Its THE question which comes up in history of dress lectures year in year out… morbid/fetishist student interest for this topic aside, it is a GREAT question.
As children we all looked under our dolls’ dresses to see if there was underwear there, as adults we tend to look at the exterior first and usually dont think about what is underneath at all. But as all dress historians know, what really makes an outfit is what is worn under the clothing to shape the body.
SO this will be a key topic at FASHIONARCHAEOLOGY
For women in Ancient Roman times we have evidence of underwear: the famous sicilian mosaics (image 1) which also address the important topic of women and physical exercise in the past and the hugely important Roman London find – a pair of girl’s leather underpants (image 2, now in the Museum of London) physical/matrial evidence to support the visual material. Amazing!!