Friday, September 07, 2007

Style Lexicon

Writing about the history of women's intimate clothing gives me an excuse to pay attention when good taste and manners say not to. So, I act like I do this for research reasons. The truth is that it is an interesting topic.

A topic that covers a lot of territory. There are styles and fabrics and manufactures and retailers and gender issues and sexuality and sociology and design and more.

I have written in this column about the evolution of the panty and the bra. Then I find out that what I've written is at best incomplete. So often information is not available. It is a search to find apparel history in bookstores. The internet is a useful tool, but original research and sources that have not been recycled or massaged for marketing purposes is scarce.

Because of its name the Maidenform company captures my imagination. They were part of the founding of the commercial bra market & made several innovations that brought the bra to mainstream America. For a look at company history as compiled by the company.

One of their greatest achievements is the "I Dreamed..." ad campaign. I am building a collection of these ads as my next project in my history research. Many can be found on ebay and other collector sites for about $10 each +shipping. Here is the list of "I Dreamed..." ads.

For those who are a little confused about styles and what name signifies what garment here is a link to the Maidenform lexicon.

Fashion Flashbacks is a site claiming to be a student resource for ads across the century related to intimate fashion. however, the bra ad gallery is just a little bit of text and not useful at all.