Date: Late 1910s, early 1920s
Origin: United States
Fabric: Cotton sateen
Brand: The Modishform
A relatively simple bandeau bra, this piece would have been considered unusually technologically advanced when it was created due to the use of tripartate strapping for the bra ‘wings’. This would have given the garment an unprecedented level of fit flexibility at a time when clothing had very little stretch. Early elastic usually used a rubber core coated in fabric, and as such was relatively unstable and prone to rotting or drying out. Sadly, the elastic panels on this garment are extremely brittle and retain no stretch.
The main body of the bra is simply constructed, created with a single fabric panel of cotton sateen with only two small darts around each bust point for shaping. This bra would have given a relatively flattened bust shape, as was the fashion in the 1920s. It’s entirely machine sewn, with a strip of filet lace embellishing the overbust. The top and bottom hems and the side seam are taped over with a cotton twill tape.
The garment fastens at the centre back with a hook and eye, both attached to cotton sateen facings. A label is stitched into the eye panel, featuring the brand name: ‘The Modishform Brassiere, New York’, with the reverse stating the size ’32’ (likely referring to the overbust measurement in inches).
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska