A chemise can also be defined as a smock or a type of under garment for woman. It is also considered to be a simple t-shirt like piece of clothing that is worn to protect the clothing worn over it from the sweat or body oils of the wearer.
Chemises come in a variety of fabrics including silk, satin, cotton, lace and mesh. They are sometimes simple and sometimes delicately decorated with lace and ribbons, especially if they are being worn as a lingerie item instead of a shirt worn underneath other clothing. They come in many different colours, but the popular ones are white, cream, and black when it comes to lingerie. Otherwise, you can find them in all sorts of colours and styles.
In earlier centuries people didn't bathe as much as they do today, so the chemise was good to keep the body's dirt away from the other clothing and thus help keep smells and sweat off them. It was also worn to bed as a night gown by both men and women.
Later when women began to wear other underwear such as bras and panties, they started wearing it over these, which later developed into the slips of today. Men, in turn, still wear modern t-shirts, which is what developed from the male version of a chemise.
Today's version of a woman's chemise is usually considered to be a short piece of lingerie, which is quite different from the original definition. It is sometimes part of a set of baby doll PJs or lingerie set with a bikini bottom making up the other half of the set. It is also seen as a short gown with no sleeves that may come down as far as the middle of the wearer's thigh.
Another use for a chemise for woman today is to wear a type of sleeveless chemise under sheer clothing. This lets them have an air of mystic from the see-through nature of the sheer clothing, yet not really reveal their body for modesty's sake.
All in all, the modern chemise though is mostly considered to be a romantic lingerie garment. Sometimes it is made even more provocative and is then called a negligee. These types of chemises are usually made of a lacy, sheer material and meant to be worn only in the bedroom.