Date: c. 1941
This bra by the Symington brand Avro was unusual for the time in that it had an exceptional level of adjustability. A lacing system, not disimilar to that of ‘fan lacing’ (which was most commonly found it mildly shaped girdles and medical support garments), allows the wearer to tighten or loosen the garment to their preferences by several inches. The original garment patent (filed on 26/05/1941) states that the tapes attached to the lacing system can be tied at the front or back of the body.
The bra fastens with a row of buttons at the centre front and features a hook intended to attach to a a corset or girdle to ensure that the garments stay securely in place during wear.
The garment has elastic side panels and shoulder straps, which would have offered an exceptional level of comfort and fit flexibility in tandem with the adjustable lacing. The cut of the bust doesn’t give a particularly pronounced or projected shape, instead offering a gentle lift and rounded shape with a vertical overbust seam for shaping. The centre back of the bra maintains its vertical tension with two narrow, flat steel bones.
It is not clear exactly what this bra was intended for, but it can be assumed that it would have been well suited either for nursing or individuals with mobility issues, as the front opening would allow for easy access and self fastening, whilst the lacing system would allow for fluctuations in body shape.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska