If you look at how sexy modern chemises are, you would never believe how chemises came about. The term chemise is actually a French word that simply means “shirt”. In the middle ages, a chemise was made with linen and looked like oversized shirts. Both men and women wore chemises to protect the outer garments from perspiration because the outer garments were seldom washed while chemises often were. Also, chemises were worn to keep the body warm. In the 20th century, as clothing revolutionized, the need for inner garments like the traditional chemise vanished. Women started wearing other forms of underwear such as slips, brassieres, girdles and panties. Chemises for men started to shrink as stretchable fabric replaced linen and now the chemise for men is believed to have evolved into the t-shirt.