A little bit of the Darker Side of Lingerie History.
Photo courtesy of this site. Click Here.Back in the dim dark ages of the whale bone corset not only did the whale succumb to the fashion of the day by contributing its very being to the whale bone used in corset ry. Oh and of course the by products of the beautiful Goliath of the sea were also used in soap manufacture amongst other things. The ladies of the day were used to wearing their corsets so tight that it was said the perfect waist was to be 15 to 17 inches there fore creating a very unnatural body shape as the inside organs were squeezed together and the lungs were not sufficiently able to expand due to the pressure of the corsets.
The ladies of the day were said to faint easily and I think we can understand why given this scenario. It was usually referred to as The Little Death when a woman fainted in this way. Women wore a camisole usually made from cotton, under the corset and one of the reasons for this was to collect the blood from the small ruptures that would occur from beneath her skin as the corset was pulled tightly from behind and left in place. Meanwhile the bleeding taking place through her skin, was being soaked up by her camisole, a she wore her corset throughout the day.
Women progressed from corsets to the flapper look of the almost boyish no breast straight look worn by the thoroughly modern Milli's of the 20s and you can understand why when you realise how their mothers had been so trapped in the garments of the preceding times.
As an aside here the women who came to lands like Australia and settled on remote farms soon tossed the corsets away as they found them restrictive and impossible to wear. Not only restrictive for the tasks they performed but also the heat of the summers in these colonial out posts made them down right unbearable and unnecessary. For the fashion conscious lady from the city it took a little longer to toss the corset, however as the fashion turned so did the ladies waists start to get bigger. All in all a natural progression and today due to many reasons corsets are constructed to be worn for mainly costume wear, bridal wear, adult wear or for medical wear or maybe just for the everyday lady to have some fun with. Gone are the days of restrictive and uncomfortable lingerie, today we expect lightness comfort, looks and definitely no more of those alarming Little Deaths.
A great read for anyone who likes a bit of history here at this site please click here
Throughout the history of humans, the woman's body has been squeezed and contorted into many different forms.
The breasts are certainly no exception.
The female bust has gone in and out of style many times (even more times than John Travolta). At times it has been minimized to be hidden from view. At others, it has been maximized to the fullest extent.
For instance, if we take a look back to 2500 B.C., we will find that the Minoan women that lived on the Greekisle of Crete actually wore a bra-like garmentthat actually lifted their bare breasts out of their clothes.
Years later, ancient Roman and Greek women took the opposite approach. They actually strapped on a breast band to reduce their bust size.
But where did the modern bra come from? And how can it actually kill?
Let's find out:
As pointed out above, there have been many types of garments that have appeared over the centuries to help enhance the human form.
Many authors claim that the bra was invented by one Otto Titzling. However, it turns out that this story first appeared in the book Bust Up: The Uplifting Tale of Otto Titzling by Wallace Reyburn (the same guy that wrote the humorous book that describes how Thomas Crapper invented the toilet). The book claims that Titzling invented the bra with the help of his assistant Hans Delving in 1912. They designed the bra for a Swedish athlete named Lois Lung. Titzling then sued a Frenchman named Phillipe de Brassiere for patent infringement in the 1930's. As you can see from these names, the story is probably pure fiction (especially since, as we will see below, Mary Phelps Jacobs takes credit for the first documented use of the name brassiere in 1914).
If you check most current literature, you will find the following story:
The first modern bra wasinvented by a New York socialite named MaryPhelps Jacob way back in 1913 (I'm sure that a lot of women want to believe that a man invented this torturous device, but it was a woman).
Mary had just purchased a sheer evening gown for one of her social events that poor people like me will never get to attend.
She had a problem.
At that time, corsets that were stiffened with whaleback bones were the accepted undergarment. Unfortunately, whaleback corsets and sheer evening gowns just don't go together well.
In one of those great flashes of genius, Mary came up with a great solution. Together with her French maid Marie, Mary took two handkerchiefs, ribbon, and some cord and devised a simple backless brassiere.
We can be fairly sure that Mary was the hit of the party, but the real hit was her newfangled brassiere among the women in attendance.
Mary was very happy to sew up a bra for all family and friends that were interested. I guess you could say that she started the currently male dominated tradition of giving sexy underwear for those special holidays.
One day, she received a request for one of her contraptions from a stranger, who had happened to enclose a dollar for her efforts.
