1940's Lingerie Trends :Lingerie Models & Brands
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1940's Lingerie Trends


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  • As in World War I, there was concern about the use of badly needed steel in corsets; in 1941 the British Government carried out a survey of women's usage of underwear that showed that "on average, women owned 1.2 bras (housewives 0.8 and agricultural workers 1.9)". (1941)
  • The first bullet bra was released in 1941 under the Perma-Lift brand. Ads for the new style of bras captivated customers with promises of supreme comfort and support all in one. The Perma-Lift was made without underwires- only stitching forced the cups to keep their shape. (1941)
  • In 1942 Ida Rosenthal invented a bra strap that allowed the straps to be adjusted. (1942)
  • The first patented “nursing bra” was developed in 1943. (1943)
  • For the movie, "the Outlaw", which features actress Jane Russell, the producer and airplane designer Howard Hughes constructed the Cantilever bra for Russell to wear in the movie. Hughes constructed the bra on the principles of bridge building, with the goal of fitting and supporting Russell's breasts. This bra in the film was the first seamless push-up underwire bra. Upon filming the movie, “Outlaw,” he noticed an imperfection with the outline of her breast and felt that seams were unsightly and that breasts should be lifted and separated. Well the advertisement surrounding his risque bra design was a huge success. The underwire bra got the marketing lift it needed and so did Jane Russell-she instantly became America’s first sex symbol. And like everything else that is touted in Hollywood, women everywhere had to own an underwire bra. This innovative new design caused a stir, and many women sought to recreate the look in their own wardrobe. Hughes' cantilever bra became the pre-cursor to the overly-emphasized "Bullet-Bra" which would eventually be introduced a few years later. (1943 SS)
  • Frederick's of Hollywood was started by Frederick Mellinger(inventor of the push-up bra) in 1947. Through his shop, Mellinger introduced black lingerie into the United States. He invented the padded bra in 1947. (1947)
  • In 1948, Frederick’s of Hollywood released the first push-up bra, “Rising Star” bra which allowed women to flaunt their breasts with a little extra lift. (1948)
  • In 1949 Maidenform launched one of the first most famous magazine ad campaigns with the “I dreamed of…..” . The Maidenform “I dreamed ..” advertising was the most successful brassiere ad campaign until Playtex’s hello Boys ads of the early 1990’s. (1949)
  • First introduced in 1949 by Maidenform, the bullet bra was a full-support bra with cups in the shape of a paraboloid with its axis perpendicular to the breast, and usually featured concentric circles or spirals of decorative stitching centered on the nipples. With the advent of the television set during the same time, television provided new promotional opportunities for the newly invented bullet bra, and played a huge part in the bras eventual popularity. (1949)




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