A History of Bodystockings

2 mins read

Bodystockings, also known as unitards, have been a part of women’s undergarments for centuries. Initially designed for practical purposes, they have transformed into a popular fashion item today. Bodystockings have undergone significant changes in style, fabric, and purpose, adapting to the needs of different generations.

From the ballet stage to the red carpet, bodystockings have found their way into mainstream fashion, challenging traditional ideas of what constitutes an outfit. This article will take you on a journey through the history of bodystockings and how they have evolved over time.

The Early Days of Bodystockings

Bodystockings originated in the 18th century as an undergarment for dancers and acrobats. These garments were designed to provide warmth, support, and modesty, allowing performers to move freely without revealing too much skin. Bodystockings were made of silk, cotton, or wool, depending on the season, and were often hand-knitted.

They were one-piece garments that covered the entire body, including the arms and legs. The feet were left bare, and the neckline was high, often reaching the chin.

As bodystockings became more popular, they began to be worn by women outside of the performing arts. Women who worked in factories or mines wore bodystockings as protective clothing, preventing their clothes from getting caught in machinery or dirty from dust and dirt. Bodystockings also became popular among women who enjoyed outdoor activities such as hiking or horse riding, as they provided warmth and protection from the elements.

Bodystockings in the 20th Century

In the early 20th century, bodystockings began to evolve into more comfortable and versatile garments. The introduction of elastic fabrics such as Lycra and Spandex made it possible to create bodystockings that were form-fitting and stretchy.

Bodystockings became popular among gymnasts, ballet dancers, and ice skaters, who needed garments that allowed for ease of movement and flexibility. Bodystockings were also popular among women who wanted a sleek silhouette under their clothes, as they could smooth out any lumps or bumps.

In the 1960s, bodystockings became a part of the emerging fashion scene. They were often worn as outerwear, paired with skirts or pants. Bodystockings were no longer just functional garments but also fashion statements. The famous French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent was among the first designers to incorporate bodystockings into his collections. His designs featured sheer bodystockings with intricate lace detailing, which became a sensation among fashion enthusiasts.

The Popularity of Bodystockings Today

Today, bodystockings continue to be a popular fashion item, worn by women of all ages. They come in a variety of styles, fabrics, and designs, catering to different fashion tastes. Bodystockings can be worn on their own, as lingerie, or as part of an outfit.

They can be dressed up with a skirt and heels for a night out or dressed down with jeans and sneakers for a casual look. Bodystockings have also become popular among brides, who wear them under their wedding dresses for a smooth, seamless look.


In conclusion, the history of bodystockings is a fascinating journey from practical undergarments to versatile fashion items. From the ballet stage to the red carpet, bodystockings have found their way into mainstream fashion, challenging traditional ideas of what constitutes an outfit. With new advancements in technology and design, there’s no telling what the future holds for this versatile garment. What’s certain is that bodystockings will continue to captivate fashion enthusiasts for years to come.

Bodystockings were originally designed for women, but there are now bodystockings available for men as well. However, they are not as popular among men as they are among women.

Yes, bodystockings can be worn in public, and many people do wear them as part of their outfits. However, it’s important to consider the appropriateness of the outfit and the occasion when wearing a bodystocking in public.

Bodystockings made of elastic fabrics like Lycra and Spandex are designed to be comfortable and stretchy, allowing for ease of movement. However, some people may find them uncomfortable if they are too tight or ill-fitting.

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