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Now part of every woman's nightwear wardrobe, the chemise is a natural accompaniment to a comfy panty and tends to come in manner of shape size, colour and pattern. Often compared to the babydoll, a chemise is similar in many ways to its more modern cousin, except that babydolls tend to be more loose-fitting around the waist and hips, where chemises are more form-fitting, just like their predecessors, the common shirt.

Chemise History

The chemise takes its name from its historical forefathers, and indeed the word chemise has passed from Celtic, through Latin (as camisia) to French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, eventually finding its way to English as an anglicisation of the French word, chemise. Until the late 18th century, the word chemise meant a loose-fitting shirt to be worn under outer-garments to protect these clothes from the body's natural oils and keep them fresh. Today, the meaning has branched off into different meanings, depending on what language we're in: in French, the word chemise is what businessmen wear to work (the female version would be termed un chemisier), and in English, chemise has come to refer to the form-hugging nightwear article predominantly designed with women in mind.

Chemise Style

The structure of the chemise is relatively simply and, as is sometimes the case in the world of lingerie, there is some overlap of meaning when it comes to classifying and categorising garments. At its very core, a chemise is essentially a camisole or a slip. It is usually held on the body by two light shoulder straps, or spaghetti straps, and features a block of fabric which hangs down covering the waist and upper pelvis. In style, the difference between the chemise and its sister designs might be seen in its tightness. The chemise tends to fit more closely to the form of one's body, where other garments like camisoles, babydolls and full slips tend to be more wavy and loose.

Whilst a silk or a satin chemise is certainly a more straightforward option for your nightwear and one which avoids the frills and extras of other lingerie tops, it is by no means plain or boring. The designers and brands in our range are constantly creating new, exciting patterns and styles to spice up your nightwear, making chemises an important and stylish part of anyone's night- and loungewear wardrobe.

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