Apr 6th | “Knickers – What we wear underneath, and why” with Liza Jones

I’ve heard of some unusual collections in my time, but historical and vintage underwear must be one of the strangest! Liza Jones has a suitcase full of the most amazing garments worn by ladies through the ages, which we passed round to look at while she told us of their history.

The underwear market in the UK is a thriving business, worth £1.6 billion a year, but it has not always been so. Women have not always worn underwear, but from the 15th century onward began to take more interest in showing off their own body shape under clothing. They began wearing laced corsets which were stiffened with whalebone to keep their shape and provide support. Liza wanted to add one of these corsets to her collection but was unable to find one so made her own! Instead of using whalebone she stiffened each section using modern parcel ties and the result is a work of art!

Apart from this garment she has pantaloons, knickerbockers, a Victorian night-shirt and cap, a liberty bodice and a wonderful collection of vintage bras and underwear sets from more recent times! We were taken on a journey from busks to Madonna’s bullet bras, and from loin cloths to G-strings! A fascinating and enlightening talk and slides, which was brought to life as we passed round the various items of clothing, many of which were hand-made and edged with delicate lace or broderie anglaise. Thank you Liza for a lively and interesting talk!

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