Forget paparazzi catching your cooch as you exit the limo. Those days are over.
Now, not wearing underwear isn’t a secret surprise revealed by an untimely bulb flash. It’s a full-blown statement.
It’s a sheer panel from the ankle to the upper hip, a gap in your embellishment from hem to underarm, a pair of twin-slits that go right up to your waist. Gwyneth has done it. Jennifer Lawrence has done it.
And now? Kendall Jenner has done it.
The new no-knickers look has all the subtlety of a statement tee that says “I’m not wearing underwear!” Judging by the headlines those dresses are getting, people are absolutely scandalised by this idea. As if free-buffing breaks some unspoken standard of decency.
Now, I’m not saying Kendall’s very visible front flap met the utmost standards of taste – but really? Are we so amazed that people might choose not to wear clothes under their clothes?
Not wearing underwear isn’t some shocking or edgy or off-the wall thing. It’s something that millions of normal people do every single day, without concern or consequence. Sure, announcing it is new. But doing it? That’s been happening literally since pre-history. Going commando isn’t a weird, crazy, oh-so-modern thing to do – wearing knickers is.
While there are historical records of women wearing drawers in 16th century Italy, for most women, slips and petticoats did the trick well into the later half of the 18th century. Until that time it was all out in the open under your skirt. Then, as we got better at making fabric, we started using more of it, adding under layers of bloomers or britches or pantaloons to women’s wardrobes.
Modern women’s underwear has its genesis in the 1920s, when flappers would wear step-ins. These looked sort of like boy shorts, but with wider leg holes. Given all the fancy legwork involved in dancing the Charleston, you can understand why those girls had a need for knickers – it was a sure-fire way to avoid indecent exposure.