Date: c. 1940s
Origin: Great Britain
Brands: Scandale, Warner, Gossard, Kestos, Roussel
A circa 1940s British magazine editorial inducing photographs of washable brassieres, girdles, and corsets by brands Scandale, Warner, Gossard, Kestos, and Roussel. You can view two of the garments that are showcased in this editorial within our collections: the ‘A’lure Alphabet’ bra with Sta-down boning by Warner, and the ‘High Line’ bra by Kestos.
Titled “Keeping the Youthful Fit,” this editorial touts the benefits of regularly laundering women’s foundation garments. The copy claims that women would never achieve the ideal figure unless they “give their girdle its weekly douse in Lux.” The British soap brand Lux was founded in 1899 by brothers William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme and James Darcy Lever.
Some contemporary adverts by Lux warn women about “undie odor.” This referred to a perspiration odor in underwear that women would not be able to detect on themselves, but would be highly offensive to others. As a solution, adverts urged: “Lux lingerie after every wearing,” and “Frequent Luxing [of girdles] keeps them like new longer.”
American magazine articles from the 1940s advised that girdles be washed after at least the third wearing, as perspiration, dirt, and heat would deteriorate the rubber (Better Homes and Gardens, 1943). These were to be gently hand-washed in lukewarm water and detergent in the sink, and soiled spots could be targeted with a sudsy brush. They should then be rolled in a towel, squeezed, and finally unrolled and left to dry flat or hanging.
Many thanks to Summer Lee for the object description and research.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska