What lies beneath? Well, if you’re talking about clothes during the late 19th century, in the days before the widespread use of central heating, the answer may have been a union suit. And underwear has always been a bit racy, a touch risqué.
The Northwestern Knitting Company, which became the classic American company Munsingwear after World War I, claimed to be the first firm in the world to show a photograph of someone in their underwear in their advertisements. That’s right — before their 1907 ad featuring a little girl in a union suit, underwear ads depicted such things as a woman shopping for lingerie or simply a freestanding corset. The Northwestern ad also revealed that its reader could send away for a booklet showing styles “photographed on living models,” which was regarded as very cutting edge at the time.
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