
under the chest and down to the hips. Waist cinchers are used for esthetical
reasons when a slimmer silhouette is desired. Men's cinchers differ from
women's mainly in size and with body shape adaptation. (Medical cinchers exist
and have the purpose to support or compress after surgery or trauma.)
Men's pajamas are traditional sleepwear that
usually consist of a sleep shirt or t-shirt and pants or shorts. The
difference between women's and men's pajamas is that the latter tend to have
a fly on the pants/shorts.
Men's training tights
Training tights are form-fitted, elastic and
opaque legwear. They fit on the leg the same way as women's pantyhose or
tights, hence the name. Training tights are not slim fit pants. Depending on
style, they can also be used as thermal underpants worn under full length
pants or shorts. The combination of training tights and shorts are particularly
popular among runners in colder climates. Because if the snug fit, training
tights are a great way to prevent chafing on the inner side of the legs.
T-shirts are arguably the most common of men's upper
body garment with short sleeves and no buttons. They can be used both as
underwear and outerwear. As outerwear, various patterns and prints have made
the T-shirt an icon fashion item. The name comes from "T-shaped shirt",
which is an argument for the "T" always being written in uppercase.
Also spelled night dress and night-dress.
Nightdresses is the lingerie equivalent of a outerwear dress. They are often made in satin or
lace. Nightdresses are not see-through. A sheer, see-through night
dress is called a negligee or long negligee, depending on length. They are
not to be confused with evening dresses which are outerwear.
Compared to nighties, nightdresses are knee-long or longer, or has an upper
part that looks more like a dress top and less like thin shoulder strap
Night mini dress
Also called mini nightdress. Night mini
dresses are the lingerie equivalent to outerwear mini dresses. They
have revealing styles or sheer fabrics such as lace or net. Night mini
dresses are intended as seductive lingerie. Compared to nighties or chemises,
night mini dresses are intentionally made to resemble normal mini dresses
with, for example but not limited to, halterneck, sleeves, V-neckline etc.
Nightgowns are ankle-long, or longer,
nightdresses. They are normally opaque or semi-sheer and often elegantly
designed. Nightgowns can have a train (the portion of the gown that trails on
the ground behind the wearer), which is arguably an archetypical attribute of
gowns in general. Nightgowns are often equated to nightdresses, even
though the latter are not necessarily long. To mitigate potential
confusion, a nightgown can be called long nightgown, to clarify
the garment is particularly long.
Long negligees are characteristically sheer,
loosely fitted nightdresses or nightgowns, often with multiple
Nighties are medium long, loosely fitted
nightdresses. A nightie is shorter than a nightgown but always cover the
hips and buttocks entirely. Compared to a plain nightshirt, nighties are
the lingerie equivalent, made of satin and lace.
Negligees are hip to knee-long, loosely fitted
nightdresses, often with multiple overlapping and sheer layers. They can be
considered equivalent to nighties with the specific difference that negligees
are made in sheer fabrics. Due to this, a negligees can arguably be
called "sheer nightie".
Pajamas are loosely fitted sleepwear that are
characteristically not lingerie. Focusing on comfort over style, the most
common fabrics are cotton, satin and various smooth and elastic materials.
Pajamas can both refer to a set of sleepwear garments, normally top and
bottom, or in conjunction with a particular garment,
e.g. pajamas shirt.
Top and pants pajamas
The most common pajamas set is a top and
pants. The top is normally a camisole, T-shirt or a shirt. The pants are
either long or shorts.
Women's pants are outerwear, covering each leg
separately. Pants specifically made for women will be adapted to the female
anatomy, which often means comparably wider at the hips, slimmer at the
calves and without extra room for in the groin (which men need). Called women's
trousers in British English.
Women's bike shorts are form-fitted outerwear shorts
that are usually with at least 1/3 thigh length. They are sometimes worn
under short dresses with the purpose to provide extra coverage in case of
accidental exposure. The name is a reference to the look of the classical
skin-tight Spandex shorts used in professional bicycling. Compared to
slip shorts, bike shorts can be worn as outerwear while slip shorts are
Jeans or jeans pants are pants specifically
made from denim. Pants made of non-denim fabrics with denim-like pattern are
not real jeans. Jeans is a unisex term.
