'Stand The Test Of Time' Advertisement By Maidenform

'Stand The Test Of Time' Advertisement By Maidenform, 1942, USA. The Underpinnings Museum

Date: 1942

Origin: United States

Brand: Maidenform


This 1942 advertisement for Maidenform brassieres boasts that they “stand the test of time!” The advertisement elaborates that:

 “New figure-beauty, the very first moment you put them on–but that’s only half the satisfaction Maiden Form’s brassieres will give you. Made only of first-quality materials, precisely cut and painstakingly put together, they continue to mould and control to perfection even after many months of wear. That’s why smart women insist on Maiden Form’s quality-insuring label.”

There is a model photographed wearing a Maiden Form bra, posing in the face of a clock (referencing again how this product will “stand the test of time”), and a drawing of another model. The ad says,

“Note the difference in the two styles shown here, *“Intimo” and *“Allegra.” That’s because each was created for a very different bosom-type. Send for free Style Booklet VH: Maiden Form Brassiere Company, Inc., New York.”

The asterisk at the bottom of the ad says that these style names are “Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.” There is the overall Maiden Form logo and motto, which reads “Look for this trade-mark on brassieres, girdles, ‘once-overs.’” Finally, the very bottom of the ad reads, “At All Leading Stores * ‘There is a Maiden Form for Every Type of Figure!’”

This copy plays up the quality and longevity of Maiden Form products, which is an obvious selling point, but also taps into the reader’s sense of patriotism during WWII. Buying good quality products was a priority to consumers in America during WWII, who were trying to be frugal to help the war effort. A long-lasting product was important so as not to waste money or materials having to replace it. The need to support the war effort is underscored by the type at the bottom of the advertisement that reads “Do your share Buy U.S. Defense Bonds.” Buying a Maiden Form bra is presented as not only the smart but the morally correct thing for an American woman to do.

Maidenform (originally “Maiden Form”) was founded in 1922, when Ida Rosenthal and Enid Bissett began selling small brassieres alongside their dresses. Enid Bissett eventually left the company, and Ida and her husband, William, moved to a production line model and began selling their bras on a broader scale. Maiden Form became a household name, known for their “I dreamed … ” advertising campaign, beginning in 1949, featuring women in their bra in various scenarios, from being at work, being a bull fighter, or a private eye. Maidenform is now a subsidiary of the Hanes corporation. 


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

From the collection of The Underpinnings Museum

Museum number: UM-2018-001


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