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Underwear Models Through the Years: 25 Photos From the 1940s to Now
  • Many underwear ads throughout the '40s were sketched, likely because it was thought to be too scandalous to use real-life images of women in their skivvies.

  • This 1950s ad seemed to be a push for modernism, but it's considered highly sexist by today's standards.

  • Girdles were advertised heavily throughout the '40s and '50s.

  • Throughout the 1950s and '60s, Maidenform launched the now-iconic "I Dreamed" campaign, which featured buxom women dreaming of doing all sorts of daring and fabulous things wearing her Maidenform bra and little else. The campaign was originated by advertising exec Harry Trenner—whose client was Maidenform—and his wife Florence Shapiro Trenner while sitting around the kitchen table.

  • Another "I Dreamed" ad (note those handcuffs!) The Dream campaign proved successful, as Maidenform's pointy Chansonette bra became the label's best-seller during its 30-year run.

  • Pointy bras were all the rage in the 1950s and '60s as evidenced by this 1958 Warner's ad.

  • Another pointy-bra Warner's ad, but this time it's 10 years later and the model appears more suggestive, younger, sexier, and freer than the model in the previous ad (it was the '60s.)

  • Yes, an actual Nipple Bra existed in the 1970s. Believe it or not, hard nipples were a huge trend during the decade, one that's obviously waned over time.

  • Many underwear ads throughout the 1970s featured threesomes of women—likely playing up men's fantasies and a nod to the decade's obsession with things like "Charlie's Angels." This image is from a 1979 Victoria's Secret catalog.

  • Another shot from Victoria's Secret 1979 catalogue.

  • Another campy '70s ad featuring three women.

  • These women—posing for a 1979 Victoria's Secret catalog—look like they're refugees from the Playboy mansion.

  • In the 1980s, Maidenform took a new approach.  Like the "I Dreamed" campaign, The Maidenform Woman" was placed in wild scenarios ("you never know where she'll turn up" was the tag line) but this time, the women didn't dream, they did.

  • This catalog ad from the '80s keeps with the three women mold, but the style has shifted to embody the tawdry "Flashdance" nature of the decade.

  • Apparently, the marketing people at Lycra didn't think this threesome was creepy in 1991.

  • A 1991 Jockey ad featured a "real" professional woman in its campaign.

  • Even underwear followed the high-waisted trend of the '80s and early '90s, as seen in this 1991 ad for Lou lingerie.

  • Model Eva Herzigova fronted Wonderbra's now-iconic campaign in 1994, sparking a revolution and prompting women everywhere to buy the breast-enhancing bra.

    Photo: The Advertising Archives/The Advertising Archives
  • Tyra Banks leds the new Victoria's Secret Angels pack in the 1990s. When compared to today's Angels, these ladies definitely have smaller busts and flatter hair.

  • The 1990s were also a time when Calvin Klein popularized the "skinny" underwear model, as opposed to curvy bombshells. Christy Turlington fronted the campaign throughout the decade, and again in 2013.

  • In the '90s, new model Adriana Lima paved the way for current models like Miranda Kerr to pose wearing nothing but a pair of boots.

  • By the mid-2000s, the Victoria's Secret Angel "dream team" was in place, arguably responsible for its firm place in pop culture. The bringing together of models Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Gisele Bundchen, Adriana Lima, and Alessandra Ambrosio brought the brand seemingly endless publicity and popularity.

  • Today, Victoria's Secret Angels are a key part of pop culture, with plenty of high-fashion models becoming part of the brand's repertoire.

  • Karlie Kloss (pictured), Gisele Bundchen, Chanel Iman, Karolina Kurkove, and Miranda Kerr are a few of the "real" fashion models who've stripped down for Victoria's Secret and rocked "wings" in the brand's hot-ticket fashion shows.

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Underwear Models Through the Years: 25 Photos From the 1940s to Now




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