In search of French knickers – thin on the ground these days

My friend M and I were discussing fashion the other week and we both had a question – whatever happened to French knickers?

blog imageYou know – proper French knickers. The type that are loose and flowing around your thigh, lace-trimmed and preferably made of silk. Neither of us has seen hide nor hair of them for over 10 years, and we are both, we discovered, hanging onto our last threadbare pair.

What has the fashion industry got against French knickers? Why is no-one making them anymore? They seem to have been replaced by the ubiquitious and very stretchy boyshort, which isn’t the same thing at all.

I loved French knickers. They were incredibly comfortable, sexy as anything, you could get lovely details like lace edging and inserts, and blokes certainly didn’t mind them for their ease of access. French knickers allowed air to get to your nether regions and also had the handy property of making pretty much anyone’s bum look good. No cling, you see – lots of flounce around your cellulity bits.

I mostly wore them in camiknicker form for a sleeker line rather than wearing a separate camisole. The best type were almost like a little minidress with princess seams and nothing was more sensual under, say, a loose silk/angora knit (something else which is no longer with us). Don’t recall anyone minding having to undo those tiny buttons either…

blog imageblog imageThere are plenty of people purporting still to sell French knickers, but as far as I can tell, they’re telling porkies. I had a quick search online just now and found these scarlet items at La Senza. Well, I don’t know quite what you’d call them – baby boyshorts maybe – but French knickers they certainly aren’t. Nor are these white bits of nothing (briefs, dear) from Fuzion Lingerie. French knickers were loose – that was the whole bloody point of them.

Perhaps it’s a problem of perception. Wikipedia tells me "The term is predominantly used in the UK to describe a type of underwear worn from the hip". Well no it isn’t. Who writes this crap? I never wore my French knickers on my hips – maybe that’s the problem. In the era of the low waist and the sleek fit, French knickers simply don’t fit the market. Maybe the return to volume will have a hidden benefit for us lingerie lovers.

Strangely enough, the first proper-looking French knickers I could find while searching online were clearly photographed on a man. Something is clearly going on here, because searching for ‘camiknickers’ online also takes you down some strange crossdressing S&M highways.

Is there something I don’t know about myself?

Maybe I’m in drag after all….

(BTW: you can get at least one proper cami at, a few designs of teddy in silk at, and a wider range of the bog-standard polyester type, such as the black ones above, at

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