Also called skin-fit pants. Skinny pants
have characteristically very form-fitted legs. To attain this effect, skinny
pants are usually made in at least somewhat elastic fabric. Compared to leggings,
skinny pants have all the customary attributes of pants; including thicker
fabrics (than leggings), pockets, belt loops and fly. Although less common,
they are used by men as well.
Bell bottom pants
Bell bottom pants have distinctive legs that widen
at the bottom, giving them a bell-shaped appearance. This style of pants was particularly
popular in the 1960s and 1970s among both men and women.
Men's pants are outerwear, covering each leg
separately. Pants specifically made for women will be adapted to the male
anatomy, which most notably means extra room in the groin area. Called men's
trousers in British English.
Panties are the innermost of women's underwear covering
the hips, groin and crotch, with separated legs. Panties is the most
general of names for this type of garments. The term means exactly little
pants, derived from pantaloons. Panties are also called undies that refers to underpants. Called knickers or pants in British English.
Also called [women's] boxers. Any panties with
short legs no more than 1/3 thigh length. Boxers panties can be loose or form-fitted. The name is a reference to shorts used in the
sport of boxing.
More specific, women's boxer briefs. Boxer
briefs are same as boxer panties but specifically form-fitted.
More specific, women's boxer shorts. Boxer
shorts are same as boxer panties but specifically loose.
Also called [women's] boyshorts. Boyshort panties have neither legs nor cutouts with straight, horizontal lines which makes them look like form-fitted shorts
without legs. The name is a reference to the style of underwear worn by
Also called brazilian briefs or only brazilians. Brazilian
panties look like "sassy" bikini panties but shows off more bum.
Additionally, the waistband sit higher on the hips,
higher leg cut and lower belly cut. All this creates a somewhat V-shaped
front with a more revealed tummy. The term is a reference to a bikini panty
style that originated in Brazil.
More specific, women's briefs. Briefs are
"normal" panties with traditional cuts, resembling a triangle
pointing down. They cover the front and buttocks moderately. Briefs are
sometimes referred to as classic briefs to emphasis their archetypical
look. The name derives from "brief", meaning "short" and
is a reference to "short underpants" or "short pants".
The words panties and briefs are not synonymous. Panties is a category of
garments that cover hips and groin, while briefs are a style of panties (the
same way thong is a style). A less common name for briefs is slip,
which is a loan word used in French, Italian and other languages. Using the
term in English causes confusion as slip in English also refers to underdress.
High cut panties
Also called high leg panties or high
leg cut panties. High cut refers to the leg opening stretching high
up, forcing the sides of the waistband high up on the hips or just above
the hips. It does not refer to the panties having a high waistband
that goes around the body.
Also called cheekies, cheekini or cheeksters.
Cheeky panties have wide waistband like hipster panties but with more revealed
bottom part of the buttocks. The name refers to the style revealing the
Also called open crotch panties. Crotchless
panties have a crotch area that is uncovered or openable (like a fly),
opposite to how normal panties are supposed to function. They are intended
solely as daring, playful lingerie.
More precise, G-string panties. G-strings
are panties with a string (not band or strip) that fit between the
buttocks, leaving the back exposed. The waistband is a slim strip of
fabric. Alternatively, the waistband can be a string that connects at the
back with V-shaped patch just above the buttocks. Compared to a thong, a
G-string have only a string between the buttocks while a thong uses a narrow
strip of fabric. Compared to a T-string, a G-string can have either string or
strip as waistband and a patch above the buttocks while a T-string uses
solely strings everywhere except in the front.
High waist panties
Any panties that have a waistband that stretches
upwards higher than is common for its related products. A high waist can
be purely esthetical or have a slimming effect, which is why high waist
panties are not automatically shapewear.
Also called hipsters. Hipster panties have
a waistband that is wider than classic briefs and sit only at the hips,
not reaching the waist, hence the name. Compared to cheekies,
hipster panties cover the buttock more.
Any panties that are adapted for the growing belly of pregnant mothers.
