Tuesday 6 December 2022

Lupine Publishers| Quality Analysis and Testing of Undergarments

 Lupine Publishers| Journal of Textile and Fashion Designing


The quality of the undergarments is a combination of design and materials of the desirable products for intended use and the target market. No one will buy a product of poor quality or with any visual defects. The industry critically depends on the factories, the complex supply chain, and if the best procedures are maintained in their quality control systems. A good quality control system maximizes production according to specified requirements in the first attempt. To achieve an acceptable level of satisfaction, quality control is important for design quality, colours, suitability of products, stylistic approach and brand name impact on the market. The most common reason for fabric breakage on cheap undergarments is the fact that there are no set quality standards for most of the cheap products. The consumer checks the quality of undergarments in order to ensure product reliability and quality. While prices for items having higher quality, standards are higher than that of cheap fabrics, high quality tested garments are always a better choice. There are internationally recognized standards that follow a specific format of the inspection process to verify the product quality. This paper describes the most common testing standards required for undergarment production.

Keywords: Quality; Testing; Underwear; Undergarments; Innerwear; Brassiere; Lingerie; Slip; Fabrics


Undergarments, underwear, innerwear, underclothes, undergarments, undies, smalls and sometimes underthings are a category of apparel that gets us down to the bare bones of ourselves. It relates to our body, comfort, sense of self, sex appeal and underpinning. Undergarments are worn next to the skin, underneath a person’s outer clothing. It is the foundation for all our clothes helps to keep the outer garments clean by absorbing sweat and oils from skin. It helps to keep warm in the cold climates. While we spend years curating the perfect wardrobe, we often overlook its foundation - our underwear drawer. Right underwear, can change the way we feel in our clothes, giving us the confidence and the coverage, we need to wear everything from our everyday t-shirts to our evening dresses.

Women’s undergarments are collectively known as ‘lingerie’. The words underwear and lingerie are sometimes used interchangeably but tend to be reserved for women’s wear. The French word lingerie means undergarments and applies for either sex, but in English-speaking countries, the term has come to be associated exclusively with more attractive or sensual lightweight underwear or nightclothes. The French word in its original form derives from the old French word ‘linge’, meaning linen. They may also be called ‘intimate clothing’ or simply ‘intimates’ made up of several product segments like bras, panties, shapewear, sleepwear, lightweight robes, and daywear, which means mostly slips and camisoles. The specific choice of the word often is motivated by an intention to imply the garments are alluring, fashionable or both [1].

Generally, regular underwear is more economical having a simple design. It is typically made from inexpensive cotton and can be purchased in packs. Lingerie, on the other hand, is typically a bit more expensive. It is often made from an expensive material, having intricacy of designs. One big difference between underwear and lingerie is the reason it is worn. Although lingerie is usually worn beneath the clothes as well, it is not usually chosen for practicality or comfort. Instead, lingerie is chosen because it is fashionable or enticing. Women often wear lingerie that they believe will be attractive. Informal usage suggests visually appealing or even erotic clothing. Although most lingerie is designed to be worn by women, some manufacturers now design lingerie for men [2]. Technically, all lingerie is underwear, but not all underwear is lingerie. Underwear is worn for practicality and comfort by both genders, while lingerie is typically worn by women because it is attractive. Regular underwear is usually less expensive than lingerie, and it has been around much longer.

Lingerie has been marketed for generations that reflect deep emotions and attitudes about themselves, their roles, and history as women. The underwear industry has been selling something that seemed sexy for years, even if it was not necessarily comfortable or functional. Many lingerie brands seem to design products form, in a voyeuristic perspective, it is for someone else’s pleasure, not necessarily the wearers. The definition of what is sexy has changed steadily. It is now about women feeling comfortable in their own skins, as opposed to pleasing someone else. It is not about the shape - it is about the way one feels.

