From Athleisure to Embroidery: Iconic Lingerie Around the World
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From Athleisure to Embroidery: Iconic Lingerie Around the World

The modern lingerie industry contains multitudes. Consumers have more to choose from than at any other time in lingerie history, from size and price to style and design. And with online shopping, your physical location is less of a hindrance than ever.

However, it must be remembered this wasn't always the case. There used to be a time when you could only buy relatively homogenous lingerie from your local shops. I grew up in the rural American Midwest, which meant shopping at department stores and shoving myself into C cup t-shirt bras. The items people wore halfway across the world? They looked completely different from what I was wearing. And they were mostly out of my reach.

Wacoal Awareness Bra, a typical U.S. retail offering

Today, someone living in Kansas City can buy the same lingerie set as someone living in Paris, thanks to the internet. However, even amongst the globalization of fashion, certain countries are still known for iconic shapes and styles.

What lingerie is your country famous for? Let’s take a look at just a few destinations known around the world for their lingerie.

United States

Their push-up styles may be less in fashion today, but the round, smooth shape of a Victoria’s Secret foam cup bra has become a classic American lingerie style.

Nipple coverage and invisibility beneath clothing is still important for most Americans, meaning t-shirt bras like the Natori Feathers reign supreme for mass market retailers.

Even new trending brands like SKIMS, Thirdlove, and Cuup are focused on smooth silhouettes in simple colors.

And although the sporty, oh-so-90s Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein aesthetic feels retro today, that simple, athletic-inspired style is still very American.

Japan

From the "Salute" collection by Wacoal Japan

Japanese lingerie is known for its frills, color, and embroidery. Think multicolored prints and matching floral embroidery with gathered mesh overlays.

Even everyday bras are made with with details like picot elastic, rhinestones, and dyed-to-match bows. Cups and knickers alike typically offer full coverage.

Bras cups are often made of fabric-covered foam or stiff batting that is cut-and-sewn to give the breasts a very front-facing silhouette. And push-up styles are everywhere. Japanese bras often have thick foam panels inside the cup, plus removable cookies for extra volume.

France

French lingerie is all about silk, lace, and heritage brands. When you think of a French lingerie brand, you probably think of one that’s been around for decades, selling lace bras with matching tangas that feel effortlessly chic.

France has a long history with lace manufacturing, so it’s no surprise that French lingerie is known for it. Cut-and-sew lace cups, combined with silk or mesh, give the impression of elegant nonchalance.

Cup shapes are typically less round than American styles, but less pointed than UK bras. Think “lifted teardrop.”

Australia

With most Australian cities experiencing warmer weather year round, it makes sense that Australian lingerie brands have such a summery, relaxed feel.

These bras often combine easy shapes with flat embellishment. Think floral embroidery and extraneous straps that sit close to the skin.

The Australian lingerie market has grown in the last decade, so it makes sense that the trends they are known for are so modern. Although a rounded shape is common for everyday bras sold at Australian department stores, easy styles have become iconically Australian.

United Kingdom

The UK is home to some of the best DD+ bra brands in the world, and with that comes extra engineering, structure, and support.

This is reflected in their homegrown retailers, as well. Rigby and Peller, once known as “the Queen’s bra fitter,” is known for their focus on fit as well as fashion, and Bravissimo focuses exclusively on fuller bust bra sizes.

Three- and four-piece bra cups abound. These bras often include careful grading between sizes to ensure all breast sizes get appropriate support.

And that concludes our lingerie journey around the world! What do you think? Do you agree with our descriptions here? How would you define the lingerie style in your country?


Quinne Myers

Quinne Myers is a lingerie expert living in Brooklyn, NY, where she creates quippy written content, crafts dreamy illustrations, and runs the ethically-made loungewear line, she and reverie.

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