Maxi-briefs offer extra (or "maximum")
coverage of the waist and buttocks with the purpose of keeping everything
"in place". They are not shapewear or slimming; they merely cover
more than regular briefs.
The term midi-briefs is used about briefs to emphasize
that the panties in question offer average (or "medium") coverage.
Any panty that have some kind of
padding. The most common padding is made at the back to give the
impression of larger and more well-former buttocks, which makes it the
buttocks equivalent of a push-up bra.
Also called tanga panties. Tangas are a cross
between briefs and thongs. They are not as revealing as thongs, but not as
covering as classic briefs.
Thongs are panties with a strip of fabric (not
string) that fit between the buttocks, leaving the backside largely
exposed. The waistband is a slim strip of fabric that connects at the back
with V-shaped patch just above the buttocks. Compared to a G-string, a thong
uses a narrow strip of fabric while a G-string has only a string between the
buttocks. Compared to a T-string, a thong has only strips of fabric as
waistband and between the buttocks while T-string has, strictly, only
strings. Thongs are arguably the most iconic of modern underwear.
Also called T-string panties. T-strings consist
only of strings (not strips of fabric) as waistband and between the
buttock, and a covering patch in the front. No other patches or strips
of fabrics are used. Compared to G-strings, T-strings do not have a patch
above the buttocks, giving it a characteristical T-shape.
Also called V-string panties. V-strings
have a waistband made of a string, not a band. The covering patches in
the front and back and characteristically V-shaped. The name refers to both of the mentioned attributes. The
string-waistband is more delicate than classic briefs which makes V-strings
suitable as lingerie but less suitable as everyday underwear.
Also called legwear. Hosiery is a group
name for all innerwear garments covering legs and feet or part of these.
These include pantyhose, stockings, stay-ups, garters and garter belts,
socks. Hosiery refer to the innermost layer of garments, it does not include
pants or skirts.
Also called sheer tights or sheers.
Pantyhose are form-fitting innerwear garments covering specifically the
hips, legs and feet. Hosiery not covering all these body parts have their
own distinctive names. The fabric is characteristically very thin and
sheer or in fishnet. The sheerness varies from appearing almost
completely transparent to being nearly, but not fully, opaque. Due to the
sheerness, pantyhose are always worn with other
garments on top, such as pants, shorts or skirts; or as lingerie, often with
patterns and decorations. Compared to tights, pantyhose are sheer to some degree, while tights are opaque.
Mock suspender pantyhose
Also called mock garter belt pantyhose.
Mock suspender pantyhose covers the hips, legs and feet just like normal
pantyhose but have a print that simulate the appearance of stockings and a
garter belt with suspenders. The name refers to the suspenders not being
real, but rather a mock-up. The purpose is to achieve the esthetics of
stockings and garter belt without actually having to
wear these items as a set, which can be cumbersome and more expensive. Mock
suspender pantyhose and suspender pantyhose are not the same type of garment.
Suspender pantyhose have cutouts around the hips, while mock suspender
pantyhose merely simulate these cutouts.
Also called garter belt pantyhose. Suspender
pantyhose have cutouts on the side of the hips, in the groin and at the
back. This makes them look like a set of stockings, garter belt and
suspenders while still being one single garment.
Tights are specifically opaque legwear that
cover hips, legs and feet. They are usually plain in one color and focus more
on functionality, meaning they are more an underwear garment than lingerie.
Compared to pantyhose, tights are opaque and thicker making them popular in
colder climates as innerwear. Compared to leggings, tights cover the feet.
Semi opaque tights
Also called semi opaque pantyhose. The
thickness of tights (and pantyhose) is not always clearly sheer or opaque.
Using the term semi opaque tights (or pantyhose) helps to clarify that the thickness
is somewhere between sheer and opaque.
Thick tights have of heavier fabrics, often
thick cotton with patterns. They are mainly used in cold climates. Thick
tights are not necessarily thermal tights, as thickness does not
guarantee heat isolation.
Petticoats are a specific type of underskirt that is
has the purpose to add volume to a dress or skirt. They are not
technically underwear as they are also meant to peek out from under the
hemline, and because of this they are almost always rich in lace.
