Embroidered Tulle & Elastic Homemade Kestos Style Bra

Embroidered Tulle & Elastic Homemade Kestos Style Bra, c. 1920s, Great Britain. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice.

Date: c. late 1920s-early 1930s

Origin: Great Britain

Fabric: Cotton tulle, silk georgette, elastic

Brand: Custom made


A soft cup style bra based on the ‘Kestos’ bra of the late 1920s. The bra design was patented in 1926 and the bra was arguably one of the first commercially produced bras with seperated cups. It marked the shift in ideal body aesthetic from the flattened bust of the 1920s to the more voluptuous ideal of the 1930s.

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 by Rosamond Lilian Klin in London, England. 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’.

This particular bra is not an authentic branded Kestos, but was most likely made by the same home sewer who created this bra (which uses the same garment pattern and similar construction techniques). It is created from an embroidered cutton bobbinet tulle, and embellished with contrasting, hand sewn, feather stitch embroidery along the neckline and underbust. A small handmade bow is attached to the centre of the bra. It fastens at the underbust with cord elastic loops and shell buttons.


From the collection of Karolina Laskowska

Museum number: KL-2020-007


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