Mary Jacobs ran to the patent office with her sketches. In November, 1914, she was awarded a patent for the "Backless Brassiere".
Mary made several hundred of the devices (marketed under the name Caresse Crosby), but due to lack of publicity, the business collapsed.
One would think that this would have been the end of the bra, but it managed to live on.
Mary sold the rights to the brassiere to the WarnerBrothers Corset Company in Bridgeport,Connecticut for a mere $1500. Justthink how much money that would be worth today.
This sounds like a great story, and is almost entirely true, except for the fact that Mary Jacobs did not invent the first bra. Her design was simply the first one to be widely used.
It seems that a man named Hoag Levin had too much time on his hands and did an in depth study of all the sexual devices ever patented by the United States Patent Office. In the book American Sex Machines, Levin's presents quite a few patents on bra-type creations.
Levin's conclusion is that a woman named Marie Tucek patented the first brassiere in 1893. This "breast supporter", as she called it, looked very similar to the modern brassiere. The device included separate pockets for the breasts, straps that went over the shoulder which were fastened by hook-and-eye closures.
In comparison, Mary Phelps Jacobs device was patented on November 3, 1914 and wascalled a "brassiere". She may have had the name correct, but she didn't have the design. Her patent was for a device that was lightweight and flattened the breasts. Her bra did not have cups to support the breasts.
Of course, many innovations were later made to the brassiere: use of elastic, standard cup sizes, and the development of the strapless bra.
During the 1920's, the flat chested "flappers" that my grandmother always reminisces about were all the rage. A Russian immigrant named Ida Rosenthal decided to buck the trend. With the help of her husband William, they founded Maidenform. Ida was responsible for grouping women into bust size categories (cup sizes) and developed bras for every stage of life (puberty to maturity).
Of course, the 1960's was famous for its bra-burnings. One would think that this would have been the end of the bra, but it wasn't. Gravity and aging were on the side of the brassiere manufacturers.
The bra has made a great comeback ever since.
We have the Wonderbra. The 18 hour bra. Cross your heart (and hope to die?) bras. Training bras (training for what?). Jogging bras. Dangerous breast implants that need added support. Madonna walking around in her underwear. Victoria's Secret (she's not very good at keeping her secret - everyone seems to know about it). and the best of them all
So what about bras killing you? (I thought this would get your attention).
In the 1994 book Dressed to Kill by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijerin, they suggested that wearing bras may inhibit the normal function of the lymphatic system in and around the breast. The result is a decreased removal of toxins from the breast and an increased occurrence of breast cancer.
Based on a sample of 4,730 women, they concluded that women that go braless have a 21 times less chance of developing cancer.
The study was torn apart by critics because the authors failed to incorporate the lifestyles (smoking, alcohol, exercise, weight, etc.) of the women into their results. However, it does bring up some good questions.
To end this little discussion on brassieres, I thought that I would mention one documented case of death by a bra.
It seems that a woman named Berbel Zumner was killedat age 23 while walking through a park in Vienna. You see, Berbel was one of those women that many refer to as "well endowed". She wore a bra with metal underwire to supporther ample frame. As we all know, metal wire and lightning just don't go together. As a result, Berbel was zapped and killed.
Well you have now guessed it!. I am a Lingerie Specialist and my Area of Expertise is in Bra Fitting.
A few facts here 80% of women wear the wrong sized bar.
A Woman due to many reasons can fluctuate in breast size. There fore it is recommended that she be correctly fitted at least every six months for a bra that suits her shape and size.
An under wire is a wonderful support feature. However it must fit the breast properly and never put pressure on the breast tissue.
You can usually tell if a bra fits well because when on, it does not even feel like it is being worn.
Technology has entered in to the Lingerie Business to such a degree that women can find the perfect fit with help from a Trained Consultant.
Don't 'burn em', get into the right one and really enjoy the support it can give to the new you.
Moments on The Job.
