What is "Chemise" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 14-Jan-2023 (1 year, 3 months, 1 day ago)
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The term "chemise" in the context of textiles refers to a loose-fitting, lightweight garment that is typically worn as an undergarment or sleepwear. It originated in medieval times and has evolved over centuries to become a versatile and stylish piece of clothing. The chemise is known for its simple construction, comfortable fit, and various fabric options that cater to different preferences and occasions.

Meaning and Definition

In textile terminology, a chemise is a type of garment that is often characterized by its loose, flowing silhouette and minimalistic design. It is typically made from lightweight fabrics such as cotton, silk, or satin. The primary purpose of a chemise is to provide comfort and modesty as an undergarment, serving as a barrier between the body and outer garments. However, it has also become popular as a standalone sleepwear or a versatile layering piece in modern fashion.

Types of Chemise

The chemise has undergone several variations and adaptations throughout history. Here are some notable types:

  1. Historical Chemise: The historical chemise, originating in medieval Europe, was a loose-fitting undergarment made from linen or cotton. It typically had a square or rectangular shape and was worn by both men and women to protect their clothing from sweat and body oils.
  2. Chemise Dress: The chemise dress gained popularity in the 1920s as a fashionable and comfortable alternative to more restrictive clothing styles. It featured a loose-fitting, knee-length silhouette, often made from lightweight fabrics and adorned with delicate details such as lace or embroidery.
  3. Nightgown Chemise: The nightgown chemise is a variation designed specifically for sleepwear. It is typically made from soft, breathable fabrics such as cotton or silk, offering comfort and ease of movement during sleep.
  4. Lingerie Chemise: The lingerie chemise is a more seductive and intimate variation of the garment. It often features sheer or lace fabrics, adjustable straps, and intricate detailing, intended to enhance femininity and allure.
  5. Modern Everyday Chemise: In contemporary fashion, the everyday chemise has gained popularity as a versatile layering piece. It can be worn as a standalone dress or paired with other garments such as leggings or jeans, offering a comfortable and effortlessly chic look.

Top International Users and Manufacturers

Several international brands have embraced the chemise as a fashionable garment in their collections. Here are some notable users and manufacturers:

  1. Victoria's Secret: Known for their lingerie and sleepwear collections, Victoria's Secret offers a wide range of chemises that combine comfort and allure with luxurious fabrics and intricate designs.
  2. La Perla: A renowned luxury lingerie brand, La Perla incorporates chemises into their collections, focusing on exquisite craftsmanship, high-quality fabrics, and sophisticated designs.
  3. Calvin Klein: Calvin Klein offers modern and minimalistic chemises that capture the brand's signature aesthetic of simplicity and elegance. Their designs often feature clean lines and comfortable fabrics.
  4. Hanky Panky: Hanky Panky specializes in lingerie and intimate apparel, including chemises. They are known for their delicate lace details and comfortable stretch fabrics, catering to a wide range of body types.
  5. Natori: Natori offers a variety of chemises that combine style, comfort, and versatility. Their designs often feature unique prints, luxurious fabrics, and thoughtful details.

Tips for Handling Chemises

Proper care and handling can help maintain the quality and longevity of chemises:

  • Follow Care Instructions: Always refer to the care label attached to the garment for specific cleaning instructions. Different fabrics may require different care methods, such as handwashing, machine washing, or dry cleaning.
  • Gentle Washing: When washing a chemise, use mild detergent and opt for a gentle cycle to minimize potential damage to delicate fabrics or detailing.
  • Avoid Excessive Heat: High heat can cause shrinkage or damage to certain fabrics. It is advisable to avoid using a dryer and instead air dry the chemise to preserve its shape and fabric integrity.
  • Store Properly: To prevent wrinkling or snagging, fold the chemise carefully and store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Consider using drawer dividers or garment bags to protect it from potential damage.


The chemise is a timeless garment that has evolved from a practical undergarment to a versatile fashion piece. Its loose-fitting silhouette and lightweight fabrics make it comfortable and suitable for various occasions, whether as sleepwear, lingerie, or a fashionable everyday option. With a rich history and a range of international users and manufacturers, the chemise continues to be a popular choice for those seeking comfort, style, and effortless elegance.

A short slip or garment designed to wear under dresses. Structured like a camisole, but longer in length. Current trends show women wearing chemises over jeans as outer garments. Chemises can also be worn as lounge or sleepwear.

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