While men's underwear choices are pretty limited -- boxers or briefs? -- women's undergarment options are vast and complicated. There are strapless bras, knee-highs, thigh-highs, garters, leggings and thongs. That small sampling of today's options doesn't account for centuries of evolution; long before Spanx, women's underthings literally (and sometimes painfully) shaped their bodies to better fit the dress of the day, using petticoats and corsets, wire and laces. Now through January 27, the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and Debaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599) presents Underneath It All, an exploration of the first layer of women's fashion as it reflects on the ever-evolving ideas of gender roles and concepts of beauty. The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with hours extended to 8 p.m. on Tuesday), and admission to the exhibition is free.
July 17-Jan. 27, 2012