Bathrobes are unisex garments made in fabrics
similar or identical to towels, often terrycloth. Bathrobes have the
specific function to cover and absorb water from the wearers skin. Traditionally,
they have a sash (belt) with optional hood and pockets.
Kimonos are traditional Japanese robes, often made i satin-like fabrics. They have characteristical square sleeves. Although being traditional outerwear in Japan, in other
countries, kimonos are used more as elegant lounge or lingerie robes.
Robe (lounge, not bath)
More precise, lounge robe. Robes are night
dresses that can be opened in the front, with matching sash. They are
mainly intended as glamorous lingerie nightwear. The word lounge is often
added to avoid the garment being mistaken for a bath robe. Compared to bathrobes, lounge robes are mean to cover, but not to absorb water.
Also called long [lounge] robe, housecoat or morning gown. Dressing gowns are long robes intended to be used
at home as alternative to normal clothes. Compared to bath robes, dressing
gowns are thinner, usually more elegant and do not absorb water. Lounge robes
and dressing gowns are similar types of garments, but the latter is usually
ankle-long or longer.
Rompers are one-piece garments combining top and
shorts specifically without legs, used as outerwear. The sleeves can be
long or short. Rompers are usually loose-fitting and can have short or long
sleeves. Compared to a jumpsuit, rompers don't have legs, while a jumpsuit
always has legs.
Underwear / Lingerie romper
Underwear or lingerie
rompers are one-piece garments combining top and shorts specifically
without legs, used as innerwear or lingerie. As innerwear, they are usually
opaque and form-fitted. As lingerie they are usually
made of sheer fabrics or lace.
Also called anti-chafing thigh bands. Thigh
bands are protective wraps for the thighs used to avoid inner thigh
More specific, women's shorts. Shorts are short
More specific, women's mini shorts. Mini shorts are short
outerwear pants with very short or non-existent legs.
Slip shorts are form-fitted underwear shorts that
are usually worn on top of other panties but under outerwear with at least
1/3 thigh length. They are often made to offer a shaping effect or are worn
under short dresses with the purpose to provide extra coverage in case of
Skirts are women's outerwear covering the hips
and legs to a varying degree. Compared to pants, skirts do not have
separated legs. Compared to a dress, skirts do not cover the upper body.
Any skirt that is longer than knee-long.
Any skirt that is ankle long or longer.
Any skirts that is approximately 2/3 thigh long to
Any skirt that is approximately 1/2 thigh long or
Wrap skirts have a characteristically look of layers
overlapping each other as if having been wrapped around the hips,
similarly to a towel. They are not necessarily put on by actual wrapping, but
rather styled and sewn as if they had been wrapped.
Pencil skirts are characteristically slim-fitted without a narrowing, rather than widening, at
the bottom, making them look narrow and elongated, like the tip of a
pencil. They often have a slit to enable leg movement and prevent tearing
the fabric. Compared to a tube skirt, pencil skirts get narrower at the
bottom while tube skirts are equally wide from top to bottom.
Pleated skirts have overlapping gathered layers
of fabric (pleats). The pleats are sewn together at the top of the skirt,
making it form-fitted at the waist. At the hemline, the pleats are not sewn
together making the skirt airy and voluminous, giving the skirt a characteristical free-flowing behavior.
Underskirts are innerwear skirts, usually
form-fitted. Compared to petticoats, underskirts are not meant to be
visible at all and are therefore almost always plain looking.
Skater skirts start high above the waist with a snugger
fit which then become looser as it elongates downwards. The hemline
usually ends just above the knees. The name derives from the lightly flowing
figure skating skirts. It's also known as A-skirt due to the narrow fit at
the top and wide at the bottom, like an (capital) "A". Compared to
a skater dress, skater skirts consist of a skirt part only.
Tube skirts are equally wide from top to bottom,
making the proportions look like a piece of a a tube.
Also called only tutu. Tutu skirts are short
and voluminous skirt traditionally worn by ballet dancers. Compared to
petticoats, tutus are worn on the outside.
More precise, full slip. Also called underdress.
