Examining and appreciating the history of underwear and lingerie

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Historians say the world of underwear changed during World War I. On Thursday night, people will learn about the history of undergarments and how they evolved.

From corsets to camisoles, the exclusive exhibition at the National World War I Museum and Memorial will show the progression of lingerie from the late 1800s through the present day.

Lora Vogt, curator of education at the National WWI Museum and Memorial, 100 W 26th Street, says World War I changed what undergarments were acceptable for reputable women.

During WWI, women helped with the war effort back home by working in ammunition factories and becoming drivers.

“It’s really difficult to do all that work in a corset,” said Vogt.

She says the ‘pop-up’ exhibition will look at ‘the history of lingerie and how WWI changed what we think of as the female silhouette.’

Men aren’t excluded in the discussion. They’ll also be talking about undergarments of both genders, men and women, including what some were wearing inside the trenches.

“At that time they really felt that wool was much more hygienic so men’s undergarments particularly for the British were being made of wool, which is not something we think of as being the most comfortable today,” Vogt said.

‘Operation Undressed’ also includes a discussion with Peregrine Honig of Birdie’s Panties, Matthew Naylor, President and CEO of National World War I Museum, and Anna Marie Tutera, Kansas City Museum Executive Director.



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