Girls wear panties to protect their clothing from natural discharges and body odor. They also wear panties for modesty and for personal hygiene. Panties keep people comfortable and protect both their bodies and their clothes during everyday activities.
The tradition of wearing undergarments to protect clothing originated centuries ago. Before washing machines were invented, people washed their outer garments only rarely. To protect these garments from stains and from body odor, they wore undergarments, a word that literally means "clothing worn underneath garments." These undergarments were washed and changed more frequently than the outer garments.
The word "panties" developed in the 1830s as a nickname for women's underwear in the "short pant" style. In the 1800s, women culturally wore dresses, but wore lightweight, short pants as underwear to protect their outer garments. These short pants were given the nickname "panties."
Modern panties serve multiple purposes. They fulfill the basic function of protecting outer clothing from discharges, stains and body odor. They also allow girls to remain modest while wearing skirts or dresses. Panties also protect the body from outside contaminants, such as dirt and dust, and keep the body comfortable during everyday activities. Lastly, panties are often viewed as a fashion accessory, and are worn as much for style and their feminine appeal as they are for more practical purposes.