Underwear: A Brief History

Mom always said it's what's inside that counts. The newest exhibit at the Minnesota History Center shows that what's underneath matters, too. "Underwear: A Brief History" takes visitors on a trip through "unmentionable" times, when Minnesota played a huge part in how panties came to be today. Sneak a peek at the skivvies of yore, from the body-enveloping union suit to some kangaroo-pouch briefs. See the transformation from undies manufactured for pure functionality to true fashion statements. The exhibit will feature 50 different underthings from more than a century's worth of documents and product samples from Munsingwear, a historic Minneapolis knitting company. Susan Marks's book In the Mood for Munsingwear will also be available for purchase throughout the duration of the exhibition. Published by the MHS Press, it chronicles how the Minnesota company helped revolutionize the undergarment industry with its advertisements and methods of combining silk and wool for comfort and warmth. The exhibit coincides with this year's RetroRama: Underneath It All fashion event, plus a later book signing with Marks. Whether you're interested in the metamorphosis from corsets to bras, the precursor to Spanx, or you're curious about what was "under there" decades ago, "Underwear: A Brief History" illuminates a subject where the sun usually doesn't shine.
May 7-Sept. 11, 2011

 
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Underwear is sometimes partly exposed for fashion reasons or to titillate. A woman may, for instance, allow the top of her brassiere to be visible from under her collar, or wear a see-through blouse over it. Some men wear T-shirts underneath partly or fully unbuttoned shirts.

 
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