As we all know this lingerie scenario above is actually quite a common occurrence for some people when dear Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous fame, loses those worn elastic topped Bridget Jone's type knickers whilst coming in from a night on the town. Sorry video was deleted . Don't tell anyone but I am about to share a couple of inside stories from my chosen career as the Lingerie Lady. Now, before you get your knickers in a knot I will not be naming names which means if your reading this and it sounds familiar then, it is only you and I who know the story and, who you are. Having sold a string once to a young lady and yes this was a g-string so it was fairly skimpy, I had the occasion to meet up with her and her girlfriend again a few weeks later. After the pleasantries were exchanged the girls started to giggle and I remembered that at the time of the purchase one of the girls was egging her friend on to try one of the g-strings out, because as she said to her friend they are so comfortable and you will hardly know that you are wearing it. Well finally after the girls had finished giggling I enquired about the g-string and once again there was giggling. The friend suggested that they must tell me what had happened and by this time I was all ears as to the reason behind so much giggling. It turned out that the new g-string wearer had decided to wear her g-string to work one day and as usual got up a bit late and was in a big hurry to get dressed. So with out much care she grabbed the new lingerie and proceeded to put it on. She worked in an office and after several hours of excruciating discomfort she decided to go to the ladies and take that darn string off. It was whilst doing so that she realised that she had put it on sideways, as the tag was still attached and it was not sitting at the back where it should have been. After an adjustment she went back to work. Feeling much more comfortable but also very silly, however it was good story to tell her girlfriend after work. I am happy to report that she was a satisfied customer in the end.
~ One of my colleagues was fitting a lady for a new bra. She took out a very beautiful black lace bra and had placed it on the ladies body. Oh so very discreetly as we do and in no way alarming her or making her feel uncomfortable. Everything was going fine however our experienced fitter was a bit preoccupied because as she was fitting the bra she had noticed a very long black cotton hanging out of the bra cup. It was distracting her and she was worried that the lady would complain about the quality of the bra. When our experienced fitter pulled hard on the black cotton hoping it was just a stray cotton and would come away quickly with a pull. I am sad to report it was not a cotton thread at all, it was attached to our lady and an embarrassing moment ensued. Being the professional lady that she was with her customer service abilities very much intact she neatly placed the so-called black cotton into the cup and proceeded to take the lady to the mirror to view how lovely the bra was looking. Nothing more was said; however we had one very embarrassed fitter and many consultants in stitches of laughter afterward when the story was told. The lady however never said a word about it, as she happily made her purchases.
~ Oh and then there was the time driving along with a French consultant next to me in the car and a boot full of lingerie samples when she suddenly acclaimed loudly to me as I drove" Did zu zee zat Voman over zare?" I was concentrating on my driving and had not, until she alerted me, seen the 'Vowan' walking along the footpath with her dress held up high to her waist and with not a pair of knickers in sight on her derriere.. I lost my concentration for a moment and said, " Do you think she knew we were coming and she was beckoning us to stop?" With that the French lady consultant said in her thick french accent and ever so nonchalant "Oh no I tink zee voman has mental iszzuessss!" I was by now almost in hysterics as to the coincidence of this situation and the funny side of it all. We proceeded along to our destination with yet another tale to tell. I will never forget the moment when I saw the lady walking along the path and realised we had just what she needed in the trunk of the car. And my colleagues announcement in her thick French accent just topped it all off.
~ So I leave you with a saying here Never get your knickers in a knot And don't leave them in the UV rays to rot. ~ Have fun! Milli
Back in January I did a posting about lingerie. Actually it was an introduction to my chosen field of work. I was asked many questions about the correct fit of a good pair of bras.
This was a restricted post and if the link would not open then it would be because of the mature content I posted it under.
Getting back to a few Qs and As from this post. I thought it would be a good time to answer some of the questions asked at the time and also to invite more questions from any of my new friends as well.
I also have a few questions I would like to ask you and have made a small Poll below.
However I am happy if you can also answer these questions in the comments box below.
So lets get the Q's and A's happening now.
Mr S.... was interested to read, "Technology has entered in to the Lingerie Business to such a degree that women can find the perfect fit with help from a Trained Consultant."
Could you elaborate? Maybe another post?
