French Expose Their Undies.

This weekend (24-26) January, Paris will be hosting its International Lingerie Fair at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre. So, to follow a few French lingerie facts from the Institut Français de la Mode.

In the year 2012/13, the French lingerie industry was worth 2.6 billion Euros. French women spent an average of 97 Euros on lingerie. The amount spent varied on age. The biggest spenders on underwear were the 15 to 24 age group with an average annual spend of 144 Euros. The next highest spenders were 45 to 54 year olds with an average spend of 133 Euros. The lowest spenders were the over 65s with just 48.50 Euros. In terms of what the ladies bought – bras accounted for just under 40% of sales, knickers 30% and “vêtements de nuit” just over 18%.

French men seem less preoccupied with their underwear. An average 33 Euro spend. The most popular male underwear item – boxer shorts, representing 67% of male underwear sales.

Where are people buying their underwear? It seems fairly well balanced with 20% of purchases being made in supermarkets and hypermarkets; 19% in high street stores and 18% online. Department stores accounted for 10% of purchases.

As for trends – according to the Salon de la Lingerie website, 2014/15 will mark a return to “the codes of classic British elegance” and a “1970’s carefree party mood.”

And now for a few lingeries adverts.;I’m an avid collector of French advertisements, mostly culled from magazines dating from 1903 to the present day. Here are a few ads for undergarments from 1905 to 1968.

Corsets 1905

Corsets 1910

Something hard wearing and secure

1933Corsets 1931

Stockings 1933

Scandale in 1955Quite daring for 1955

Seduction in 1956Stockings 1956Something New 1960

Lou 1956



Something for the Gentlemen. To star with this rather curious pair of reinforced “driving” underpants for male motorists circa 1960

Underpants for drivers 1960


More underpants circa 1968 in – a long way from modern boxer shorts

1968 - Did men really wear these???? T


The start of "real" underpants 1968