Origins of Underwear and Lingerie

The origins of underwear and lingerie are also quite different. Underwear is believed to have been around since ancient times. Historians believe that ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all wore undergarments. In fact, a loincloth is also considered a primitive type of underwear. The concept of lingerie being visually appealing was a development of the later 19th century. In the 19th century, undergarments were typically not spoken of in polite society, and it was bulky as well as unattractive. Lady Duff- Gordan, a prominent fashion designer, decided to change this. She began to design women’s undergarments that were smaller, less restrictive, and more attractive. These alluring types of underwear eventually became known as lingerie. Up through the first half of the 20= century, women selected underwear for three major purposes: changing into a perfect shape, for preserving modesty and for hygiene reasons. Women’s underwear before the invention of crinoline was very large and bulky [3]. As the 20th century, progressed underwear became smaller and more form fitting. In the 1960s, lingerie manufacturers begin to glamorize lingerie and the idea of lingerie having a sexual appeal slowly developed. The lingerie industry has expanded in the 21st century with designs that double as outerwear by categorizing lingerie as an accessory with details such as straps and lace trim that should be layered and shown as part of one’s outerwear. Wearing underwear as outerwear is a fashion trend.

Underwear is gender-differentiated. Boxers, briefs, vest, banian for men; panties and bras for women. Our intimate connection with underwear clothing acts like a ‘second skin’. Underwear especially fits this metaphor because it resides closest to the skin. This ‘skin’ functions as part of our boundary system even as it retains an independent reality. These aspects intersect and render possible deeply personal experiences of clothing. It is no exaggeration to regard underwear as the most personal kind of clothing having the most intimate association. There is more than one reason for this intimate connection. First, a basic utilitarian function of underwear is to protect our natural skin from our other clothes and simultaneously protect those clothes from soiling produced by our own bodies. As a ‘second skin’, the first boundary formed is between us and the other clothes we wear; a reality that creates not only physical distancing but some psychological distancing as well. No such distance intervenes with underwear, as a popular advertisement proclaimed about its apparel, nothing comes between us and our undergarments. Just as we take care of our natural skin through washing it, applying lotions, and so forth in order to be healthy and comfortable, so we do with our underwear. Over time the emphasis in making and marketing underwear has changed from utilitarian and health reasons to comfort and pleasure. In fact, as comfort increases through the pure sensuousness of fabric and fit, so does the intrinsic potential to eroticize the garment by the symbolic substitution for the body regions the apparel resides by.

Performance and luxury are the biggest drivers. The underwear industry operates the same way as the clothing industry. Moreover, much like the clothing industry, most underwear is made in Asia. In part, because it is cheaper and the technical skills and machinery needed to make underwear, in particular, lingerie does not exist at scale elsewhere. Lingerie and underwear brands must ensure a high degree of comfort and the right fit for different markets and body shapes. The brand must ensure that the product matches with customer expectations of fit, quality, size, comfort, functionality and safe for skin. A high level of cleanliness/hygiene is guaranteed in their production and they have the right suppliers, with the right expertise and technology, who are able to handle the production process and its quality. Product inspection for undergarments can be a complicated process. Many manufacturers are not sure what criteria to apply for inspection and tests to perform to ensure their items meet the customers’ expectations.

Aesthetic and performance factors are, of course, inextricably linked with a price. The often-repeated statement that ‘you get what you pay for’ is generally associated with performance, but a customer’s concept of what the level of performance should be will vary considerably. It is often influenced by aesthetic considerations. Thus, the concept of good quality is not a static issue operating at one level for all customers; it is influenced by aesthetics, performance, and price, and is specific to an individual customer. While poor product quality may not be the most common reason for a customer to return a product, it is a factor. Garment inspection is one of the best ways to verify the quality of a clothing item before it leaves the factory. Today’s educated consumer is focused on finding apparel with the best balance of style, quality, and price, manufactured under the highest possible ethical standards. Increased consumer awareness is making apparel quality control more important than ever. The brand should have off-the-shelf customizable productspecific inspection checklists for quality control and assurance services at all stages of the supply chain-from source to shelf. It is vital for brands to focus on building trust in terms of quality, and an outstanding reputation for great customer service.


The main objective of this paper is to highlight the quality testing parameters that are essential for manufacturing of undergarments following the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) and American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) standard norms known worldwide. These methods served as a basis and are equivalent to other national level standards. The study will serve as a knowledge base both for the manufacturers and the consumers.


Methodology in writing of this paper is secondary and primary research both. As the secondary research, published articles/ papers, books related to textile and apparel quality, websites of the quality testing solution providers are studied and as the primary study, interviews of people working in the undergarment sector are taken into consideration. The primary study helps in finding out which quality systems that are prevalent in the manufacturing of undergarments and what exactly are being followed.