Answer.... Indeed Technology is a the fore front f the lingerie trade. The fabrics, components and laces chosen undergo stringent tests and many new fabrics ar developed along high tech ideologies. Many are copy right and very costly to purchase and the proof of the quality of such garments is in the correct washing and wearing of them. We women appreciate the best designs and the feel of good quality fabrics next to our skin and fabrics like microfibres and Modal. The company I work for use in some of their garments are of the highest quality and it is often remarked to me that they feel like a second skin when worn or described as feeling like a man made silk. Also to answer your question the manufacturing process in itself is very high tech with even resting rooms for the fabrics to regain shape after coming off the rolls. As a matter of interest for the company I work for the timing between release of a new bra and its beginning stages can be as long as 2 years after all the trialling and testing that goes on.
lol, thanks for your SUPPORT Milli. when my shoulder acted out, I suddenly found that this little item was the most difficult to manage...have to confess that sometimes it just feels better to let the girls roam free lol
Answer.....I am all for freedom and au natural but as an aside here a very large busted lady and even a woman with very broken tissue and skin to the bust will always benefit from a well fitted bra of the right design for their particular shape. What I have seen over and over again is the opposite of this. It is said that in Australia alone 80 percent of women wear the incorrect size bras. Bearing that in mind there are times and circumstances where we don't encourage wearing under wired bras, IE Cancer sufferers, pregnant or lactating women, allergy sufferers to name a few and of course like your self, those with difficulty or a physical ailment where it is sometimes felt to go with out is a better option. I personally would still want to wear a close fitting cami for comfort in these circumstances.
Sue.......That was interesting, when I had my babies I used to wear a night time bra..there are many, many different ones that's for sure. I still don't know where to go to get the 'proper' fit, but mine are comfy (VS of course). Now what is the proper way to wash and store your bras?
Answer.....Sue I do not know what is on offer in your country but you can message me for the correct way to fit for a bra. I use a tape measure with 2 measurements taken from under the bust and across it, whilst wearing an existing bra for support. To wash any lingerie properly is to hand wash or to use a very gentle cycle on your machine placing the lingerie in the special bags that you can buy. Do not use hot water and harsh washing practices, as the wires will pop. I opt for doing up the bras before placing them in a washing bag and I never dry them in a dryer. The correct drying is to place the bra from its centre across a clothes horse or a line that is protected from the sun and UV rays as the UV rays are the biggest killers of any fabric that contains Lycra. Treat them well and you will get good wear from a good brand of lingerie.
Ms M.....As odd as it sounds....I am not much of a shopping woman; I don't try clothing on, that I know will fit, shoes, thongs, shirts, sweaters, skirts, dresses, nothing...But, bras and jeans....I hate to try on bras and will wait till I ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY--POSITIVELY, ABSOLUTELY have to. I nursed my only child...And, like a tired single mother I did not nurse equally from both breasts...SOOOO, one breast is slightly bigger than the other...I run and when I do...I wear three bras. NOTHING IS MOVING AROUND, BOUNCING UP AND DOWN ANYWHERE.....Those bad boys are all but taped to my body...This prevents pain. I am probably like a lot of women; If, I gain even a little bit of weight...It goes right to my breasts....If, I lose a little bit of weight it comes right from my breasts...I can't win? I used to be haunted by a ghost...Sometimes I would wake up without my shirt on? Or, sometimes I would wake up with my pajama top up-and my chest is bare...It was horribly, creepy. What a wonderful post this was...I really did enjoy to read it and share the horrors of bra shopping and bras..I despise them soo...A love hate relationship with a bra?
Answer..... Everything you have written I have heard over and over again Ms M. First thing first here. Our bodies are different from one side to the other and just as a foot can be bigger from one side to the other for what ever reason so can breasts be also. and some surprisingly so. What you have explained is very common. Ladies who have a bigger side than the other are always advised to fit the bigger side and then let the smaller one come along for the ride so to speak. There are ways and means of dealing with the smaller side, however the larger breast must never be cramped. A breast is never supposed to be all cramped and squashed into a smaller cup, ever. Once again see a professional or message me about what can be done for a perfect fit. You are correct, when running always wear the most supportive bra you can find. A very well designed one will do the job and you should never need to wear three bras to keep the support of your breasts happening. I am always advocating lightness and comfort and support and that's what you need to look for. If you really can not over come your shyness when purchasing bras then at least know what to look for and make it a habit of reassessing your relationship with this totally amazing part of the human woman's anatomy. Just like your feet where comfort is a must, so it is with your breast, which do change from time to time and it is best to be fitted at least every six months, bearing this in mind. It is true, because the breast consists mainly of fatty tissue and no muscle and it is here where many women notice weight gain and loss very early on. Another suggestion fall in love with a good fitting and sensual set of lingerie and wear it often for yourself. You deserve it.
