Whenever something new comes on the international fashion scene and makes an instant splash, it's easy for onlookers to dismiss it as a passing fad. However, every now and then something comes along that's so revolutionary that it never goes out of style. Blue jeans and T-shirts are two well-known examples, but there have been many other less obvious ones. Panties as we know them, for instance, didn't come into existence until the 1940s, but since that time they've never left. The modern bra , dating back to the early 1900s, is yet another innovation that's stuck around.
While all of the examples I've mentioned have varied in style throughout the generations, their basic form has stayed strongly in fashion. Jeans may waver from high to low cut, flared to boot leg, but since Levi Strauss first introduced them in 1973, not a decade has gone by when they weren't a vital part of the American wardrobe.
The type of clothing trends that experience a rush of excitement and then fade from existence are things like legwarmers or platform shoes. Things that you still see from time to time, but are irrevocably linked to the time period in which they first saw fame.
So what puts period panties in the category of clothing innovations that will last the test of time? A couple of simple facts.
1. They serve a function.
Why did Levis and modern under garments stick around for the past century? They met a need. For jeans, it was the need for a working man's (and later woman's) pants, something that was durable enough that it could be worn in rough conditions without tearing, and would also protect the skin of farmers, ranchers, and other laborers. For bras… well, I don't think I need to explain why that was such an improvement on the corset.
Period panties meet a need – not just a desire for fashion – that has gone unaddressed for literally thousands of years. Women make up slightly more than half of the world's human population, and menstruate about once per month, yet in all that time there had never been an undergarment designed to facilitate this. Now that it's arrived, women are not about to let it go.
2. They're comfortable.
We all love to look good, but at the end of the day fashion is a fickle mistress. Trends are left up to the whims and ideas of a changing population, but one thing has always trumped the latest style, and that's comfort. It's not just the utilitarian nature of things like T-shirts and bras that keep them in favor with the public. It's the fact that they provide comfort. Soft cotton tees revolutionized the shirt business, changing the stiff button down styles out for something people could move freely in. And again… the bra vs. the corset doesn't need an explanation.
Like their fashion forebears, the panties, period panties will undoubtedly adapt to whatever the current mode is, but they're definitely aren't going to be left in the 2010s.