'Skimpy underwear' shocks historians

Published: 18th July 2012

'Skimpy underwear' shocks historians
The discovery of 15th century undergarments has shocked historians.

Lain hidden in a vault under the floorboards of an Austrian castle since the 15th century lace and linen women's underwear have been found hundreds of years before such clothing was thought to exist.

While the knickers are a little decayed they bear a resemblance to the string bikini briefs popular today, while the matching bra has fitted cups and delicate straps much like modern-day designs.

Medieval men are known to have worn undergarments that look like contemporary shorts, however women were thought to wear a chemise or smock.

Knickers themselves did not make a regular appearance until the late 18th century, with bras not appearing in popular culture until the late Victorian era.

Hilary Davidson, fashion curator at the Museum of London, said that the discovery "totally rewrites" fashion history, adding: "Nothing has ever come up before."

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