Hidden fashion: museum displays history of underwear - FOX 13 News

Hidden fashion: museum displays history of underwear

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St. Pete's Museum of History is showing-off something that's rarely talked about: the city's history in underwear. It's an exhibit called, "St. Pete Underneath: The Underwear Edition."

Tuesday night, they held a fashion show at the museum, using vintage underwear from local boutiques. It's all part of Tampa Bay Fashion week and their second annual "History Of Fashion" night.

"From Roman amphitheaters to Lady Gaga, the evolution of the underpinnings has shaped the lives of people with a whisper," said James Parrish, with the St. Pete Museum of History. "Previously unseen fashion comes to life in the spotlight on the stage."

The Museum had a live runway strung throughout the main floor Tuesday night, with dozens of models wearing vintage underwear from the 1920s through present day. Undergarments from later periods, like the mid 1800s, were not wearable due not only to their tiny sizes (women were much smaller back then), but due to the sheer fragility of the garments.

On display is a typical 5-piece set of undergarments a woman would put on before she even got her main outfit for the day ready. In the grueling Florida heat and humidity, the layering, plus outer garments, would have been quite taxing. Unlike northern clothing, St. Pete garments adopted lighter fabrics, like linen, as opposed to some of the wool counterparts made in New York City.

Men would wear a one-piece silk or cotton button-up garment as underwear. Then, several layers of outer garments on top of that, like an undershirt, dress shirt, vest, tie and a jacket.

"These probably were not the best-smelling of times," Parrish laughed.

The museum even boasts a rather large pair of long, linen underpants and a pajama top. It's a pale cream color and lightly striped. If you look at the tag, which is from a Washington, D.C. tailor, the initials read, "WHT", for our 27th President: William Howard Taft.

You can learn more about the exhibit, which is on display through September 30th, at this link: www.spmoh.org

There is also a "Forbidden Fashion Show", which is also underwear-driven and shows off the work of local designers. That's at Club Detroit in downtown St. Pete Wednesday. Read more about it and all of Tampa Bay's Fashion week events at: www.spafw.com.


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