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Wacoal Related Lit Essay

4583 words - 19 pages


On Undergarments
Undergarments are clothes worn under other clothes, often directly next to the skin. They keep outer garments from being soiled by bodily secretions and discharges, shape the body, and provide support for parts of it. In cold weather, long underwear is sometimes worn to provide additional warmth. Some undergarments are intended for erotic effect. Special types of undergarments have religious significance. Some items of clothing are designed as undergarments, while others, such as T-shirts and certain types of shorts, are appropriate both as undergarments and as outer clothing. If made of suitable material, some undergarments ...view middle of the document...

Queen Elizabeth I of England reputedly had corsets made of both oak and iron — the iron one was nicknamed the ‘iron maiden’. Over the years corsets have been made from various materials including oak, iron, leather, satin and silk. The stays inside the corset which create the rigid containment of the body have been made from whalebone, steel, reed or double-stitched cording. The first elastic inserts to ease the pain did not appear until around 1885. We have seen short corsets, long corsets and the infamous ‘S’ bend corset which threw the wearer’s chest forward and bottom out to create the ‘S’ shaped silhouette so favoured by the Edwardians.Over the years, women have worn crinoline cages, farthingales, panniers, bustles, hobbles and numerous other devices that changed the shape of their bodies and restricted movement. During the 19th century girls as young as four years old were laced into corsets on the theory that it improved posture and modified behaviour. This is not quite as severe as it first sounds as the girls would have worn a non-boned version of the corset known as a liberty bodice, but it certainly would have reduced childish high spirits.
The first modern bra to be widely used and recognized was created by Mary Phelps Jacob. She fashioned it out of silk handkerchiefs and pink ribbons in 1913. Although she did not invent the concept of the bra, it was her design that was first patented. She had a hard time convincing women to buy her product so she finally sold the concept to Warners for $1,500. Warners is still in the lingerie business even today. It was sometime after 1918 that women began shortening the term brassiere to bra and we have been calling it that ever since. Bra history made another drastic change in 1935 when Warners introduced cup sizing to the lingerie world. They were the original labelers of the A, B, C and D sizes we know and use today. Great Britain didn't adopt this sizing method until into the 1950's. It was at this point bras began separating breasts rather than maintaining them as one solid mass across the chest. In 1968, Feminists burned their bras at a Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City as part of a demonstration of their newly found liberation. I doubt they realized that without proper support the results would be sagging boobs many years later which is odd since so many women opted for the confines of the sports bra invented by Hina Miller, Lisa Lindahl and Polly Smith in '77. In 2000, the engineers that built the Millennium Bridge got into the lingerie business and helped create the Charnos Bioform bra. Extreme stress analysis studies were done to help alleviate the aches and pains modern bras have neglected to address. It cost a whopping two million dollars to develop and has been hailed as one of the most important developments in women's underwear.

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