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

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.

More from Natalie Nyhus
  • James

    The only reason this is ok’d is because it’s a hetero exhibit. Yeah, otherwise the Republican’ts would make a law to prohibit such a display.

    • Phid

      I, for one, had not known that underwear was heterosexual.

      • Bob Smee

        I didn’t know Republicans wore underwear

    • DR

      “Republican’ts” Wow, the thought and creativity that went into that. Maybe just let some things go and relax a little bit.

  • stace34

    It makes me wonder for sure what my mom did for the complay when she worked there.

  • Duex

    I did not know underwear was naughty. What you could do with underwear well then you could get naughty if you want. I personally do not wear any, I know nobody cares but I just told the world anyway.

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