Are you feeling special today? Underwear and the 'fashioning' of female identity

Christiana Tsaousi, Joanna Brewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores underwear - a neglected (at least by academic literature) aspect of clothing - and the ways it is implicated in the (re)production of women's identities. Although underwear is ostensibly hidden from view, as part of women's clothing, we argue that it functions as a resource for identity construction. We present data from three focus groups to discuss some of the socio-psychological reasons for choosing and wearing the 'right' underwear. The analysis is based on three themes: the significance respondents attribute to underwear according to whether it is hidden or visible; the sensations it induces for the wearer; and the varying mobilisations of underwear to support aspects of the female identity project. We argue that underwear can be seen as a technique of the body or a technology of the self and that a woman 'learns' through the embodied experience of wearing different underwear how to (re)construct various elements of her identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalCulture and Organization
Issue number1
Early online date6 Jan 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • female identity project
  • identity construction
  • identity opseis
  • techniques of the body
  • technologies of the self
  • underwear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Are you feeling special today? Underwear and the 'fashioning' of female identity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this