It is hardly racy by today’s standards but this skimpy lingerie has certainly shocked historians. The lace and linen undergarments date back to hundreds of years before women’s underwear was thought to exist.

They had lain hidden in a vault beneath the floorboards of an Austrian castle since the 15th century. Despite their state of decay, the knickers bear more than a passing resemblance to the string bikini briefs popular today, while the bra has the fitted cups and delicate straps of its modern-day counterparts.

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