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Consumer

Not Your Grandma’s Underwear … Oh Wait, It Is

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She repor...
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By Natalie Kane, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A new exhibit lets you sneak a peek at your grandmother’s underwear.

Well, not literally, thankfully. But “Underwear: A Brief History” at the Minnesota Historical Society should give you the next closest thing.

A lot of pieces in the exhibit are Munsingwear, a Minnesota company that revived the corset in the 1950s — definitely “Minnesota Naughty,” a cheeky side undercutting this state’s frigid rep.

There are more than 70 items from the Munsingwear Collection. Things you, your mother, or even your grandmother may have worn.

And, no, these undies are not as stuffy as you may expect. The vintage pieces often radiate sheer attitude.

“You definitely feel like you’re at a Hollywood cocktail party,” said Loud Louisa, who also showed off a sassy boudoir ensemble. “I feel like I should be holding a drink right now.”

Munsingwear began as the Northwestern Knitting Company back in the 1800s. The company, which was renamed in 1923, patented a process to make wool suits itch-free. And undergarments have come a long way since those wild and wooly days — through boxers, briefs, Spanx-styles and more.

If you want to see more than underwear in a case, the exhibit is punctuated Thursday night by RetroRama, an event all about vintage style, from cocktails and food to a fashion show.

As the exhibit curator told WCCO, “Underwear: A Brief History” really shows the less conservative side of Minnesotans. We are more than just buttoned up northerners.

“Underwear: A Brief History” runs through Sept. 11.

Read more about the exhibit in Sara Boyd’s Curiocity column.

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