Date: c. 1941
Origin: Great Britain
This rendition of the Kestos bra was trademarked in 1941 by Rosamond Lilian Klin, commonly attributed as the inventor of the Kestos bra. Her name is sometimes also written as Rosaline and Rosalind.
The Kestos bra is based on two, lightly darted triangle cups, overlapping at the centre front. Elasticated straps cross at the centre back, fastening around the front with buttons underneath the bust point. The bra was designed c. 1928 by Rosalind Klin, a Polish-born designer residing in London. The Kestos bra remained popular through the 1930s and 1940s. Although the Kestos brand produced many different styles, this bra shape became generically known as ‘The Kestos’.
The ‘CC41’ label sewn into this bra indicates that this garment was part of the CC41 utility clothing scheme, rolled out by the British government in 1941 due to nationwide shortages during World War II. The CC41 mark was applied to specified, government approved fabrics and clothing. Utility clothing under this scheme was tax free. Initially the scheme was flawed as its limitations meant that goods were produced cheaply. However, in time the symbol became associated with cheap but reliable goods. The scheme was scrapped in 1952 following the rising popularity of imported goods after the end of the war.
From the collection of The Underpinnings Museum.