Debb.... I have been wondering ever since I saw a show on Oprah about this , how one finds a Bra specialist to fit her properly . It seems I have gone from a 36 B to a 40 D and am still feeling sore as if I am still growing . Is this normal ? I'm 52 . Oh yes back to the "Q" where do I find a pro fitter ? Your friend Debbie
Answer...I can't put you onto a good fitter in your area Debb however if you pm me I will try from here to get you on track. Yes you can find that you will increase, firstly because you have changed over time and not changed the bra sizes too much, if at all that you wear. Also because of your hormones at this time. Weight gain will surely add to the breast enlarging and so will PMT. Sore breasts are always better when you can support them well with a very well fitted and supportive full cup bra. Message me if you wish?
Nice to read about brassieres and corsets. Now how about suspenders and thongs? ;)
Answer...... Thongs or G strings, T strings, Culotte strings,Butterfly back strings, String strings we call them flossers in the trade, Boy leg briefs, Brazilian hi cut briefs, Full briefs, Shorts, The list today is endless and even the good old French Knicker is available. these by the way were invented from necessity as many great things usually are. During the war because of a shortage of fabric and rubber the French knicker was invented because it used no rubber and the style used less fabric to make a ladies bloomer more brief and less became best. Suspenders are in and out of fashion although they are still a big selling point in Bridal lingerie.
My bras are my investment in this bodies future...lol..but ladies please not for the sake of your other half but for you invest in nicely made ...fine fabric...MATCHING SETS..get them in as many colors you can find ...wear the cheap ones or the ones with the feather on them that you can sometimes find, valentines is coming so something with some hearts would be Nice or jut sexy and red, Victoria's has my favorite secrets...Thxs Milli love the post.
Answer... I believe that you have expressed exactly as I tell all my clients in your statement above :
My bras are my investment in this bodies future...lol..but ladies please not for the sake of your other half but for you invest in nicely made ...fine fabric...MATCHING SETS..
Yesterday the girls and I went for the annual mammogram. The girls being a part of my anatomy whom I am always happy to assist in their well being. Whether that be in comfort or in the mammogram scheduled every two years.
I made my way down to the Breast Screen facility and after the preliminaries it was a short wait and then into the little change room and a short wait for my radiologist to beckon me into the room. As I stood and waited for her directions, after all this is her domain, she looked up and said to me, "Oh this is your fifth you must know exactly what takes place?" My reply back was " Oh not really I usually go home and forget about the whole episode."
With that the ice was broken and we both laughed, she saying that she also understands my point of view. However, I did say this time I might go home and write about my experience. With this knowledge she once again laughed ,not realizing I was serious.
The screening here in our state of Australia is a very good service indeed. We are sent reminders for when our check ups are due and all in all it is a slick service. I really can't emphasise enough how important this preventative maintenance for breast health is, along with the regular checking done by yourself and the regular check ups that we ladies all need from time to time with our GPs.
Our service is called BreastScreen and I am supplying a link here. You may wonder why I am posting about this today and if you are a male reading my post you might think it is not what you wish to read. However, you probably do share your life with some amazing women and it is a blessing to know that you care enough for them to encourage them to nurture their bodies and be alert to any changes. I am not going to go into the changes that she needs to watch for, I will give a link here for that.
Click here for a good site detailing how to examine the breasts. As an interesting aside men are not immune to this disease either.
Well back to the girls and I. It was a pretty easy task with mild discomfort and I asked the technician what type of breast is the most difficult to screen and her answer was, "a lady who works out and develops more pec muscle than breast flesh. Because the muscle protrudes and it is difficult to get the breast tissue onto the surface of the machine". Now this sounded reasonable to me and obviously I had no concerns in this direction at all, because I had never gone to such an extreme personally in developing my pec muscles.
The procedure is actually four images in total from two different angles. When it is finished you go back to your Private cubicle and wait to be told if the images are satisfactory for reading by the specialist. We are given the results here personally with in two weeks.
So all in all nothing to be alarmed about and I would like to prompt any woman who feels that she has over looked this procedure for any reason, to now make an appointment and go and do it. The earlier detection usually the better the outcome.
Just last week I fitted a special mastectomy bra to a wonderful client who last year at age 34 went through a terrible time after finding out she had Breast Cancer. I am very happy to say all is good and she is in a positive recovery. Life is beautiful and so are you. Don't neglect this procedure and to those who keep it up may all your images come back as normal and healthy.