A slip is a sleeveless dress worn as an inner layer under a robe or an
outerwear dress. They are usually at least somewhat form-fitted but not
necessarily snug. The word "slip" has several meanings and it is
therefore recommended to use the term "full slip", to avoid
Also called anklets. Ankle socks are short
socks reach up to the foot ankles. The name does not signify fabric type
or particular decorations, it only refers to the
length of the socks.
Comfort socks have at least one but often several attributes
that make them particularly more comfortable than average socks. Examples
of such attributes are, but not limited to; flat seams, extra gentle cuffs,
extra soft fabric, extra breathable fabric (that prevents sweating) etc.
Compared to health socks, comfort socks do not necessarily have
Also called knee highs. Knee socks reach
just under the knees, but do not cover the knees. The name refers only to
the length, allowing for any type of fabric. Most knee socks are made for
women, when referring to men's version, the term men's knee socks is
Leg warmers are long socks without a foot part,
covering the calves from the ankles up to under the knee or just above.
Originally, leg warmers were used dancers to between dance sessions to keep
the legs warm and thus preventing cramping. Today, leg warmers are used either
as thermal outerwear or as a fashion accessory.
Also spelled legwraps. Alternatively know
as leg bindings and puttee. Leg wraps are long and
narrow straps wound tightly around the leg to provide support and
protection, or as a fashion accessory.
Men's socks are garments covering the feet,
ankles and at least some part of the calves, depending on the style.
Men's socks are almost exclusively made in opaque fabrics. The styles are
often more conservative than women's socks, often just a subtle pattern on
the cuffs. Although, in later years, colorful men's socks have become
popular. Many styles, especially plain in smaller sizes, are often considered
to be unisex.
Women's socks are garments covering the feet,
ankles and at least some part of the calves, depending on the style.
Compared to men's socks, women's socks include sheer fabrics and a wider
variety of decorations.
Socks without styles, patterns and attributes that are seen as specifically male or female only can be
considered to be unisex if they are available in both women's and men's
sizes (EU size 36 and up). These socks tend to be intentionally one
colored without any patterns or decorative details whatsoever.
Over-knee socks reach just above the knees.
The name refers only to the length, allowing for any type of fabric being
Slouch socks longer socks that can be intentionally
pushed down to create folds, giving the appearance that the socks are falling down and slouching. The material used is often
thicker and heavier allowing the folds to get bigger.
Also called hold-ups and stay-up
stockings. Stay-ups are form-fitting, over-knee or longer socks made of
thin, highly elastic material. The styles differ but they are almost always
made of a synthetic material and sheer to some degree. Stay-ups are almost
identical to stockings but differ in one respect, they don't need garters or
suspenders, they are able to "stay up" or "hold up" on
by themselves without sliding or rolling down. They have strips of
silicone on the inside of the top, alternatively effective elastics.
Knee high stay-ups
Knee high stay-ups are a less common type of stay-ups
that extends to just below the knees, instead of above the knees like
traditional stay-ups. Just like normal stay-ups, knee-high stay-ups have
strips of silicone on the inside of the top, alternatively effective elastics
that helps them to stay in place.
Stirrup stay-ups have stirrups (bands)
instead of covering the entire foot. The stirrups stretch over the side of
the ankles and around the bottom of the foot.
Thigh high stay-ups
Thigh high stay-ups are extra
long stay-ups that cover at least 1/2 of the thighs.
Also called nylon socks. Stockings are form-fitting,
over-knee or longer socks made of thin, highly elastic material. Almost
all stockings are made of synthetics which is why they are also called
"nylon socks". The styles differ but they are almost always sheer
to some degree with an accentuated top. Stockings are used as lingerie or as
fashion outerwear in combinations with a mini dress or mini skirt. In both
use cases, they are meant to be visible. Depending on style, stockings might
need garters or suspenders to hold them up and are therefore often shown together with a garter belt and suspenders.
Thigh high stockings
Also called thigh highs, omitting stockings.
Thigh high stockings are extra long stockings that cover
at least 1/2 of the thighs.
