Why do knickers have a bow on the front?

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·2-min read
Woman in pants with hand on hip
Most knickers have a little bow on the front – ever wondered why? (Getty Images)

Whether you buy your knickers from M&S and Primark, or La Perla and Agent Provocateur, most have one design feature in common.

And that's a little bow on the front at the very top.

Most of us won't have given the little bow so much as a second thought – even if they do come in handy when working out which way round to put your pants on.

But it turns out there's more to the tiny bow than you might have initially thought.

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The little bow is a common design feature of knickers. (REUTERS)
The little bow is a common design feature of knickers. (REUTERS)

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A post on Reddit went viral when the user asked: "Why do so many panties have that little bow on the centre front?"

The most common response was that the bow kept underwear from falling down as elastic was yet to be invented – but today it also remains on knickers for aesthetic reasons.

One person said: "Now? Because it's cute, it's feminine, it evokes innocence, and it makes it really easy to tell which side is the front when dressing hastily in the dark

"As for the roots of the tradition? It comes from pre-elastic days when your underthings were held in place by a bit of ribbon threaded through the eyelet lace at the tops. The most common response was that the bow kept underwear from falling down as elastic was yet to be invented – but today it also remains on knickers for aesthetic reasons."

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Many of us today use the bow to distinguish the front and back of our pants as we get ready for work in a bleary-eyed daze.

But this has been going on for centuries as before electricity, many women would have to get up before dawn and dress in the dark – or by candlelight.

Many people admitted they hadn't known the reason behind the bow, with some even claiming it had "blown their mind".

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