Underwear and Lingerie for him and her

Welcome to underwear-directory.com, the number one directory for your lingerie shopping needs! Here you will find a lot of online lingerie stores offering thousands of products to suit every taste - whether you want it sexy or silly, exotic or erotic, classy or trashy, you will surely find lingerie, underwear, hosiery, and clothes for both men and women. We also have many great resources for lingerie lovers, so whether you are simply looking for information, or the latest fashion and trends, you will find it here on our site!

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The Lingerie Business - The Past And Present

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The history of Underwear, a brief background

The earlier half of the 20th century, a woman's underwear had only three major purposes - to alter their shape (achieved through the use of corsets, girdles and bras), for hygiene and modesty. Gone are those days. Today, undergarments are no longer large and bulky, but rather, smaller and form fitting. The use of cotton is still very popular but a lot of underwear is now made of washable fabrics such as Lycra, nylon, polyester, satin, lace, or silk.

The term lingerie was derived from the French term "linge" translated as "washables" in English. Although the French term refers to both woman and man's underwear, in the English language, it is applied specifically for woman's under garments such as panties, bra and bikini.

The concept of lingerie as visually appealing was developed in the latter part of the 19th century but there were already several controversies in the 1960s concerning lingerie manufacturers such as Frederick's of Hollywood, which began to glamorize lingerie as erotic appealing. With the development of modern technology and innovation of products, fabrics and laser-cut seamless underwear, the lingerie market has expanded exponentially. Along with designers putting greater emphasis on rich looking fabrics, embroideries, lace and the use of brighter, more daring colors, lingeries in the 21st century have doubled as outer wear. This is what the French refer to as "dessous dessus" which basically means inner wear as outer wear.

The Latest about Lingerie

Today, the largest selling lingerie product is the bra, along with knickers and hosiery. In 2005, bras accounted for 56% of the total value in the lingerie market, growing by 13% in terms of volume. On the other hand, knickers represented 29% of sales, increasing by 12% between the years 1994 to 2005. Since the 1990s, women have greater control over their bra sizes because of the availability of measurement alternatives which are provided by underwear manufacturers. For example, the world famous House of Cadolle has produced bras, panties and other lingeries on a made to order basis (also referred to as Demi-measure, a term used to mean "clothes which are made to fit the customer's measurements"). British firm, Kate Gibson Lingerie only produces lingerie for petite women who wear AA to 34 B cup bra. On the other hand, Bravissimo, provides a wide choice of lingerie and swimwear for well endowed women who wear D to K cup. The focus of bra sizes has changed from choosing bras with average sizes to wearing bras that fit perfectly. Now, adamant, big boobed women can get better deals so they can celebrate their curves and feel great about themselves! Because of this new philosophy, there is a huge demand for full busted bras.

Many retailers today acknowledge the fact that the lingerie market has presented greater profit margins that regular apparel. This can be attributed to the fact that everyone wants to feel sexy and beautiful. With lingerie, even plus sized women can now feel good about their bodies.

Today, new lingerie lines are being launched, giving new products a new makeover. Many lingerie vendors are now focusing on alliances with a couple of lingerie specialty stores. For example, Sara Lee's European intimate apparel business has merged with Dim Branded Apparel. Sales channels of several lingerie manufacturers are taking a major share in European countries with several companies with the growing consolidation in the sales channel - Princess Tam Tam has been acquired by Japan's Fast Retailing Co and Orcanta by Chantelle Group all indicate the popularity of specialist lingerie chains.

One of the most convenient and safest ways of purchasing intimate apparel is by shopping online. through several online shops, you can now find a variety of woman's underwear - everything from playful baby dolls and teddies, romantic bustiers, chemises and robes or everyday foundation wear such as panties and bras - with just a few clicks of a button. Now, your choice of lingerie is no longer limited to white, crème, champagne or rose. You can express your personal style with more than just your basic cotton. By making a quick search on the web, you can find premier sources of lingerie and hosiery such as fishnet stockings, panty hose - something for every day and for play.

Remember those beautiful labels you see in Vogue or Sex in the City? If you want to enjoy the glitz and glamor of the lingerie business, one event you can visit is Europe's famous and prestigious lingerie fair in Paris - the Salon International de la Lingerie. Of course there are some local shops where you can find labels of one or two pieces but these pale in comparison to the beautiful and ironic pieces of Chantal Thomass placed side by side with the glamorous Madame V styles at the fair. The SIL is boasts of ornated walls and ceilings, golden mirrors and fireplace and instead of the traditional catwalk; guests are seated around cozy small tables, champagne glass in hand while models with straight black hair and red lips go around the area to show off the beauty of new inner wear.

But with the worldwide economy in turmoil, people all around the world are tightening their belts. This in turn has caused a slowdown in the sales of many beauty products. As the times become even more difficult, hosiery is experiencing an increase in sales, a phenomenon termed as the "lipstick effect". The "lipstick index" was developed when business owners noticed that during a poor economy, sales of many luxury products decrease but sales of inexpensive items such as lipstick increased. This is because most people tend to splurge on relatively inexpensive luxuries such as lipstick and hosiery rather than extravagant wardrobes. The Wall Street Journal has reported that U.S. hosiery sales have increased to 2.3% from last year with 60% increase in September and 70% in October. According to a famous online retailer, Bare Necessities, customers have been purchasing opaque or patterned tights to update their wardrobe.

Also because of the poor economic performance, Lingerie Americas, an organizer of trade shows which are held yearly in New York and Las Vegas has cancelled their own trade show which is scheduled for March 2009. Many analysts believe that this is because of Eurovet's investment with competitor CurvExpo. Eurovet is responsible for SIL and Mode city trade show which are held in Paris annually.