Date: c. 1960s
Origin: Great Britain
Brand: St Michael / Marks & Spencer
An underwire bra in a delicate floral blue and white printed terylene, a type of polyester. The cups are embellished with a strip of ruffled terylene with an embroidered scalloped edge. The shoulder straps are made of this same fabric and are adjustable with enamelled metal sliders, and can be detached with enamelled metal hooks. The centre back has a strip of fabric covered elastic, allowing a little fit adjustability. It closes with hooks and eyes, offset to the side back of the garment.
Calico Printers Association in Accrington, Lancashire, made the first test tube filament of polyester in 1941. The rights were then sold to Du Pont (who branded it Dacron) and ICI (branded Terylene) in 1946. British wartime clothing restrictions were lifted in 1952 and it was then that the production of Terylene clothing really took off in Britain.
The M&S Company Archive in Leeds holds copies of staff magazine St Michael News, which was published and distributed to all personnel between between June 1953 and Christmas 1990. Terylene/cotton printed bra and bikini sets feature in St Michael News between Autumn 1967 and Spring 1969.
From the collection of Lorraine Smith