'Discriminating Women' Advertisement By Carole Brassieres

'Discriminating Women' Advertisement By Carole Brassieres, c. 1940s, USA. The Underpinnings Museum

Date: c. 1940s

Origin: United States

Brand: Carole Brassieres


This 1940s advertisement for a brassiere by Carole Brassieres plays up the inexpensive cost of the product, claiming that “Discriminating women believed this a $1 brassiere .. actually it’s only 59¢.” The advertisement boasts that the Carole brassiere is “created by experts to accent curves and contours. Designed to fit every figure type perfectly. There are junior, standard, uplift, and matron styles… in lace, net, batiste, and rayon satin.” F. W. Woolworth and Co., Neisner Bros. and S. S. Kresge Co., “and other stores” are specified as stockists.

F. W. Woolworth, founded in 1905, was a pioneering American department store, and a precursor to the “five and dime” stores (where all products are less than 10¢ or so). Neisner’s was a similar, though less well-known, chain of stores that profited from high volume and low profit margins. S. S. Kresge, another “dime store,” was founded in 1899 in Detroit, and eventually morphed into Kmart, with the last Kresge store closing in 1987.

The bra in the illustration bears some structural resemblance to this French bra from the Underpinnings Museum Collection, with similar rows of quilting stitching in the lower half of the cup (presumably to stiffen and reinforce). The cups are also similar to the bra of this advertisement, which create a separated and pointed bustline, as was popular in the 1940s.


Many thanks to Katherine Shark for the object description and research.

From the collection of The Underpinnings Museum

Museum number: UM-2018-004


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