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  • 3 min read

    The history of lingerie is endlessly fascinating. Did you know, for example, that in the past women’s underwear used to be crotchless as standard? It was seen as more hygienic, more practical, and even more modest since the wearer could use the bathroom without undressing.

    With the advent of shorter skirts, closed-crotch knickers eventually took the place of crotchless as hemlines rose. Today, ‘ouvert’ underwear (that’s French for ‘open’) is much more of a niche item, mostly saved for special occasions. But there are plenty of reasons to try it!

    Chloe crotchless knickers from Mayfair Stockings

    Mayfair Chloe Open Suspender Knickers

    For one thing, many people actually find crotchless lingerie to be more comfortable. Both in the sense that there’s less potential for irritation from fabric rubbing against a sensitive area, and because it’s simply more breathable – much like going commando, only with underwear still on! If you want an airy option to keep you cool on those hot days, something crotchless could be just the thing.

    For much the same reason, sufferers of hypersensitivity or vulvodynia may find some relief from open-crotch lingerie. Keeping the area free from seams, friction, and allergy-inducing fabrics can help to keep flare ups at bay. Who knew that crotchless lingerie could have health benefits?!

    Mayfair lingerie crotchless knickers

    Mayfair Savannah Sheer Open Knicker – a subtly ouvert design

    As our ancestors knew well, open-crotch knickers can also make it much easier to go to the toilet, at least in certain circumstances. Our outfits today may be far less cumbersome and multi-layered than what women wore in the 1800s. But in an evening gown or even just a dress that’s tightly-fitted, it can still be a faff having to wiggle your underwear down and then back up. The same goes for knickers that are tucked under a corset, or worn beneath a suspender belt.

    Of course, the biggest reason (I’m guessing) that people like open-crotch lingerie today is that it can be very sexy. Much like in the bathroom, there’s no need to take it off in the bedroom either. And aesthetically, it definitely makes a statement! It’s bold, it’s daring, and it leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination.

    Amour pin up crotchless tights

    Amour Pin Up Crotchless Suspender Tights

    Well, usually. There are actually three different types of brief or thong that get called ouvert or open.  One is not crotchless at all but does have an open back, such as the Le Petit Secret Shorty by Maison Close. So be sure to check the product description carefully if you’re adamant you want an open gusset.

    Then there are ‘secretly’ crotchless designs, pieces which have a small or subtle opening only but will look like regular underwear when you’ve got your legs together. The Mayfair Chloe Open Suspender Knickers is an example.

    Maison close crotchless pants

    Maison Close Tapage Nocturne Openable Thong

    And finally there are 'overtly ouvert' garments. Ones with giant, can’t-miss-them cut outs that will add more than a dash of naughtiness to your look. This style definitely isn’t for the faint of heart! Just look at Maison Close’s Tapage Nocturne Openable Thong, or their strappy Coup de Foudre Open Panty.

    Can’t make your mind up? There are also pieces such as the Maison Close Dentelle Openable Tanga, which have buttons or another fastening to transition from closed to open crotch.

    The Maison Close Catsuit

    The Maison Close Sheer Catsuit with Zip Opening

    But your options aren’t limited to briefs and thongs! How about a crotchless bodysuit or catsuit with zip opening? And of course, we can’t forget about crotchless tights. Here, you’ve got two options. Tights that are open only at the crotch, such as the Black Lace Crotchless Tights by Amour. Or, tights such as the Scandal Suspender Tights by Trasparenze that also have cut-outs at the hips, resembling a suspender belt and stockings. Wearing underwear below is entirely up to you.

    Crotchless lingerie has a very loyal following, and is incredibly popular for a variety of reasons. Are you a fan, and what’s the reason if so?

    Visit the Crotchless and Openable Collection of Lingerie and Hosiery

    by  Estelle Puleston

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