Wearing underwear as outerwear is a fashion trend popularized by celebrities, sports and media.

It began as a practical and comfortable variation of clothing, such as the T-shirt and the sleeveless shirt, but would later become fashion statements that would be controversial and accused of being provocative. 21st century versions include the display of thongs and bras in women’s clothing, and the display of underpants under low-slung pants in men.

It is unclear when this officially began as a fashion trend, however, Chanel unveiled womenswear made from jersey in the 1920s, a fabric that was usually used for undergarments. Notoriously, another notable edition was the invention of the T-shirt, which became popular outerwear after the Second World War. Short-sleeve shirts were originally intended to be a comfortable alternative to Victorian undergarments but teenagers began to wear them as outerwear, due in part to James Dean and Marlon Brando’s characters frequently wearing them this way in the movies Rebel Without a Cause and the A Streetcar Named Desire respectively.Swimwear, such as the bikini, have a history in originally being used as underwear pre-Renaissance, and slip dresses were first widely worn in the 1990s, made from layered chiffon, polyester satins and charmeuse, and often trimmed with lace.

In entertainment, underwear-like outfits are often the uniform for wrestlers and circus performers; former DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz revealed that this was the reason why superheroes like Superman wore briefs on top of their tightsMadonna has been credited for making lingerie a popular outfit for female music artists on stage (e.g. Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Katy Perry) when Jean-Paul Gaultier designed corsets (“an emblematic symbol of fashion in the early 90s”), a cone bra and girdle for her Blonde Ambition Tour costumes. For men, sagging is often credited to have began from rap and hip hop artists in the 1990s, as well as skateboarders.

The sexual liberation movement of 1968 began the re-appropriation of the corset as a symbol of rebellion and “sexual perversity” by young women associated with London’s punk and Goth subcultures. This re-appropriation allowed a symbol historically associated with female oppression, to become reconceived as a symbol of sexual empowerment in fashion. Outside of underwear fetishism, the corset made an appearance in evening gowns and wedding dresses.

The T-shirt would eventually become a part of sportswear fashion with unique designs from many fashion brands.Sports bras were first invented in 1975, and women have been wearing them under other clothing since then, but in 1999, Brandi Chastain scored the fifth kick in the penalty shootout to give the United States the win over China in the final game of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, and she spontaneously whipped off her jersey in celebration, exposing her sports bra. Her act is regarded by some as a historical event that boosted the wearing sports bras on their own. From that point forward, sports bras have increasingly been worn as outerwear.