Literature Review

Quality of undergarments has been related to the longevity of products, functionality, and comfort. The physical characteristics and functionality of undergarments are very important for the consumer. In the study of Hume and Mills [4], brand recognition is highly significant for companies whose customers repurchase based on the comfort, functionality, and quality of garments. According to Suzianti et al. [5] client fashion e-commerce is related to product quality and warranty replacement and return of the garments. Therefore, the conditions exist to suggest that companies in the textile underwear, marketed by internet tend to have higher sales and long-term relationship with customers when considering the quality of both the product and the distribution channel.

The choosing or designing of undergarments that makes a suitable foundation for costume is a challenge to any girl’s good taste. She may have attractive underwear if she is wise in the selection of materials and careful in making it or in choosing readymade garments. It is not the amount of money that one spends so much as it is good judgment in the choice of styles, materials and trimmings. No matter how beautiful or appropriate a girl’s outer garments may be, she is not well dressed unless she has used good judgment in making or selecting her underwear. Every girl likes to have attractive, well-fitting underwear. The right kind protects the body and acts as a foundation for outer garments, improving their appearance without calling attention to what is underneath. Usually we think of undergarments as including brassieres, girdles, foundation garments, panties and slips [6]. The utilitarian functions of intimate apparel are basic fit and support that are considered the key criteria for lingerie [7]. The products could be easily imitated by others in the fashion market. It is necessary to build an innovative strategy to ensure that businesses compete in an invincible position, based on meeting new needs of customers [8]. Material from which an undergarment is to be made should be soft and smooth, as fine a quality as one can afford, attractive in appearance, up to date in style, easy to launder, and reasonably durable considering the quality of the goods and the price paid [9].

The primary purpose of textile testing and analysis is to assess product performance and use the test results for predictions about its performance. Product performance is considered in conjunction with end use; hence, tests are performed with the ultimate end use in mind [10]. The esthetic factors provide the initial impulse of attraction and may be the only factors that influence the decision to buy clothing items. The exception is the requirement that the item should fit. But even fit may be a function of fashion and style. Such aesthetic factors as handle, drape, colours, and style all interact in a complex manner and are crudely and subtly influenced by social factors-a desire to be in fashion, a desire to present an image [11]. An item of clothing is a summation of materials, starting with fiber, through yarn, fabric, and trimmings which go to make it up. The complexities of balancing aesthetics, performance and cost factors, therefore, apply to the selection and use of these materials. Customers have perceptions of the aesthetic and performance values of all components of clothing items, although of course, their judgment may be faulty and subject to misunderstood technical factors as well as ingrained social habits [12].

Standardization in Garment Sector

Standardization is essential to maximize compatibility, interoperability, safety, repeatability, or quality. It started mainly in the beginning of the 19th century, with the need of practical interchangeability of screws and later with other machine parts [13]. There are different types of standards and are essential for the society. These can include standards for terms and definitions, specifications, management systems, test methods. Standards can be internal of an organization, but for trade, it is important that they are accepted for a large community. There are standards used in a private or local community or in a certain region. Standardization have many developments at national levels, under the supervision of national standardization bodies. But the need for the interchange of products and services at global level has led, especially since the second half of the 12th century, to a strong development of international standards. Standards are developed and published by many different groups and organizations using various degrees of consensus in their preparation and approval. Formal standards are approved or adopted by one of the National, Regional or International Standards bodies [14]. Few examples are mentioned below.

a) The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is the National Standard Body of India working under the aegis of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India. It is established by the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986 on 23 December 1986.

b) The South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO), established in 2010 to achieve and enhance coordination and cooperation among South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) members in the areas of standardization and conformity assessment with the objective to develop harmonized standards for the region, to facilitate intra-regional trade, and to enhance access in the global market for the SAARC Region suppliers.

c) The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an International Standard setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and works in 162 countries. It was one of the first organizations granted general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. While, Informal Standards are published by another Standards Development Organizations (SDOs), many of which are very well known and highly respected, e.g.

d) ASTM publishes textile standard specifications and test methods for physical, mechanical, chemical properties of fibers, yarns, fabrics, and garments, used worldwide.

e) AATCC is known worldwide for developing and publishing test methods for textiles, especially related to dyeing and finishing. Many of these methods served as a basis and are equivalent to ISO standards.

f) The International Wool Textile Organization (IWTO) publishes specifications on test methods developed within the committees of IWTO for the measurement of wool fiber, yarn, and fabric properties.

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