Also called rib-knit stockings. Ribbed
stockings are made in rib-knitted materials, which gives them a particular look. The material is considerably thicker and
warmer. Ribbed stockings are used as outerwear.
Also called bikini set. Bikinis are two-piece
swimwear consisting of a bra-like top, often with halterneck, and a panties
shaped bottom part. These parts are often sold separately. Bikinis differ
from a normal bra and panty by using durable materials that do not become
translucent when wet.
Also called bikini bra. Bikini tops are bra-like
tops with style and fabrics adapted to function as swimwear. Since the
women's bust differ, a bikini top is often sold separately. This is
especially common for large cup sizes.
Bandeau bikini top
Also called bandeau bikini bras. Bandeau swimwear
tops look like wrapped around the torso, without shoulder straps. The
name is originates from the French word "bande", meaning "strip".
Also called tank bikini top. Tankini tops
are swimwear tops shaped like a tank top or camisole, with built-in
bra cups. Tankinis are great alternatives to the much less covering bikini
tops. Just like with bikini tops, tankinis are made of fabrics that do not
become translucent when wet.
Also called bikini bottom. Bikini panties
are swimwear bottoms shaped like underwear panties but are made from
fabric that will keep their shape when wet and will not become translucent.
Also called just swimsuit. One-piece
swimsuits are swimwear combining top and panties as one single garment, similar to an underwear bodysuit.
Also called teddy suit. A teddy is a
form-fitting lingerie top with integrated panty part, without legs.
Sleeves are optional. Teddies are mainly intended as romantic lingerie and
are therefore made in sheer fabrics or lace. Compared to a bodysuit, a teddy
is a revealing lingerie item not suitable to be worn in public as outerwear.
A simplified but important distinction is that a bodysuit is opaque underwear
while a teddy is sheer lingerie.
More specific, clothing top, fashion
top or apparel top. Top is an ambiguous and general term for
upper body wear that cover at least the chest. The term tends to be used
for items that are not archetypical upper body garments, such as shirts,
sweaters or T-shirts. The ambiguity makes "top" a useful fallback
term, similar to how "pants" can be used
for most types of leg covering garments (e.g. shorts, khakis, jeans etc).
Bandeau tops are minimal tops that look like being wrapped
around the chest, without shoulder straps.
Camisoles are completely sleeveless tops,
usually with very slim strip or string as shoulder straps, extending to the
waist or hips. The collar bone and neckline are left fairly
exposed. Camisoles are traditionally used as underwear or as a very
informal top. Compared to tank tops, camisoles have more open shoulders and
Crop tops are cut or "cropped" at the
bottom, exposing the waist.
Cropped jackets are cut or "cropped" at
the bottom, exposing the waist. The cropping is done purely for
Peplum tops have a gathered fabric around the
waist giving it a "skirt-like" effect.
Also called polo shirt, especially in
reference to men's polo tops. Polo tops are characteristically short
sleeved, with buttoned neckline and collar.
Also called singlet. Tank tops are
sleeveless tops used as underwear or an informal top. Compared to camisoles,
tank tops have more fabric covering the shoulders and collar bone, while
camisoles have only thin straps or strings across the shoulders.
Tunics are very loose-fitting tops with
characteristically loose sleeves. The sleeves are sometimes merged with
the torso, making them more of opening on the sides rather than actual
sleeves. The length is usually between the hips and knees.
Waist cinchers are compressing, belt-like wraps
that cover the waist from just under the chest to the hips. Depending on
style, they look either like a stylish corset without cups, or a wide belt.
The corset-like styles are meant to be seen and can even be worn on top of a other garments, e.g. a shirt.
Shapewear waist cincher
Waist cinchers that are specifically shapewear are
plain looking and always worn as innerwear. Their primary function is to
compress the waist area to create a more appealing looking shape. Waist
cinchers are popular among both women and men. They are some
Waist cincher with panties
Waist cincher with panties have integrated panties
that offers additional coverage and shaping, and that helps the garment to
stay in place. Compared to panties with high waist, waist cincher with
panties covers the torso much more and offers much stronger shaping effect.
Wigs are headwear made from real or synthetic
strands of hair, used to either cover baldness or as fashion accessory.